Preparation Meets Opportunity
Preparation Meets Opportunity in Peace Economics
When I took the Strong Vocational Interest Tests I found out several things about myself. I am a strong summarizer, very strong analyst, and very egalitarian. The summarizer is important as I stood on the shoulders of giants and put things together using the primary work of others such as Sivard, Kondratiev, the US Statistical Abstract, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Using the ideas of others, I then use my own mathematical engineering and accounting skills to carefully read the numbers looking for the patterns seen by others in new data sets to confirm what I find seems to make sense. My intuition almost never fails once I’m on to a new pattern. Then I seek to confirm three different ways, triangulating my findings and/or hunches. If I cannot confirm three ways, I look for another solution. Only on lesser aspects of the theory will I experiment with tentative material. Fortunately for me in this research, high accuracy led to more high accuracy over and over again. What amazed me at first, often became common place after a while. Just use care, common sense, and good instincts.
Paraphrasing Nobel Laureate in Economics Leontiff, “97% of economic literature is articles written about other articles. Only 2.5% is model building, and 0.5% is basic research.” My work is almost exclusively with the numbers and model building, so I’m in the 3% category among economists. I read others only to see big issues I might be missing. The small stuff is for those who don’t recognize the limitations of the silo they are in. History, Sociology, Politics, and Economics can be blended together if one is not overcommitted to the details that separate these disciplines and prevent a common interdisciplinary understanding. For example, having tried five different religions in my life, I can see the commonalities and not get caught up in the misleading details. For example, prayer, meditation and chanting all are similar with similar effects on the participant. I once rented a room from a Catholic lady and ended up comparing her saying the rosary to my Buddhist chanting, only to conclude that the practices were remarkably similar in terms of feelings, thoughts, and after effects, both physical and mental.
A University of Oregon economics professor ran for congress. After his loss, speaking to a group of moderate republicans, he said that people need a couple of economics courses, but after that the field gets over specialized. I have taken about four economics courses, micro, macro, finance, and economic forecasting. When I took production class I led the class in forecasting. I’ve always had a knack for charts and graphs and reading between the lines for revealing quirks in the numbers. I spent much of one summer figuring out the binomial expansion theorem before being taught it the next year.
I am always thinking and playing around with numbers in my head. I love maps, charts, and graphs.
Based on my experience, together with that of my brother and dad, all three of us CPAs, here is the peck order: those who drop out of engineering often go into accounting. Those who drop out of accounting often go into economics. As a graduate of the third ranked electrical engineering program in the country, University of Wisconsin Madison, inducted into four honor societies, I am a first stringer, an engineer, not a third stringer, an economist.
Interdisciplinary thinking lets you see the foibles in silo based academia. I am deep in many different fields. My degrees are in engineering, a degree that is 20 credits more than applied math and physics. Then there’s business management, accounting, and education degrees. My on the job learning is in wargaming and politics. All of these fields played important roles in building peace economics, empire economics, and the evaporation theory global warming earth cycle. Without a congressman’s mention of the Kondratiev Wave while congratulating me on being elected the vice chair of the Democratic Party in his district, none of this would have been possible. Likewise with finding Ruth Leger Sivard’s bar chart at a meeting in Dorothy Patch’s house, the key woman behind the peace republican US Senator Mark Hatfield. Without reading one key paragraph in Stephen Schneider’s “Climate and Life”, a 1000 page book, I never would have realized the significance of evaporation. Without my award winning confidence in numbers and science, as a man of physics, I could easily have been discouraged by the social scientists who think a 99% correlation must be some kind of error. I would hate to try and earn a doctorate under such narrow minded hammering.
Science, Education, Business, Government, these are the pillars of our society, how could anyone try to model the economy without deep knowledge in each of these areas. And it’s best to come at economics from the outsiders view to avoid the confusion of half baked ideologies fighting for supremacy when clearly none are entitled to claim any such superiority. So deep in these many fields, especially deep in using design and numbers as a wargamer, accountant, and engineer, it’s the politics that led me into the diversity to plug the holes in my otherwise narrow specialist thinking. Always a generalized specialist, I got into wargaming to avoid the narrowness of, say, just chess, or any one kind of game one specializes in. I did my studies well, then looked for diversity in my real life. I trained myself to look for key facts. In every diverse meeting I went into, I hoped to come away with one new fact of significance that I could remember for years to come, not let myself get tied up in short term memory and thinking that would fade with time. Always and everywhere the scientist, I kept building my theories of life and the world. The struggle continues. Some relationships ended because I was thought to be too serious. The truth was my holy grail. Shakespeare: This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Here is the pamphlet enclosed with the Peace Economics 25th anniversary video:
Dr. Peace, Dr. Bob Reuschlein,
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