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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 management.

The Effect

The Cause

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 = 0.64151 cups.

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 not like.    3. The Assignment of Blame: We blame the cause for the effect.   4. The Fix: Something that purports to change the cause.

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 futile.

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 manipulate someone.

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 work.

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.

cause
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.

proximate cause
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.

intervening cause
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.

probable cause
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.

cause of action
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.

good cause
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.

# 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?"

 CAUSE EFFECT 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.

The Effect (the problem)

The Effect (problem) = Sagging Breasts

The Causes (in bold)

Sagging or drooping of breasts is a natural, inevitable process that happens to all women at some point - except those with fairly small breasts.

The most 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.

When the 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.

Breast 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.

When the 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.

Another 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 then sags.

A 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 age.

The Fix

You could 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).

Clips:

Legal Reference: