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July 03, 2006

The Invisible Hand Machine


Free Market Harmony Through Excel

According to the Adam Smith free market theory, self-interests and economic processes find a harmonization, as if an invisibile hand guided them, beyond any specific intentions. Selfishness and competition are the motors of the individuals that, although they just pursue their profit, catch up the unexpected goal of common welfare. The project The Invisibile Hand Machine, presented at the Readme100, by Renate Weiser and Julian Rohrhuber re-explores in an ironic way the smithian theory, through a software that takes advantage of the Excel graphical instruments, in order to visualize the resulting economic equilibrium harmony.

Taking the data from the calculation sheet, the software models a 'market' with a circular shape, generating at the same time music and producing therefore an easy association between the circle perfection and the musical harmony. The individuals correspond to sounds, while personal interest and competition constitute the effort to reach a note that, according to the historical period, represents the market equilibrium. The winners who can reach this note distinguish themselves as lead singers in a choir, while those incapable of a similar amplitude adapt themselves to frequencies constituting the music background. But the various notes all together compose a charming tune, metaphor of 'the excellence of balance'.

Ironically the authors end their theoretical paper stating that maybe after having outlived this mental model, we can get rid of it. In fact the theory behind the project asserts that the economic models influence the processes and not the opposite. The schemes through which people read the world and the harmony of the systems, remind Dante Alighieri and the sound of the celestial spheres, as well as the human desire of perfection. But who has not yet dismissed the Dantesque model? -- Valentina Culatti, NEURAL.

Posted by jo at July 3, 2006 01:04 PM