I studied capitalism in college because it was a particular interest of mine. I hated it. I also wanted to understand it, so that I could know why it rubbed me the wrong way and live intentionally to push against it.
There was this moment when I was in a grad course and the professor was talking about self-optimizing markets. That's when it hit me. I literally stood up in the class, interrupted everything and went like "wait, the math isn't optimizing for income inequality". It was kind of funny watching more than 100 little economists in training suddenly start tearing apart the equation at once. You could literally hear the sound of frantic spreadsheeting and charting.
In the end, the professor himself said that it was true, you could achieve a fully "optimized" economy with literally everything being owned by a handful of people. Made me think.
How is a system supposed to be beneficial for us all when the mathematics at its core don't actually consider societal benefit?
If an economy is fully "optimized" but everyone is sick, sad, and angry - is it actually optimal?
A mathematical model can make sense without being sensible. This is why I have an implicit distrust of algorithms and other systems of optimization. It's also why I'm a socialist.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.