Friday, April 22, 2011

Find the pet peeve

There are a few pet peeves I harp on here on a semi-regular basis. Let's try a few:

1. Find the empirical problem I would point out with this study by Palmer and Schloss on color preference.

2. Find the history of thought problem with this article by Don Boudreaux on Keynesianism.

3. Find the theoretical problem with this blog post by Steve Landsburg about taxes (not one I've seen DeLong or Krugman talk about... I'm somewhat amazed this post has been so controversial and I think the issues that most people have raised are fairly semantic).

Each case that I'm thinking about is an issue I've talked about on here before (although perhaps in another context).


  1. 2) Keynes was much more worried about drops in investment spending than in consumption?

  2. And there are a couple there, Gene. First - definitely my "Keynesianism is not consumptionism" workhorse. But what amazes me about Don's post is that he's not even talking about the amount of consumption. That could conceivably be relevant to Keynesianism, although it's not the primary emphasis. But Don doesn't talk about that. He only talks about consumption as a share of GDP, and that has nothing to do with Keynesianism. Who cares whether consumption makes up 70 percent or 60 percent or 50 percent?

    It's certainly a goofy thing to mention, and I suppose Don is right insofar as he also points out that it's a goofy thing to worry about. I'm just not clear on what he thinks it has to do with Keynes.

  3. Asking us to do your homework again? ;)

  4. To be fair, Don is careful to attribute this "naive Keynesianism" mostly to "reporters, pundits, and politicians." Nowhere does he actually say what Keynes himself believed. Don also implies that Keynesians in academia usually reject or qualify these views.

    While I share the same basic frustration with "naive Keynesianism", I do not think Don makes the argument very well.

  5. My pet peeve is people who say "the Fed is printing money out of thin air." It's annoying, because they actually print money out of special paper and ink.

  6. Yea, all money -- by their definition -- is created out of 'thin air'. Or, does mining gold somehow make the effect different than printing it?

  7. Catalan,

    The thinking is that while gold may be a subjective physical product on which to base money, it is difficult to inflate its value - or something like that. But that was simply untrue in the 19th century - governments figured out all sorts of ways to inflate its value and avoid the "natural checks" on such.


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