It’s been a while since I last posted in this blog. In the last post, months ago, I promised you a new model, and here I am writing about throwing money again. What happened?
This time, I don’t have any simulations to share. Instead, I’d like to reflect on the sims that have already appeared in this series and follow through on a promise I made last time: to reveal what I thought was the deeper truth that these economic models provide.
In the last post, I left you with a mystery. We had built a small model of money moving around in a society, and were trying to figure out which had a bigger impact: individual talent or inherited wealth. I told you we were missing something significant.
Welcome back to my thrilling blog series on wealth inequality modeling! If you’ve been following the story so far, you know that our notional Conservative and Progressive voices, Ayn and Karl, have decided to test out their dueling ideas about what drives wealth inequality in a composite model that compensates both for the effects of cumulative wealth, and for the presence of talent.
In the last post, I showed you a very simple simulation that seems to reproduce, at least to first approximation, the kind of wealth distribution that show up in real economies. To do this, all we had to do was give a bunch of agents some money and let them hand it around at random. Magic!
Here’s a fun place to kick off a discussion about simulations. Give a room full of people a hundred bucks each in dollar bills. Then get them to hand money to random people they meet as they walk around, one dollar at a time. What do you think happens?
In 1997, I began a strange journey. It started in a writer workshop in Seattle by total accident and it has changed both the course of my life and how I think about the world. I was attending Clarion West, an illustrious bootcamp for aspiring science fiction writers.
With my SF writer hat on, I’ve spoken about and posted articles on my work as a simulation scientist many times. Every now and then, someone asks me for my code and whether it’s on Github. I always feel slightly sheepish because my simulations tend to pull from a large library of support classes I’ve built up, and I’ve been hopeless at documenting them. Add to that my reluctance to throw myself into the world of Git and what you get is a pretty poor track record for sharing my work.