Assorted links

by on October 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. A new theory of sandwich envy.

2. Douthat on Pinker.

3. Fast-evolving gene is key player in brain development.

4. More on the Amish renegades.

5. Quantum levitation (video).

6. Paul Krugman defends the economics blogosphere.

mark October 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm

This link relates to a Boston Fed paper with some pretty stark data captured in one simple bar chart

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-housing-has-held-back-this-recovery-2011-10?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:%20clusterstock%20(ClusterStock)

I note that, although it is not the topic of the link, the bar chart appears to undermine the central tenet of Keynesian economics.

Brian October 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

If Paul Krugman actually believes what he says in that post, then he is acknowledging that all of the “little people” who think that HE employs all kinds of unfair, personal, and ad hominem attacks are right to do so. These same “nobodies” claim he is more of an ideologue than an economist these days. I don’t see him ever admitting this, and so i find it hard to believe him in that post.

Paul October 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Krugman’s point is that the blogosphere has made it easier for people to call economists such as him out on things they say. Given that there have been entire websites devoted to criticizing his writings I don’t think that is an inaccurate statement. He argues that the existence of these types of critics makes it less likely people will blindly accept statements from famous academics based on rank alone. Again considering the number of people who vehemently disagree with Krugman based on his critics’ writings that seems like an accurate statement. Nowhere does he say that he is obligated to agree with his critics. I don’t see how in order to believe what he wrote that he must also agree with people who think he is more ideologue than economist.

AndrewL October 18, 2011 at 3:28 pm
Andrew' October 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Something about the old boss and the new boss?

beamish October 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

What’s to explain?

Paul October 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm

He wrote a controversial post about 9/11. The blogosphere produced a ton of criticism meaning it was easy to find material arguing against the points made in the post. Lots of the criticism was generated by people without fancy academic titles. I don’t understand how that mechanism is at odds at what he wrote about in his blogosphere post. You and Brian seem to be distracted by the fact that you disagree with Krugman’s opinions. You don’t have to agree with his views on politics and economics to acknowledge that he is correct that the internet has enabled “normal people” and not just professional pundits to get involved in debates on the issues.

Paul October 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm

An example of how people that disagree with Krugman’s political and economic views can still agree with his points with regards to the blogosphere. http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2011/10/krugman_on_how.html

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 9:42 am

Sure, I agree with his stated points about the blogosphere. But in many ways Krugman is attempting to act as the new gatekeeper of the econ blogosphere. You can’t see that? And on the post on 9/11 he disabled comments- gatekeeping. Possibly reasonable, but it is gatekeeping.

If he’d just stop trying to be the internet thought police and being a jerk about it I’d have no big problem with him. And someone who is vehemently moderate is not really moderate. And he’s not really a moderate obviously anyway. Just because he’s not Marxist doesn’t mean he is moderate.

AndrewL October 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

Krugman is clearly talking about criticisms of economics analysis. the aforementioned post is clearly not an economics post. He is hiding behind these criticisms as a way to validate himself. He is saying: “hey look! people disagree with me, and the fact that they take time to do so means I have a valid opinion” while ignoring the nature of the criticisms.

People are calling him because he bends data and facts to fit his liberal biases, and using it to launch personal and ad hominem attacks.

So no, Krugman is not believable because he thinks people are criticizing his analysis when in reality people are criticizing his crusade against conservatives.

Cahal October 19, 2011 at 8:55 am

It’s a mark of the right’s cognitive dissonance that a moderate liberal like Krugman (yes, he is moderate) is instantly assumed to be a horrible person, when you lot spout intellectual dishonesty in bucketloads from your big business funded think tanks and ridiculously biased media outlets.

It’s like people here in the UK who think the BBC is left wing baised because they aren’t used to neutral sources.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

A moderate social democrat in the European sense, and that’s how he describes himself…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Krugman#Political_views

…is not a moderate. That is a fact of objectivity. He may appear moderate relative to leftists.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 9:54 am

http://nymag.com/news/politics/paul-krugman-2011-5/index1.html

Krugman is on the moderate end of the left. And I’ve been called worse things by libertarians than I’ve ever said about Krugman. I don’t try to win arguments with that crap but Krugman does. So, get on your big-boy britches. No one needs to feel sorry for Paul because he’s the ringleader in the rhetorical circus.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

Summers on Krugman: “The only politician I remember him praising in the last sixteen years is John Edwards.”

Well, so much for that.

Cahal October 19, 2011 at 11:13 am

Krugman isn’t a European Social Democrat – he holds a lot of positions that those on the left disagree with, such as free trade, living wages, sweatshops etc.

