Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday Roundup, 10/16/2014

You know what? There is NO WAY the An Lushan rebellion killed 30 million people. What a hoax. OK, time for econ links and semi-crazed raving.

Me on BV

1. Energy limits won't hold back growth. Reason: We've been growing while using less energy for decades now.

2. Why I'm not too worried about the China slowdown (warning: contains macrobullshitting).

3. Why Jean Tirole is like Charles Barkley. Hint: It's not the hair.

4. Why the EMH is right. And also wrong. But mostly right.

5. I'm disappointed that Tony Hsieh has not yet managed to turn Las Vegas into a hipster techtopia. Next time, he should try more communism.

From Around the Econ Blogosphere

1. In which SMBC sums up about half of the experimental economics literature to date, in a single mildly funny comic. On a more serious note:

2. Roger Farmer says that the NAIRU is a myth. That Farmer, what a card. Next thing you know, he'll be telling us that the accelerationist Phillips curve has no out-of-sample predictive power! (slaps knee and hyuks)

3. Elizabeth Bruenig is against affirmative consent. Cacao to cacao.

4. Zachary David writes about agent-based models and macroeconomics. Rajiv Sethi and co. are not going to be happy with Mr. David.

5. Arnold Kling doesn't like the ideas of Olivier Blanchard. Paul Krugman doesn't like the ideas of Arnold Kling. I don't like walnut bread.

6. Mark Thoma provides your one-stop shop for coverage of Jean Tirole's Nobel prize. You can Tirole around to your heart's content. GET IT?? Heh. Heh.

7. A deep and thoughtful Matt Yglesias meditation on the philosophy of forecasting. I plan to say something along these lines when I take down the 2010 Inflation Derpers for claiming now that they were only "warning about risks".

8. Alex "Ragnarok" Tabarrok catches a great article about the boondoggle of U.S. pension funds. Alex's new nickname comes from the fact that he is actually an incarnation of Surtur, the fire-demon who will eventually burn this world so that a better one may be created in its place.

9. Jim Hamilton breaks down the factors behind higher oil prices. Sadly, reptoids - which we all know are the real cause - are not listed. Get out your orgone pendants, Hamilton's one of Them!

10. Economist battles streakers in the classroom. This is part of a fetish known as CENA, or "Clothed Economist Nude Activist", that has been gaining in popularity on Reddit.


  1. Phil Koop8:07 AM

    "I don't like walnut bread."

    Duly noted, and readily discounted; you have strange ideas about pizza too.

  2. Krugman on Charlie Rose last night. A bit of insight on Obamacare, may be work in progress? Also, the wasted early years of Obama presidency...

  3. Anonymous8:52 AM

    On EMH, the three laws of thermodynamics might also make a good analogy:
    1. Information and gains are conserved in a closed market.
    2. You can’t maintain an information advantage, because other’s will take gains.
    3. You can’t reach perfect equilibrium, because people would have to stop trading.

  4. Anonymous9:34 AM

    You're going to take down the inflation derpers? At least I think you're going to use the right approach. I think the Frequentist argument is stronger than the Bayesian argument.

    I wish more people would admit when they're wrong. It provides valuable insight if they can tell why they were wrong and how they overcame their wrongness. These cognitive paths are valuable lessons.

  5. Haha nice picture post... :D

    1. Anonymous3:22 PM

      I think Noah has a cowgirl fetish

  6. Anonymous1:32 PM

    My local super market has falsified the ketchup bottle problem (a.k.a. EMH). They did this by selling a generic brand of mustard at slightly cheaper prices than a bottle containing half of the same mustard. Not only that, just this very day I discovered their roll of 25 decomposable bags for organic waste cost less than a roll of 15 bags of the same brand. Price per bag was 8 cents vs 15 cents. Sadly I can't turn this into an arbitrage opportunity. QED.

  7. On Zachary David, the problem with his post is that Conway's Game of Life is not the only way to do ABMs.

    Barkley Rosser

    1. I agree. That was sort of the point of the post. I was just using Conway's as an example since both House and Sethi cited it.

      I think the whole "there's more than one way to skin a cat" line means I am firmly on your side.

  8. For the irritating stop growing guy:

    These guys are so irritating. First big thing, economic growth, properly measured, includes quality, not just quantity, and GDP is well acknowledged in economics to be a terribly flawed measure. Economic growth includes a cure for cancer, Parkinsons, back pain, depression,... It includes finding a way that we can eat as much as we want without gaining weight, and then recycling that food right through and around again very quickly. It includes the same quantities of food, but cooked to taste far more delicious, and by robots, not us, unless we want to, and they do the clean up.

    All of this catapults utility without requiring more resources or energy (with tech advance), or more energy is created -- All the energy we'll ever need is from the sun, let alone fusion. Is he going to tell us, stop growing! Live in caves; we're going to run out of sun in 3 billion years!

    1. Also, I'm assuming you heard the big fusion news yesterday:

    2. You know, another way to reply to irritating guy, is you could move from a house built in 1980 to one twice the size today, that uses half the energy -- easily -- with the improvements in insulation, windows, hot water heaters, an air conditioner that uses 1/5 the energy per square foot,... And with solar panels you could have a house that's twice the size that uses no energy! (from the grid) These guys are just so irritating.

    3. You could buy 4 plug-in Prius's to fill the garage and drive way, and it would still use less energy than one 1970 Chevy Chevelle. But the energy to manufacture the four Prius's? They'll last 4 times as long as the Chevelle, and not spew horrifying amounts of carbon, lead, and other poisons into the atmosphere.

    4. Anonymous1:33 PM

      Richard Serlin finally seems to have gone completely, as opposed to simply mostly, insane. Well done sir, your saddle awaits.

  9. But also folks, for my imaginary readers, a big thing is from the whole AI computer/robot revolution issue, that humans rarely understand exponential growth. Irritating guy shows 23 years of data and says See! An immutable law! But exponential growth for quite a while looks like linear growth -- and slow or moderate linear growth -- then you get into the pre-neck phase (Looks like about where we're entering.), and then take off, and wow! Things like solar, fusion, computer driven electric cars, AI driven incredible efficiency, etc., are likely going to take off over the next generation or two, and it won't be like 1980-2003 anymore.

    1. But, but, yeah, exponential population growth. How about exponential population shrinkage, like we're seeing in much of Europe, where population periodically halves. Economic growth often causes population growth to slow greatly, or even reverse.

  10. How can you not like walnut bread???