It seems strangely coincidental that last night I spent reading this and that about economics.

Mike’s article was about a variety of topics, but he managed to keep some sort of “Adam Smith’ central theme to his current ravings. I’ve got to wonder what poor fool broke his car windshield though… The other was far less physical, but none the less real. Eve Online (one of those online games) has gone to the trouble of actually hiring an economist and he wrote about the completely non-physical, but very real economy of the game
. Then again, maybe that’s an essential definition of an economy – something that doesn’t have a tangible existence, but is real none the less. Kind of the imaginary numbers that I used in the past to calculate the effects of waves in transistors and such. Shoot – I’m probably blowing that metaphor simply due to the time since I last did any real math regarding transistors.

When I was forced to temper my engineering degree with some amount of “non-engineering-something”, I took the track of economics. It seemed like it might be useful some day, and it looked exquisitely less painful than languages courses (english or otherwise). The end result was that I got something out of it, but really not enough stuck in my skull to apply other than the basic rules that you’d expect from a 3 page booklet outlining the law of supply and demand. Actually *applying* economic theories seems to require either more data than is feasible to gather short of industrial espionage or experiments that any normal business person would blanch at. Who knows if the economics of Eve match real world models, but I’ve got to imagine that some of it might fit close enough to be actually useful.
Eve is one of those games that discourages the interface with real money (although everyone knows it happens) – and is itself an interesting viewpoint/experiment of unfettered capitalism. Blowing someone up and taking their stuff is completely legit in the game – and “the law” only exists in a core section of the universe today. Thank god it exists at all, or a newbie (which I class myself as in that game) wouldn’t find much of interest there. There’s even a few good old fashion scams (including a high profile ponzi scam).

Published by heckj

Developer, author, and life-long student. Writes online at

2 thoughts on “Economics…

  1. The most lucid economics writing for non-economists that I’ve found is at They have a blog, and a daily article, generally by an academic economist, but usually covering a topic of general interest in a non-dry way. The past 5 years of the housing boom and bust have played out exactly as they were predicting back in 2001.

    They also have a lot of great books, such as “Americas Great Depression” which disassembles many of the common myths about the great depression.

    Unfortunately, most economics writing in the mainstream press is really political propaganda masquerading as economics. doesn’t deny the political ramifications of their conclusions, but they also don’t only present one view.

    Definitely worth checking out periodically.


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