–Which is more important to our lives: Meteorology or economics?

Mitchell’s laws: The more budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes. Until the 99% understand the need for deficits, the 1% will rule. To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments. Austerity = poverty and leads to civil disorder. Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

You can find many parallels between meteorology and economics. The most striking: They both involve huge masses of data and they both are extremely chaotic – small changes can cause large effects – which makes prediction extremely difficult.

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and Monetary Sovereignty (MS) are quite good at describing the economy as it is, but rather poor at describing the economy as it will be. Yes, I can tell you, with some assurance, that running a federal surplus will lead to a recession or a depression, (See: Items 3 and 4), but I can’t tell you exactly when this will happen, nor exactly what will trigger it.

It took a 10-year federal surplus to cause the Great Depression, but a mere 3 years of surplus caused the recession of 2001, and most recessions have not been associated with federal surpluses. They have been associated with reductions in deficit growth.

In each case, there needed to be a trigger(s), something in addition to surpluses or reductions in deficit growth, to push the economy past the tipping point. (“What triggers recessions and depressions?”)

And therein lies the rub, because although federal surpluses and deficit growth reductions are somewhat predictable, the triggers are much less so. And that is why I beg the National Center for Atmospheric Research, or any other federal agency, to help us:

New Wyoming supercomputer expected to boost atmospheric science
By Scott Gold, Los Angeles Times, 6/10/12

The National Center for Atmospheric Research’s machine, called “Yellowstone,” is one of the fastest computers ever built, its sheer speed designed to burst through the limits of chaos theory.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — This month, on a barren Wyoming landscape dotted with gopher holes and hay bales, the federal government is assembling a supercomputer 10 years in the making, one of the fastest computers ever built and the largest ever devoted to the study of atmospheric science.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research’s supercomputer will have 100 racks of servers and 72,000 core processors, so many parts that they must be delivered in the back of a 747. It will be capable of performing 1.5 quadrillion calculations — a quadrillion is a 1 followed by 15 zeros — every second.

The study of climate and weather patterns has always been hamstrung by volatility — by elements of chaos in the seas and the air. That challenge is most famously summed up by the “butterfly effect,” the idea that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings on the coast of Africa can determine whether a hurricane will strike New Orleans.

Rather than warning of a tornado risk in the central U.S. between noon and 9 p.m., scientists might one day warn of a tornado risk in Woodson County, Kan., between 1 and 3 p.m. Rather than warning of a hurricane striking the coast of Texas, they hope to be able to warn of a hurricane striking the town of Freeport, with a top wind speed of 90 mph and a tidal surge of 4 1/2 feet.

That regional accuracy is particularly critical in the study of climate change. “The disaster of climate change happens on a regional scale,” Loft said. “Everything is connected.”

For example, once scientists use Yellowstone to help predict the melting of ice at the North Pole, which means significant change in nearby waters, they can better predict the patterns of storms that form in the Gulf of Alaska. Then Yellowstone can help predict how those storms will deposit snow atop the Sierra Nevada, down to precise changes in elevation on individual faces of mountains.

That snow will melt, and the water will run downhill — which means Yellowstone can help predict how much water California will have to drink, even the most efficient locations to build the state’s reservoirs.

Yes, predicting the weather is important, because it will allow us to react sooner and better. But, I argue that predicting the economy is even more important. As Mark Twain famously said, “Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” While we must react to weather, we have the every day power to bend the economy to our will. We can do something about our economy.

We’re a long way from preventing or turning off a hurricane, but we already know how to prevent and turn off a recession — if given the correlated data.

The computer will be housed in a futuristic, $70-million compound west of Cheyenne. The National Science Foundation, which funds NCAR, is paying $50 million of the tab.

An investment of only $70 million dollars — that’s less than a rounding error in the federal budget — to get a machine that will help us predict and change the world’s economies. Is it worth just $70 million to be able to predict and prevent the every-five-year economic crises that beset us? How many billions has the recession cost us — a recession that could have been prevented — if the data were assembled and correlated? How many ruined lives? Is a paltry $75 million a worthwhile investment to help prevent all that misery?

