Jun

14

 I am reading Life History Invariants by Eric Charnov and find it opens up many areas of thinking about markets that are illuminating. From the introduction: "Symmetry is a much more general concept meaning that some attributes of an object of interest remain unchanged under specified transformations. What attributes of life histories are unchanged under what transformation, why and and what can the invariants tell us about the life history?" He considers such things as sex ratios, birth and mortality rates, clutch size, population growth, age at maturity, number of mates, lifespans, resources used, growth rates, equilibriums. A very interesting read for those interested in sea urchins and markets.

Eric Charnov replies:

Evolutionary ecology, particularly the part called Behavioral Ecology, is really the application of economic methods [optimization and game theory] to how plants and animals live their lives. Darwinian fitness, especially when derived from an evolutionary dynamics [population genetics], is a very powerful method for getting Utility functions. I urge you to read such classics as the books by John Maynard Smith and George C. Williams: sex itself may well be a form of speculation [risk spreading]. Economists show little serious interest in 'this kind of economics', but it is big business in biology, with the classic publications cited a few thousand times each; sex ratio and habitat selection are the most successful uses of game theory to understand biological attributes. About 20 years ago I wrote an essay titled 'The Nature of Economics and the Economy of Nature' and failed to convince the Journal of Economic Literature to publish it. Glad you liked my book!


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3 Comments so far

  1. vic niederhoffer on June 15, 2009 5:16 pm

    We would be pleased to publish any excerpts from that article that Mr. Charnov alludes to and anything else he feels of relevance to markets and ecology. I am sending him a copy of Ed Spec where I apply many of the ecological concepts to speculation. vic

  2. Michael F. Martin on June 15, 2009 5:46 pm

    Nerdy fun in a similar vein: http://bit.ly/GHO2w

  3. douglas roberts dimick on June 17, 2009 7:39 pm

    Dear Eric, I complement you on your endeavor…

    “About 20 years ago I wrote an essay titled ‘The Nature of Economics and the Economy of Nature’ and failed to convince the Journal of Economic Literature to publish it. Glad you liked my book!”

    In October 2007, one year before “the crisis,” I first publicly introduced my Theory of Quantitative Relativity. There was one comment from reader response: “What a hoot! Please write more.” http://seekingalpha.com/article/48689-a-paradigm-shift-for-hedge-funds#comments_header

    Sometimes I think that I must be “just plain stupid or something” (see Forrest Gump). V’s citation of your work and your story inspires. dr

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