Sunday, 25 October 2009

Links: A few thoughtful pieces

I'd like to write a full article on each of today's links, but I may never get around to it. In the meantime, you may have your own conclusions to draw:
  1. Tim Haab has a good defence of economics as a mathematical discipline. While the particular maths we have to use will evolve, as we incorporate more psychology, theory of organisations and financial institutions into the orthodoxy, economics will and should still use lots of mathematics - because that's the only way we can build and apply successful models.
  2. In this review of Create Your Own Economy, Henry Farrell starts to build an argument that the internal mental orderings which add value to our own lives, can also add value to other people's. My own review (not out yet) touches on the converse idea - can ready-made (or at least part-cooked) mental orderings be provided to us as a service?
  3. A mini-Easterlin paradox from Stephanie Flanders: as a country, are we more interested in comparative measures of GDP (against other countries) than the absolute figures? After all, we can never know for certain whether our 2% growth or 0.7% contraction is better or worse than we could otherwise have done; but we certainly know whether the Germans have beaten us.
  4. From Scientific American, does economics violate the laws of physics? Answer: no, and the reason why can be found in Henry Farrell's review above, and Rory Sutherland's TED video to which I linked on Friday.

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