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  • in reply to: Blood and Oil in the Orient #249884
    jmc

      Hi Byron,

      We can break it down in parts:

      – R2, R-squared, R^2: This is also called the coefficient of determination. Compared to other statistical methods or economic papers, BN are not using it in a overly complicated manor. My interpretation is this: there is a strong coefficient of determination between oil prices and differential EPS of oil companies. Therefore, it is likely for differential EPS to increase with rises in oil prices, and it is likely for a fall in oil prices to hurt differential EPS. Essentially, war in the Middle East can send the price skyrocketing, and price inflation is the main method for oil companies to profit relative to a benchmark, such as the S&P 500.

      – Tying this to OPEC: In my opinion, they are anticipating counter-claims that studying oil in the Middle East is “more complicated” than they present. I imagine a scenario where someone at the end of a presentation says “What about OPEC and its conflict with the interests of [American and British] oil companies?” BN are not denying there is more to research in historical detail, but their evidence shows OPEC exports are not depressing the strength of the relationship between oil prices and profit.

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by jmc. Reason: added differential to EPS
      jmc

        Hi everyone. I want to thank everyone here for stoking the flame of discussion. For personal reasons, my reading of Dawn of Everything has been slower than planned. Had I more free time, I would have liked to generate a series of questions for chapters or sections.

        So far I am enjoying reading The Dawn of Everything. I will say that the Davids can sometimes be too playful with evidence. Repeatedly they have this structure of argument:

        1. Make a claim about the social intentions of an ancient Indigenous society

        2. Acknowledge that there is insufficient archeological evidence for anthropologists to make claims about the social values and worldviews of an ancient Indigenous society

        3. Derive the truth of #1 through a circuitous interpretation of archeological evidence

        The Davids are working with the research that is available, but I wonder if the risk of this argumentative approach multiplies with each use.

        in reply to: What are you reading? #249713
        jmc

          Blood Meridian, or The Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

          Once in a while I read a novel that makes me incredibly jealous of the author’s ability to write prose. I’m not sure where my writing abilities actually lie — they are likely lower than I estimate — but I at least know the object of my jealousy is clearly in an entirely other league. McCarthy’s writing in Blood Meridian is unbelievably good and multiple parts cause me to stop and appreciate his style.

          McCarthy’s writing amplifies the ferocity of the violence in a story that has an extremely violent premise — a group of outlaws and misfits are paid by state governments to scalp as many Indigenous people as they can. This is a story of hell and the author is describing it in vivid detail … but I am finding it such a fascinating read.

          jmc

            Hi Jacob! Thanks for getting the thread going. Feel free to post as you read. I imagine that the size of this book will affect the frequency of our posts on this thread.

            jmc

              Discussion is open! Looking forward to seeing what others think of the book.

              jmc

                Hot dog, we have a wiener! The next book in the CasP reading group is a big one:

                The Dawn of Everything - David Graeber and David Wengow

                in reply to: Spam Emails #249639
                jmc

                  Blair is working on setting up 2FA and other security measures. These make logging in more time consuming, I know. But if you have time, please give your login a try. Or, for those new readers, create an account!

                  Once logged in, give us your opinion about what we should read next in the reading group.

                  in reply to: Spam Emails #249480
                  jmc

                    A very annoying ordeal! We that run this site are just a small group of people. Hopefully when we have the time — or another volunteer! — we can upgrade the notification system.

                    jmc

                      For various reasons, I am working through Against Method slower than I initially hoped. I want to introduce to the conversation another interpretation. More than Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Feyerabend places strong emphasis on the role of individuals — in this case, for their ability to be anarchists in the history of science (the book’s reference to Dadaists is better, in my opinion, as Feyerabend seems uninterested in thinking about the political meaning of anarchism).

                      Kuhn’s model of scientific revolution is, well, structural. The cycles of scientific revolution more-or-less continue happily along if all of the individuals are dogmatically single-minded, fulfilling Planck’s aphorism about the progression of science through funerals. This is an oversimplification of Kuhn, but the reason there is some truth to my simplification is because Kuhn often thinks of the scientific community. Normal science has paradigms, which are these concept-definition-example hybrids that unite a scientific community in general agreement. Crises in normal science are often raised and addressed by extremely creative individuals, but Kuhn cares less about the methods to discovering crises, and more about the ways crises, once found, grow to become blemishes that a theory cannot erase without more and more addendum. Kuhn’s revolutions thus have a common structural element to them: new scientists are no less single-minded than their supervisors, but they arrive to their disciplines at points in time when there are already accumulations of crises in the air.

                      Feyerabend clearly likes John Stuart Mill, especially for the latter’s idealization of the freedoms of opinion under liberalism. This like of Mill produces some interesting arguments in Against Method. One of them involves conceptualizing counter-induction as an individual act. Sometimes it appears counter-induction is some permanent layer of scientific activity in its messy reality. Other times Feyerabend presents counter-induction as an imperative that scientists must act on to do good science. In the form of an imperative, counter-induction should be practiced but people could very well behave otherwise. I think that in disagreement with Kuhn, Feyerabend thinks it is entirely possible for groups of scientists to successfully freeze scientific progress. As Feyerabend keeps pointing out: scientific theories are, in reality, able to live long lives with mistakes and ad hoc rationalizations; so what prevents groups of scientists from becoming content with what they have created?

