Curmudgeons, Evolutionary Economics, Dixieland Jazz & Beer Drinking


Curmudgeonjohn p birchall ... student, saxophonist ... general whippersnapper &  twerp ...

... and intrepid beer drinker

We guessed most folk would simply call us a curmudgeon  (an ill tempered fellow, full of resentment and stubborn notions) ... but in truth we'd always worked hard at our fun ... perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer would call us 'a squeaking pip'?

Our self would hope to be perpetually enthusiastically optimistic & intensely loyal - to search for empirical evidence in Scunthorpe & the Antipodes - to copy & vary as the girls select - to refuse to sprinkle the desert with a teaspoon - to have no truck with Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats - to chase economic productivity from synergies of specialisation & scale - to indulge in the deep cultural behaviour of Anglo Saxon Joe Six Pack & socialise with family, friends, music & beer!

Never capricious & never mendacious ... it was all natural selection.

Here are some of the snippets we've over heard along the way ... some grist for our mill -

- the way the cookie crumbled -

life's a sod, then you die - one messy thriving interconnected whole shebang & caboodle - mysterious gardens of forking paths - oppressive Bishops, tyrannical Princes, dictatorial Generals & corrupt Bureaucrats have no privileged access to know how - the croc of gold wasn't at the end of the rainbow, it was underneath the soap pans in Apapa - tested against the rigours of reality - a speck of dust at the other end of the universe matters - a tiny little person on a planet in a universe expanding & immense

copy, vary, select differential survival of inherited variants
education & compound interest complexity, change, conflict & scarcity
chase profits & cut losses go with the flow 
bankruptcy is slow then fast weeding out failures
he would say that, wouldn't he  turkeys don't vote for Christmas
it is geese that lay golden eggs not turkeys hard work, honesty & thrift
tort, trade & technology short necked giraffes died out 
if you don't the Chinese will follow the evidence
brilliant intelligence produces brilliant ideas
we are ignorant of what it is we do not know
last time I checked it was a tad more complicated than that  think about it
tax, spend & print triple whammies
lethal debt the elephant in the room  the girls take all the decisions

- stick to the knitting -

hard work, honesty & thrift - the harder I practice the luckier I get - vote with your feet & join a club of your choice -  the glass is half full not half empty - why furrowed brows & doom & gloom - take your choice - open for business - get your shovel out of our store - ostracism confronts bad behaviour - power corrupts - imposition impoverishes, alienates & antagonises - wake up & smell the coffee - look into the telescope - hello - think the unthinkable - play the ball not the man, he's not here to defend himself - play the hand you're dealt - when you're in a hole, stop digging - analysis paralysis - more equals less - myth, magic & mirrors - folly & fallacy - prancers & soothsayers at a rain dance - I'm from the council, I'm here to help - don't vote it will only encourage them - don't trust politicos with the keys to the NHS & the schools, change the locks - who has skin in the game   

Curmudgeon- 2+2=5 -

cooperative synergies of specialisation & scale  - torts, trade & technology -

- opportunity costs - "guns or butter"

- moral hazard - "if its free put me down for two please" - "state sponsored moral decay"

- adverse selection - "would you buy a second hand car from this man"

- supply & demand - "gluts & queues"

- comparative advantage - "pin factories and what's your trade"   

- total factor productivity - "know how"

- due diligence & caveat emptor - "there's no free lunch"  -  "as soon as there are stocks there are thieves,  parasites & predators"

- Liberal Democracy - "free to choose, without harm to others, caveat 30 " 

51% screw 49%, winners take all - vote with your feet & join a club of your choice - there are two sides to every deal - keep it simple, stupid - it's a bubble - pump priming re-inflates the bubble - who pays? - what tickles your fancy - it's in the post - who decides when the Doctors disagree? - who guards the guardians? - profit is not a cost, who pays the bills? - bankruptcy is creative destruction - if the left's not right, the right has nothing left - join a different club - try the Co-op - English empirical science not Descartes before de horse    

Jazz - make the sky open up - G7 to C -

no one said it was easy - practice, practice, practice - practice makes perfect mistakes - if it don't sound right, it ain't right - they all go the same old way - I told him what to do but he said he wanted to discuss it

Lists - we loved lists - liberal democracy, constitutional monarchy, checks & balances, separation of powers, term limits, bill of rights, English language, Common Law, empirical science, agricultural & industrial revolutions, Adam Smith, James Watt, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Francis Drake, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, the classical Whigs & William Wilberforce, James Bond, Harry Potter, Humphrey Lyttelton, The Beatles, Princess Diana, Oxbridge, LSE, The Royal Institution, The Goshawk ... MCC, FA, Henley, Epsom, Old Trafford, Twickenham, Wimbledon, St Andrews ... 

... every one a jewel we felt we got to know & cherish ...   

Grist for the Wager -

jpb 2000 -

Evolutionary Economics explains the unleashing of the process of technological & institutional innovation involving the generating & testing of a diversity of ideas which discover & accumulate more survival value for the costs incurred than competing alternatives.
The evidence suggests that it could be adaptive efficiency that defines economic efficiency.

