Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dredd Blog and other notes

Sorry to those commenters who haven't gotten any response from me.  I'm just barely learning the ropes of this blogger thing, which they keep changing.

Now I'm having trouble figuring out how to add new links to my sidebar.  I've enjoyed so many blogs recently I need to add at least a few more.

One great one is Dredd Blog.  Here's a great post on Plutonomy

Here is the website home

Somewhat less radical (and therefore possibly more useful) is Lawyers, Guns, and Money.

Here's one of their posts comparing Lincoln and Obama, and basically arguing that both are pragmatists and not idealists.

The local liberal newsweekly has an article on Project Censored 2012.

The MoneyIllusion looks interesting, but I haven't read it closely enough to make a full judgement on Scott Sumner's blog.  It reminds me a bit, but only a bit, of the fabulous Interfluidity blog by Steve Randy Waldman.  However MoneyIllusion looks mainly quasi contrarian nuts-and-bolts, whereas Interfluidity is more the deep thinking.  Sumner also seems to be a fan of economic management through creative monetary policy, such as NGDP targeting.  I tend toward fiscal policy, and in that I tend toward direct spending, and in that I tend toward direct government employment.  Taking a quick look, I see that Sumner doesn't include Interfluidity on his has can't be that good.  How's that for snap judgement.  But he does include Hawtreyblog.  Sumner has recently posted, without any explanation whatever, a skeleton takedown of Krugman.  I think I could have posted what he did and expanded it to defend Krugman.  I may have found out about this blog because of a favorable mention by Krugman.  Or maybe it was DeLong, who would be more intellectually compatible.  Still, if I can stand DeLong, I should be able to stand Sumner.

Here's a collection of works by Henry A. Wallace, FDR's last VP before Truman.  Wallace was the most radical of New Dealers in the FDR administration, and had started as Agriculture Secretary.  It was a great shame we didn't get him as President after Roosevelt.

I'm not endorsing The Fiscal Times (because I really don't know much about it, though that hasn't stopped me from denouncing sites in the past...speaking of which, I'm actually very worried that TFT is a TaxCutHawk BudgetArsonist site with Norquist leanings, funded by notorious EntitlementCutHawk Pete Peterson, but so far I haven't found the ABOUT page, so I can't be sure, but why oh why do I see ads for Tea Party Patriots when I visit the site...maybe even Peterson is too liberal for this site...oh wait, Wikipedia lays it out, indeed, TFT was founded by Peterson, though he was only the "initial" funder, wow, I must be psychic or something.)

So, given my unsupported misgivings about the site, I was surprised to see Mark Thoma, a nice guy and host of Economists View (a remarkably heterodox site for such a name) and he wrote this great oped on the failure of Supply Side Economics.

Dean Baker shows how the deficits are almost entirely due to the recession, and asks why the Washington Post is so fixated on cutting Social Security.

Robert Reich gives us his quick version of understanding the Fiscal Cliff, and why we should not worry about it: no deal is better than a bad deal.

Economists View seconds Kevin Drum's blogpost that the Social Security Trust Fund is not a fiction.

RealClimate is another blog I should have on my blogroll (in addition to Climate Progress).  Here's a great can't assume sea level rise is a quadratic, so don't try to fit a quadratic.  ClimateProgress is a great news and information site, but RealClimate is real climate science discussed by real climate scientists, and it gets very very technical (what would you expect?).

My respect for Brad DeLong fluctuates, but when he does a great post like this on plutocracy, with an even greater comment section, my reaction is grateful awe.

Chomsky takes on fallacies in Artificial Intelligence, with a fairly profound discussion of what scientific theories are supposed to be like (e.g., not a 100x100 correlation matrix).  Scientific theories are all about the narrative, the explanation, and not just lots of correlations.  The correlations can help back up claims, but do not in and of themselves represent a theory.  This article is important because of things I'm interested in as well as the actual science work I do for a living, and I think this helped me understand all these things better.

Fatas and Mihov look like good people I should be reading more often.  Top notch economics with a heart.

Andrew Gelman seems to be interested in statistical modeling.  But that's all I can say now.  Oh, wait, one of his things is defending Bayesian models.  This looks very interesting and I wish I had 5 extra hours today.  Here's a nice little intro to Bayesian probabilities.

Brad DeLong reposted a blogpost written by Miles Kimball, "Is Taxing Capital OK?"  This generated some very interesting comments, such as Troy's comment:

But the portion of these profits that come solely from the monetization of inherent "natural" monopoly -- of ground rents, extraction of 'ab initio' natural resources, and other physically limited opportunities like EM spectrum licenses -- is the species of income that can and should bear the most tax in our system.
EconomistsView reposted some words from Paul Volker about the importance of effective government.  Very interesting discussion in comments, mostly about Volker himself, and his actual impact as one of the creators of the current Bubble Economy. Also questioning of the conventional wisdom that Arthur Burns kicked off the inflation of the 1970's which Volker ultimately "fixed" (possibly to our detriment, unless we are banks).

The Twinkie Manifesto by Krugman is good and also has some interesting comments.  One commenter points out that some of the bargaining power of people in the 1950's was helped by low 3% unemployment, and also the Full Employment Act of 1946, ammended in 1978, which aimed specifically at 3% unemployment.  Economists have done a great disservice by promoting the ficticious and slippery NAIRU which says we can't have low unemployment.

Noah Smith has some comments about Bob Lucas.  He's very critical, and yet not entirely critical.  Some say he puts Lucas at the center of his political economic universe (i.e., the center to which he is the left of).  In that case, Noah Smith's blog is about as far right as I care to go, I think now.

Macroresiliance got a nod from Krugman this week, and it's a very interesting site, unusually applying ideas from the science of biological ecology (as distinguished from the advocacy of ecology...though people who understand the science do tend to become advocates) to economics.  I find it utterly convincing, which then makes me wonder if I should be convinced.  Beyond the ecology, one does also feel an influence of Chinese philosopy (another of the author's interests, though he doesn't seem to be Chinese) and Minsky (one of the greats of Economics, but barely recognized before the current crisis).  I don't know how a priori this is, but surely if you're going to have a theoretical framework that's a priori applicable to Economics, it seems to me Ecology is the natural starting place, not the gas laws used by Neoclassical economics (neoclassical economics is based on the physics of gasses, maybe that's why it's so full of gasbags like Robert Lucas, the Chicago nobelist who says unemployment is voluntary vacation).

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