Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Computers and Economics

In this wonderful age of technology we live in, computers can do amazing things.  They can bring characters like Golum to life so realistically that we can believe he can actually exist (or that a creature can be that anorexic and still kick a hobbit's ass).  They can connect people together in a mass social network that requires terabytes of memory and gigawatts of power.  They can bring us smart phones, teach us a foreign language in several weeks, or make a killing in the stock market based on a two-tenths of a millisecond faster processing speed than a competitor.

So why the hell can't all this computer power make us smarter in economics?

With the competing ideas of economics in our ridiculously hyper-divided political "system," in full scale war, what we, the people, need more than ever, is a game-like computer model that shows us just how economics works, whereby we can see how a nation like the U.S. does using various economic approaches.  In other words, you can play the computer game as the United States, tweak government-controllable factors like money spent on education, raising or lowering of taxes, raising or lowering of interest rates, raising or lowering of social programs, and then hit "fast forward" to see how the nation will look in the future.

What a great idea!  Every citizen could simply plug in Mitt Romney's ideas vs. Barack Obama's ideas to see which one produces the better future!  And with a tool like that, all the rhetoric becomes meaningless!  What an essential tool!  Every voter should have one!

Unfortunately, all we have is Simcountry.

Why is it that games that involve money and economics always need some sort of war going on?  You harvest crystals, gather spice, tap lands, or do some other inane thing for money which has nothing to do with the real world.  What a waste!

Such computer models exist.  We know they're out there.  Ben Bernanke, our current Fed Reserve Chairman, developed such a computer model back in the 1980's.  The University of Chicago has one.  M.I.T. has one.  The University of Wisconsin, I hope, has one.

What I don't get is why we all don't have one.

All it takes is one, JUST ONE  economist who has access to such a computer model to releasee it into the general public, maybe even make it into a game, and all this political bullshit we're enduring will go away.  Even if a model which is slanted to one side or the other is released, it won't matter, because the opposition will respond in kind, and people will be able to evaluate for themselves.

JUST ONE ECONOMIST!  Is that too much to ask?  Anyone out there?  Anyone?

When economic information is so very critical to our survival, both as a nation, and to ourselves personally, I guess I can no longer fathom why we all clamor with "angry birds" or internet cats.