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Re: Recommend some good political economy

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:17 am
by blairfix
This is not political economy per se, but the research methodology (and results) are fascinating, and I think the technique could lead to very interesting results if applied to other areas.

In a recent paper entitled A quantitative philology of introspection (, Duik et al. quantify the change in "introspection" in ancient texts. The authors use a statistical technique that quantifies the semantic similarity of each word in a text to the word "introspection". The results show a strong rise in introspection over time in ancient texts.

I think this type of analysis has fascinating implications for political economy, and science in general. It is a more sophisticated version of what Francis has done to quantify the rise and fall of debate in economics (

Wouldn't it be fascinating to track the semantic rise of "objectivity" or "rationality"?

Re: Recommend some good political economy

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:29 pm
by blairfix
This type of research is easier than I thought. Google has a service called the Ngram Viewer ( that allows you to track the relative frequency of occurrence for various words.

Here is a search for "political economy". Check out the peak during the marginal revolution of the late 19th century, and the decline uni the 1960, when the monopoly capital school started to gain some traction.
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Here's a search for "empirical". Do we see the impact of post modernism with the post-1980 plateau?
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Re: Recommend some good political economy

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:05 am
by DT Cochrane
I love ngrams!

You've enticed me to play around also.

This ngram compares 'quantitative' and 'qualitative.' I think this is actually an interesting dynamic. The decline in quantitative is problematic, but I think the convergence between the two is a good trend. The two facets of analysis should not be considered oppositional. They enrich each other.

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I recall being asked what the difference is between 'quality' and 'quantity' at a CasP conference. At the time, I dismissed the question as silly. But, it has remained with me ever since and I often find myself considering the relationship between quality and quantity.

Qualities are wholly incommensurable until they are quantified. Quantification is often implicit, such as a declaration that 'red is better than blue.' Although clearly a subjective declaration, it has an implicit ordinalization. Is there any basis for comparing one quality to another without quantification?

Is quantification a strictly human undertaking? Castoriadis referred to the ensidic, which is the word he used to describe the attribute of existence that allows it to be ordered, to be rendered sensible. The Universe is not mathematic, but it can mathematized. Existence is not quantitative, but it can be quantified. Latour wrote a book of aphorisms called 'Irreductions.' In it, he declares that nothing IS reducible or irreducible to anything else. But, anything CAN BE reduced to anything else if one applies measurement. To me, that is the basis of quantification. It enables reduction not because the qualities reduced ARE the quanta they are reduced to - they always exceed that - but rather because they are capable of being reduced.

I've thought less how quantities are retranslated into qualities. Does it require decision-making? Does it require taking quantities as information to intervene in qualities?

Anyway, just some early Friday musings.

Re: Recommend some good political economy

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:45 am
by DT Cochrane
What does it mean that we now have more 'research' and less 'analysis'?

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Re: Recommend some good political economy

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:54 am
by DT Cochrane
Here are a few others that came to mind and have interesting results.

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Re: Recommend some good political economy

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:22 am
by blairfix

Re: Recommend some good political economy

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:24 pm
by jmc
In light of all of the great discussion from last week's conference, I was wondering if people could share some of the bibliographic info of what they were recommending during the presentations or over drinks and dinner. I try to write down as many as I can, but if we post it here we can build a nice centralized list.

Re: Recommend some good political economy

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:22 pm
by blairfix
Here is an interesting article about a recent US Supreme Court decision on patent rights. The Supreme court reaffirmed the long-standing rule that patent claims are exhausted at the "first sale". The case was about printer companies claiming that they retained the patent on ink cartridges forever, meaning they claimed the right to sue anyone running an ink refill business. ... lly-legal/

Get ready for cheaper ink!