Yellowstone will replace NCAR’s Bluefire system, a supercomputer in its own right, though this one will have roughly 30 times the throughput of the old system.

Hey, if you don’t want it, we’ll take it.

Yellowstone will hold 600 sets of atmospheric data in its vast memory bank — temperatures, humidity, wind motion, rainfall. Information gleaned from the world’s data-collection systems — buoys in the ocean, wind monitors fastened to the top of telephone poles — will be added to the archive.

How about an economics computer that will correlate such world data as debts, imports/exports, salaries, savings, agriculture, manufacturing, exchange rates, population shifts, inflation, wars, technology changes and yes, world weather. Today’s economists are able to focus on only a handful of data at any one time. In essence, we try to predict the weather in Florida based on last year’s rain in France.

(The machine will be open) to researchers from across the nation, probably in August. Scientists will make proposals to book an “allocation” on the computer, similar to using minutes on a cellphone plan. Most will access the computer remotely.

Some hope to predict migration patterns of animals, others the success and failure of certain farm crops, others specific hillsides that would be the most efficient spots for wind turbines.

Think of how valuable this would be for economics.

NCAR scientist Michael Wiltberger studies solar flares, superheated gas that emanates from the sun, with the potential to be enormously disruptive on Earth.

“Right now, we don’t know why a particular configuration of the magnetic field of the sun is going to erupt,” Wiltberger said. “We need to know — and now we can run millions times more models to provide meaningful predictions.”

Armed with better predictions of what will happen when solar flares reach Earth — and where, precisely, they will occur — scientists could warn energy companies to protect against power surges. Global positioning systems could be disrupted, so farmers that use GPS to map crops could be warned to suspend planting operations.

Hey, some of this is economics stuff. And, is it more important to predict solar flares or the next depression?

NCAR senior scientist Morris Weisman specializes in a tricky corner of science: severe, high-impact weather events, which are by definition so rare that they are difficult to predict. “Scientifically non-satisfying” is how Weisman puts it — but with such a leap in computer modeling, he said, scientists could theoretically predict an extreme weather event “within an hour, within a few kilometers.”

Or the date and cause of a war. Or the economic implications of planting more wheat and less corn. Or the effect of opening the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Or the world-wide effect of building one water desalinization plant.

Loft marveled that such a dizzying array of experiments will be done using time-tested and sometimes rudimentary math — 19th century laws of thermal dynamics, rules of mechanics devised by Isaac Newton after an apple supposedly bonked him on the head and got him thinking about gravity. Yellowstone will use the same, just a whole lot of it at once.

We have the math. All we need is the machine.

The scientists behind Yellowstone shrug at a bitter reality: cutting edge doesn’t last long in their world. The Wyoming facility was built with enough space to accommodate the next generation of computer, which is already being contemplated, before this one is put together. “We won’t be cool for long,” Loft said. “This business is ephemeral. There’s not much room for nostalgia.”

Here is the The National Center for Atmospheric Research, having received a $70 million computer from the government, already now is planning for its replacement. Are we to believe that meteorological research is important, but economic research is not? Are we to believe there would be no value in being able to predict the next recession or depression, so we could forestall it?

I can make the case that, considering its affect on human lives, economics is the most important science of all. So where are the super computers?

We want that next machine. We need that next machine. The American people need us to have that next machine. My question is: Who in the world of economics, is asking for that next machine?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia. Two key equations in economics:
Federal Deficits – Net Imports = Net Private Savings
Gross Domestic Product = Federal Spending + Private Investment and Consumption + Net exports


7 thoughts on “–Which is more important to our lives: Meteorology or economics?

  1. The first idea to change is that economics is a science. It is not. It is the theory of a technology to distribute product with effects on the productive system.

    Economics does not describe how things are. It describes how humans make them.

    If one gets this idea going one has the way to get something better than a supercomputer; one would have all the computers recording economic transactions potentially cooperating to maintain adequate distributions of money in the system.


  2. My first time. I appreciate the vision. You remind me of an other Post- Fictional Reserve Barking. The commitment to the public good is just as exceptional


  3. The elites running this world from the shadows do not want us to have such useful tools. Those tools might expose their lies and put an end to their living like gods.


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