Comments: Understanding Economists


Well, "A Search Cost Model of Obfuscation" seems to come close.

Posted by empty at March 29, 2009 11:56 PM

Nah. He's talking about "WalCo sells Sturgeon brand peanuts marked in cents per pound, while it sells Wormwood brand peanuts marked in renminbi-furlongs per Joule, so that I won't be able to compare their prices easily", rather than, "WalCo traded in obscure asset packages that I couldn't understand with ten slide rules and a few hundred hours alone with Matlab, so that I have to take their word for it that the stuff is valuable."

Posted by saurabh at March 30, 2009 02:51 AM

So what explains Dean Baker and the Galbraith family? Clearly there's a flaw somewhere in the matrix.

BTW, here's a fun quote from Rubin:


At Treasury, Geithner often cast the deciding vote between Rubin and Summers, who was Rubin's deputy through much of the Clinton era. Summers was a restless type, prone to intervening aggressively if there was a chance it could succeed. Rubin, on the other hand, deferred decisions as long as possible and erred on the side of caution even then. As Summers once explained to The New York Times, Rubin believed "that there is something worse than Country X going down, which is Country X going down and taking our credibility and $10 billion of our money with it."

Posted by Carl at March 30, 2009 03:34 AM

Mencken is a Dude of history with whom I feel kinship.

Posted by Cloud at March 30, 2009 11:07 AM

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.
--H.l. Mencken

I'll start with Summers, then Rubin, then Gramm. If I'm still standing, then Roberts, Alito, and Scalia had better seek cover...

Posted by Woody at March 30, 2009 01:43 PM

Have you ever noticed that a dollar symbol represents the intersection of two waves?

It sure would be mighty advantageous to have knowledge of the real science behind economics while the general population has bullshit like Keynes, or what they get on cable news.

Posted by tim at March 30, 2009 04:58 PM

It sure would be mighty advantageous to have knowledge of the real science behind economics

Included within the following brackets, for your edification, is the real science behind economics.

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Thank you for your time.

Posted by RobWeaver at March 30, 2009 07:50 PM

off topic, but related to recent discussions - this is the words to a song I heard on Democracy Now today (I'm sure you will catch the tune):

But it’s an old song,
I had to change it,
Times ain’t want they used to be…..

As I went walking that super highway
Below the gray haze and city skyway
I was arrested for hitchhiking on the freeway
They said it don’t belong to me….

No, it ain’t your land,
And it ain’t my land,
Could be a rich land,
But it’s a poor land,
Because of the few that hold it in their tight-griped hands,
So it don’t belong to you or me!


When I was younger and in my schoolin,
I learned and followed by all the rule ‘ins,
I never dreamed they were only foolin’
How could my teachers lie to me?

Posted by Susan at March 30, 2009 08:54 PM

Susan, rewriting Woody Guthrie is always a mistake. I don't know if he'd read those lyrics and hang his head in despair or laugh, but the person who wrote that just isn't ready for the other side of the sign yet.

Posted by will shetterly at March 30, 2009 10:38 PM

Agreed, Will. The writer of those lyrics seems to think that there was ever a time when times where what they used to be. Person should read, say, The Grapes of Wrath.

Posted by Duncan at March 31, 2009 10:47 AM
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. --H.l. Mencken

I'll start with Summers, then Rubin, then Gramm. If I'm still standing, then Roberts, Alito, and Scalia had better seek cover...

I thought we were previously reprimanded on these very threads when the discussion turned to "lining up the motherf*ckers and setting to auto"?

Posted by Angryman@24:10 at March 31, 2009 11:58 AM

1) Just because economics talks about monetary units to the Nth decimal place doesn't mean it is a science.

2) The operative word is "tempted". Ever read literature in a writing style called poetry?

Posted by doubtingthomas at April 2, 2009 12:39 AM