Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Year in Review at Facts and Other Stubborn Things

So I see a lot of bloggers are posting their top posts, so I guess I'll do that too. The top ten, by page views, are a little surprising to me:

- Benoit Mandelbrot, 1924-2010 Oct 16, 2010 1,168 Pageviews
- On Secession Jul 24, 2010, 23 comments 581 Pageviews
- One more NFIB chart post... Sep 17, 2010, 2 comments 502 Pageviews
- Critical Rationalism Blog Apr 16, 2010, 9 comments 410 Pageviews
- Hey, at least it keeps them off the streets! Oct 6, 2010 371 Pageviews
- Murphy v. Krugman: The Blind Debating the Blind Oct 21, 2010, 5 comments 230 Pageviews
- This deserves its own post... Sep 2, 2010, 25 comments 196 Pageviews
- Daniel Klein, Progressivism, and Rights Dec 7, 2010, 20 comments 157 Pageviews
- A Good Krugman Post Oct 31, 2010 153 Pageviews
- Boardwalk Empire Sep 17, 2010 146 Pageviews

Why the simple memorial to Mandelbrot is first is beyond me. I looked up search terms that brought us up and "Mandelbrot" was very high, so I guess somehow we got caught up in a search algorithm and it directed people here. I think I posted links to my "On Secession" post on a discussion of Woods's book - that explains that. Nick Rowe and Brad DeLong both picked up my "One more NFIB chart post..." - on DeLong's blog he dubbed me a "three musketeer" along with Nick Rowe and Niklas Blanchard for my efforts taking on some odd interpretations of the NFIB business confidence data. A proud moment indeed. I know Brad picked up the "Hey, at least it keeps them off the streets" post too. DeLong, despite my occassional critiques, is a good promoter of an amateur blogger. The blog that directs the most traffic here, though, is of course Economic Thought. I have to thank Jonathan and Mattheus for a great year. In a lot of ways, this blog and their blog were co-travelers in the blogosphere. Economic Thought played the Hayek to Facts and Other Stubborn Things's Keynes (and while Hayek wins when he is given a script and put on Youtube, we all know how it worked out in real life).

My fairly critical post on the Murphy/Krugman debate was also shared on I'm not sure how the Daniel Klein post got around so much, but I'm glad it did - I enjoyed writing it, and it was only a couple weeks ago that I wrote it and it's made the top ten for 2010 (although I'm not sure how much of a feat this really is... I'm sure most page views happen within the first week of posting).

The Daniel Klein post is one of my favorites this year. Others that I particularly enjoyed are:

- Keynesianism and Consumptionism (I'm still working these ideas out for myself, but I think it's a major source of misunderstanding and I think I laid out my case fairly well).
- Me on Selgin, Lastrapes, and White (This was pretty contentious over at Cafe Hayek with Selgin himself mocking me (and then apologizing), but I really think it needed to be said. I did not find this to be a very good paper at all).
- My post on the insincerity of "taxation is theft" claims (this was one of my weakest arguments this year and I got blasted for it from all directions - but I still think it was worth writing because I think there's a kernel of an argument there and the melee helped me work through it. I'm still floundering for a full argument).
- My post tying Janos Kornai to proto-Keynesian sorts of ideas (I think I was on to something - I want to get a copy of Kornai's book but it's hard to find online).
- On the supply inelasticity of graduate school educated labor
- This post, Surprise! I agree! is one of many where I've pointed out what I've called "the presumption of ideological orthogonality", or the assumption that "because I think something, and because you're my opponent, you must oppose it". It's a really bad assumption to make.
- This post on The Empire of Liberty is another speculative post that I think hit the mark more than my critique of the "taxation is theft" post. Mattheus gave me props on it, and he's a rigorous critic.
- Alien skepticism... what I think and don't think about aliens.
- Earlier in the year I had a string of posts contrasting "calculation problems" with "incentive problems" to highlight why addressing so-called "externalities" can be tough, but is completely different from central planning. I like these ideas... I need to distill these posts into a paper of some sort.
- All my posts on 1920-21 (some about the depression, some just about the period) are here.

My New Year's resolution? Well like I said earlier, it's to not blog in the morning until I've written 250 words. It sounds silly, I know, but this will actually be a major lifestyle change for me. I spend about an hour and a half every morning before going to work looking around at other blogs and drafting my own thoughts - sometimes producing two or three posts in a morning. That's been great, but if I could actually research and write in that time it would be very, very good for me. I've got a lot of ideas stewing that need to get on paper - to say nothing of current obligations.


  1. Not mentioned are all the interesting Lovecraft posts, which I enjoyed as a Lovecraft fan.

    I like the ones where you pointed out letters which showed Lovecraft's changing politics from socialism to fascism to rejection of both. It was interesting to know that a person who I thought would be an apolitical who rejected anthropocentrism was actually quite political. I should have guessed when he said the advanced creatures in Mountains of Madness were "socialistic".

    I saw that you read Whisperer in the Darkness recently, and I also read it recently, and the story made me want to visit the rural woods of Vermont just to relive that. And yes, it may well be his best work, closely matched with Colour out of Space, Shadow out of Time, and The Rats in the Walls.

    If Lovecraft actually met Hayek, he'd find they both had much in common with each of their versions of "limitations of knowledge"!

  2. I'll add those posts in an update.

    I was very impressed with Whisperer in the Darkness. I think I read somewhere that that was somewhat based on true events - first, it references Pluto which was recently discovered, and second apparently there was an episode where a flood in Vermont turned up lots of dead bodies.

    Shadow Out of Time is one of my favorites too. The creatures here are called "socialistic" too - is this what you were thinking of? Maybe they are called that in Mountains of Madness as well - I'm embarassed to say I still haven't readt hat yet.

  3. I'll check.

    Ah, yes I found ST Joshi's notes on Shadow Out of Time. Lovecraft once said in Some Repetitions of the Times (1933) that recovery from the Great Depression would require state coordination and operation of industries, with office holding by men of high technical training. Sounds like technocracy, a very popular idea in India in the same times, where engineers and even businessmen proposed India become some rational scientific utopia of industries run by mathematical models calculated by an elite of scientific experts (Bombay Plan).

    That's two stories where he referenced to socialism as the path of advanced societies. It seems he saw "fascism" as a path or means to socialism.

  4. Yes - I'm not sure if Joshi mentions it there, but Lovecraft does mention technocracy by name. He mentions Rautenstrauch specifically in one of his essays (it might be Repetitions of the Times), although he considers him a bit eccentric.

    Lovecraft also mentions Veblen a few times, who was of course involved with the Technocracy movement too. Although he only ever cites (that I've come across) Theory of the Leisure Class, not Veblen's writings on technocracy or engineers.

  5. Thanks for the hat tips. I always give honest feedback when I feel the need to, and I try to give you a seriously objective account of Austrian methodology, conclusions, ethics, what-have-you without getting involved in the mire of simple contradiction. Anyway, I'm really glad you value my input (as we naturally value yours on ET).

    I've been so consumed with things here at home (Christmas, New Years, etc.) I haven't been able to blog much, but I promise you'll find some interest in my next works.


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