Saturday, February 11, 2012

Assault of Thoughts - 2/11/2012

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

- Jeff Sachs calls Krugman a Crude Keynesian (HT - Ryan Murphy). I'm not quite sure about this. It wasn't that long ago at all that Krugman was talking a lot about unsustainable debt and I see no reason to think he's given up those concerns. What he says regularly is that the biggest drag on the debt is the continuing depression. Sachs may not agree with that logic and the priorities that it implies, but it's not immediately clear to me why that disagreement makes Krugman care less about the long-term debt than Sachs. My own debt concern revolves more around entitlements and tax reform than anything having to do with Keynesian policies. If either of those came up as an even remotely realistic possibility I'd be fully on board, but that seems unlikely.

- I've been busy this last week, so I haven't kept up with the blogosphere (and will be very busy for the next week), but I did want to bring attention to this post by stickman. His point is that scientists - climatologists and economists - are, contrary to the claims of some, not generally the ideologues in the climate science debate. Both are quite up front about what they can and cannot prove and admitting that outcomes are going to be various. One of the emphases of the video he shares is that climatology is a systems science (economics is too) and thus precise prediction is hard.

- Jonathan Catalan also responds to my post on externalities and free market economics.

- A post from a couple months ago by Andrew Bossie on the relationship between the G.I. Bill and the post-war non-depression. This is one of those things I really wish I had time to dig into more now, but I just have too much on my plate.

On to econometrics homework!


  1. the relationship between the G.I. Bill and the post-war non-depression

    Dan, focus on the GI bill and you will miss the big picture.

    what you should focus on was how incredibly productive those 20 million returning GIs had become while serving. Your forget that the War for the US was about supply, logistics, and machines of all shapes and sizes. Stop and consider that to most GIs, the war was 4 years of intensive education.

    One example. In 1946 my hometown had no jobs. It was suggested that a factory be built, to be free to a business that would locate there. The idea was accepted and the city gave a piece of ground. In "record time," the factory was built by all the unemployed GIs, sailors, etc., with materials salvaged from everywhere, with "no supervision," no plans, specs, etc.

    They had built so much for Uncle Sam everywhere that they knew how to build a factory.

    Before the end of 1946 the factory was making shoes and did for about 50 years.

    IOW, you don't remotely know enough about reality to be making the judgments and assumptions you are making.

    1. "IOW, you don't remotely know enough about reality to be making the judgments and assumptions you are making."

      Dude - chill out. I'm simply sharing a link that notes that putting a bunch of prime age males in school is going to be relevant for thinking about the unemployment rate.

    2. Daniel

      Forgive me for repeating myself, you don't remotely know enough about reality to be making the judgments and assumptions you are making.

      Economic success, long run, has nothing, really, to do with macro, etc.

      It is about the skills of people, their morale, motivation, and available resources

      We have destroyed this country by disregarding these fundamental economic principles. Your flirt with libertarians, idiots like Sachs, the Very Serious People, etc.

      you don't get it. you will spend your entire lifetime failing away a stuff that will accomplish nothing, at best, but most likely leaving the world a far worse place

      Krugman and Delong get it. They understand the urgency. You don't

    3. How do people come up with the stuff they write?

  2. Before the complaining gets out of hand here and I can't keep up:

    First, that post is just a very very simple thought experiment/counter factual and I will be very quick to disavow it for methodological reasons.

    Second, I brought that to Dan's attention to illustrate the fact that the "Keynsians were wrong about reconversion" story--if it is even true--is subject to the Lucas Critique. The GI Bill is one aspect of trying to prevent the depression becuase people were worried about a depression.

    Third, not sure what Anon is complaining about here since his example is an illustration of a public policy decision to prevent unemployment.

    1. what I am complaining about is that macro is the tail of the dog. what matters more are the skills of people, their morale, motivation, and available resources. No model has a clue about this trump factors.

  3. Speaking of Vulgar Keynesian, you may enjoy this "Paul Krugman vs. The World" graphic Daniel:

  4. Post your econometrics homework!


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