He also praised Gordon Brown, btw.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Krugman called himself a Social Democrat in the European sense. That’s what he said.

This of course depends on where you choose to draw the lies of distinction, but wholesale opposition to free trade would be a very leftist position.

My understanding is he praised Gordon Brown in the context of an election. In other words, he saw him as better than the conservative candidate.

Bill Frecci October 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm

It’s amazing how quickly Krugman can turn this blog’s discussions from intelligent to nonsense.

Paul October 18, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I think it’s more amazing that such a non-controversial post is the cause.

Aaron October 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Tyler once did a good post called “Imagining the Button” (see #4 in http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2008/11/imagining-the-b.html). Whenever Krugman’s name comes up here you can expect a Pavlovian frenzy of button-pushing, no matter how uncontroversial the subject or how reasonable the tone. I’ve never understood it, but it says a lot about the commenters.

Cliff October 18, 2011 at 6:55 pm

It says a lot about Krugman

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 10:21 am

There is not a person on the planet that gets the same deference that Krugman does. Krugman followers come in here and try to give us a hard time for cowing to Cowen, but all the regulars give him a hard time on a fairly regular basis. Then the Krugmanites come around to claim that the most powerful economist in the internet needs to be treated with kid gloves. It’s just ridiculous.

Kevin October 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Well said. The two responses below make the point even more eloquently. Exactly where in these comments are the ‘Krugmanites’ demanding he be treated with ‘kid gloves’? Straw man, meet button pusher.

Kevin October 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm

The ‘well said’ was aimed at Aaron, by the way. My response didn’t post in the order I expected, and I didn’t want the MR comments police to be confused.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Every time Krugman is mentioned someone pops up with some version of “The mention of Krugman makes people go insane.”

That is what they are saying, they don’t want any disagreement.

What is it you think they are saying?

I am disagreeing with his premise because of his position. It is like Simon Cowell defending television music tournaments over the record company model. It’s not objective.

I have a valid point and nothing I can say will not make you and Bill and others not claim that what I’m saying is a knee-jerk reaction to Krugman’s name. You may not have noticed but I disagree a lot of people, it’s just that Krugman is intentionally irritating. You will say that is me being apopleptic, but Krugman will say this about himself.

dan1111 October 18, 2011 at 5:02 pm

If Krugman made a sandwich for his critics, they wouldn’t admit it tasted better.

msgkings October 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Thread winner, but here’s my entry:

If Krugman developed a cancer-preventing vaccine, they wouldn’t let the government force it on their kids.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 9:57 am

No. It’s about whether Krugman is being sincere, or whether he’s being unobjective because he is the left’s ringleader of the left on the internet.

He’s not the guy who can credibly make the case. Let’s ask Freddie. Freddie called to say “Nope.”

byomtov October 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm

What is all this nonsense about Krugman being so powerful on the Internet? What can he do? Reach out and erase other people’s posts?

Krugman is influential because he’s an excellent economist and a good writer. He’s also influential because, whether you like it or not, what he says makes sense and he supports his arguments well.

You don’t like hearing it? Too bad. Don’t read his blog.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 10:06 am

Where is the nonsense?

Krugman knows exactly what he is doing. I almost don’t blame him. It’s the naivete of his acolytes who think they are being rational that is so annoying to me.

y81 October 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Is the economics blogosphere promoting the productive exchange of scholarly ideas? It seems to me to produce mostly (a) trivial amusement (e.g., here), (b) venom (e.g., Krugman, DeLong), and (c) genial snark (Mankiw).

Occasionally DeLong has said something insightful on-line (which I don’t think Krugman ever has), but the amount of dreck on DeLong’s blog is so great that I never read it, I just wait until people pick up one of the pearls from the swine pen.

iamreddave October 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm
Richard October 18, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Aaron October 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

” Whenever Krugman’s name comes up here you can expect a Pavlovian frenzy of button-pushing, no matter how uncontroversial the subject or how reasonable the tone. I’ve never understood it, but it says a lot about the commenters. ”

He holds a mirror up to them and they hate the reflection. The Krugman outrage from U.S. conservatives is because they unconvincingly deny that it is their image.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 9:59 am

What? No. It’s because the guy who singularly has millions of followers comes on to say that the internet is better than what it is replacing. Sure it is, especially for him.

