Subject: Re: hmm
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Sat, 01 Mar 2003 17:08:01 +0900

>>>>> "Jean" == Jean Camp <jean_camp@harvard.edu> writes:

    Jean> But it is hard to quantify what is essentially a culture of
    Jean> gifts, demand for freedom, self-respect*, and joy of fine
    Jean> craftsmanship

There should be a period right here.

So, show me a satisfactory formal/quantitative model of these things.
Here, I'll go first (sans "satisfactory", the examples I give are
research in progress, currently controversial):

    Jean> on a model that begins by defining these out of existence.

"The model" does not define anything out of existence.  There is ample
precedent for economists finding ways to treat gifts (in fact, all
recent work on the economics of social security _must_ refer to
various kinds of gift motive, or be laughed out of the editor's
office) and self-respect (a topic close to the theme of a recent
undergraduate thesis explicitly concerned with "why hackers do it", he
chose to try to model Raymond's "Homesteading" argument) in the model.

Quantifying these is simply not easy; we know we have to do it, but
the modeling of the "goods" themselves, and thus analytically
capturing the regularities of behavior that we attribute to "a culture
of gifts, demand for freedom, self-respect*, and joy of fine
craftsmanship", remains extremely controversial.

It is, of course, possible that economics is simply the wrong
framework for dealing with these ideas formally or quantitatively.  I
would like to deal with them in a way that permits formulating their
impact on the economy in quantitative ways.  If you can point me at a
better framework, please do so.


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