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Re: [dvd-discuss] [openlaw] Government takes more extremelineinsecond"Eldred" case

Welll I won't denigrate English majors in Calculus classes:-) Actually, 
when I TAed at Douglas College for Women a few decades ago <sigh> my best 
student in the nonscience calculus class was an English major... I also 
tutored several people working on their MBAs and even a Columbia graduated 
itinerate economist once. OTOH....I was puzzled by Posner's notation. I 
couldn't tell if he had ever taken calculus. He had a three dimensional 
function expressed as what appeared to be a total differential without 
partial derivatives. The Economics of Copyright might be horribley 

"Peter D. Junger" <junger@samsara.law.cwru.edu>
Sent by: owner-dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
01/15/02 01:20 PM
Please respond to dvd-discuss

        To:     dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
        Subject:        Re: [dvd-discuss] [openlaw] Government takes more 
extremelineinsecond"Eldred" case

"Michael A Rolenz" writes:

: IT's worse than the assumptions that one makes are unrealistic. To be a 
: tractable problem, they must simplify the problem (which they can't 
: completely anywise). The models must have things that can be 
: measured-somehow even if it's not relevant (e.g. citations) Simplifying 
: the situation also means that invariably some bias creeps in involving 
: what is significant and what is not. (e.g, as the farm owners discovered 

: after the application of broad spectrum insecticides, elimination of a 
: pest to optimize yields may mean eliminating a pollinator that creates 
: yields).  So one starts with a large multidimensional time varying 
: nonlinear  system and simplifies it to:
: One dimensional preferably and two or three at worst.
: Linear
: Time invariant
: Then one LOVES to optimize something. Well the only thing one can 
: is a function into one dimension. WHich means that ALL the other 
: are eliminated (optimizing a weighted sum doesn't cut it...the weights 
: totally arbitrary and subjective)......Yes...doing Operations research 
: mathematical modeling is really fun stuff but one should not take it as 
: established fact without reviewing the model
: (BTW- Posner's paper on obesity could be reduced to a couple of homework 

: exercises for calculus students..."ASSUME a utility function of the form 

: X^2..."...I'm not certain if he knows how to do calculus or just has a 
: lousy wordprocessor)

Posner was an English major before he went to law school.  I doubt that
he ever took calculus.  Of course, one doesn't need to know calculus
to know that almost everything that is is claimed on the basis of
law-and-economic theory is nonsense---all one has to do is read something
about the ``problem of the second-best.''

I was an English major, too, but I did take a calculus sequence after
I started teaching law as part of my ``know your enemies program,'' the
enemies being those who were pushing law-and-econmics.

The enemies won.

Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH
 EMAIL: junger@samsara.law.cwru.edu    URL:  http://samsara.law.cwru.edu 
        NOTE: junger@pdj2-ra.f-remote.cwru.edu no longer exists