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Monday miscellany

  • A touch of humor on the Euro-debacle. Funny how comedians get what most economists miss.
  • Speaking of which, is this a sign of the contagion moving beyond Greece?
  • A few mainstream commentators do get it, though. Here’s the sort of vaguely-libertarianish-when-he’s-in-the-mood-to-be Tyler Cowen in the New York Time, telling some truths about Greece.
  • And speaking of missing the obvious … Lessee … You note that a particular function of government is bloated, inefficient, and dysfunctional. So you propose adding yet another layer of bureaucracy. The government (no surprise) hastens to follow your recommendations. Then you are shocked, simply shocked that the bloat, inefficiency, and dysfunction get worse. Only government people could possibly think like that. That they invariably do think like that is scary. Pardon me. “Think” might be the wrong word here.
  • I admire this man. Oh lord, how I admire and thank him for his gutsy work. But I could never, ever do what Julian Assange does.
  • How come the word “earthquake” is never mentioned this op-ed?
  • Is the U.S. on the path of Japan? Here’s a graph. The three lines aren’t tracking the same time period. It takes a bit of eyeball-crossing to see what’s being compared with what. But the pattern is intriguing. So, is this a real predictor? Or is it just another example of “I can do anything I want with statistics, as long as I manipulate them cleverly enough”? Along those lines, here’s the Dow in gold.

Apologies to faithful reader Winston, who once praised this blog for not being all about economics. Sorry, Winston, I promise I’ll never go “all Austrian” on you. But watching the western world teeter on the brink of its own self-created catastrophe is fascinating. Can’t take my eyes off it.


  1. Winston
    Winston May 24, 2010 5:23 pm

    Lol, apology accepted..I don’t mind that you’re blog is more than just guns, scifi novels and adult humor like I’m used to…I really ought to pay more attention to the national and global economy.

    I think it has to do with me growing up in a household where heavy debt and financial woes were like 60% of everyday life (store clerks must wonder why I get a thousand yard stare when asked if I have a credit card), combined with the fact that I have horribly failed nearly every math class I have had the pleasure of taking since about 6th grade, that now think I have some odd, mild form of PTSD that gets triggered by economical talk ;]

    I was mainly complaining about those blogs that claim to be about all manner of things, and like 19 out of 20 posts are just links to articles about currency devaluation. I can’t see yours being like that…

  2. AlanR -
    AlanR - May 24, 2010 9:07 pm

    Regarding the I-710 tunnel: When researching earth sheltered houses I learned that they fare much better in large earthquakes than above ground structures, especially steel re-enforced concrete domes and arches. The tunnel would probably be much, much safer than any overpass or elevated freeway.

    -Alan, NorCal native and veteran of several 6.5+ quakes, including the Northridge quake

  3. Ellendra
    Ellendra May 24, 2010 9:32 pm

    It’s like watching a slow-moving train wreck. Even worse because of how early the warnings were. This might have been prevented, but it would have been political suicide.

  4. Claire
    Claire May 25, 2010 5:50 am

    Ah. Thanks, AlanR. It still seems as if the issue should have been addressed in the editorial — if only to allay concerns. But point well-taken.

  5. Claire
    Claire May 25, 2010 6:16 am

    Winston, I know the blogs of which you speak. All-hyperinflation-all-the-time (when they’re not all-Ron-Paul-all-the-time). I keep going back to some of them, though I also keep wondering why.

    I do have to do more on guns, though. I really do.

    Your upbringing sounds a little like mine. I, too, was never exactly a math whiz — to say the least. (I did, eventually, in adulthood, go back and labor my way to second-quarter calculus just because it was a barrier I wanted to overcome; but none of my belated math education ever “took.”) And although I don’t think my family was ever in chronic financial trouble, my mother and father had incompatible ways of dealing with money that caused constant conflict and stress.

    Even aside from all those personal things … there’s darned good reason why economics is called “the dismal science.” It might not actually be science. But dismal? OMG, yes.

  6. Winston
    Winston May 25, 2010 11:12 am

    Yep, they lure you in with snappy Thomas Jefferson quotes, and before you realize it you’re up to your armpits in bone dry economic theory!

    If I didn’t know better than to make up comspiricy theorys, I’d say it’s all an elaborate plot by the CIA to infiltrate libertarian society and make it boring as hell so young people like myself will become “moderate” instead.

  7. Ellendra
    Ellendra May 26, 2010 8:43 pm

    Economics is a science in the same way as sociology. They’re very closely related, actually, economics is sort of a sociology/psychology with numbers attached.

    I’m one of those weird people who actually likes math :p

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