Commit dc517e10 authored by Nicolás Reynolds's avatar Nicolás Reynolds Committed by Mauricio Pasquier Juan

escasez de escasez

parent f58aaad2
......@@ -802,8 +802,53 @@ sentido a los datos observados. Sin embargo, ya que ninguna forma de
conceptualizar el mundo puede dar una explicación de la realidad última
y exhaustiva, nuevas anomalías están destinadas a aparecer.
A common denominator and key postulate in classical and neo-classical economic thinking is the omnipresence of scarcity. Because resources are limited in relation to unbounded human needs/fancies, humans act as economic, maximising agents. It is for this reason, we are told, that economic theory can make predictions about human behaviour. The economist must posit scarcity in order to see anything in the world. Scarcity is his condition for seeing, and his blind spot. To such a science, the existence of something non-rival becomes an anomaly. This phenomenon has been recognised by economists as the problem of “public goods”. Seen from inside this paradigm, public goods is something that causes market failures. By defining public goods in those terms the anomaly has not been resolved. It merely reaffirms the starting assumptions of the economic science. An example closely related to the present argument is the talk about the rise of a so-called “attention economy” (Simon 1971). The abundance of information is said to have resulted in a new scarcity, i.e. the lack of attention among audiences. Hence, the market in information is superseded by a market in attention. Abundance is here defined as a scarcity of scarcity. My point is not that non-rivalrous, abundant goods exist in the world and the economic science is flawed to the extent that it fails to acknowledge them. Rather, what is important is that the anomaly is itself a product of the economist’s particular way of looking.
A common denominator and key postulate in classical and neo-classical
economic thinking is the omnipresence of scarcity. Because resources
are limited in relation to unbounded human needs/fancies, humans act
as economic, maximising agents. It is for this reason, we are told,
that economic theory can make predictions about human behaviour. The
economist must posit scarcity in order to see anything in the
world. Scarcity is his condition for seeing, and his blind spot. To
such a science, the existence of something non-rival becomes an
anomaly. This phenomenon has been recognised by economists as the
problem of “public goods”. Seen from inside this paradigm, public goods
is something that causes market failures. By defining public goods in
those terms the anomaly has not been resolved. It merely reaffirms the
starting assumptions of the economic science. An example closely related
to the present argument is the talk about the rise of a so-called
“attention economy” (Simon 1971). The abundance of information is said
to have resulted in a new scarcity, i.e. the lack of attention among
audiences. Hence, the market in information is superseded by a market in
attention. Abundance is here defined as a scarcity of scarcity. My point
is not that non-rivalrous, abundant goods exist in the world and the
economic science is flawed to the extent that it fails to acknowledge
them. Rather, what is important is that the anomaly is itself a product
of the economist’s particular way of looking.
Un denominador común y postulado clave en el pensamiento económico
clásico y neoclásico es la omnipresencia de las escasez. Ya que los
recursos son limitados en relaciones a las necesidades y deseos
ilimitados de los humanos, estos actúan como agentes económicos
maximizadores. Es por esta razón, nos dicen, que la teoría económica
puede hacer predicciones sobre el comportamiento humano. El economista
debe postular la escasez para poder ver algo en el mundo. La escasez es
su condición para la vista y el punto ciego. Para tal ciencia, la
existencia de algo no rival se vuelve una anomalía. Este fenómeno ha
sido reconocido por los economistas como el problema de los "bienes
públicos". Desde este paradigma, los bienes públicos son causa de
fallas en el mercado. Al definir los bienes públicos en estos términos
la anomalía no queda resuelta. Sólo reafirma las asunciones iniciales
de la ciencia económica. Un ejemplo cercanamente relacionado con el
argumento presente es la charla sobre el surgimiento de la así llamada
"economía de la atención" [@simon-1971]. Se dice que la abundancia de
la información ha resultado en una nueva escasez, es decir, la falta de
atención entre las audiencias. Por lo tanto, el mercado de la
información es superado por un mercado de la atención. La abundancia es
definida como una escasez de la escasez. Mi punto no es que los bienes
no rivales abundantes existen en el mundo y la ciencia económica falla
al punto de que es incapaz de reconocerlos. Antes bien, lo que es
importante es que la anomalía es en sí misma producto de la forma
particular de observación del economista.
Being an artifact of the economic way of looking, it follows that the problem with non-rival goods arose at the same time as this discipline was staged. To the founding fathers, however, it was light rather than information which caught their puzzled attention. Henry Sidgwick observed that “the benefits of a well-placed lighthouse must be largely enjoyed by ships on which no toll could be conveniently imposed” (Sidgwick 1901, 412). John Stuart Mill concurred that the service provided by lighthouses was best administered collectively as a public good (Mill 1965, 968). A hundred years later, Ronald Coase returned to the debate over lighthouses and affirmed that it still posed a challenge to economic theory (1974). The connection between light and ideas was made by Thomas Jefferson (Peterson 1984). He famously concluded that both must be freely shared. Inventions cannot, by their very nature, be subject to exclusive private ownership. All of those statements converge in the claim that the political economy of information abides to laws different from those found in the political economy in general. This assumption was more systematically explored by the economist Fritz Machlup. He underlined the unusual properties of information:
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