Friday, 21 November 2014

Nehru's legacy

George Harrison wasn't particularly good at playing the sitar but it was great that he did because he was, after all, George Harrison, and sitars sound shite no matter who plays them which is why God invented bongs- not Ravi Shankar type bongs obviously though maybe George Harrison didn't know that.
Something similar can be said about Nehru's legacy. He was a shit P.M, but it was great he got to be P.M coz he looked and sounded like Alaistair Sim and being Head Mistress of St. Trinians is, obviously, pretty much the same job as being Prime Minister of India.
Pandit Nehru presiding over the Cabinet.
Alastair Sim contemplating his legacy- corrupt Congress kleptocrats running amok.

D.G Saari dethroning Dictators & diminishing Dark Matter

 This is a Video where D.G Saari shows that assertions about 'missing' dark matter arise from bad maths. He tells us that his paper, though accepted as mathematically correct, was nevertheless rejected by a peer reviewed journal because the referee was professionally invested in MACHOs! However, one implication of his work is that the Universe might be infinite.

Saari ought to be a thorn in the side of lazy Social Choice type theorists who rely on bad maths to throw away information and conjure meaningless impossibility results out of thin air. In particular, Saari showed that Arrow's result arises by forbidding using information arising from the assumption of transitivity of agent preferences as a global constraint.

This paper of his shows the following-
Economic models as well as aggregation and decision problems with “holes” in the domain can be difficult to analyze because, unexpectedly, they are related to Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem: embedded within the model may be “topological dictators.” But, just as it is possible to remove the negative impact of Arrow’s dictator by recognizing that the problem is caused by not using crucial, available information (about voter preferences), the obstacles confronting these economic decision problems can be removed by identifying what kind of available information is not being used.

The problem here is that using information available from the assumption of transitivity of preferences means that the set of Choices can become infinite.

This is Arrow on the genesis of his General Possibility theorem-

Suppose only three equally qualified and capable people exist. A teaches Econ at a State School and earns 20,000. B, who has identical preferences to A, teaches Econ at a Private School and earns 18,000. A and B agree that B is worse off. C teaches at a worse Private School than B and earns 10,000. But, he is a snob. He thinks he is better off than A because he doesn't have to deal with proletarian scum. Arrow would say this puts paid to Hick's desire for 'interpersonal comparisons' based on purely ordinal considerations.
However, it seems there is some information available, from the assumption that agents are rational and have transitive preferences, which appears to be unused.
Consider the following. We decide to try to capture C's 'psychic benefit' by speaking of it as his Preference to have his own Preferences rather than someone else's. In this case, we know it is at least 10,000. Similarly A benefits by at least 10,000 by having his own preferences rather than being cursed with C's snobbish attitude.
Suppose B decides to have a meta-preference to be a snob like C. Then, suddenly, he is better off than A by at least 10,000.
A could turn the tables on B by explicitly embracing egalitarianism. He could say, 'the fact that I don't mind working in a State School is so valuable to me that it is worth twice whatever psychic gain B gets by his new meta-preference.'
Agent rationality, or preference transitivity, if considered as a global constraint, plausibly involves impredicativity of this type. But this means Saari's 'Intensity of Binary Independence' Decision rule can't gain purchase because the number of alternatives has become infinite.
But, maybe, that was always in the Math.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Felix culpa

Since a Prayer for Bread breeds but Adultery's shower of stones
& Pilgrimage, like a vulture, feeds on Heaven's shattered bones
My succour I seek in Sin's Sericulture- that more spreading Estate
Not of God's Servant, but the Beggar at His Gate.

Friday, 14 November 2014


Finding, on Ebay, today, a match for a much missed gravy boat
I  phoned her at the Home, alas!, for the Old now so far
From an Ithaca of xenial Turkey & thimblefuls of Port
She asked- 'have they Christmas where you are?'

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

2 quatrains from Ghalib's 164

Notoriously, eyes devil, notarising deals in pupillage to such imps
The heart is the sole bidder on what, heartless, it yet pimps
& for veiled by but worship are yearning's futile arrows
 See, Abraha's elephants scattered again by sparrows

As before, at its own ease, an eternal heart is ill
Having no wound to tease more mortal till
Nails itch to pluck out like a tick
Bach's vernal pump of the tulip's ilk

Sardar! Selflessness, to Synteresis, is never naked because
Like V.P, Hypokiemenon too deserves applause.

1) The relevant couplets, extracted in reverse order out of Ghalib's ghazal, which underlie the translation given above are-
chashm dallāl-e jins-e rusvāʾī
dil ḳharīdār-e żauq-e ḳhvārī hai
qiblah-e maqṣad-e nigāh-e niyāz
phir vuhī pardah-e ʿamārī hai

phir kuchh ik dil ko beqarārī hai
sīnah jūyā-e zaḳhm-e kārī hai
phir jigar khodne lagā nāḳhun
āmad-e faṣl-e lālah-kārī hai

be-ḳhvudī be-sabab nahīñ ġhālib
kuchh to hai jis kī pardah-dārī hai
See Prof. Frances Pritchett's divine 'desertful of roses' website for Urdu text and expert commentary.

