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"Economists think they’re good at doing that, but they’re good at doing that in the sense that they can write down a model that will help them think about it—not in terms of empirically knowing what the answers are."

I do not agree with this sentiment in the following way. The tone of the economics blogosphere does not seem to respect other economists' THINKING on matters. There is too much mud slinging because too many academics are "certain" of their findings. It seems that there are many who use their empirical findings as confirmation of pre-existing bias.

I thought academia was a place for an honest exchange of ideas. and that the blogosphere would be a natural extension of that by well educated and thinking adults.

instead, self selecting people gravitate toward their biases for an author they "agree" with.

the sentiment in the above post - i would like to think may be possible in the future - but in the present, i see the disagreements in the blogosphere as being less about honest disagreements, and more about political vitriol.

of course, Alex and Tyler are exempt from all of this. they are reasoned and respectful of differences, but i see that as the outlier.

Well I think the blogosphere IS an extension of Academia - a bunch of pompous, stuffy, individuals who haven't been out in the real world for ages and have lost all touch with reality.

whose reality are you talking about?

Fernandez is not comprehensible.

Well, it sounds like the Japanese are as doomed as the Germans -
'The Fukushima disaster has shaken the foundations of our system as it has proven all of its fundamental assumptions false. Fukushima turned Japanese citizens from believers into skeptics of the government.

Deep disappointment in the government has transformed people from apathetic bystanders to proactive citizens, creating innovative financial schemes without relying on the government and committing themselves to energy conservation and reduced dependence on nuclear energy by shifting their priorities and preferences.'

Entery conservation? Shifting priorities and preferences? Sounds like Japan is turning its back on the nuclear future.

Well, no, actually Japan is experiencing the sort of nuclear future that German Greens were predicting more than a quarter of a century ago if a reactor suffered a serious problem, like a meltdown (or meltdowns in two reactors, as is the actual confirmed case) - the entire Fukushima reactor blocks are so contaminated that there is no way to get crews into it to fix the problems in more than a short term manner - including determining where and why fission is re-occuring in the rubble, as it already has - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-01/tepco-says-nuclear-fission-possible-at-fukushima-plant-2-.html

Apocryphally, thorium was disfavored because it didn't provide nuclear bombs. Nowadays that sounds like a feature rather than a bug.

Why don't greens demand better nuclear?

Two possibilities:

1) They are too dumb.
2) They have been co-opted by the Russians to pick ways that result in more natural gas usage.

That is actually an interesting point. On the one hand, much German Green opposition to fission reactors was the bombmaking aspect - the pacifist side of the party, which was much more concerned about a global nuclear war killing hundreds of millions of people. Unfortunately, the pacifist side has declined somewhat over the years, while we continue to globally manufacture surprisingly large amounts of plutonium.

The other half of the equation concerns the entire problem of radiation/contamination (uranium is a problem for more reasons than radiation, after all), particularly in regards to storing the resulting nuclear waste. That side of the German Greens includes a fair bit of essentially superstitious fear of radiation. Though admittedly, that side of the party was the same that fairly accurately predicted what a Fukushima type non-clean up would look like. Tepco isn't cleaning any thing up yet, they are just trying to keep the situation from again spiralling out of control while containing as much damage as possible - hopefully until no one is looking, for example, in regards to just one of their many challenges -
'As a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visits Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled nuclear plant today, academics warn the company has failed to disclose the scale of radiation leaks and faces a “massive problem” with contaminated water.

The utility known as Tepco has been pumping cooling water into the three reactors that melted down after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. By May 18, almost 100,000 tons of radioactive water had leaked into basements and other areas of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant The volume of radiated water may double by the end of December and will cost 42 billion yen ($518 million) to decontaminate. according to Tepco’s estimates.

“Contaminated water is increasing and this is a massive problem,” Tetsuo Iguchi, a specialist in isotope analysis and radiation detection at Nagoya University, said by phone. “They need to find a place to store the contaminated water and they need to guarantee it won’t go into the soil.”'
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-05-27/fukushima-faces-massive-problem-from-radioactive-water.html

I think thorium reactors would split the German Greens much the same way that the realo/fundie split did in the later 1990s, when the choice was between bombing people to stop them from killing other people in Yugoslavia, and not killing other people by bombing them. (The pacifists lost, by the way - power is a seductive drug, and power seems to feel that killing is a proper expression of might.)

My, my an earthquake and tidal wave that killed thousands and wiped out enormous amounts of infrastructure is boiled down to an anti-nuclear rant? And is this really a reflection of Japanese society over the last century "Japan's infant civil society..." Infant civil society? I'm certain something is 'lost in translation'.

Why does Newt give everything five stars?

It says in his little bio: "Speaker Gingrich is an avid reader. He does not review all of the books he reads. You will not find any bad reviews here, just the books he thinks you might enjoy."

I was hoping these would be more entertaining. The only mild chuckle was this comment in response to one of his reviews: "5 reviews in one day, on Valentine's Day no less! How sad."

Well, the source of that American manufacturing article - http://breakthroughjournal.org/content/authors/vaclav-smil/the-manufacturing-of-decline.shtml - was posted in a comment here on November 2, but it is always good to see such information highlighted again.

Especially considering how many people persist in believing U.S. manufacturing hasn't changed in a generation.

#3: Smil's analysis is straight from 1980s - I'm astonished that he has somehow obtained statistical data from the 21st century.

What doe this even mean: "The per capita value of manufacturing in 2009 was higher in the United States ($5,800) than in France ($3,900), Canada ($4,200), Italy ($5,100), and China ($1,500)"?

The post from The Straddler, a journal I hadn't know about, was excellent. I was also thinking some people might be interested in this excellent book by Frank Knight : On the History and Methods of Economics: Selected essays, 1956,

I've only read 2 of the 156 books Newt Gingrich has liked enough to review. Does that say something good or something bad about me?

He reads a lot of fiction, it seems. My impression is that most people do not.

Hey, I quoted that same Raquel Fernandez bit in the comments on November 16, 2011 at 9:09 pm.

It is not a good thing for you, dear Professor, if we're appreciating alike.

3. As usual, misuse of PPP. It is only for cost of living. It is complete nonsense to measure industrial output in PPP converted currency. (Not that this is a large part of the essay, but it makes me distrust Smil.)

Good catch, that is rather bizarre.

I find it interesting how almost all of Gingrich's reviews opine things like "A historic book" or "unique achievement" or "Stunningly Brilliant." Most common -- "A remarkable book." Not sure what it means?

It means someone called him and said "Hey Newt, I need someone to quote on my book jacket. Mind skimming it?"

It's beatiful and actually is exactly as it looks on the website photos,I'm very glad on it!

The most shocking, but underemphasized, fact about global manufacturing is that Germany’s share of global merchandise exports is actually higher than America’s (9 percent vs. 8.5 percent in 2009), despite having an economy just one-quarter of the size.

This is only shocking until you look at a map and their respective currency situations.

So the U.S. has a domestic market and Germany doesn't. This is a problem? Some people have a problem determining what is relevant so they just throw a bunch of shit at the wall and then highlight whatever seems to support their bias.

This person has much better reviews than Gingrich:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A1T90KQC71AE5I/ref=cm_pdp_rev_more?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview#RNN2JM5K097EH

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