Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why Biology Can Not Be Mechanized...

 Mr. Herbert Spencer wishes to explain evolution upon mechanical principles. This is illogical, for four reasons. First, because the principle of evolution requires no extraneous cause; since the tendency to growth can be supposed itself to have grown from an infinitesimal germ accidentally started. Second, because law ought more than anything else to be supposed a result of evolution. Third, because exact law obviously never can produce heterogeneity out of homogeneity; and arbitrary heterogeneity is the feature of the universe the most manifest and characteristic. Fourth, because the law of the conservation of energy is equivalent to the proposition that all operations governed by mechanical laws are reversible; so that an immediate corollary from it is that growth is not explicable by those laws, even if they be not violated in the process of growth. In short, Spencer is not a philosophical evolutionist, but only a half-evolutionist,―or, if you will, only a semi-Spencerian. Now philosophy requires thoroughgoing evolutionism or none. C.S. Peirce

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Letters: How to Mend Trust in the U.S. Economy

Published: June 23, 2012 LINK

To the Editor:
Re “Broken Trust Takes Time to Mend” (Economic View, June 17):

Tyler Cowen argues that the “slow cure” for our economic malaise is to allow asset prices, wealth, trust, etc. to slowly rise. He states that the textbook cure of significant “Keynesian” government stimulus spending will not quickly restore prosperity because fiscal stimulus does not “rebuild confidence.”

Unfortunately, Professor Cowen seems not to understand that if the government were to let contracts for, say, $1 trillion to private enterprise to rebuild our failing highways, bridges, and municipal water and sewage systems, and provide resources for our shrinking public and higher education systems, this would quickly restore companies’ confidence in the profit opportunities that are available if they hire workers and buy materials from other United States companies. When these newly hired workers go out and spend their wages, the confidence of United States retailers would immediately surge as these additional customers break down the doors to get at the merchandise on the shelves.

Nothing will build the confidence and trust of business and workers quicker than the continuous ringing of cash registers. Paul Davidson
Morton Grove, Ill., June 17

The writer is editor of the Journal of Post Keynesian Economics and author of “The Keynes Solution: The Path to Global Economic Prosperity” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).