Monday, March 29, 2010

Gravity as a Analogy to Globalization

Our professor just used one of the most clever analogies for international trade I've ever seen. It's surprising how much the physics of gravity can model relationships involving size and proximity.

The formula for the physics of gravity is:

Force = Gravitational Constant x Mass 1 x Mass 2 / Distance ^ 2

In this analogy:
  • Force -> Strength of trade relationship
  • Gravitational Constant -> Trade coefficient <-- trade barriers / regulations / tarrifs?
  • Mass 1 -> Size (GDP as proxy?) of country 1
  • Mass 2 -> Size (GDP as proxy?) of country 2
  • Distance -> Distance

Our professor, Blum, took it a step further and did a logarithmic deconstructed the formula to further show how changing different values of each variable (pulling different strings) results in intuitive changes in the relationship. For example: Decreasing distance between countries increases. He even quotes his research (2004). This is his criticism of the idea that the world is truly "flat".

Imagine the game theory implications also. If you could use this relationship to predict how countries would trade and grow, you could build a model with multiple components (countries) to see how they'd develop.

So... It turns out that when Roger Martin tells us that Rotman has a world class research faculty which impacts the material we learn in our classes, he certainly wasn't lying.

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