by Tyler Cowen
on April 3, 2014 at 12:44 pm
1. A good post on Michael Lewis and HFT.
2. MBA for scions of Chinese billionaires?
3. Greg Clark on names.
4. A language in its infancy? Is that even a meaningful concept?
5. Interesting review of *Cubed*, a new book on the history of the office.
6. How artists work. And profile of Eugene Volokh.
#4, one of the staples of 2 am dorm room philosophy is the realization that we each speak a unique language. No two people have the exact same vocabulary, use the exact same idioms, or even use punctuation the same way. Woah, man.
There’s already a word for that. Ideolect.
Also, from #3:
“So now, the super-elites in the US are Coptic Christians; Indian Hindus; Iranian Muslims; Maronites. And when you look across those groups, what you see is – culturally – an incredible diversity. The only groups that are not represented now in the modern US elites are protestant Anglo-Saxons. (Laughs.)”
Not to go all Steve Sailer here, and I’m certainly no apologist for Protestant Anglo-saxons, but that “laughs” is pretty amazing.
Read “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
The movie left out it’s central theme – an all-consuming, almost comically inflated hatred of the old WASP establishment.
To be fair: Protestants are to blame for most of the world’s ills during the last 500 years.
No, Atheists are. I’d put Mao and Stalin as frontrunners.
Greg Clarke could follow up his book or male surnames through history(“The Son Also Rises”) with the more difficult task with maiden names. He could call it “For Whom the Belles Toll.”
“on” not “or”
#1 Quite a long comment given that is starts off saying he hasn’t ready the book…
I guess Streetwise Professor has such strong priors that he doesn’t have to read the book … Why bother if your mind is already made up?
Lewis’ book has already received massive coverage and publicity, and his arguments are well known. The book is primarily a human interest story that relies on a certain conceptual narrative of HFT to make the story compelling. Whatever “evidence” Lewis is proffering isn’t anything new or unknown to people familiar with the issue, it’s simply a set of personal anecdotes. Against that are numbers comprehensive academic and industry research that have carefully examined the issue from a scientific basis. While not all of this research offers a uncritically positive view of HFT, the fact is no respectable research has corroborated anything like the narrative (“Ordinary investors are getting ripped off to the tunes of hundreds of billions! HFT makes the stock market completely rigged, avoid it at all costs!”) that Lewis has blatantly publicized to hype his book.
Your interests would be wildly in favor of HFT regardless of your much vaunted scientific evidence. I admire the honesty of your handle.
Assuming his handle is accurate (which there is no reason to doubt) it’s not obvious what his personal interest would be.
Perhaps he works for one of the older, larger firms. Then if new legislation comes in, his firm could lobby so that it to blocks the competition while leaving themselves a niche. That’s just one possible way an HFT trader can benefit from political pressure against his industry. There are others.
And the “heroes” of Flash Boys are a group of people trying to sell a technology inferior predicated on scaring potential clients about “predatory” high-frequency trading. Are not their interest wildly opposed to HFT?
Furthermore the protagonist of the story, lost the ability to the edge to trade profitably in the modern market. That’s why he left the trading world to try to sell an exchange. Would you really want to take football advice from a coach who couldn’t make the playoffs?
At least he’s not hiding his interests.
OTOH, irrespective of where *your* interests lie, do you have a substantive argument? Let’s see it.
Michael Lewis has really scraped the bottom of the barrel.
The protagonist brings to mind the floor traders who could not adjust to an electronic world. They were constantly bemoaning the evils of computers, heavily and hilariously anthropomorphizing the machines. The computers were screwing them. They should be illegal! Meanwhile, they had no problem with the shenanigans the floor crowds were engaging in that lined their own pockets at the expense of their customers, chief among them the small retail investor. Small investors apparently have no idea how much better off they are today than at any time in the past and they’re willing to swallow any sludge that allows them to believe that this advantaged situation they find themselves in is actually hurting them.
‘Is that even a meaningful concept?’
Well, it beats the idea of language emerging full grown from one’s head, like Athena from Zeus.
Did the speakers of Proto Indo-European know that they were speaking a “proto” language? In those days, it not proto-language; it was a mature language which no doubt had various relatives both close and distant.
But yes languages can be in their infancy in a well defined sense. There is a tale of a sign language that evolved over a few generations inside a home for the deaf. By the end, there was the full panapoly of grammar etc; but the first generation just had a basic vocabulary. That first generation was certainly “a language in its infancy”.
I got a Linguistics degree a long time ago, but that article’s claim that it’s not a creole doesn’t seem to be supported by the few facts they give us. The one sentence looks just like the product of a creole. I was taught that in a creole situation, there is a host language and an intrusive language (Warlpiri and English in this case). Many words are borrowed from the intrusive language and adjusted phonologically to fit the host language. The grammar is a stripped-down, regularized version of the host-language (and if Bickerton is right, stripped in the direction of the human proto-language rather than in the direction of the intrusive language).
But ‘just another creole’ doesn’t garner fame or sell papers.
Maybe # 1 has not read the book but he gives a very good perspective that should be very useful to anyone getting ready to read the book.
#1…I agree. I thought the Streetwise Professor post was very helpful. However, I need to finish Piketty before getting to Lewis.
#3. ” But, of course, one of the interesting things about doing social sciences is that it’s so closely related to our thinking about how we should order the world that we live in.”
Is this order in the descriptive or proscriptive sense?
” And so, actually I have drawn great comfort from the idea that even in economics we will sometimes find powerful and simple regularities that make interesting and surprising predictions. Testable predictions, as well. So, actually I draw a lot of comfort from that. And I think, in the end, there will be no distinction between physical science and social science….”
Glad that he’s drawing a lot of comfort from something of which he’ll never see the fruition.
The language is now so well established among young people that there is some question about the survival of strong Warlpiri. “How long the kids will keep multilingualism, I don’t know,” Dr. O’Shannessy said. “The elders would like to preserve Warlpiri, but I’m not sure it will be. Light Warlpiri seems quite robust.”
On a 100 year time horizon, I doubt either will survive.
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