[From Fred Nickols (2011.01.03.1310 MST)]

Aha! I see. And what I see is that you and I have very different definitions of zero-sum. And what I described is non-zero-sum.

I did a little research and my definition matches what I find âout there.â? I donât know where you got

your definition but it doesnât fit with what I know to be zero-sum…

I guess weâll just to agree to disagree.

GR: I think most of these terms are so poorly defined that almost any argument seems to go. Here’s a mathematical argument.

The ““subobject classifier”” of Mathematical Category theory (Topological logic) tells us that there’s a joker in the pack and in fact the Universe is open, well is it? Astronomy has proved that it is.

The ““finitely complete”” topoi of Mathematical category theory (Topois) tells us the the universe is limited in other words parsimonious. Well is it? Yes we know there are limits to resources and money and to energy.

If we want to take in things that are not measured in the GDP like the billions of years and energy content it took to create oil, then the game looks like non zero sum but hugely in the negative. More like a negative sum game… And what about the pollution that’s detrimental to life on earth, BP comes to mind.

Not so sure that these concepts are well thought out or well defined at all. Zero sum comes from game theory where there is always a last man standing and life being a social affair just doesn’t always work this way. There are aspects of zero sumness and

also aspects of non zero sumness. A book I mentioned on this list many months ago called Non Zero Sumness is a great example of this. Reality exhibits all sorts of surprises.

After all we are making inferences about our world (and the one we create) and matter by not even understanding the 4% of the universe we can see and hear. The other 96% is probably the bulk of Reality.

So when we create a theory of mind, it needs to include the possibilities of

the other 96%.

Regards

Gavin

[From Rick Marken (2011.01.03.1030)]

Fred Nickols (2011.01.03.0710 MST)–

Rick Marken (2011.01.02.2110)–

It’s all mathematical,

and very simple math at that: GNP = A + B. If A increases, B must

decrease in order to preserve the sum (GNP). Zero sum. And that is

true even if GNP is a variable.

Let A = 90 and B = 10. GDP equals 100

If A

increases to 95 and B decreases to 5, GDP still equals 100. Ergo: zero

sum.

However, if A increases to 100 and B increases to 15, GDP now equals 115.

No zero sum.

No, it’s still zero sum with a new sum (115). If A’s share increases then B’s must decrease in order to maintain the sum.

The zero sum view of GDP seems applicable only in terms of viewing GDP as a

percentage so that A + B must equal 100. In that case, GDP is not a

variable; it is a constant of 100%.

No, it’s zero sum whether GDP is represented as an absolute number or a percentage.

What I’m getting at, of course, is the notion of building a bigger pie, not

simply cutting up an existing pie.

As I said in an earlier post, it’s zero sum (by definition; an increase in the proportion of the sum going to one “player” means a decrease in the proportion going to another) whether

the sum is constant or variable. By increasing the sum (and maintaining the relative portions of the sum going to each “player”) you will increase the absolute size of the portions of the sum going to each player. This is what you did in your example. When the sum was 100, 90 went to A and 10 went to B. When the sum went to 115, 100 went to A and 15 went to B. So both player A and B saw increases in the absolute size of their share of the sum. But this has nothing to do with the fact that, at any instant, the “game” is zero sum.

Of course, in an economy the sum (GNP) is variable; it goes up *and* down. As Bill Powers (2011.01.01.1025 MDT) noted, this fact is pointed to by conservatives as evidence that the economy is not zero sum. But this is just redefining the meaning of “zero sum”. The fact is that, at any point in time, an increase in the amount of GNP going to one “player” means a decrease in the amount going to the other.

If the proportion of GNP going to each player remains constant, then an increasing GNP (sum) will, indeed, increase the absolute amount of GNP going to each player. This is the “rising tide lifts all boats” idea. (This “rising tide” concept is true, by the way, only if both players get more than 0% of the sum (GNP); if one player gets 100% and the other gets 0% then a rising tide lifts only the boats of the player who has boats, the one with 100% of GNP. ). But this “rising tide lifts all boats” notion is completely unrelated to the fact that the economy at any instant is of finite size (GNP) and that the more one player has of GNP at any instant the less the other *must* have. That’s zero sum.

Independent of whether the economy is zero sum (which is it) Bill Powers (2010.01.03.0742 MDT) has pointed out how inequitable is the idea that a “rising tide lifts all boats”:

BP: Yes, this is what I was saying. However,

because the pie is divided 9:1, an increase of 10% overall would, roughly speaking, come out to a 1% improvement divided among 99% of the population, or about 0.01% each, and 9% divided among the remaining 1%, or 9% each. At the individual level, the ratio is 900 to 1. So every improvement simply widens the gap in absolute terms. Did I do that arithmetic right?

## ···

A rising tide does lift all boats (as long as you have a boat) but when the relative share of GNP going to different portions of the population are quite different, the size of the gain for each portion is quite different as well.

Best

## Rick

Richard S. Marken PhD

rsmarken@gmail.com

www.mindreadings.com