Baldwin -

'A pre-existing inherited variant with a survival advantage in the local environment always increases in population frequency in the gene pool as alternative variants die out. Thus the environment changes feeding back and influences the survival chances of any new variants' 

Winston Churchill on Liberal Democracy -

'not the best system just better than the alternatives'

Benjamin Franklin was a beer drinker -

'a man forced against his will
is of the same opinion still'

Jonathan Sumption was a Medieval Historian -

'In a society so riven that the spirit of cooperation has gone, no Court can save,
in a society where that spirit flourishes, no Court need save'

 Complex Adaptive Systems -

complex ... no easy way

change ... no luck  

conflict ... no blaming others 

scarcity ... no free lunch   


'The Blind Watchmaker' - 'it's all a woven web of guesses' - 'we are ignorant of what it is we don't know even though we know more than we can ever say' - 'natural selection is the only game in town' - 'long necked giraffes result from the death of the short necked variety' - 'good behaviour, bad behaviour, it's an arms race, but synergies of specialisation & scale load the dice' - 'business customers vote with their feet, reducing costs of gluts & queues when paying their bills' - '51% screw 49%, result crowd trouble' - 'Mob Rule & Emasculation of the Wise' - 'who guards the Guardians' - 'I told them what to do but they said they wanted to discuss it' - 'The Fatal Conceit' - 'Free to Choose without harm to others' - 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds' - 'we only see survivors, including parasites & predators' - 'everything affects everything else; there's no place to hide' - 'analysis paralysis; more equals less' -  'look for the big picture; the helicopter view' - 'I'm all right Jack, - 'nudge & fudge' - 'consider the lilies' - 'it worked last time' - 'overflowing well of invention or bottomless pit of expense' - 'analysis paralysis' - 'land of milk & honey' - 'house of horrors' - 'the ball game has changed' - 'play it again Sam' - 'any fool can obey orders' - 'put another nickel in' - 'once upon a time' - 'if only it were that simple' - 'even my 6 year old knows that' - 'or would you rather be a --' - 'something for nothing' - 'twists & shouts' - 'never has so much been owed' - 'they laughed when he sat down to play' - 'better use a pin' - 'everybody's a consumer' - 'in the absence of action; reorganise' - 'society? you & me disagreeing!' -  'hard work (blood sweat & tears), honesty (good behaviour) & thrift (investment)' -  'cooperation 2+2=5 not compromise 2-2=0' - 'mind your own business' - 'get on with the job' - 'vote with your feet and join a club of your choice' - 'caveat emptor, due diligence' - 'you can't pass the buck to others' - 'others maybe up to no good; tying your shoelaces together' - 'use your imagination and try' - 'education & compound interest' - 'chase profits, cut losses' - 'run with exciting opportunities' - 'by pass fearful problems'

Interesting words -

adaptation, anthropomorphism, immanence & transcendence, visceral diversity, satisficing, conscience & conscious, cooperation & compromise,

Profound difficulties -

2nd Law of Thermodynamics, anthropic principle, emergent novelty, natural selection, moral sentiments, supply & demand, comparative advantage, total factor productivity, special & general relativity, blockchains, general artificial intelligence ... 

Historical Evidence -

Pecking Orders >>>> Violence?

Constitutional Monarchy >>>> Seamless Succession?

Whigish Evolution >>>> Panglossian Revolution? 

English Language, Common Law Custom & Practice >>>> Civil Law Imposition?

Trade Synergies of Specialisation & Scale & positive sum 2+2=5 >>>> State Mercantilism & zero sum 2-2=0? 

Liberal Democracy & UDHR >>>> Bishops, Princes, Generals, Bureaucrats?

Empirical Science & Industrial Revolution >>>> Myth, Magic & Mirrors?

Commonwealth >>>> Empire?

World Wars & Defence >>>> Territory & Aggression?

Globalisation >>>> Iron Curtains?

Structural Reforms & Emerging Markets >>>> Socialism, Equality & Inflation?

Intellectual Property emergent 'know how' diverse, dispersed, incomplete, tacit & DNA >>>> User Manuals & Specifications?

Complex Adaptive Systems = Thermodynamics - Emergence Non-Linear Feedback - Computer Simulation - Molecular Biology - Neuroscience - Evolutionary Psychology - Economic Anthropology - Game Theory - Biological History. Effects are causes!

And we loved wikipedia !

In 2000 after our struggles & studies at the Open University we found some words which helped to define our inclinations for 'Evolutionary Economics' -

'Evolutionary Economics analyses the unleashing of a process of technological & institutional innovation by generating & testing a diversity of ideas which discover & accumulate more survival value for the costs incurred than competing alternatives.
The evidence suggests that it could be adaptive efficiency that defines economic efficiency'.

And we loved Beer Drinking - an autobiography of beer drinking


back to john p birchall