From: John Conover <john@email.johncon.com>

Subject: forwarded message from root@email.johncon.com

Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 02:33:26 -0800

Interesting "On This Day, Jan 9 ..." concerning "1st income tax imposed, in England. (1799)". Although income tax was a British invention, the concept of progressive income tax, (that you and I so dearly love,) was a purely American invention. Does it make sense? Well, that depends on who is telling the story. If you believe-and many do, but many don't-that such things as economic robustness in a society is fractal in nature, then income in a society should be distributed as a 1 / (n^2) function, (at least theoretically-the empirical evidence seems to support the hypothesis-you can verify this for the US at http://www.doc.gov/ for your own edification.) If that is the case, then pushing the top end of the spectrum down also pushes the bottom end of the spectrum down, (ie., if you plot the distribution on log-log paper, then Bill Gates occupies the number one position, the rest of us group, more or less, in increasing numbers down the graph, in a 1 / (n^2) fashion.) since the slope of the line, (ie., -0.5) can not be changed. So, if this is true-and many believe it, and many don't-then taxing the wealthy hurts the poor. A paradox? You will have to be your own judge ... (And, no, I am not presenting an argument in favor of flat tax. I try not to believe in anything. It gets me in trouble.) John BTW, the ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians were meticulous record keepers. It seems that the 1 / (n^2) business has been with us for most of the time we have done the civilization agenda. Interestingly, the, now defunct, Soviet system exhibited the same phenomena, as did National Socialist system in WWII Germany. So did the Maya in Central America, as did the Plains Indians in North America. So did the Anasazi in the American South West. So did the Ming Dynasty in China. In point of fact, there are no known exceptions in the ten thousand years of recorded history-at least to the numerical precision of the data we have. Kind of an interesting argument when a 1 / (n^2) is the hallmark signature of fractal things. And if wealth/resources/power aligns itself in a 1 / (n^2) arrangement, what are the implications? Well, theoretically at least, we would expect the probable duration of a society to be the reciprocal of the square root of time, or about 4 centuries, (if we measure such things in centuries.) We measure about 4.6, (depending on whose numbers we are using.) Compelling arguments? You will have to be our own judge. The numbers used above can be found at various places on the Internet, in ascii text files, and you can do your own analysis, (ie., run log-log plots.) Want a flight of fantasy? If such things really are fractal, we should be able to project, (famous last words,) what the growth of the stock market, (since, in some sense, it represents wealth,) by the probability constants in the economic expansion in this, the third century of our existence. That probability would be somewhat lower than the reciprocal of the square root of three, or about 0.577, (we measure 0.542.) In the last century, it should be somewhat lower than 0.707, (we measure about 0.65, or so, depending on whose data we are using.) An interesting, (fantasies are interesting,) hypothesis. BTW, the arguments here are logic. If, (and its a big if,) such things are fractal, then the measure of a society's wealth-perhaps via a GDP as an arbitrary ecological metric-must obey the square root and 1 / (n^2) business, if, and only if, the Shannon Probability is exactly random, or 0.5. If it was greater, then we would all be Mesopotamians. And we are not. If it was less, then civilization would not exist. But we do. Therefore, the implication is that, during a society's duration, the Shannon Probability will rise, and during its demise, it will fall. And, if such things are fractal, (and its a big if,) then most of the measures of wealth in the society should follow the same set of rules, (by definition, a fractal is self-similar, at all scales, and is made up of fractals, that are self-similar, at all scales.) Therefore, the equity markets should follow the same scheme, which means, that the Shannon Probability, should be about the same. So, we compute the probability that a society's wealth will increase, and we have the "instantaneous" Shannon Probability that should be reflected in all wealth, including the equity markets, at a specific time. Do I believe this? (I don't know, I'm still having trouble with mathematical induction.) But there have been some interesting philosophical arguments presented, (again, as a flight of fantasy.) Here is the way the logical arguments proceed. (Note that fractals have a random nature, that assemble their self into a probabilistic phenomena, ie., the 1 / (n^2) and 1 / sqrt (t) kind of things.) Lets suppose that life/civilization/equites were not that