Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Sonic Charmer does his best to help Matt Yglesias understand the ultimate in economic models, which is Model Zero: reality. Yglesias is upset with the final sign-off from “A Short Lesson About the History of US Employment”, which is
Once again, we are not as wealthy as we thought we were. And there really is a significant structural component behind today’s sluggish labor market.
…leading to higher unemployment.
Paraphrasing Yglesias’ response: Yes, it’s all true, we’re not as wealthy as we thought and yes, the labor market is sluggish, but…blah blah blah demand-side blah blah blah reserve wage blah blah blah shouldn’t be happening blah blah blah China.
Imagine a reverse situation. A town full of working-class people sees its unemployment rate suddenly shoot up from 11 percent to 27 percent. Concurrently, it turns out that the town’s residents were much wealthier than they thought they were—each one of them actually had a check for $1 million sitting in their pockets. We might say it’s pretty clear what’s happened here. These folks are wealthier than they thought they were so they raised their reserve wage. But then suppose it turns out the checks were fraudulent and they all bounce. The reserve wage should fall and joblessness should decline. That it seems to me is the supply-side story about the relationship between wealth and employment.
It’s certainly not systematically true that richer countries have low unemployment rates—if that were right the United States would have less unemployment than Germany, and Chinese unemployment would be through the roof.
Giddyap, reality; whoa, reality. You shouldn’t be headed that way, go here instead. Scott Summers agrees with every word, evidently with some enthusiasm…and I’m not sure how, let alone why. It’s like applauding Phlogiston theory, is it not?
It seems there are two things going on here. One, this notion of “sticky” wages, which I understand to mean a negotiated price for labor that is resistant to change, for whatever reason, therefore it can have a disruptive effect on the supply/demand signals communicated within a free market. Seems to me to be a simple concept: The compensation is frozen, or “stuck,” but the commitment is not, thus the entire deal becomes a take-it-or-leave-it. Firm price, no haggling, do you want it or not? So, not. That’s what I’m getting out of Sonic’s ten-step “help” for Mr. Yglesias. And the other thing is: Reality is upsetting the theory, so out comes the blah blah blah, and the reality must yield. Why, how dare it.
It’s a form of Red Dot Science, these left-wing liberal economics. Let’s all just close our eyes and wish with all our might, as hard as we can. We can beat this sluggish employment!
Perhaps the better, more descriptive term is “educated beyond one’s hat size”…
I like to say that people who are, while educated, lacking in real wisdom, are educated beyond their hat size. What I mean is that they do not possess the ability to apply their education to the real world. They are, at times, lacking common sense, and do not, apparently have the capacity to accept simple truths. These people are too enamored with nuance. I have worked with such people. Yes they are intelligent, well educated, but they can never seem to grasp that the solution to a problem, or the answer to a question might be the simplest one available. Maybe to them, simple always equals stupid. Their addiction to over thinking and over analyzing everything prevents them from accepting that some things just are what they are.
This is not to say, of course, that every answer or solution is simple, but often times they are. Our Founders had great wisdom. Yes, they were thinkers, that IS part of being wise. But wisdom also comes from accepting simple truths. Truths that are self-evident. Truths like we are created with certain rights, and simple truths like people are best left to do for themselves in most situations.
The entire science of economics seems to be educated beyond its own hat size, at least the kind practiced by Yglesias & friends. When the people educated in the theory struggle to reconcile it with the reality that has just dealt it a blow, and the people not so versed in the theory (or who don’t give a rip about it) are left on the sidelines, like me, going “Yeah, that’s what I’d expect to see happen, what’s the problem?” then the theory is not only ripe for a re-think, but it’s getting in the way. Yeah, less wealth, lots of people less wealthy, wealth has to do with the ability to afford something — so there’s less affordin’ goin’ on. Uh, like duh…so now, you’ve got some economic theory that says it shouldn’t be happening? Well, go off in your garage and twiddle with that there, Sparky.
It seems there is a blind spot with regard to the “free” in free-market. This is the dangerous thing about red-dot science; this notion of “If I wish for it hard enough, it will happen that way” contaminates not only the unified, big conclusion to be drawn about something, but the finer, more detailed conclusions as well, like transactions within the market. What’s truly worrisome is the realization that the explanation is immediately available to anyone experienced in buying things. What can stop the sale from being made? Lack of money is only the first of many things; once you have the money, or credit, there is a level of need to be evaluated. The proposal may involve an expenditure that is low, and therefore affordable, but if there is some alternative available then there will be a path-of-least-resistance factor. The liquidity of the cash reserves is an asset, just like any other, so that may factor in. And last but not least, there is consumer confidence.
The science of economics being evolved and refined as it is, it takes all this stuff into account. But these fine educated minds drawing their conclusions about will happen, don’t necessarily weigh it all correctly — it is, when all’s said & done, a science dedicated to predicting what total strangers will decide to do. Therefore, there will always be doubt in this particular scientific discipline. It’s not like astronomy, or history, in which there is some precise truth to be measured and the thing being refined is our measurement of it; economic theory either takes all the meaningful variables into account, or else it does not, and if it does not then it’s worth about as much as that wet paper filter I have to go change out of the coffee pot in the kitchen just now, and maybe the used coffee grounds within it.
And when reality steps in to let them know they biffed it, which should mean something…it is reality that must yield, say they.
People educated beyond their hat size scare me, especially when they turn their enthused scrutiny and loud opinion-making toward economic matters. It tends to emerge that they have this weird vision of employment: Good things come after it, but the employment itself, in turn, comes after bad things, so if we want more of this employment we have to make bad things happen, like Godzilla wrecking an entire city or something. The excessive “super-practical” education, if you will, seems to interfere with envisioning employment as what it really is, which is services activity associated with an ownership entity attempting to fulfill some kind of a mission…the mission being either obligatory, as is often the case in the public sector, or creation of wealth (and/or hedging against the loss of said wealth) as is generally the case in the private sector. There’s something in the over-educated mindset, that they just can’t see it that way.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.