the visible hand

it is the theory which decides what can be observed – einstein

economics and annoying smart guys

Posted by ecoshift on September 30, 2008

Check this out.  Very, very funny.  Very, very true.

You gotta see it.


10 Responses to “economics and annoying smart guys”

  1. Heraldo said


  2. gulo gordo said

    wonderful. thanks for that.

    implicitly, it’s an antidote to the compilation of Palin’s interview trainwrecks they posted at TPM.

    I think the author’s right, too, to the extent he’s saying to Obama’s campaign that it’s okay to let the guy be his professorial self — flip the diminishing, ‘elitist’ attack by reminding voters this guy was in honest fact the unlikely Editor of the goddamn Harvard Law Review, that he is smarter than hell and, even if we do want to find that annoying, we’re in a big freakin mess and a really smart guy is just what we need right now.

    Excellence trumps experience when the past gives no guide.

    I smell blowout.

  3. ecoshift said

    Portrayal Of Obama As Elitist Hailed As Step Forward For African Americans | The Onion

  4. Don D said

    We tried stupid. It didn’t work.

  5. masteroftheuniverse said

    That was a pretty funny video, and so true.


  6. Zephyr said

    Smart is always better than stupid. But remember the Long Term Capital guys were the smartest guys in the room.

    Let’s not take false confidence in IQ. IQ without experience is like one hand clapping.

  7. ecoshift said

    Couldn’t agree more. IQ without a commitment to the common weal won’t take where we want to go.

  8. If you read enough about the Great Depression, then you will understand. Just today I read the following depression era blurb, from Oscar Ameringer 1932:

    “I talked to one man in a restaurant in Chicago. He told me of his experience in raising sheep. He said he had killed 3,000 sheep this fall and thrown them down the canyon, because it cost $1.10 to ship a sheep to market and then he would get less than a dollar for it. He said he could not afford to feed the sheep and he would not let them starve, so he just cut their throats and threw them in the canyon.”

    That type of problem is resurfacing in our era. But instead of not being able to ship sheep, many people are not able to commute or pay their mortgage because of high energy prices. That is what caused the housing implosion. Indeed energy scarcity is a reoccuring theme. But we do produce and consume over a cubic mile of oil every year. So its not really a matter of scarcity, as much as it is a matter of inefficiency. The inefficiencies are eliminated through economic contraction. As the SUVs are parked, more energy becomes available to those who can make more productive use of that energy. Then the economy reorganizes and we get a new period of expansion.

    The main reason recessions turn into severe depressions is because people dont know history, so they doom themselves to repeat the same mistakes. The SEC ban on short selling was one of those critical mistakes. The market has gone down ever since. Liquidity was destroyed because would-be shorts decided that the market was no longer safe from manipulation. That destroys equity which ends up destroying capital. Then you end up with greater price imbalances which leads to more capital being destroyed, like the sheep in the canyon, or the foreclosed homes being looted and destroyed. The mechanisms of government are used against the people because they are not controlled by the people.

  9. Elcici said

    I went to a pretty liberal hippie college, and I took Economics 101 and Political Science courses. In both cases, I found the instruction and the materials studied to reflect decidedly Republican philosophy, and wondered if anybocy really knew what they were talking about! It seems to me that what I learned was that economic strategies were based on the odds, kind of like gambling. It reminds me of our elections system. Furthermore, if you don’t recognize bias in graphs, you can be fooled by statistics and their interpretations thereof. Do not believe the polls!!

  10. ecoshift said

    Thanks for your comment Elicici…

    Clearly some economists in high places did not know what they were talking about.

    But, it’s too bad that liberals ceded economics to the republicans. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was truly revolutionary at a time when occupations were hereditary and aristocrats ruled by Divine Right. Even a cursory review of Smith’s work will show how far recent administrations have diverged from the free market concepts Smith articulated. Failure to enforce anti-trust principles is one example. Inequitable access to information is another.

    Not that I think a text written at the time of the revolutionary war is necessarily applicable to a digitized global economy drowning in a stew of securitized, leveraged and hidden debt derivatives. But, you may be surprised to find that aspects of our lives could be much improved if markets were actually structured and regulated along the lines of Smith’s original treatise. Competition, choice and individual initiative are powerful tools. Just sayin’…

    Yet, too many of today’s market advocates use bits and pieces of free market rhetoric to cloak monopolistic market manipulation and corruption. Here’s a couple links that help move conversations about economics in a slightly less self serving direction:

    Tax Shift
    In the other Washington, there’s always talk of scrapping the federal tax code. It’s no mystery why. The Internal Revenue Code runs to 7.5 million words and occupies, with regulations, one and one-half feet of shelf space. But complexity is not the worst fault of taxdom. The biggest and least-discussed problem is this: We tax the wrong things. Mostly, we tax things we want more of, such as paychecks and enterprise, not things we want less of, such as pollution and resource depletion. Naturally, we get less money and more messes. Doing the opposite would yield double dividends: cleaner air and flusher bank accounts. Tax Shift is a blueprint for a revolt that would get taxes off our backs and onto our side.

    Genuine Progress Indicator
    Redefining Progress created the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) in 1995 as an alternative to the gross domestic product (GDP). The GPI enables policymakers at the national, state, regional, or local level to measure how well their citizens are doing both economically and socially. Economists, policymakers, reporters, and the public rely on the GDP as a shorthand indicator of progress; but the GDP is merely a sum of national spending with no distinctions between transactions that add to well-being and those that diminish it. The GPI is one of the first alternatives to the GDP to be vetted by the scientific community and used regularly by governmental and non-governmental organizations worldwide. Redefining Progress advocates for the adoption of the GPI as a tool for sustainable development and planning.

    I’m sure there are many others…

    Here’s one more link to a book that may be helpful. Just read it backwards to see the spin in the statistics bandied about every day.

    How to Lie With Statistics (Paperback)

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