Cahal October 19, 2011 at 11:10 am

1. I think Richard was talking in a more general sense, and he’s spot on.

2. I don’t think that’s right. If anything, the internet has made Krugman a recipient of the most, often vitrolic, criticism out of anyone. Being firmly in the centre he gets criticised from every single angle. So I don’t think it’s ‘easy’ for him to say the internet has been a good thing, especially when one of his main points was that ordinary people can call out famous economists.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 11:57 am

1. I don’t even understand what it means.

2. How do you do that? “Firmly in the centre” Obama is not even in the center and Krugman constantly criticizes him from the left. What of that do you disagree with? If not, how do you get from that to Krugman being dead center?

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 11:59 am

What does Krugman say? For example he says that yes, there is a right wing conspiracy. I’ve been trying to find one for 10 years and I can’t. I guess it’s the Koch brothers. I don’t even think there is a left-wing conspiracy and you guys are way more aligned than the right.

Cahal October 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm

1. I meant he was saying Krugman holds up a mirror to the U.S. right generally, not in this specific instance. Your reply was directed at his ‘blogsphere’ post.

2. Obama isn’t in the centre, no, he’s further to the right than Reagan, which is why Krugman criticises him from the left. Under Reagan many companies were prosecuted for fraud, he raised taxes about 10 times, he reacted far more quickly when unemployment was lower than it is now. Obama’s actions speak louder than his words.

I’m not sure about a ‘conspiracy’ but movies like Inside Job correctly show that right wing economics has been funded by vested interests. The MP society was funded by Swiss banks and Insurance companies; Mises was funded by Rockerfeller, and yes, obviously there’s the Koch brothers. I don’t believe in some smoke filled room but I do believe in what Yves Smith calls ‘Academic Choice Theory’.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 10:27 am

The liberal historian Michael Kazin, of Georgetown, told me he thought Krugman’s account of the right succumbed to the old Marxist flaw of false consciousness: “Unlike what Krugman says, conservatism is not some kind of smoke screen for another agenda.” In his 2007 book The Conscience of a Liberal, Krugman was plainer still: “Yes, Virginia,” he wrote, “there is a vast right-wing conspiracy.”

I didn’t just say that, Michael Kazin said that. Krugman is part of the feedback loop of radicalization in the country. I did say that. I think he knows it. I also said that. I think his lack of empathy is a strategic choice. If so, he is very very far from moderate.

Andrew' October 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/05/pulling-rank/

Man alive, if you can’t find the irony in that then there is no way I can help you.

Aaron October 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm

There are 42 comments on this post and you have 15 of them, all saying the exact same thing. Either get a blog of your own or find more interesting and informative ways of complaining about Krugman.

Andrew' October 20, 2011 at 8:17 am

That’s cool. But in a discussion it’s generally fine to keep talking until someone at least admits to the obvious facts.

Andrew' October 20, 2011 at 8:20 am

For example, just before Krugman pats himself on the back for never “pulling rank” and acting as an internet gatekeeper, is that not exactly what he does when he says “It’s funny in this case, because Quiggin is in fact a prominent economist, Williamson not so much.” And is that not a huge pain in the ass?

Andrew' October 20, 2011 at 8:25 am

I apologize, but this is why I feel compelled to keep talking. See, I don’t give a damn about Krugman (and if I had a blog I’d never spare a second for him). I care about logic. And after I can’t get anyone to actually respond to my pointed, specific observations, your complaint is that I keep saying the same things. Well, yeah. Anyway, yesterday was a slow day and I’m really done.

Andrew' October 20, 2011 at 8:37 am

For example, someone could say “You realize, that by calling Krugman out, you are doing exactly what he says is great about the blogosphere” And I could say, “wow, that’s a good point.” But apparently no one can come up with that and I have to have conversations by myself because everyone has mashed the button. Haha, now I’m really done.

Claudia Sahm October 19, 2011 at 8:37 pm

5. evidence that science can be beautiful.

Claudia Sahm October 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm

especially when you watch the video with the sound off

Billy S October 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

In the “Sandwich Envy” post i believe they consider a good none validated point. When i cook i good meal i anticipate this amazing meal, more like masterpiece of a meal, and when i comes down to doing the business it amazing everything i wanted. Apparently the researchers at Carnegie University haven’t got the right people eating for them.

Billy S October 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm

oohhhh and also about that Quantum levitation video, Nobel prizes have been awarded on 5 seperate occasions to scientists for research on superconductors. If we can develop room temperature superconductors, we can dramatically increase the efficiency of available power resources, decreasing the world’s power output. The only thing holding us back is the little technical difficulty of not being able to get superconductors to work at temperatures above 30 Kelvin (−243.2 °C)…well not yet anyway.

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