2) TULIP is an acronym for the following doctrines: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints.
J.S Bach, 'the fifth Evangelist', gives us, in his 1725 Spring cantatas, an auditory homology of pre-Lutheran synteresis (or Luther's own notion of it as not intrinsic but an adornment), thus re-establishing Music's ongoing descent from David as a fractal tropological prefiguring of its own otherwise teratological performance of John 21-25,  such that, of those unwritten volumes too vast for the Universe, we too can affirm what Neitzche said of the St. Matthew's Passion- '"One who has completely forgotten Christianity truly hears it here as gospel."

3) Abraha, a Christian Ethiopian, came to conquer the Ka'aba, during the time of idolatry, with an army of elephants. This invasion was repelled by little birds which flung clods of earth from their beaks.

4) V.P Menon was a humbly born bureaucrat who laid the ground-work for the great Sardar Vallabhai Patel's successful integration of the Princely States into the Indian Union.

Inscription on a Sogdian Wine cup

'Drink! for who discerns not damage shall never know Wealth!'
Writ on a wine cup's lip to toast some dead King's health
And though my own ruins I grave-robbed long ago
I yet feel richer for knowing it was so.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Alan Kirman & the Impossibility of a Paretian Illiberal

This has been edited in the light of a comment.

It isn't possible to believe Pareto improvements- i.e situations where a guy can report being made better off without anyone else reporting being made worse off- are desirable without also believing all agents are sovereign over at least one choice affecting themselves- i.e. a Paretian Illiberal, of the Amartya Sen type, is impossible. Assuming unrestricted domain, this becomes trivially true by introducing a notion of doxastic self-ownership- for e.g. by valorising the preference to have one's own preferences.

Suppose a Paretian Liberal is impossible- in other words, Amartya Sen isn't a shithead- then it would be the case that a particular sort of rational being would
1) not prefer to have his own preferences and, worse still,
2) voluntarily subscribe to his own logical impossibility.
However, to do so isn't a Pareto improvement because the said Liberal could always chose to believe Sen is a shithead and thus be rescued from the fate of being logically impossible in a manner that makes no one else worse off- provided Sen is either himself a Paretian Liberal (in which case he either disproves his own existence or, and this result holds even if he isn't a Paretian Liberal, that he has hit upon an Acceptation for 'Paretian Liberal' which is wholly meaningless and thus he is talking shit and has shit for brains- which is why he is a shit-head) or else has a meta-preference not to be a shithead (in which case he can mend his ways) or else is too fucking stupid to ever grasp that he's a total shithead, in which case his feelings in this regard can't be hurt.

Truly unrestricted domain with 'nosey preferences' (i.e. which feature impredicativity) means we have an uncountable infinity of pair-wise choices which can't be well founded and so Sen's proof fails immediately. But this is scarcely a surprise. Impredicativity will do that to you.
Suppose I have a choice to either eat or not eat this biscuit. Permit me to have  meta-preferences- i.e. introduce impredicativity. I now can prefer to eat but prefer to prefer not to eat this biscuit (i.e. prefer to have ascetic preferences) or prefer to prefer to prefer to eat this biscuit (i.e. prefer to depass my ascetic preferences by reason of its sublation by a more refined notion of atraraxia) and so on and so fort. What is the upshot? Unrestricted domain with impredicativity of the type Sen stupidly imports (being insensitive to Arrow's Tarskian training) gives us something immediately bigger by a Godelian argument than its own acceptation (i.e. Unrestricted Domain can't mean whatever it was supposed to, thus no modal fixed points are available) and so, by Ackermann's Reflection principle, everything just got apophatic and nothing is well founded. But this isn't some wonderful new insight. It is simply childish.

A more serious reason to spurn Sen-tentious shitheadedness arises out of the manner in which 'Just So' representative individual type theories are wholly misleading.
Alan Kirman, explaining why mainstream Econ has fucked up so badly in recent years, explodes 'representative agent' models and asks us to shift our attention to Organisation, as opposed to Efficiency, as central to Social Science.
Kirman- a good guy who was once a Geography teacher- explains what is salient for Significs is that Impredicativity or Reflexivity does arise in Econ- which is why we can meaningfully speak of a Paretian Liberal- but this notion is only captured by interactions of an Organizational, i.e. second order, not Transactional, type. As a matter of fact, not theory, the Paretian Liberal does exist in all countries with the Rule of Law. Sen may say- boo to the Rule of Law, boo to Organization, boo to 'Niti'- but he can't deny that Paretian Liberalism is a better description of what obtains in Rule of Law, Democracies than his own Entitlement theory or Capabilities approach. The fact is, 'territoriality' or the 'bourgeois strategy in the hawk dove game' is evolutionarily stable and eusocial (vide Zahavi on the handicap principle) which is why it is the basis of Paretian Liberalism. True, this is not indefeasibly so but defeasibility is a good thing because, if Darwin not Dueteronomy is right, the future must always be, at least retrospectively as Popper and Dunnent and Huw Price have, albeit inadvertently, argued, not just unknown but radically unknowable. That last being, as Collingwood posthumously proves to his ageing Oakshotteian self, a distinction without a difference.