the economy as fractal?

Maybe not, but this piece by Benoit Mandelbrot, “father of the fractal,” marks an interesting challenge to economists:

Isn’t understanding the market as important to the economy as understanding solid-state physics is to IBM? If we can map the human genome, why can’t we map how a man loses his livelihood? If millions can contribute a few cycles of their PCs to the search for a signal from outer space, why can’t they join a coordinated search for patterns in financial markets?

It’s an interesting set of questions. Can the economy sustain itself? Or has it grown too far in the direction of the privileged few? Perhaps if Mandelbrot’s challenge is accepted, and they generate data about the economy, they will discover that it is beyond repair, without basically tossing it out and starting over. Fractal La Revolucion!

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