Assorted links


The truth about Zora Neale Hurston: It's not clever to spell words the way someone speaks them.

Really, it's not. Get over yourselves already.

Wouldn't it be more apt to say that Sichuan Pavilion makes Hong Kong Palace look like Panda Express?

Can't wait to check it out.

#3: A very biased article. Stiglitz as a leading opponent of "free-market zeal"? Maybe in the mainstream of the top six faculties, but hardly anywhere else. Was George Akerlof really being marginalised when he was President of the AEA?

@ Silas Barta

I suppose you would equally pan the works of Mark Twain, DH Lawrence and other noteworhty authors known for their authentic use of dialect fiction. Or do you just have something against blacks, conservatives or both?

From the Soros-y link:"Economics has failed not only to predict and explain what happened but has also failed to protect society," says Robert Johnson, a former managing director at Soros Fund Management, who will direct the new institute. "That's what the crisis revealed. The paradigm has failed. There is no guidance."

He evidently confuses government policy and control mechanisms with economics.

Or is he just going to completely ignore the State's role? Mae and Mac? Anyone?

The job of economics is to explain and model how human beings interact to solve scarcity problems... not to "protect society" or "guide" people in some moral sense. It's a useful tool for the latter, if one cares about guidance and protection based on how people act and the effects of those actions... but economics no more "failed" because nobody understood how CDO repackaging worked well enough to risk-asses it, than economics "failed" because the State thought it could demand outcomes without side-effects.

I think Soros confuses that he has a genuine insight with the idea that he can simply tweak academia a bit and everyone's light bulb will turn on.

I don't think he would comprehend that the entire system could let slip this kind of research error.

"Jackson’s findings showed that outside of flu season, the baseline risk of death among people who did not get vaccinated was approximately 60 percent higher than among those who did, lending support to the hypothesis that on average, healthy people chose to get the vaccine, while the “frail elderly† didn’t or couldn’t. In fact, the healthy-user effect explained the entire benefit that other researchers were attributing to flu vaccine, suggesting that the vaccine itself might not reduce mortality at all. Jackson’s papers “are beautiful,† says Lone Simonsen, who is a professor of global health at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., and an internationally recognized expert in influenza and vaccine epidemiology. “They are classic studies in epidemiology, they are so carefully done.†"


And so, is China Star also somewhere between Burger King and Panda Express?

a goddamn communist,

You'll like this (or maybe not):

Tyler's linking to Yglesias is very subversive. He tends to praise Yglesias, but the linked-to posts are invariably silly. So Tyler is trying to undermine him.

An incredibly stupid article. I am amazed Tyler is plugging it. Is the role of economics, or any science, to protect society? Why do we need a "new concept of the proper role of government and regulation in the economy"? What, has somebody proved First Theorem Of Welfare Economics flawed last week? Stupid economic policies led to predictable bad economic outcomes and for this we should have a new economics paradigm, with rules and a roadmap no less? That's like saying we should rethink our whole view of the physics science because of these two pilots who fell asleep and missed their destination.

But Soros' idea is not entirely bad. Money is fungible. Stiglitz applying for more grants from the Institute for New Economic Planning means Stiglitz applying for fewer grants from NBER, which means more "free-market fundamentalists" getting grants from NBER. Sure, the Institute will produce crap. But we'll all know it is crap and we will laugh our asses off when we hear it all the way to the bank where we cash our NBER grant checks.

What I don't get is this: Soros is a practitioner, not a theorist. Instead of throwing 50 millions nudging economists to study how to remake the US economic system, why not double that, buy a whole country like Cuba, and remake the economy anyway he wants it? Exhibit 1: Cubans are already used to taking order from megalomaniac idiots. And unlike the Newsweek piece I have Exhibit 2 too: the state Cuba is now, any change is likely to have positive results.

Oh, and importantly, the Austrians have an actual hypothesis, credit cycle, debt burden, malinvestment, all that good stuff. Fundamentals.

It seems to me like the people similar to Soros main hypothesis centers around sentiment. Sentiment can always get better or worse and it's somewhat unpredictable. That is one reason everyone was fooled this time.

It seems pretty clear that the fundamentals precipitated the crisis.

Sigivald and Bushequalhitler raise a point worthy of some discussion. They claim that it is not the job of economics to protect society. Part of me agrees, but I wonder if this isn't a crucial matter for debate. Dare we tell the world this? I wonder how policymakers and the public would view our discipline if we told them it was not our job to protect society. Further, perhaps we should ask them if that is our job. What if they thought it was our job?

I don't want to reduce this issue to superficiality and rhetoric. I was trained as an economist and I understand the differences between tools, understanding, and their uses. But I have trouble with the notion that economimsts are above the fray, just objective modelers that provide theories and tools for others to use as they wish. Sometimes I wish we actually felt some obligation to "protect" society. Frankly, I think the reality is that we are not above the fray and any economic analysis attempts to "protect" society in some sense of that word - it is just that what some people are protecting differs from what others would protect. Fostering economic efficiency is one notion of protecting society and it is debateable. I think economics is the only social science that refuses to admit that we have opinions and that they color our analyses.

Why should blacks have been fans of the New Deal? Historian Ira Katznelson has written a book, When Affirmative Action Was White, documenting how the New Deal (and Truman’s Fair Deal) were implemented in racist ways that benefited whites at the expense of blacks, actually widening the gap between blacks and whites.

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