This is the preliminary version of my book that I started around 1998 when econophysics was still in vogue and the focus of that time was how the financial markets work. Inspired by Soros Reflexivity Theory I extended my early work of “marginally efficient markets” to have a general framework of a non-equilibrium finance theory.
Little I was aware the more I went ahead, the bigger is the scope and larger is the coverage. Hence what works for finance must work also for consumers, and this lead me to reexamine the standard supply demand laws. Introducing a gray parameter “information capabilities” I found that Pandora’s boxes open one after another, the subjects involved span from psychology, IT, history, and philosophy.
I’m a physics professor hence my credentials for writing such a vast social science subject is meager, at the best. However, with the internet tools I can easily trace leading (and also marginal) economists’ work and discussions, this way I can access hundreds of scholars online and get glimpses what the profession is up to and why such and such an attitude in the face of glaring counterfactual evidence in the real world. In short this book could not have been written by a single person just 20 years ago, for its vast coverage, much less by an outsider. Outsiders or young beginners, according to Thomas Kuhn, have also an edge—they are less likely to be burdened by the tradition and may be eager to get a fresh perspective. Physicists have a secret weapon that imitators of hard science don’t get it: qualitative understanding is far more important than later precision formulation.
It is a coherent, qualitative understanding that is under a single line of argument that I follow throughout this book. The whole book has nine chapters and now I have the first six in readable draft for internal discussion and criticism. The other three chapters are already done and they still need a few months to be released after some editing.
I’m the coordinator of the NESS project, which is the Coordination Action (EU projects). My colleagues and friends over the years have a very fruitful, stimulating conversation that eventually led to this project, which aims for a broad view of Non-Equilibrium Social Sciences. I believe this book will be one of the highlights of our project and a concrete step towards our common lofty goals.
I look forward to your feedbacks.
YCZ, Fribourg, June 4th 2012.