Two similar jokes rolled past me late last week, the first when I mentioned that running a Java program in JVM in a Linux VM in a container on AWS is a very inefficient way of generating waste heat, and that I could save a lot of time and effort by cutting out the middleman and just setting money on fire.
For the second, a friend observed that startups are an extremely inefficient way of transferring wealth from venture capitalists to bay-area landlords; there’s a disruptive opportunity here to shortcut that process and just give venture capital directly to the SoCal rentier class for a nominal service fee. I suggested he call his startup “olygarchr”, or maybe “plutocrysii”; you heard it here first, in two years YCombinator will be obsolete.
With that in mind and in the spirit of the now-classic Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Time and Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names, I asked for this on Twitter the other day and got some pretty good feedback. But I guess if I want something written up, I’ll be the one writing it up.
I may add some more links to this over the next little while, but for now here you go.
Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Economics
- Economics is simple.
- Econ-101 is a comprehensive overview of the field.
- Economics is morally neutral.
- Economics is racially- and gender-neutral.
- The efficient markets hypothesis is true.
- Classical economics is empirically grounded.
- Politics is an entirely unrelated field.
- Externalities are the same as inefficiencies.
- Pareto efficiency exists.
- Information symmetry exists.
- People are rational actors.
- OK, sure, people, I get it. But I’m a rational actor.
- “Rational” to me is the same as “rational” to everyone else.
- Rational actors exist at all.
- Advertising doesn’t influence or distort markets.
- Ok, fine, but advertising doesn’t influence me.
- Just-so stories make predictive economic models.
- Just-so stories make effective public policy.
- Price is an indication of cost.
- Price is an indication of value.
- The system works for me, therefore the system works for everyone.
- Wealth is an indication of worth.