Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Your simplistic solution will not work - Barack Hussein Obama

Some of us learned this in the 1960s and 1970s.  One of my favorite papers is:

Jay W. Forrester, "Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems", 
Technology Review, Vol. 73, No. 3, Jan. 1971, pp. 52-68.

It's first two paragraphs are:

"This paper addresses several issues of broad concern in the United States: population trends; the quality of urban life; national policy for urban growth; and the unexpected, ineffective, or detrimental results often generated by government programs in these areas.

"The nation exhibits a growing sense of futility as it repeatedly attacks deficiencies in our social system while the symptoms continue to worsen. Legislation is debated and passed with great promise and hope. But many programs prove to be ineffective. Results often seem unrelated to those expected when the programs were planned. At times programs cause exactly the reverse of desired results."

The lessons which should be learned from this include:

  1. The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions
  2. Donald J. Trump's proposals should be subjected to simulation by currently available decision support tools.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Retrenchment 1969 - 1971

Several things happened simultaneously during the time identified here as the "retrenchment" period. 

First, large aerospace cutbacks occurred, creating unemployment problems for some segments of the engineering profession. Thousands of engineers and scientists, including many Ph.D.s, lost their jobs. Many of them remained unemployed for long periods of time.  Newspapers ran articles about unemployed engineers and scientists working as welders, rug salesmen, TV repair-men, bartenders, handymen, and operators of hot dog stands.  Second, newly graduated Ph.D.s in physics, chemistry, and mathematics began having difficulty getting jobs of their choice. Also, there were more new elementary and secondary school teachers than were needed, and many could not find jobs.  Third, the 1970 census showed that the number of young people in the college-age group was going to peak in the early 1980s and would decline thereafter, casting a pall on the prospects of those who were looking forward to university teaching careers.  Fourth, the U.S. economy entered a period of economic recession, with the result that employers cut back on expenditures and postponed hiring new people. All of these events received a high level of media exposure, which produced an exaggerated and misleading picture of the employment picture for engineers.  The cumulative effects of these events on engineering education were drastic. Undergraduate enrollments plummeted but then recovered as it became apparent that the adverse publicity had been substantially misleading.

Other developments of the period were the termination of science development programs by the National Science Foundation (NSF), virtual cessation of training grants, and the emergence of an increasingly restrictive climate toward the funding of university research. The NSF published a report in 1969 stating that an oversupply of science and engineering doctorates by 1980 appeared unlikely; two years later NSF produced another report reversing its earlier opinion, this time projecting that Ph.D. production by 1980 would result in an oversupply of 40 percent for engineers. The 1971 NSF projection along with the 1966 Goals Study projection both sets of projections far overshot the mark.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dear Progressive from Chicago

You mentioned that you taught music in Chicago for several years.  I thought if God couldn't teach the foolishness of Progressive ways in Chicago I had no hope in SW MO.

Several things have caused me to rethink my World View.  I think it is most concisely stated as “The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

I consider the justification for this worldview to follow naturally from two scientific/technical papers.

 The first is an article which appeared in the December 13, 1968, issue of Science Magazine by Garrett Hardin.  This article was a part of a movement creating Earth Day and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The second is an article which appeared in MIT’s Technology Review “The Counter-intuitive Behavior of Social Systems” by Jay W. Forrester the founder of Systems Dynamics at MIT.

The first paper is known to everybody.  I was shocked to learn the limited availability of the second.  I saw it in MIT’s Technology Review.  The citation for the article is

Jay W. Forrester, "Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems", 
Technology Review, Vol. 73, No. 3, Jan. 1971, pp. 52-68.

Professor Forrester had a long and distinguished career at MIT.  In 1956, Forrester moved to the MIT Sloan School of Management where he is currently Germeshausen Professor Emeritus and Senior Lecturer. In 1961, he wrote about the expanding effects down the supply chains due to fluctuations in demand, thenceforth known as the "Forrester effect" or Bull whip effect.   In 1982, he received the IEEE Computer Pioneer Award.  In 1995, he was made a Fellow of the Computer History Museum for his perfecting of core memory technology into a practical computer memory device; for fundamental contributions to early computer systems design and development. In 2006, he was inducted into the Operational Research Hall of Fame.
Forrester is the founder of system dynamics which deals with the simulation of interactions between objects in dynamic systems. Industrial Dynamics was the first book Forrester wrote using system dynamics to analyze industrial business cycles. Several years later, interactions with former Boston Mayor John F. Collins led Forrester to write Urban Dynamics, which sparked an ongoing debate on the feasibility of modeling broader social problems.
The urban dynamics model attracted the attention of urban planners around the world, eventually leading Forrester to meet a founder of the Club of Rome. He later met with the Club of Rome to discuss issues surrounding global sustainability; the book World Dynamics followed. World  Dynamics took on modeling the complex interactions of the world economy, population and ecology, which understandably met with much misunderstanding (see also Donella Meadows  and Limits to Growth).
 Forrester has written several books, articles and papers. Books, a selection:
·         1961. Industrial dynamics. Waltham, MA: Pegasus Communications.
·         1968. Principles of Systems, 2nd ed. Pegasus Communications.
·         1969. Urban Dynamics. Pegasus Communications.
·         1971. World Dynamics. Wright-Allen Press.
·         1975. Collected Papers of Jay W. Forrester. Pegasus Communications.
Articles and papers, a selection:
·         1958. "Industrial Dynamics--A Major Breakthrough for Decision Makers.", in: Harvard Business Review, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 37–66.
·         1968, Market Growth as Influenced by Capital Investment.
·         1971, Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems. Also available online.
·         1991, The Beginning of System Dynamics.
·         1996, System Dynamics and K–12 Teachers.
·         1998, Designing the Future.

A fellow graduate student at Wisconsin, Gerald O. Barney, went on to work for the Center for Naval Analyses and took a sabbatical at MIT.  The good Chinese leader learned about the methodology. Democratic Capitalists believe in Free Markets.
Both groups know of the counter-intuitive behavior of social systems