by Tyler Cowen
on October 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm
1. In defense of Yoko Ono. And Edward Hugh’s excellent update on whether the euro will survive.
2. David Warsh on Shapley.
3. Must dollar bills be stacked face up?
4. Are fruits and vegetables really really good for you?
5. Good reviews of the new Haitian art show in Nottingham.
6. John Cochrane on health care (pdf).
#1 begins with this:
“Yoko Ono is not pretty, she is not easy, her paintings aren’t recognizable, her voice is not melodious, her films are without plot and her Happenings make no sense.”
And it would be a much better essay if it ended with that.
Instead we are treated to such gems as “We need more impossible in our culture,” and “Ono wived by letting husbands go; she mothered her daughter by letting her go.”
I am not entirely sure that this was not authored by the postmodern essay generator.
And then we have the doomsday image of the euro as a bizarre pendant to Yoko – because really, we can’t let too much time go by without reminding everyone that eurogeddon is coming.
Just like Godot.
Cold turkey has someone on the run. But not Rajoy, the latest news from Spain being this –
‘SPANISH Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was given a boost for his austerity drive with an election victory in his home region of Galicia on Sunday, but wins for nationalist parties in the Basque Country could prove a headache for his centre-right government.
The election in Galicia, where austerity steps were taken by the People’s Party even before Rajoy took national office one year ago, had been seen as a referendum on the Spanish government’s handling of the euro zone crisis.
The victory there gives the prime minister some breathing space after polls showing him losing support amid massive demonstrations against spending cuts in public services and successive tax hikes.
Rajoy’s People’s Party easily retained its absolute majority and government in Galicia with 41 seats in the regional parliament compared with 18 seats for the Socialist Party and 16 seats for two nationalist parties.’
Of course, the euro, like all other currencies (just like the D-mark and the Ost-mark) will cease to exist at some point. After all, in the long run, everything dies, to somewhat misquote a former foreign exchange trader. ( http://www.maynardkeynes.org/keynes-the-speculator.html )
“And it would be a much better essay if it ended with that.”
Only if what you’re looking for is short content-thin essays that confirm the conventional wisdom. Yoko Ono piece was a great read.
Yoko Ono has a following for one reason: John Lennon. All of Yoko’s fans that I have met (admittedly a small sample size) think:
“John Lennon was an amazing artist. He could see truth where others cannot. Most people see no talent in Yoko, yet John must have seen it or he would not have created art with her. Therefore, if John saw it, it must be there.”
I’m a fan of Plato and Aristotle, but that doesn’t mean they were right about Atlantis or the motion of the solar system. Yoko Ono’s talent is Atlantis.
Unfortunately, a great artist saying, “Hey, I can make some interesting stuff with this particular brand of absurd and impossible,” is not the same thing as saying that that very same absurd is a muse for the rest of humanity.
“How could she sell the rights to make John Lennon-branded neckties?”
This is the problem. When someone doesn’t want to be something, I don’t expect them to waste energy trying to appear not to be that, but it is confusing when they spend energy on things that make them appear so. When something is indistinguishable from self-parody it’s a problem, unless the aim is self-parody. But how could something trying to be taken seriously strive for self-parody, unless it is so meta raised to the nth power that noone could ever pin it down.
From the abstract of the study on fruit and vegetables:
>>happiness and mental health rise in an approximately dose-response way with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables
>>80,000 randomly selected British individuals
Anyone who has eaten Haggis, Spotted Dick and other examples of British “cuisine” fully understands why one’s mood would improve by eating more fruits and veggies.
I had Spotted Dick once. Penicillin cleared it right up.
I totally don’t get #3
I bet he meant to link to this.
Thanks! Like Dan Weber, I was puzzled by what #3 linked to, and figured it was Tyler going Yoko Ono on us with an obscure link whose relevance was up to us to decipher.
I won’t be your Yoko Ono
Be My Yoko Ono
John Cochrane inadvertently pens resounding endorsement of Obamacare through claim that abolishing surgical licensing is the only real alternative.
Any doctor can legally perform surgery.
You either just whooshed on the fact that doctors are licensed or I mangled my Paul Samuelson on Milton Friedman allusion by implying a separate licensing for surgeons. I wonder which interpretation each of us will go for.
I went to the “doctor” and saw a nurse practicioner and got all the unnecessary tests and the requisite unnecessary prescription.
We are going to do it, we are already doing it, and when we are done most people will believe it had always been that way.
By the way, in a 19 page essay is that really all he talks about?
Devastating critique of straw man!
“I’m not arguing that we have to get rid of licensing.” – Cochrane
Schumpeter said the same thing. I love it when the old wine is put in the old bottle, because you have to be more careful than if you put it in the new bottle.
then why are vegetarians so bloody miserable?
It hurts when you cram them into those caricatured pigeonholes.
4. Are fruits and vegetables really really good for you?
If the answer were “No,” then one would have to ask what is good for you, given that sugar and (excessive quantities of) meat are already out.
It’s a tautology that excessive quantities of anything are bad for you.
Fruit = sugar.
Cochrane’s Paper was surprising to me. He didn’t devote much thought to Health Care in countries other than the US, as far as I could tell. Instead, he said things like this: “But a central principle of economics…” However interesting theories are, it’s much more useful to observe the workings of the Real World. He seems hellbent on keeping his theory whatever the world presents. Competition is fine, but we must still observe it’s workings in various circumstances. There’s no reason to assume it will always work as theorized. Cochrane does mention a few caveats, but they seem more like annoyances than realities. Why don’t people act as expected?
I’m all for Competition and a Smaller Govt, but I’m even more interested in workability. My own views begin here: http://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover-digest/article/7298 However, as Milton Friedman himself does, we have to look at the evidence of other counties. Perhaps I’m being unfair to Cochrane ( & would end up agreeing with him, but his paper won’t do it. ), but it could be that he has an inordinate respect for Principles as opposed to Experience. Following Burke, I find that a less than useful approach. Man Theorizes, the World Teaches.
#4: (Fruit and veggies are good) I cannot believe in 2012 the NBER releases a study like this. Endogeneity, anybody? Bueller? A couple of simple counter-examples: (i) I am depressed, life stinks, so I eat junk food. (ii) I am happy because I am healthy and have a good career, and can afford a lot of fruit and vegatables. Etc. C’mon people, Angrist-Krueger was 20 years ago
From items 1 & 3, I deduce that Yoko Ono has created an installation titled “Euro Piece” with stacks of notes upside and “Make Love Not Warbucks” on them translated by Malmqvist into the member-country languages.
upside-down, I meant. But Ono could mean anything she wanted.
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