Zero is a part of the name of this blog – I’ve always been fascinated by it and combining it with something that these days is the cause of much consternation for people – the “Economy” giving it its capital letter due – seemed strangely appropriate. In a lot of areas, we need to go back to zero, go back to first principles, to our founding assumptions.
The wikipedia entry on zero ends with several quotes, one of which is:
The point about zero is that we do not need to use it in the operations of daily life. No one goes out to buy zero fish. It is in a way the most civilized of all the cardinals, and its use is only forced on us by the needs of cultivated modes of thought. Alfred North Whitehead
When I think about the economy, there is seldom something that stands on its own without reference to something else. It is hard to determine a zero point, a starting point with no dependencies. Even if I start a brand new company making something new, there are always other people, services and things to depend upon that I need to utilize. This makes the creation of something easier to do – we don’t have to build all the supporting services like banks, roads, paper, etc. from scratch in order to create something new – we simply take these things for granted and build something new as a derivative on top of them.
So perhaps it is unreasonable to look for absolutes, but rather we can think about relative zero’s, local minimums, starting points within a greater context. And so it goes…