The field of economics is currently full of confusion about levels and rates
and about past, present and future.
This confusion stems from trying to use a
confusing model, namely: the cause-and-effect model.
In this section we demonstrate the
futility of the causal model and examine the confusion this model
brings to various fields including law, education and breast
Some very simple feedback models can easily re-produce historical behavior
that seems to baffle economists.
Meanwhile, the field of economics is currently full of confusion
about levels and rates
and about past, present and future.
This confusion stems from trying to use
a confusing model, namely the cause-and-effect model.
Cause-and-effect models are not useful
for understanding dynamics; they are useful in manipulating people.
To see how this works, recall the milk model.
Milk Model Simulation, in Graph Form
Milk Model Simulation, in Table Form
The red and green rectangles identify events.
To understand cause and effect, we first
have to define the meaning of an event. An event is a set of
circumstances that all occur in the same moment of now.
Examples of events: the assassination of
Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865; the creation of the Federal
Reserve System by Woodrow Wilson on December 23, 1913; the
assassination of John F Kennedy on November 22, 1963; the
destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
These are all famous and important events. Each of them
describes a set of conditions at a particular moment of now, as we
record it in history.
In the table above we can also see the
red event at time = 0.3 seconds with the level = 0.14263 cups; we
can also see the green event at t = 2.0 seconds with the level =
The red and green events are, of course,
nowhere as famous as the assassination events or the Fed Birthday
event. Nonetheless they are exactly events. If by some
means you are to receive 1000 ounces of gold when the level reaches
0.14263 and you are to jump off a bridge with a bungee cord of
questionable integrity when the level reaches 0.64151 cups, then
those events can also become very important events, at least to you.
We know from our simulation model, and we
know from how the world works, that as things evolve they can effect
each other only in the moment of now. The non-existing past
and the non-existing future do not exist in the now. Of
course, in our simulation models, the moment of now has to have a
small finite length in order to run the simulation. In the
real world, the moment of now is a moment of zero duration. It
does not contain any past or future.
Things effect each other only in the
moment of now. None of the situation in the red event has any
effect on the situation in the green event. If we wish to
understand how things really work, we have to stay in the now.
There is no way to run the simulation by linking events from
different time zones.
Now, and here's the cool
part, let's return to looking at
cause-and-effect. In the cause-and-effect model, we have:
1. The Cause: An event from the non-existing past.
2. The Effect: A recent event that we do
3. The Assignment of Blame: We blame the cause for the effect.
4. The Fix: Something that purports
to change the
The Cause and Effect Model
By now we can see that none
of this makes any sense. As something evolves, it does so by
interacting with itself in the moment of now. It also generates a
historical trace of infinitely many events. Trying to link
events from different time zones to explain how something works is
Linking events from different time zones
and calling the first one the cause (the reason) and calling the second one an
effect (the problem) does indeed make a lot of sense, however, if the goal is to
For example, in our political process,
cause-and-effect models are largely useful
to politicians in expanding their political power. Political
models typically rely on cause-and-effect.
In practice, the
politician already has a number of pet projects waiting in the wings
for justification. He is always on the lookout for an opportunity to
put together a marketable cause-effect-fix package. He observes the dictum, "never let a crisis go to waste."
For example, say he wants
to spend some government money on making a car that runs on rabbit
droppings. He sees that many people who are living in homes
they cannot afford are losing them to the banks and that many banks
are going broke and that some bankers are making a lot of money. He
knows he can sell this event as something that his constituents might
not like. So he sets it up as the "Effect". Next, he comes up
with a "Cause"; the economy is in a downturn. He then presents a
convenient "Fix"; we need to stimulate the economy - and what better
way than to provide incentives to motivate people to make some
eco-friendly vehicles. Soon, his friend at Kaninchen Motors (who is
an active political supporter) has a fifty million dollar contract
to produce little round brown cars that look and roll like rabbit
droppings. No matter that no one wants to sit in one, the
cause-and-effect model is successful in working its magic.
In Now Models, we do not have "causes" or "effects."
We have rates and
levels and policies - all responding to each other in the
ever-evolving moment of now. We also have an opportunity to
define and examine our policies and to "back-test" the system to
determine optimal policies.
Cause-effect-fix models generate
justification; Now Models generate insight.
The absence of clear Now Models of the economy is
consistent with the political process.
In this series, we build some Now Models of some
of the important systems that surround us - and we use these models to gain insights about how these systems actually
Causality and the Law
Much of Law rests upon the notions of
blame and guilt. These, in turn, rest upon the notion of cause and
effect. The "legal" definitions below show the depth of
confusion and ambiguity that the cause-and-effect model bring to our
society. The cause-and-effect legal system affords judges
enormous discretion in electing remedies by promoting arbitrary
causes and effects. This discretion enables judges and their
sponsors to control people and their resources.
from Latin causa 1) v. to
make something happen. 2) n. the reason something happens. A cause
implies what is called a "causal connection" as distinguished from
events which may occur but do not have any effect on later events.
Example: While driving his convertible, Johnny Youngblood begins to
stare at pretty Sally Golightly, who is standing on the sidewalk.
While so distracted he veers into a car parked at the curb. Johnny's
inattention (negligence) is the cause of the accident, and neither
Sally nor her beauty is the cause. 3) n. short for cause of action.
n. a happening which
results in an event, particularly injury due to negligence or an
intentional wrongful act. In order to prevail (win) in a lawsuit for
damages due to negligence or some other wrong, it is essential to
claim (plead) proximate cause in the complaint and to prove in trial
that the negligent act of the defendant was the proximate cause (and
not some other reason) of the damages to the plaintiff (person
filing the lawsuit). Sometimes there is an intervening cause which
comes between the original negligence of the defendant and the
injured plaintiff, which will either reduce the amount of
responsibility or, if this intervening cause is the substantial
reason for the injury, then the defendant will not be liable at all.
