About The Author
I’m currently studying in a Chinese language program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. After that, I hope to go to grad school in China to study economics or computational social science, and then get a job there, likely in finance.
I’ve decided to specialize in computational economics, delving into topics such as algorithmic game theory, recursive models in macroeconomics, and the use of machine learning in econometrics. I’m very much attracted by the mix of very abstract notions—such as Turing machines, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, and game semantic models for programming language verification—integrated seamlessly with very practical applications. Having a language- and writing-based educational background, I’m currently trying to ‘catch up’ by learning to code in Python and R, as well as learning as much mathematics as I can. As I get better, I’ll likely post tutorial-like posts to help consolidate my knowledge. On the philosophical end, I think that computational methods open up many interesting questions about how it is that models represent the world, and I think it would be worthwhile to outline how algorithmic economics constitutes a ‘school of thought’ rather than just a set of tools.
To keep myself motivated, a long-running project of mine involves interpreting economics (as well as finance and business) through François Laruelle’s Non-Philosophy. I’m calling this ‘econo-fiction’. Its main purpose is to oppose the typical account of how economic models are imposed on the world to find out more about it—which I think is far too abstract, since economists never have direct access to a ‘world’ by which we can judge our models. (And if we did, then the model would be redundant.) If economists actually believed this story, the discipline would be structured in a completely different way than how it is. In fact, I think that many of the arguments of heterodox economics arise from treating economic statements as representational. In contrast, I use contemporary Continental philosophy to develop an interpretation of economics (in the manner of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory) that is non-representational. I define economics as the science of non-conceptual social relations, and argue that the most valuable elements of economics are precisely what can’t be expressed discursively. So as you can imagine, it’s kind of tough to write about.
Consequently, there’s very little (interesting) work integrating Continental philosophy and business. A major motivation for me is that I find Marxism incredibly dull, which ticks off a lot of philosophy people who think that Marx’s conclusions are obvious. They aren’t. On the other hand, most businesspeople see little point in grandiose concepts, or else feel that I’m talking about simple ideas in overly complicated language. I therefore make a great deal of effort to write accessibly, and my TL;DR section at the bottom of each entry is intended to make these simple ideas explicit, while my actual entries are geared toward showing the ‘math’ behind each idea. I also plan to integrate more actual math into my posts over time.
What draws me to (applied) critical theory is mainly how its intricate concepts and methods can be combined with otherwise dry subject matter in order to make it ‘sexy’. In other words, injecting boring topics (e.g. accounting, real estate) with theory helps me to take an interest in them, whereas typically I would not have had the motivation to investigate them on their own. It’s like cheating at life. My goal is to be able to write about econometrics (or whatever) in a way that makes people, including you, want to learn more about it.