Why Elizabeth Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act Will Be Good for Shareholders


Naked Capitalism has the article Why Elizabeth Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act Will Be Good for Shareholders.

Efforts to pursue shareholder value fail. Companies will do better not just for other constituencies but also for shareholders by pursuing a broader set of interests.

Here is the part of the article that speaks to me. A good part of my career had to do with nonlinear optimization.

Or as reader Ruben said in 2017:

Congrats, you have highlighted a trade secret held by experts in nonlinear optimization. The saying is: you can’t go there from here. So whenever optimization (such as profit maximization) has to happen over an irregular landscape (often multidimensional, not just 3D as Earth landscapes) the process is multi-step (cannot go in straight-line, 2 steps) and so it happens that often times you take steps that move you in the opposite direction (less profit) of your final destination (maximum profit), but that was a necessary step to avoid a salient non-linearity (an obstacle)….

Here is a picture to help you understand the nonlinear optimization issue. This is from the ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA article Nonlinear Programming.

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Imagine that you are looking for the global minimum of this function, and have found the local minimum at point Q. To find the global minimum at point P you would have to go up hill from the local minimum at point Q to get to the global minimum at point P.

It is easy to see this in a two dimensional plot, but not so easy to see in a 100 dimensions. There is no plot for a computer program or a system to see. Even in this simple case, there is no plot for a computer program to see. It has to try points away from the local minimum to see if there is a point that is lower.

Don’t be confused because I used a minimization example. Turn the plot upside-down in your mind, and you have a maximization problem.

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