Spacetime Justice

Last night’s dream was equally surreal. Paula dragged me to a lecture by (the late) Nicholas Kaldor on questions of economic justice and efficiency. Apparently, in previous classes he’d introduced both the theory of efficiency that bears his name and the more familiar Pareto efficiency, and now he was adjusting them to take account of Einstein’s general relativity.

The details were quite interesting, if incoherent, in that way that dream-theses tend to be. After describing a distribution of resources at every point in spacetime, we then had to look to see which points were conntected along timelike paths. Apparently, somehow, this changed the question of the distribution of resources from being one about allocating goods to different people to being one about allocating goods to different times.

In hindsight, if I were consciously trying to construct a joke about economics and relativity, I think I would have gone for the more obvious question of how travelling at relativistic velocities affects exchange rates — after all, everyone sees everyone else’s currency (literally) contract.