September 1, 2006
It's gratifying to discover scientific validation for long-held pet theories. Example: A physicist at the University of Maryland, Victor Yakovenko, is publishing studies proving that mega-trends in economics can be compared with micro-trends in the physical universe.
"Econophysicists" like Yakovenko believe that patterns of economic inequality "behave suspiciously like atoms," according to The New York Times Magazine. "In the United States, for example, beneath the 97th percentile (roughly $150,000), the dispersion of income fits a common distribution pattern known as 'exponential distribution.' Exponential distribution happens to be the distribution pattern of the energy of atoms in gases that are at thermal equilibrium. ...
"To an econophysicist, the exponential distribution of incomes is no coincidence: It suggests that the wealth of most Americans is itself in a kind of thermal equilibrium. To change it, 'you will have to fight entropy,' Yakovenko says. That people aren't mindless atoms and that governments try limited wealth redistribution doesn't really matter, he adds: 'Large, complex systems have their own statistical logic that trumps individual, and state, decisions.'"
posted by M. Masterson @ 10:00 AM,