way. By implication that would mean that there was some kind of grand equation or logic by which such things operate, (ie., there would be no randomness.) What would that mean? Well, it would mean that it was a deterministic system. And what does that imply? Well, it would mean that there was no freedom of choice, (ie., no matter how much one pondered a decision, the decision would have been preordained, and there would be no choice. One's decision would have been inevitable from time zero.) There is a lemma to this logic, (fantasy as it may be.) If one believes that one can exercise some influence over the state of affairs in one's life, then one must believe that one's life is not a preordained/deterministic/predictable system, and, therefore, one must believe life is governed by random events, that chain together-ie., a fractal. (Many mathematical logicians, over enough beer, will admit to believing this. Sometimes, its a lot of beer-a delightful beverage, for which, we are ever indebted to the ancient Mesopotamians, who are no longer with us, but made their contribution to the enduring fractal agenda.) So, if this logic has anything substantive, (fantasy as it may be,) then the question can be raised as to why we should go to all the bother with the trials and tribulations of civilization, and all the things we do? The argument being that if life is a series of random events, shouldn't we just adopt a fatalistic attitude, and concede? The counter argument presented is, (usually,) is that it is gambling, (gambling is where fractals were invented,) and if you don't play, you can't win. Playing is a necessary, but insufficient, requirement for winning. So the story goes. And, the story continues, (fantasy-maybe a soap opera-as it may be,) that there are rules to the game, as a consequence of the way that random processes assemble their selves into fractals. (A Gaussian bell curve, ie., the way random events-like the distribution of the sum of tossing two dies assemble their selves, for one.) The accuracy, (ie., the horizon,) of how far one can predict life's affairs into the future decays with the reciprocal of the square root of time, (irregardless of what unit of time is used, which is a bit of a paradox-unless one understands what self-similar implies.) And, as one decreases the units of time, then the statistics of the fractal scale with the square root of time, (ie., cutting the time units by four, one cuts the statistics by a factor of two.) And, if one looks at the way the distribution of the way sub-fractals assemble their selves, it is a 1 / (n^2) phenomena. Do I believe it? I'm still wondering how mathematicians proved mathematical induction consistent without using mathematical induction. ------- start of forwarded message (RFC 934 encapsulation) ------- Received: (from root@localhost) by johncon.com (8.6.12/8.6.12) id AAA31668 for john; Fri, 9 Jan 1998 00:05:11 -0800 Message-Id: <199801090805.AAA31668@email.johncon.com> From: root <root@email.johncon.com> To: john@email.johncon.com Subject: Reminders for Friday, January 9, 1998 Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 00:05:11 -0800 Reminders for Friday, 9th January, 1998 (today): Sunrise 07:22, Sunset 17:07, Moon 0.76 (Increasing) Reminders for Tuesday, 13th January, 1998: ________________________ On This Day, Jan 9 ... ________________________ 1st San Francisco paper, 'California Star', published. (1847) 1st balloon flight in North America. (1793) 1st commercial bank in San Francisco established. (1848) 1st income tax imposed, in England. (1799) 5.9 earthquake in New England/Canada; last one was in 1855. (1982) Astronomer Caroline Herschel, publisher of "Herschel's Catalog of Stars" and sister of William, dies at 97 (1848) Bill Graham born (1931) Bob Denver, actor played Gilligan on "Gilligan's Island", is born (1935) Chic Young, creator of the "Blondie" comic strip. (1901) Connecticut becomes the 5th state (1788) Day of the Martyrs (Panama) Day of the Martyrs in Panama Exposition (now Civic) Auditorium dedicated. (1915) Fellowship reaches Lorien (LOTR) First issue of the "Progressive" magazine (1909) Gypsy Rose Lee, entertainer and author, is born (1914) James Patrick Page (Led Zeppelin) born (Middlesex, England, 1945) James Patrick Page (Led Zeppelin) is born in Middlesex, England, 1945 Joan Baez, folk singer, is born on Staten Island, New York (1941) Joseph B. Strauss, civil engineer & builder of Golden Gate Bridge. (1870) Karel Capek, Czech author and originator of the term robot, is born (1890) Mississippi secedes from the union (1861) Plough Monday Richard M. Nixon, 37th President (1968-1974) (1913) Simone de Beauvoir, feminist, born (1908) St. Marciana is martyred by being torn to bits by a leopard and a wild bull in the Caesarea amphitheater (309) the daguerrotype process announced at French Academy of Science (1839) ------- end ------- -- John Conover, john@email.johncon.com, http://www.johncon.com/

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