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Postmodern Village
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On the Elimination of an Important Economic Weak Point
By Blank RandFyne

The great weakness in the application of free market theory has always been the human element. Not merely prone to such perversions as trade unionism, socialism, fatigue, wage and benefit expectations, and “feelings” (a chimera if ever there lurked such a thing on this earth), the human element also sometimes, and increasingly these days, fails to act in its own rational self-interest, putting such clearly irrational interests as the non-economic entities of the environment, families, and “society” first. Worse still, the human element, in random and unpredictable ways, fails to fulfill its primary role as consumer, occasionally using unacceptable excuses such as “economic uncertainty,” “lack of confidence,” and “bankruptcy” in order to avoid purchasing the goods and services necessary to keep the capital markets healthy and alive.

What is to be done? This writer, and the rationality of the market itself, suggest the transfer of current economic activity from the imperfect, irrational human element to a situation in which idealized market principles can be programmatically attained. Versions of this model already exist in the myriad banks of computers that investment entities (recent Supreme Court precedent suggests this term should be replaced by “people”) increasingly employ to automatically buy and sell stocks in order to take advantage of micro-fluctuations in market price. This process not only eliminates the eccentric and unreliable human element, but it also substantially increases speed and efficiency, two aspects of market theory that are currently limited by the sluggish way in which the human element is able to react to the market and thereby act in its own rational self-interest. The computer trading regime also eliminates those pesky human qualities that take that element temporarily out of the trading scene in order to inefficiently rest and sleep, eat, travel and converse.

This proposal would take such schemes one step further. Not only should all trading activities be uploaded to computers, but automated processes should replace the human element in all aspects of economic activity. Imagine the gains in efficiency if the processes of creating and operating businesses; the manufacture of goods and the delivery of services; both the speculation in and the brining-to-market-of commodities; shipping; advertising (although this will scarcely be necessary but for the electronic distribution of notice of the existence of a stock, service or good, further enhancing efficiency); and, ultimately, the purchase and consumption of goods and services and the disposal of waste, could all be automated and programmed to run in perfect compliance, finally, with ideal market principles.

This scheme would have the further advantage of avoiding the uncertainty that currently plagues economic activity. The actions and reactions of the mechanized market would be inherently predictable: indeed, one could envision another set of meta-trading computers, the sole purpose of which would be to run algorithms that predict the behavior of the mechanized market, assuring the profitability of meta-futures for the elite investor.

Last, this system would entirely eliminate the waste and folly of fashion and trend that so perniciously pervade the realms of management; the clothing industry; entertainment; automobile manufacture; and, increasingly, the electronics business itself. The human element is, after all, essentially fickle, and billions are wasted every fiscal year in retooling manufacturing, repositioning brand presence, and creating materials that promote the latest management trends and consumer “choices” and “desires.” All of this would be mercifully written off in this new model, and all activities would be reduced to serving the most pure of economic elements, the bottom line.

One might object that the computer-driven trading that has already come online has occasionally caused massive and unpredictable market fluctuations, but this notion is based on misinformation; it was the imperfect human reactions to the computers’ perfect actions that caused these so-called “glitches.” The human element was merely incapable of understanding what a perfect market looks like in action.

One could also argue that eliminating the human element might keep certain stakeholders from receiving the fiscal benefits of the free market. But, this writer contends, those stakeholders, namely “wage earners,” were merely artifacts of impure market activity, impurities, so to speak, causing a drag on the profit potential for investors, the true and literal market stakeholders. And we have seen, as the application of market theory has been refined over the last three decades, that this pesky problem has increasingly been factored out of the economic equation. This proposal merely completes that trendline.

The move toward a mechanized market is not merely desirable. If the current impoverishment and fettering of the investment class, the current trials the stockholder has suffered through, the historical war against the only class that matters when it comes to fiduciary glory are to be overcome, complete elimination of the human element is the only rationally self-interested way.