Well this blog is clearly dead.
I have every intention of setting up a new blog at some indeterminate point in the future.
In the meantime I'm @TACJ on Twitter.
Most Popular Republished and Guest Posts of 2013
2 hours ago
World-changing inventions just don’t come around all that often, and when they do it takes a long and variable time for them to become integrated enough and advanced enough to have an explosive economic effect. Steam took the better part of a century, electrification took about half that, and computers — well, we don’t really know yet. So far it’s been about 60 years and obviously computers have had a huge impact on the world. But I suspect that even if you put the potential of AI to one side, we’re barely halfway into the computer revolution yet. To a surprisingly large extent, we’re still using computers to automate stuff we’ve always done instead of actually building the world around what computers can do.
Making some cuts in national spending is necessary at present because the bond markets, which lend money to countries, tend to see nations unwilling to stop piling up ever larger structural deficits as larger credit risks (because they are), and hike interest rates on their lending accordingly. This is what is actually happening. It is the situation we are in, like it or not. No metaphors are needed to explain it.
Fiscal discipline really is necessary, unless a nation chooses to default
Not sure I agree with this.
1) As you admit, conspiracies occur. We know this because some conspiracies in the past have failed and been revealed. Some have succeeded and been revealed (Iran Contra, for example, was successful, in that some of the goals the conspirators sought to achieve were achieved and everyone involved basically got away with it). Note that 'revelation' is not the only possible failure mode for a conspiracy.
2) I observe that to a large extent society is heavily influenced by a large number of quite powerful organisations composed of individuals of various levels of public profile and accountability. This observation is consistent both with a good-faith interpretation of what the saner wing of the para-political community claim and with any number of entirely rational theories about how the world works.
3) Pace Popper, of course some things 'just happen,' but sometimes things happen because small groups of people secretly and illegally and unethically cause them to happen.
4) One doesn't have to believe the 'conspiracy theory of society' to have entirely legitimate concerns about the role and behaviour of the secret state.
Shorter: to claim that a conspiracy theory is automatically nonsense by virtue of someone describing it as a conspiracy theory is unwise.
Krugman contemptuously ridicules Paul Ryan's proposed budget because it freezes discretionary spending in the future, as if this modest fiscal restraint is insane. How is this sustainable?
Government can choose one of two options:
1) The government can reduce spending at the same time as households and businesses (which is what Ryan's plan amounts to), resulting in a fall in aggregate demand and concomitant rise in spending due to increased welfare provision and falls in tax revenue due to falls in GDP.
2) The government can borrow to increase spending, thus stimulating demand and increasing GDP, thus increasing tax revenues, allowing the government to service the debt it has incurred.
"In a private company, if you are losing money you cut until revenues meet expenses"
Clearly you have never worked in a high-tech startup.
Many businesses "lose" money for years before they start making profits. They borrow money to invest in future growth, much as the US government can borrow to invest in future growth.
Brad DeLong is ot making an epistemological point, he is simply saying that there are two kinds of people who call themselves economists:
2) People who study the economy
He does not claim that economists in sense 2) do not create theories to explain economic behaviour, he is simply claiming that there are are a large number of economists in sense 1) who create models containing assumptions that lead to those models leading to conclusions that are conducive to the desires of powerful individuals.
“ot” should be “not”, of course.
And can I confirm, Mario Rienzo, that you think that people who sincerely try to understand things about the world are “pathetic” and of the same order of moral depravity as people who deliberately try to undermine the free and fair discussion of ideas by pushing ideas that favour their own interests whilst knowing these ideas to be wrong?