                      To what extent does counter-induction need to be a conscious act? During certain periods of history, Feyerabend might care less about whether someone is consciously affirming counter-induction as a liberal principle; but from his standpoint in the 20th century, there are political overtones to his focus on counter-induction. Feyerabend keeps using the footnotes of Against Method to, as I interpret it, decry the lack of open-mindedness in the scientific methods of modern education; too many people are, as he puts it, naive falsificationists. Consequently, counter-induction becomes a call to action, which will be what better scientific practice to grows from.

                      But what does an open-ended, consciously anarchistic science look like institutionally? Taken to an extreme (like Feyerabend’s interesting response to hypothetical study of Voodoo in a scientific discipline), are we to have physics departments that accept and nurture all sorts wild ideas within its own walls?

                      • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by jmc.
                      in reply to: Let’s talk about hype #248869
                      jmc

                        Thanks, Blair and Scot! Your suggestions already have my head buzzing with simple fixes or proxies.

                        Here is what I found when I counted by four conditions: both +; both -; +e but -a; -e but +a

                        The stable majority of data in the dataset have positive estimates and positive actual values. Thousands and hundreds of data per quarter have other states.

                        I am glad I posted my early research because the condition of negative estimates and negative actual values is an easy fix. I’m going to create a script that will multiply a (-/-) condition by -1, inverting its measure hype and making it consistent with the directional meaning of the BN definition. Below are two series. The purple is (+/+) and the orange is (-/-), with its y-axis inverted.

                        jmc

                          Thanks for starting the discussion, Chris! I’m admittedly behind on a few things outside of this reading group. I should be able to join the discussion later in the week.

                          jmc

                            In this particular instance, I think you’ve been a bit overzealous in your hall monitor role, but I am okay with that, if you don’t mind me being a little annoyed (which I am, but I will get over it).

                            Apologies for the annoyance, Scot.

                            jmc

                              If the goal is to search for analogs to CasP’s concepts of breadth and depth in other modes of power, insisting on using the precise metric with which CasP measures differential growth is unnecessarily limiting and, ultimately, misguided. You won’t be able to see anything because you’re wearing CasP blinders. We are searching for similarities and equivalencies, not identity, so it is better to abstract away some of the details to widen our field of view.

                              Who is this “we” in this search for similarities and equivalencies? There are unstated premises in this argument about method and the promises of historical research, so I am not clear about the things I am guilty of not doing well or at all.

                              Scot, I apologize if I came across as a hall monitor catching you breaking a school rule. I fully support any experimental modification to any method — I like to think that I have been able to make a few modifications myself — but the reference to a specific footnote about DA was a bit curious. If you think BN’s definition of differential growth is limiting, why must the abstraction come from a source that is constructed of variables you think are not helpful? Rather than interpret BN’s DA as really talking about differential growth in general, build a different pathway to your theory. To make BN’s version of DA function as a concept for all historical modes of power, you do have to empty it of all content. And then what is left? As you put it yourself, what in world would we be saying if we stated that a feudal lord or slave owner needed to differentially accumulate?

                              *** CasP analysis relies on macro level stock market and economic data that necessarily is incomplete: the data only reflect what is measured. So, the stock market measured the growth of retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Borders Books, and Home Depot, but it did not measure the destruction of local retailers that fueled that growth. What is green-field to the stock market may be long-plowed, well-known ground to the market more broadly, just as North America was green-field to the Europeans but not to the indigenous peoples who had lived here for thousands of years.

                              I’m of the opinion that the incompleteness of differential measures of dominant capital makes it very easy for bad or lazy CasP research to be done. But that assumes the researcher is doing the bare minimum with a quantitative measure; and does the possibly for someone to do bad CasP research invalidate the method? I am not going to list all of the work I respect, but excellent CasP research knows that a measure of differential capitalization says, on its own, very little about how a firm or set of firms successfully differentially accumulated over a period of time. The harder job is to carefully demonstrate that relevant phenomena, including a qualitative history, corroborate a theory that financial measures are symbolic representations of power.

                              • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by jmc.
                              • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by jmc.
                              • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by jmc.
                              • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by jmc. Reason: ugh..formatting
                              • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by jmc.
                              jmc

                                Remember that capitalism’s differential accumulation (DA) is determined by differential growth. See, Chapter 14, footnote 17 of Capital as Power (2009) at page 328.

                                Differential growth rates of earnings, hype and risk. These are not necessarily tied to growth of production, especially in terms of expanding with the building of new green-field technology.

                                S-curves and other business cycle theories tend to fall into a common problem: stagnation is the twilight of business enterprise, which makes the next wave of growth the logical transformation or rejuvenation of what stagnated. The breath and stagflation indices (see also the work of Joe Francis) do have periods and amplitudes, but these are observed empirically, rather than theorized as a mechanical motion of a capitalist engine. ***Edited add: (It’s easy for abstract theory to make a historical pattern or tendency seem overly structural. For a good example of someone trying to think of hype as a business cycle, but without going too far in terms of defining an inherent rule of capitalist development, see the creative work of Yuri Di Liberto).

                                • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by jmc.
                                • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by jmc.
                                jmc

                                  Discussion is open!

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