Saturday, October 1, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Double Down

To continue a theme. Watch, why don't you, the whole set of arithmetical demolitions of a sunny tomorrow. But watch this one and ask yourself what time is it?

The Current Crises Explained

Alerted by one or another of my siblings to this insanely great David Harvey discussion and animation, I offer it to my many devoted readers:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Freedom Isn't Free

If you work for a secular state, you cannot use your position to advance a sacular cause. No one, for example, would applaud a registrar who refused to sign a marriage license for a Catholic and non-Catholic or an Orthodox Jew and a Gentile because his or her religious beliefs didn't recognize those marriages as legitimate. America is a secular state and the price of serving it in an official capacity is putting the laws of the land above private belief. Consequently, this woman is an anti-American religious zealot and ought properly resign or be fired. And the NYTimes needs to rethink it's stance on wrong-headed actions even if the maxim of that action, perhaps especially if, is private belief.

Economics Still Not a Science; History Remains a Discipline

In this post Paul Krugman laments the ignorance and mendacity of many of his colleagues and in this one extolls history as means of informing economics. I would go further and insist that one needs to think historically to aid in the creation of policies and the single most important "lesson" from history is that lots of things that were once true, particularly about social, political, and economic arrangements, were contingent truths and that reliance on contingent truths is a really lousy way to run a railroad.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Paul Krugman on the problem with proceduralism versus personnel:
The point is that what we need are the right ideas, not the right sort of people. Madmen in authority come in all forms, and the dignified men in suits are often no better than the rabble-rousers.
In my dissertation, I found that August Hermann Francke was consistent in insisting that anything good resulted from selecting the right man, and he meant man, for the job.  The problem was, or became, who selected the right man? Clearly, Krugman is on to the key issue. Unfortunately, there is no standard for right man picking. Francke relied on a combination of evidence of spiritual rebirth and personal knowledge. What standards are we going to come up with today?

I had a conversation the other day with a relative about why the various proponents of not starting WWI were ignored and how we could identify them. Right now, I think, the answer is to never pick someone who has the answer instead of a series of answers to a variety of questions that need immediate solution.