Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

links for 2010-07-09

  • It is that the Nobel Prize confers on an individual an authority which in economics no man ought to possess.

    This does not matter in the natural sciences. Here the influence exercised by an individual is chiefly an influence on his fellow experts; and they will soon cut him down to size if he exceeds his competence.

    But the influence of the economist that mainly matters is an influence over laymen: politicians, journalists, civil servants and the public generally.

    There is no reason why a man who has made a distinctive contribution to economic science should be omnicompetent on all problems of society – as the press tends to treat him till in the end he may himself be persuaded to believe.

  • "This brings me to the crucial issue. Unlike the position that exists in the physical sciences, in economics and other disciplines that deal with essentially complex phenomena, the aspects of the events to be accounted for about which we can get quantitative data are necessarily limited and may not include the important ones. While in the physical sciences it is generally assumed, probably with good reason, that any important factor which determines the observed events will itself be directly observable and measurable, in the study of such complex phenomena as the market, which depend on the actions of many individuals, all the circumstances which will determine the outcome of a process, for reasons which I shall explain later, will hardly ever be fully known or measurable."
  • As we close on another week replete with ugly economic data and the usual bizarro counterintuitive market, here is a summary of the 50 most underreported facts about the state of the US economy, courtesy of the Coto report. After reading these it almost makes sense that the market has become completely desensitized to the sad reality now pervasive in this country. Readers are encouraged to add their own observations to this list. Surely if the list is doubled, the market will go up to 72,000 instead of just 36,000.
    (tags: economics)
  • Brahm says more testing will be done to try to find out where the tar balls came from. He says it may be from another leak or naturally occurring seepages from the seabed.
  • If you think Boeing's showing up a lot, you're getting the point. Last year, Ex-Im dedicated 64 percent of loans and long-term guarantees to subsidize Boeing sales. Yes, this federal agency exists mostly to subsidize one corporation.
  • I'm going to pimp my own post here. I've been meaning to write this for a long time, a simple explanation of the current crisis, with a minimum of ideological fist-pumping. Not particularly worried about agreement or disagreement here, but if any fellow travelers see me misstating something obvious, please let me know.
  • The debt crisis may force changes in our economy, but no real wealth has been destroyed. Our homes are still full of stuff and the buildings are still standing. We may be struggling to find jobs, but we’re still smart, healthy and ready to work.

Written by Michael B. Duff

July 9, 2010 at 23:01

Posted in Uncategorized

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