Apr 19, 2011

On the Problem of Sustainable Economic Development: A Game-Theoretical Solution

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biological, complex systems, cosmology, defense, economics, education, existential risks, finance, human trajectories, lifeboat, military, philosophy, sustainability

Perhaps the most important lesson, which I have learned from Mises, was a lesson located outside economics itself. What Mises taught us in his writings, in his lectures, in his seminars, and in perhaps everything he said, was that economics—yes, and I mean sound economics, Austrian economics—is primordially, crucially important. Economics is not an intellectual game. Economics is deadly serious. The very future of mankind —of civilization—depends, in Mises’ view, upon widespread understanding of, and respect for, the principles of economics.

This is a lesson, which is located almost entirely outside economics proper. But all Mises’ work depended ultimately upon this tenet. Almost invariably, a scientist is motivated by values not strictly part of the science itself. The lust for fame, for material rewards—even the pure love of truth—these goals may possibly be fulfilled by scientific success, but are themselves not identified by science as worthwhile goals. What drove Mises, what accounted for his passionate dedication, his ability to calmly ignore the sneers of, and the isolation imposed by academic contemporaries, was his conviction that the survival of mankind depends on the development and dissemination of Austrian economics…

Austrian economics is not simply a matter of intellectual problem solving, like a challenging crossword puzzle, but literally a matter of the life or death of the human race.

–Israel M. Kirzner, Society for the Development of Austrian Economics Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance Speech, 2006

Dear Lifeboat Foundation family & friends,

This 243-page thesis and this 16-page executive summary deliver a tenable, game-theoretical solution to this complex global dilemma:

Our narrative tables evolutionarily stable strategy for the problem of sustainable economic development on earth and other earth-like planets. In order to accomplish the task at hand with so few words, we hit the ground running with an exploration of Bertrand Russell’s conjecture that economic power is a derivative function of military power. Next we contextualize the formidable obstacle presented of teleological thinking. Third, we introduce Truly Non-cooperative Games – axioms and complimentary negotiation models developed to analyze a myriad of politico-economic problems, including the problem of sustainable economic development. Here we present The Principle of Relative Insularity, a unified theory of value which unites economics, astrophysics, and biology. Finally, we offer a synthetic narrative in which we explore several crucial logical implications that follow from our findings.

Those interested in background details and/or a deeper exploration of the logical implications that follow from this theoretical development may wish to pursue a few pages of an comprehensive, creative, and thoroughly exhaustive letter of introduction to this abridged synthesis: The Principles of Economics & Evolution: A Survival Guide for the Inhabitants of Small Islands, Including the Inhabitants of the Small Island of Earth.

Those interested in considering how this game-theoretical solution informs “evolutionarily stable” investment strategy may also wish to take in a brief overview of my PhD research: On the Problem of Modern Portfolio Theory: In Search of a Timeless & Universal Investment Perspective.

Please feel free to post all thoughts, comments, criticisms, and suggestions.

Thanks for reading!


Matt Funk, FLS, BSc, MA, MFA, PhD Candidate, University of Malta, Department of Banking & Finance

PS: The author would like to thank the Lifeboat Foundation, Linnean Society of London, Property and Environment Research Center, Society for Range Management, Professors Kurial, Nagarajan, Baldacchino, Fielding, Falzon (University of Malta), Lockwood (University of Wyoming), MacKinnon (Memorial University), Sloan (Lancaster University), McKenna (Notre Dame), Schlicht (Ludwig-Maximilians- Universität München) and his dedicated team at MPRA, author & astronomer Jeff Kanipe, Dr Willard S. Boyle, Dr John Harris, fellow students, family, and friends for their priceless guidance, support, and encouragement. He also sends out a very special thanks to Professors Frey (Universität Zürich), Selten (Universität Bonn), and Nash (Princeton University) for their originality, independence, and inspiration.

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