Steve's post on Chaos (from Tom)

Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters quilty at philos.umass.edu
Sun Nov 13 21:19:51 MST 1994


*} Thankyou for the clarifications re chaos, Lulu (I think I did note
*} Poincare's 1899 work in an earlier post). For another piece of
*} "fractal history" that establishes that it's more than molecular,
*} Mandlebrot--whose fame came when he started working in geometry,
*} showing chaotic patterns in algebraic sets (of which the Mandlebrot
*} plot is the most famous)--actually began as an economist analysing
*} financial time series. He couldn't get economists to listen to his
*} claim that financial time series (and hence underlying economic
*} processes) were chaotic, so he gave up on economists and switched
*} to maths--where he got a far more receptive audience.

Yes.  Mandelbrot's analysis of cotton prices over 250 years or
something is positively DELIGHTFUL.  He suggests that the
distribution of prices are both statistically self-similar across
time-scale, as are the first derivatives, while second-derivative is
generally undefinable (at a set of measure zero?) because of the
non-continuity of price.  Well actually, non-continuity means
there's not actually a first-derivative either, but I really just
mean "slope" with various deltas.  Right or wrong, Mandelbrot's
analysis just has such wonderful CHUUTZPAH!  Not sure what this
actually has to do with Marxism though, so perhaps I won't go on
with this after this post.

(I think, however, that Mandelbrot was actually already a math
professor when he made the forray into econ).

Yours, Lulu...

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