Thursday, February 17, 2011

Maintaining a Sense of Humility

I want to make sure that readers of this blog understand that the laws of physics do not tell us anything about what type of political or economic systems to support.
There is nothing in the First or Second Law of Thermodynamics that supports one type of political party over another. There is nothing in the principle of "Maximize the Rate of Return on Investment in order to Maximize the Entropy Production Rate" that should lead a person to support one economic theory over another.
Even though it may sound like Maximizing the Rate of Return on Investment is pro-capitalism, there is nothing in that principle that states that, therefore, we must all be capitalists. As I mentioned in a previous blog, there is no way to prove which route will lead to the maximization of entropy. i.e. there is no guaranteed way to prove that your way of maximizing entropy is actually the best way.
Disproving a Maximum Or Minimum Rate of Entropy Production

Since there is no way to prove that your way of doing things is better at maximizing entropy production than somebody else's way of doing things, then we have to treat other people with respect because we never know if their way of living is better than our way of living.

We have to respect the views of all people: including capitalists, socialists, communist and other. For example, there is no way to prove that one's calculation of the Rate of Return on Investment for Process A will actually come true, and this is due to the fact that the future is uncertain. Not just for humans, but for all life forms, even supercomputers.
But just because we respect other people's views, doesn't mean that we should believe in their views. We should still calculate the Rate of Return on Investment of various processes and then chose the one with the largest calculated rate of return on investment. We should, though, always keep in mind that there's no way to prove mathematically that one's choice is actually the best choice to make, and because of this uncertainty, we should always maintain a certain sense of humility. People with different views are not our enemy. We should want other people to figure out for themselves how to maximize the rate of return on investment of their own money, knowing that this is best for everybody.

The reason that the principle of "Maximize the Rate of Return on Investment in order to Maximize the Entropy Production Rate" does not support capitalism over socialism is also the fact that we do not know what the optimal route is to maximize the rate of entropy production.

Perhaps, if everybody was guaranteed a job and healthcare, then people on average would become more productive. But perhaps guaranteeing a job and healthcare would cause people to get lazy. There's no way to prove that guaranteeing a job and healthcare is better or is worse than not guaranteeing a job and healthcare. And there's no economic model that can prove either way. As well, there's no real world proof either because there's no way to try both economic theories out at the same time and same place in order to compare them on an equal footing. And even if we could test the alternatives at the same time and same place, there's no way to prove that just because something worked better at one point in time, that it will work better than another option at some point in time in the future. For example, there was no way to predict 20 years ago that the societies with the largest rate of returns on investment (China and India) would be countries that are neither capitalist or socialist.  Both are some combination of capitalism and socialism.

So, this leads me back to the main point I want to make: the laws of physics suggest that we need to maintain a sense of humility. Why? Because there is no way to prove how to maximize the quantity that life is trying to maximize (entropy production rate).
The uncertainty of the future mean that we need to respect people of differing belief systems (political, economic & religious.)

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