Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I have previously discussed methods of reconstructing phase space portraits to study the dynamics of complex systems, including economic systems. An earlier application of this approach applied to the state space of real interest rates and unemployment rate suggested that the economic system has more than one equilibrium state, which is at odds with conventional (Keynesian) economic thought.

Naturally, in performing this sort of analysis, we are assuming that the methodology by which our data are collected remains constant. Any changes (or manipulation) in the data and we begin to have problems. Unfortunately, there is reason to doubt the reported rate of unemployment. Many people who have been out of work for a long time are dropped from the workforce and no longer count as unemployed, as discussed by our resident experts, Drs. Abbott and Costello below (dialogue by CIGA Lew, originally here)

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It’s 8.3%.
COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.
COSTELLO: You just said 8.3%.
ABBOTT: 8.3% Unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right 8.3% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 16% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that’s 8.3%…
COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 8.3% or 16%?
ABBOTT: 8.3% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.
COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you can’t count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.
COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work, can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.
ABBOTT: The unemployed.
COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work… Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.
COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment rolls, that would count as less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how you get to 8.3%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don’t want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?
COSTELLO: That would be frightening.
ABBOTT: Absolutely.
COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like an economist.
COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the hell I just said!

If you're out of work, and you can help the economy improve so you can find a job--stop looking for work!

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