Statistical Physics and the Social Sciences: What Potential Contribution?

In recent years there has developed a branch of economics which seeks to apply statistical physics approaches to understanding economic problems.  Some years ago, my colleague at the New School, Anwar Shaikh, introduced me to the pioneering work in this area that seeks to understand income distributions, for example by the physicist Y M Yakovenko.  … More Statistical Physics and the Social Sciences: What Potential Contribution?

Equality and Liberty: Beyond a Boundary

Must those who value liberty accept that its consequences include economic inequality?  In the tradition associated with John Locke, of which a modern representative was Robert Nozick, the answer is yes. Akeel Bilgrami, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, argues no, because in his view liberty properly understood and exercised, can be made consistent with … More Equality and Liberty: Beyond a Boundary

An Economic Strategy for The Gambia?

I was privileged recently to spend a little time in The Gambia, whose people recently overthrew a megalomaniacal, authoritarian and in many respects vicious President, Yahyeh Jammeh, in an extraordinary democratic moment, due to their courage and the timely supportive action of other countries in West Africa (and very little if at all due to support … More An Economic Strategy for The Gambia?

Gödel and Trump

I was struck some years ago when I read John Dawson’s biography of the towering logician Kurt Gödel, Logical Dilemmas, of the story of his ‘proof’ that the US could be turned ‘legally’ from a democracy into a dictatorship, and the anxiety of his friends Oskar Morgenstern and Albert Einstein that his eagerness to tell others … More Gödel and Trump

Trump’s Travel Ban: Dangerous Inflection Point

In the months before Donald Trump’s despicable executive order at least temporarily banning entrants to the United States from select majority Muslim countries and similarly placing a stop on all refugee admissions, among other measures, was promulgated, many commentators have attempted to find the words to capture the smallness of mind and of moral vision of the new … More Trump’s Travel Ban: Dangerous Inflection Point

‘Social Science’: Trumpism’s Collateral Damage

The shocking event that is the rise of trumpism has been by now analyzed widely. Most focus on the appeal of Donald Trump to those in the United States who for one another reason or another feel left behind, wish to retrieve an earlier, lost, social order, and rebuke establishment politicians who they feel do … More ‘Social Science’: Trumpism’s Collateral Damage