Thursday, July 7, 2011

Assault of Thoughts - 7/7/2011

"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK

- Happy 4th wedding anniversary to Evan and Tricia Kuehn!

- Ryan Murphy has a good review of his thoughts on William Byers here. Ryan discusses Byers' essentialism in particular. I have discussed an EconTalk with William Byers that I enjoyed here, where I second many of Byers' claims. I was not as impressed with Russ Roberts during that episode. I wrote of him: "I find Russ's position on all this practically inscrutable. On the one hand he recognizes what scientific modeling and empirical work actually is - it's not a foundationalist attempt at some deeper truth, it's just an imperfect replication of what we see in the world to try to understand it better. Russ knows this. He talks about it in this video! So why is he so critical of modeling and empirical for not living up to a standard that they were never meant to meet? Why not accept it for what it is and what it can do? I have no idea. Russ has always deeply confused me on these points, but the discussion is still good."

- Jonathan Chait has a good post on "when conservatives loved Keynes"... and when liberals reminded conservatives that sticking to monetary policy is smarter during smaller recessions. Contrary to what some people seem to think, this is not some bizarre version of Keynesianism that Daniel Kuehn invented when he wanted to whack Bob Murphy on the head over the 1920-1921 depression. Chait writes: "Greenstein [from the liberal CBPP] is taking the sensible position that the 2001 recession seems mild enough that Keynesian tax cuts will not be needed -- by the time their stimulative effect kicks in, the economy should be growing again. Hassett, the conservative, replies that Keynesian fiscal policy during recessions works, and the only problem is that it's usually too small. And [Paul] Ryan agrees! Ryan and Hassett, of course, fiercely opposed the concept of fiscal stimulus in 2009. I don't see how you can explain progressing from that position to opposing Keynesian stimulus during a severe liquidity trap, the worst economic crisis since the depression, except as a function of pure partisanship."

- Brad DeLong discusses the liquidity trap.

- Things I'm going to try to get a chance to read in the near future:

Young, Andrew. forthcoming. The time structure of production in the US, 2002-2009. Review of Austrian Economics.

Peach, Richard, Robert Rich, and Anna Cororaton. 2011. How does slack influence inflation?. Current Issues in Economics and Finance.

Elsby, Michael, Bart Hobijn, and Aysegul Sahin. 2010. The Labor Market in the Great Recession. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

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