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The Fed Has Lost It; Publishes Essay Bashing Bloggers, Tells General Public To Broadly Ignore Those Without An Econ PhD

Tyler Durden's picture





 

Some Fed economist (with a hard-earned Ph.D mind you) named Kartik Athreya (who lasted at Citigroup as an associate Vice President for a whopping 7 months before getting sacked in 1998 only to find solace for his expiring unemployment benefits in the public sector) has written the most idiotic "research" piece to come out of the Federal Reserve since 1913, and the Fed has written a lot of idiotic research since then - after all you don't destroy 98% of the dollar's purchasing power in 97 years with non-idiotic research. But this just takes the cake. In "Economics is Hard. Don’t Let Bloggers Tell You Otherwise" Kartik says: "I argue that neither non-economist bloggers, nor economists who portray economics —especially macroeconomic policy— as a simple enterprise with clear conclusions, are likely to contribute any insight to discussion of economics and, as a result, should be ignored by an open-minded lay public." Alas, all Kartik achieves is to convince the general public that feeding Fed "economists" alcohol after midnight and letting them directly upload their resultant gibberish to the Fed's broad RSS feed the second they think they have a coherent thought , is generally a disastrous idea. In his piece, which has no other intention than to discredit and outright malign bloggers such as Matt Yglesias, John Stossel, Robert Samuelson, and Robert Reich, Athreya says: "In what follows I will argue that it is exceedingly unlikely that these authors have anything interesting to say about economic policy. This sounds mean-spirited, but it’s not meant to be, and I’ll explain why." Instead in what follows, the Fed presents 4 pages of thoughts so meandering, that the author's blood alcohol level must have certainly been well above the legal norm for the duration of the writing of this ad hominem pamphlet.

Amusingly, the Fed shows that it also enjoys cannibalizing its own most vocal defenders:

The list of those exhibiting this zest also includes, in addition to those mentioned above, some who might know better. They are the patron saints of the “Macroeconomic Policy is Easy: Only Idiots Don’t Think So” movement: Paul Krugman and Brad Delong. Either of these men will assure their readers that it’s all really very simple (and may even be found in Keynes’ writings). Lastly, before you dismiss me as a right- or left-winger, I am not. I’m simply less comfortable with ex cathedra pronouncements and speculations than the people I have named. (Somewhat strangely, in an earlier era Paul Krugman very effectively took the same sort of “accidental theorist” to task, so what I’m saying is really a bit of a rehash of his arguments.)

Here are some of the pearls of wisdom contained in this stunning paper:

  • Before I continue, here’s who I am: The relevant fact is that I work as a rank-and-file PhD economist operating within a central banking system. I have contributed no earth-shaking ideas to Economics and work fundamentally as a worker bee chipping away with known tools at portions of larger problems.
  • Why should anyone accept uncritically that Economics, or any field of human endeavor, for that matter, should be easy either to process or contribute to? To some extent, people don’t. Would anyone tolerate the equivalent level of public discussion on cancer research? Most of us readily accept the proposition that Oncology requires training, and rarely give time over to non-medical-professionals’ musings. Do we expect advances in cell-biology to be immediately accessible to anyone with even a college degree? Science journalists routinely cite specific studies that have appeared in specific journals. They generally do not engage in passing their own untrained speculations off as insights. But economic blogging and much journalism largely does not operate this way. Naifs write books, and sell many of them too. People as varied as Matt Ridley and William Greider make book-length statements about economics. I’ve never done that, and this is my job. This is, to say the very least, bizarre.
  • So far, I’ve claimed something a bit obnoxious-sounding: that writers who have not taken a year of PhD coursework in a decent economics department (and passed their PhD qualifying exams), cannot meaningfully advance the discussion on economic policy.
  • You might say, “you’re telling us to leave everything to the experts, so why should I believe you are adequately policed?” This is a fair question, but as someone who has worked for a decade to publish in leading academic journals (with some, but hardly overwhelming, success), I now have the referee reports to prove that I live in a world where people are not falling over themselves to believe my assertions. The reports are often scathing, but usually very insightful, and have over the years pointed out all manner of incoherence in my work. The leading journals have rejection rates in the neighborhood of 80%, and I’ve had my share of them.
  • How can this be changed? A precondition for the market delivering this is a recognition by the general public that they are simply being had by the bulk of the economic blogging crowd. I hope to have alerted you to the giant disconnect that exists between the nuanced discussion that occurs between research economists and the noise (some of it from economists!) that one sees in the web or the op-ed pages of even the very best newspapers of the US. As a result, my hope is that the broader public will ask for a slightly higher bar when it comes to economics, rather than self-selecting into blogs that merely confirm half-baked views that might have been acquired from elsewhere.

