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# Thread: Combinatorics and card-shuffling ...

1. ## Combinatorics and card-shuffling ...

Here’s a good one I read last night.

From Dr. Don Boudreaux of GMU:

"One fact of arithmetic that ceaselessly impresses me is that the number of different ways to arrange, in a single dimension, a mere 20 items is much larger than is the number of seconds in ten billion years. This simple yet startling arithmetical ditty contains important lessons about economics."

Marvelous properties - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"The economist Paul Romer notes the astonishing fact that if you thoroughly shuffle a deck of 52 cards, chances are practically 100 percent that the resulting arrangement of cards has never before existed.

Never."
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_507822.html

2. ## Re: Combinatorics and card-shuffling ...

And yet the article then veers off into lala land.

[ QUOTE ]
Yet all around us we witness an arrangement of resources that's reasonably productive. Cotton bales aren't delivered to steel factories; Ben Roethlisberger does not design women's lingerie (at least not that I know of); suitcases are not made of caramel. Today's arrangement of resources might be imperfect but it is vastly superior to most of the trillions upon trillions of other possible arrangements.

How have we managed to get one of the relatively minuscule number of arrangements that works? The answer is a social institution that encourages mutual accommodation: private property.

[/ QUOTE ]

Really?

Private Property?

That's the only reason that suitcases aren't made out of caramel? What a dumb conclusion. For all of the shortcomings of all of the systems that exist for the interaction of resources, only a child's imagination makes suitcases out of caramel. That's why the institution of a family isn't based on private property or capitalism. Mom won't let you take all that caramel and do that.

Should the entire world of resources be run by one over arching maternal person?

No.

Because that's taking the analogy too far.

Goofy simplistic thinking is one of my top ten pet peeves.

tester

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