ECON: Communication, money and feedback

Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko (
Fri, 31 Jan 1997 22:05:26 -0500

It seems useful to compare communications in different systems.
In the human brain, there is no money passed from one group of neurons
to another. Neither there is any money in an ecology.

However, brain, economy and ecology all have working system logic beyond
that of their parts, and it is communicated between the parts.

I will simplify the issues a bit, but without loss of relevance:

In each communication, there is a sender, a recipient, and a message.
The communication has a value in the system, this value is passed and
acknowledged, in terms of passing a resource together with the message,
or reference to a resource, or some signal related to some resources being
eventually passed somewhere in the system. This allows the system to
support good transactions and inhibit bad ones, at least in general.
The value sometimes may be expressed in money - which is great, as it
is a generic quantified measure of value. Sometimes in may be expressed
in your memory: "this is such a nice person, to do such a thing! I should do
something like this elsewhere sometime too!". Etc. The cost of feedback
transaction, or its medium, is unrelated, and better be low.

An interesting issue is that the decision on making a transaction, or an
that a transaction should be made, is of great value by itself. If the
system has
any intelligence, these meta-transactions (between an entity that figured
out that
a transaction should take place, and the ones actually taking part in it)
crucial. Paying for meta-transaction on the market is usually difficult,
that's why
in intelligent systems (like humans or corporations) the decision-making part
(brain or managers) is usually directly coupled with executive part (body or
employees) - which doesn't mean that the evaluations of the communication's
utility are not passed from decision-making and executive parts and back.

I am quite sure that any super/meta-intelligence would be based on a huge
web of subsystems doing each other harms and favors and communicating
their assessments of the values of these transactions to each other and third
parties. On the system level, these assessments can be represented as a
number; on some lower level, among the participants of the transactions, more
complex structured descriptions are necessary.

Economics deals only with the single factor (money); more complex
of values are not yet formalized on the general level (though messages
often obey complex communications protocols). Maybe, they will be, at some
and then we'll have non-scalar economics. Or maybe, they won't, and there
will be
only subject-dependent complex formalisms.

Alexander Chislenko Home page: <>
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