And this punchline:

  • For my part, seventeen years after my first PhD coursework, I still feel ill at ease with my grasp of many issues, and I am fairly confident that this is not just a question of limited intellect.

We disagree.

We would comment on this if it had any merit, and central point worth arguing or even debating, but since this whole thing sounds like the ramblings of a deranged lunatic, we will just leave it out there for your comedic enjoyment.

Full must-laugh at essay:

Economics is Hard

h/t Bruce Krasting

 


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Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:37 | Link to Comment Wynn
Wynn's picture

Thank you Dr. Durden

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:25 | Link to Comment mephisto
mephisto's picture

Taking 7 years between a BSc and a PhD - including 6 months as a junior lunch collection monkey at Citibank - does indeed suggest that economics is hard. At least for Kartik.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:54 | Link to Comment Fish Gone Bad
Fish Gone Bad's picture

There are people in life that find their calling, and are very very good at it.  Take Kobe Bryant, an absolutely brilliant basketball player who knew what he wanted to do at an early age and polished his craft.  I have worked around dozens and dozens of medical professionals and I can honestly say that there are less than a handful who live and breathe medicine.  For some it seems it is all they can do just to make it through the day.  Our gentleman here appears to be from the latter category.  Economics is a flawed calling, just like religious studies - Trying to answer the question of what happens after one dies?  So much time has been wasted on a glorified snipe hunt. 

Mon, 07/05/2010 - 17:34 | Link to Comment brushfire
brushfire's picture

not sure what you're trying to say about medicine here. care to clarify?

with respect to Athreya's verbal diarrhea, the comparison to oncology research is intellectually dishonest at best. bench cancer research deals in facts, to the extent that facts exist. economics is better compared to psychology, which is a field populated by crazy people trying to work out their own issues (with exceptions, of course). perhaps we should dispense with the medical analogies altogether and compare economics to meteorology, which is the only other field in which you can be wrong nearly half the time and still qualify as an expert.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:22 | Link to Comment WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Santelli responds: "Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending! STOP SPENDING!"

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:17 | Link to Comment EB
EB's picture

Which is why we can rely only on experienced Fed economists to tell us like it is, such as this navel gazing speech by a NY Fed VP on the causes of the credit panic, which fails to mention the money supply, but does manage to reference the meat supply.  No, really.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:11 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

Next thing you know, the political establishment will be telling us that politics is too "complex" and "difficult" for the average person to understand, and the ability to chose our leaders is too "important" to be left in the hands of the man on the street, and would be much better concentrated in a small cabal of unelected, unaccountable elites who are much more "qualified" and "educated" to make such decisions than Joe Six-Pack.

(Well, in fact that IS how things work in reality already, but at least they still pretend that it is not the case, unlike the economic decisions of our central banking oligarchy.)

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 16:56 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

I like your post akak. . .

once upon a time only the High Priests of Religion had access to "texts" that, once "interpreted," shaped the cultures. . . the printing press began a process of breaking down that monopoly of "unelected, unaccountable elites" who aspire to make all the decisions for their "flocks". . . amusing, but also profoundly sad that there are still those who seek worship for their "special knowledge".

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 17:59 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

[quote]

In his new book, In Search of Self-Governance, Rasmussen explains, In the clique that
revolves around Washington, DC, and Wall Street, our treasured heritage has been
diminished almost beyond recognition. In that world, some see self-governance as
little more than allowing voters to choose which of two politicians will rule
over them
. Others in that elite environment are even more brazen and see
self-governance as a problem to be overcome.
[/quote]

How can one be surprised when those in power have such attitudes?

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:37 | Link to Comment doomandbloom
doomandbloom's picture

when i was young, my mom asked me not to get into too much debt and to always spend my money carefully....

little did i know then that she did not have a Phd.....how stupid of me to trust her..!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:08 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

You can still make up for it and sell everything you've got and buy bonds ;)

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:56 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

Agree, never get into too much debt, BUT THE FED wants banksters to have 100% debt and ZERO reseves(!).