In criminal law, the defendant's act must have been the proximate
cause of the death of a victim to prove murder or manslaughter.
n. an event which occurs
between the original improper or dangerous action and the damage
itself. Thus, the "causal connection" between the wrong and damages
is broken by the intervening cause. This is a "but for" situation,
in which the intervention becomes the real reason harm resulted. The
result is that the person who started the chain of events is no
longer responsible and will not be found liable for damages to the
injured person. Example: Fred Flameout negligently starts a wildfire
by welding on his hay bailer next to a row of haystacks, some hay
catches fire, and the fire spreads, heading toward the next-door
ranch. However, just as the county fire department has the fire
nearly contained, Peter Petrol drives his oil truck through the
fireline against a fire fighter's orders and stops on the road
between Flameout's property and Richard Rancher's. Sparks from the
fire cause Petrol's truck to explode, sending the fire on the way to
Rancher's barns and home, which burn down. Petrol's negligence is an
intervening cause which gets Flameout off the liability hook.
Sometimes this is called supervening cause or superseding.
n. sufficient reason based
upon known facts to believe a crime has been committed or that
certain property is connected with a crime. Probable cause must
exist for a law enforcement officer to make an arrest without a
warrant, search without a warrant, or seize property in the belief
the items were evidence of a crime. While some cases are easy
(pistols and illicit drugs in plain sight, gunshots, a suspect
running from a liquor store with a clerk screaming "help"), actions
"typical" of drug dealers, burglars, prostitutes, thieves, or people
with guilt "written across their faces," are more difficult to
categorize. "Probable cause" is often subjective, but if the police
officer's belief or even hunch was correct, finding stolen goods,
the hidden weapon or drugs may be claimed as self-fulfilling proof
of probable cause. Technically, probable cause has to exist prior to
arrest, search or seizure.
n. the basis of a lawsuit
founded on legal grounds and alleged facts which, if proved, would
constitute all the "elements" required by statute. Examples: to have
a cause of action for breach of contract there must have been an
offer of acceptance; for a tort (civil wrong) there must have been
negligence or intentional wrongdoing and failure to perform; for
libel there must have been an untruth published which is
particularly harmful; and in all cases there must be a connection
between the acts of the defendant and damages. In many lawsuits
there are several causes of action stated separately, such as fraud,
breach of contract, and debt, or negligence and intentional
destruction of property.
n. a legally sufficient
reason for a ruling or other action by a judge. The language is
commonly: "There being good cause shown, the court orders…."
Causality and Education
Educators teach the cause-and-effect
model. They rarely teach Eco-NOW-Mics, in which cause and
effect are arbitrary political notions. Notice, in the example
below, from a current website, that all the causes and effects are
in the past tense.
Note: By now you are likely able to come
up with dozens of alternative causes for each effect, and more
dozens of effects for each cause.
Cause and Effect
A Mini Lesson
A cause is something that
makes something else happen. Out of two events,
it is the event that happens first. To determine the cause, ask the
question "Why Did it Happen?"
An effect is what happens as a result of
the cause. Of two related events, it’s the one that happens second
or last. To determine the effect, ask the question "What Happened?"
The boy kicked the ball.
The ball rolled.
The girl teased the cat.
The cat growled.
Sally studied hard for a test.
Sally earned an A on her test.
Joe became really tired.
Joe went to sleep early.
Causality and Breasts
In health, causality is useful in selling
some or another particular remedy. Notice that in this case, from a
breast health website, (1) there is a large garden of causes
and (2) the fix does not even remotely pretend to address them.
Effect (the problem)
The Effect (problem) = Sagging Breasts
Causes (in bold)
drooping of breasts is a natural, inevitable process that happens
to all women at some point - except those with fairly small
notable sagging happens with the process called breast involution
(see below), but breasts can start drooping a little at any age,
because they do NOT have muscles in them. They have ligaments
and connective tissue.
gravity pulls the breasts down, those ligaments and the
skin can stretch, and so the breast then droops. This depends
on the elasticity of your skin and of your ligaments, as
determined by your genes and diet, and also on normal
aging processes. Obviously large breasts will sag easier
since the gravity is pulling them down more.
involution is a process where the milk-making system inside the
breast shrinks because it's not needed anymore. This happens
either after weaning, or right after pregnancy if you
don't breastfeed at all, or during menopause.
tissues inside breast shrink, and the skin surrounding it
doesn't, the breast can look 'empty' and saggy. Over time, some fat
gets deposited back to the breast so it will look somewhat fuller
but sagging usually remains.
common cause for sagging is when a woman loses weight. When
you lose weight, some of that fat disappears from your
breasts. Typically the skin and the ligaments inside the breasts do
not retract accordingly, resulting in an 'empty' looking breast that
scientific study that studied the effects of breastfeeding upon
sagging, found that breastfeeding per se did not have an affect upon
the sagging. According to the study, the following were risk
factors for an increased degree of breast sagging: body mass
index (BMI), the number of pregnancies, a larger
pre-pregnancy bra size, smoking history, and
try prevent this by eating foods that provide extra good
nutrition for your skin. One thing you can try (I'm not
guaranteeing any results) is to help your skin elasticity
nutritionally - maybe it will also help those ligaments to stay
in top fit. And if nutrition does not help sagging per se, at least
you can have a good-looking shiny healthy skin on your breasts (as
well as elsewhere).
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