Central Planning Distorts and Diverts Scientific Research


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I have been concerned about central planners harming science since I was in high school. I became acutely aware of the problem of thinking by “executive summary” that goes on with central planning when I was in the Air Force. The same problem exists in large private industry as well. Once planning gets beyond small groups it suffers from information bottlenecks and information losses.

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1501

5-12 in generic teams.

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/46238

For physics - 13 theoretical or 25 experimental in a team.

When central planners make policy based on an “executive summary” level of understanding of a subject - information is truncated and lost.

An example of this was the ban on any and all fusion research instituted within the federal government following the interest in “Cold Fusion”. From the 37,000 foot view provided in an executive summary it seemed wise to prevent government resources from being wasted. The problem is that the ban engulfed “Hot Fusion” as well and important observations of hot fusion under unusual circumstances. 23 years later these observations still remained buried - as does important science.

When political intrigue raises its ugly head science can go off the rails. Atmospheric modeling is one such case. The science was never done – not even really started – when the Ozone Hole was all the rage. The problem continues on with “Global Warming” and its renaming “Climate Change”. The science that is not being done is turbulent/chaotic transport mechanisms from the lower atmosphere to the highest reaches of the stratosphere. In addition what is entirely neglected are exotic transportation methods involving the extreme electrostatics of the upper atmosphere.

The reason this research is not being done is because the results would necessarily conflict with assumptions underlying Ozone Hole and Climate Change claims. Their claims of having the modeling well in hand are entirely bogus on several fronts – this would add more clarity about how bogus those claims are.

Balloon sampling finds organic material, fungi, and bacteria at altitudes which current atmospheric modeling cannot explain. Bacteria is important to cloud formation, ice crystals, and atmospheric chemistry generally – all of which is being ignored in Ozone Hole and Climate Change modeling.

I am interested in the physics of the upper atmosphere for several reasons and it is clear that nothing good can be done about it in the current climate of fake science for political gain and wealth redistribution.

Central planners knee-capping science is a serious problem. As long as they largely control what is allowed to be seen, who gets funded, what can be published in approved journals the harm continues. Breaking the mindset that big government is helpful to science will be difficult.

Dennis

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Dennis:

Quite correct. I figured this out when I was 25, got elected to the school board and at about the same time, I started in city government.

As the link and gatekeeper between the political community, which included the citizens in the community/the real powers in the community/the business people in the community and the bureaucracy in a huge department in NY City government, I controlled the information flow.

He who controls the information flow to the planner engineers and the political commissioner class in the agency controls the decisions.

Adam

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Before World War II, the government did not fund research, at least not in the USA. Ayn Rand's parody of Attila and the Witch Doctor; summed up the attitude of those in the government military who found the atomic bomb useful, without needing to understand anything about it. Vannevar Bush - who built one of the greatest analog computers as the digital age was being conceived - argued that the government should fund everything offered as they could never know what would pay off. Of course, even the government has limited resources, so some things are funded and others are not. Who decides? By what standard?

We could argue examples back and forth - and we could do that with our progressive comrades, of course. Aviation is an example. Forward swept wings (for jet aircraft) and pusher propellers are still uncommon, though they are arguably superior. There is no market for them. The CAA/FAA required that pilots pass training in spin recovery, which training killed more pilots and their instructors than the actual spin events, until it was discontinued. It is really cool to be able to fly an old plane, biplanes and such, and it is also true that if we took care of our cars the way we do our planes with 100-hour inspections and annual overhauls, we'd have more cool old cars on the road. But the fact is that aviation has been regulated nearly to death. Innovation is rare. We should have more small jet aircraft for private aviation, replacing all those aged Cessnas and Pipers, but the output from Williams International goes into cruise missiles and drones. Honda is among about five or six firms that have personal jets in production, but the availability is limited. Cost is one factor: we built an interstate highway system on the nazi model, instead. Even the government cannot pay for everything all at once. Choices must be made.

When "the market" decides, then there are many choices being made all at once. When the government decides, you get one choice. Old joke from the USSR: Grandma, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Ah, when I was young, we had them both.

It is not just a matter of political theory (though there is that), but a fundamental law of nature. The inverse-square law applies to information: the farther you are from the source, the less you know by the square of the distance. Central planning in government (or business) is woefully ineffective.

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The inverse-square law applies to information: the farther you are from the source, the less you know by the square of the distance. Central planning in government (or business) is woefully ineffective.

An excellent way of expressing the issue.

Dennis

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It is not just a matter of political theory (though there is that), but a fundamental law of nature. The inverse-square law applies to information: the farther you are from the source, the less you know by the square of the distance. Central planning in government (or business) is woefully ineffective.

Your analogy applies to broadcasts, but not to beam casts.

Central Planning fails because of the combinatorial burden of managing an economy with millions or even billions of goods and service categories. Too many SKUs make central planning a practical possibility. Only a self-organizing system under the control of vital negative feedback loops can do the job. We call it The Market.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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