Monday, March 30, 2015

Asides about economics

Various tangentials about economics:

1. I live in a city that has/had a decent library system - though strangely now they've gotten rid of a lot of their books and seems to be loaning out electronic versions instead - and the entire library system has one actual economics textbook.  Intermediate macro, I think.

All the rest of the books in the "economics" section are just opinion and blather, usually on the most ephemeral topics, most of which have long passed their sell-by date. 90% of them aren't even written by economists, but rather just talking heads and professional rabble-rousers.

2. I winced a bit when I saw my Intro Micro/Intro Macro textbook is going to be Mankiw, because I remember him being criticized as a right-wing wackaloon.

OK, apparently Mankiw's textbook is recognized by his peers in academia as about the best intro textbook out there. And he is apparently respected in his field. And most other intro econ textbooks from the US seem to be written for ten-year-olds. But this guy was economic adviser to Bush the Dumber, and then economic advisor for Mitt "47% of American citizens are our enemy and must be crushed and enslaved" Romney's presidential campaign.

But who else could the neocons even bring in as an "economic adviser"? Most of them get their "economics" from the back cover of an Ayn Rand novel, if not straight out of the mouth of the Koch brothers. That's scary - an entire half of the US political spectrum is utterly ignorant.

3. Ain't it funny how so many hedge fund talking heads got the trajectory of US interest rates wrong over the past few years? They were all screaming about imminent inflation, and yet no such thing happened.

Kruggers says the low inflation/threat of deflation environment was completely predictable for anyone with an economics education, which seems to suggest that none of these hedge fund clowns know the first thing about economics - in which case maybe they should stay the hell away from the bond market, you think?

Put those three facts together, and it suggests that at least half the brains participating in the equity market are utterly uninformed and ignorant.

That is scary.

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