"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Krugman on Casey B. Mulligan an economics professor at the University of Chicago
If Mulligan wants to argue that point, fine -- but he presents as "the New Keynesian position" something that is just what he imagines, on casual reflection (or, again, maybe after talking to some guy in a bar) to be the New Keynesian position.

OK, so from now on I’ll assert that the Chicago position on unemployment is that we can cure it by sacrificing goats. Hey, I heard that somewhere -- no need to actually read anything they say, right?

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Post-Bin Laden World by Roger Cohen

Death of a Madman by Hitchens

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Osama dead says Obama
Needed: A Clearer Crystal Ball by Robert J. Shiller

or "Risk Topograhy"

In fact, some people view the recent crisis as just another "black swan event," one of those outliers, as popularized by Nassim Taleb, that come out of the blue. And it’s clear that a lot of smart people simply didn’t see the housing bubble, the instability of our financial sector or the shock that came in 2007 and 2008.
But the theory of outlier events doesn’t actually say that they cannot eventually be predicted. Many of them can be, if the right questions are asked and we use new and better data. Hurricanes, for example, were once black-swan events. Now we can forecast their likely formation and path pretty well, enough to significantly reduce the loss of life.
Such predictions are a crucial challenge in economics, too, and they are why data collection need not be a dull or a routine field. If done correctly, it can be very revealing. ...
The Federal Reserve started work on its Flow of Funds Accounts in the Depression as well. These accounts, which go beyond G.N.P. and show the flow of funds from each kind of financial institution to another, offer a much better picture of the kinds of instabilities that led to the Depression. This innovation took a long time, too. The Fed didn’t begin publishing these accounts until 1955, backdating them to late in the Depression, in 1939. 
Eventually, these advances led to quantitative macroeconomic models with substantial predictive power -- and to a better understanding of the economy’s instabilities. It is likely that the "great moderation," the relative stability of the economy in the years before the recent crisis, owes something to better public policy informed by that data.
Since then, however, there hasn’t been a major revolution in data collection. Notably, the Flow of Funds Accounts have become less valuable. Over the last few decades, financial institutions have taken on systemic risks, using leverage and derivative instruments that don’t show up in these reports. 
Some financial economists have begun to suggest the kinds of measurements of leverage and liquidity that should be collected. We need another measurement revolution like that of G.D.P. or flow-of-funds accounting. For example, Markus Brunnermeier of Princeton, Gary Gorton of Yale and Arvind Krishnamurthy of Northwestern are developing what they call "risk topography." They explain how modern financial theory can guide the collection of new data to provide revealing views of potentially big economic problems.