 

"Given the very high level of reserve balances currently in the banking system, the Federal Reserve has ample time to consider the best long-run framework for policy implementation. The Federal Reserve believes it is possible that, ultimately, its operating framework will allow the elimination of minimum reserve requirements, which impose costs and distortions on the banking system" -- Federal Reserve February 10, 2010

www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/testimony/bernanke20100210a.htm#fn9

PS: And remember, Bernanke during very recent CONngressional questioning he told them he had no idea (per se) why gold is doing so well. The lies are getting thicker by the day as the Fed is trapped with their back against the wall. Like any trapped animal, they will do ANYTHING to break out/free to survive.

Short dollar, long gold imho.

PPS: Some REMINDERS about Bernanke and his wisdom, who as you know is the head of the Federal Reserve:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rmbiuEDKJU

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj7ju-TV8bg

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 13:43 | Link to Comment Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

Bingo.  Will second both of these videos.  They are all you need to know about Fed economists.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rmbiuEDKJU

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj7ju-TV8bg

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 14:43 | Link to Comment Dicite justitiam
Dicite justitiam's picture

Rusty, I get your point, but...these videos are not entirely relevant.  In fact, one of them is not even accurate.

The first video is decent.  I liked Eckman's revelation of BSB's emotional betrayal from his expression.  However, feeling scorn and anger in that situation is not surprising.  My gut tells me BSB was prevaricating in the clips that were shown.  But that's a big part of his job, to deceive those that wish to know the intention of the Fed.  I'm not saying BSB is all unicorns, ponies, and rainbows.  I'm not saying I <3 the Fed.  I don't.  But this video did not much inform me.

The second video was factually misleading.  BSB said that 'many foreign banks are short the dollar'.  The video is dramatically interrupted: "LIE.  There is no shortage of the dollar."  We shouldn't condone hysteria and ignorance like this.

I don't care much for the essayist, I don't care much for the Fed, but propagating these videos as essential source material does little to enhance the credibility of ZH.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:42 | Link to Comment MrTrader
MrTrader's picture

Please define "not too much debt". Is this a) 50 % of your anual income after taxes, b) 25 % of our absolute savings, c) 65 % of your monthly disposable income ????

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:55 | Link to Comment A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be"

ZERO sounds fine to me, but this is a personal matter, in the end, of Risk vs. Reward.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 18:14 | Link to Comment goldfreak
goldfreak's picture

that's great doom!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:52 | Link to Comment Leo Kolivakis
Leo Kolivakis's picture

"I work as a rank-and-file PhD economist operating within a central banking system. I have contributed no earth-shaking ideas to Economics and work fundamentally as a worker bee chipping away with known tools at portions of larger problems."

LOL, this is where I stopped reading...what nonsense! The problem with some economists is that they start believing their gibberish and do not acknowledge the fraudulent foundations of their "scientific" methods. A little more humility will do this guy a lot of good.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:58 | Link to Comment Catullus
Catullus's picture

I'm Ron burgundy. I'm kind of a big deal. I have many leather bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 13:44 | Link to Comment Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

Ha!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:12 | Link to Comment fajensen
fajensen's picture

My sisters husband is an economist. He ranted all the way up from 2000 to 2008 on how it was better to borrow money against their home than earning them based on some long-winded arguments; He went quit er when he got sacked the first time and totally silent after 2009.

The whip teaches.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:25 | Link to Comment inflation.stude...
inflation.studentloan--0's picture

I agree that the whip teaches, but she works in the public sector.  So the only place she's seen a whip is at the office parties.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 08:25 | Link to Comment Trundle
Trundle's picture

Then the entire state of California is a Ph.D. economist.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:41 | Link to Comment Racer
Racer's picture

And I suppose we are supposed to listen to someone who said 'sub-prime is well contained' when it most definitely was not.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:10 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

They've right so many times but never noticed the light at the end of the tunnel was a raging train :)

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:43 | Link to Comment demsco
demsco's picture

Stop questioning our power and expertise, damn it! We are the ones who have successfully maintained order within the financial system... oh wait, never mind.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:48 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

Tiny Timmy Geithner does not have a PhD in economics (only a masters, the horror!), and Obomba has NO degree in economics at all --- does this mean that we can safely disregard anything that either of them have to say regarding the economy?

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:25 | Link to Comment WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Yeah, Timmay can't handle his own tax preparation even though he is head of the IRS and Hussein keeps violating the Constitution because he's a Constitutional expert.

We're in trouble.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:44 | Link to Comment HelluvaEngineer
HelluvaEngineer's picture

Hmmm...I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess this wasn't a co-op student.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:44 | Link to Comment Tipo anónimo
Tipo anónimo's picture

He saw the emperor w/o clothes.  That would be enough to explain anyone's intoxicated mid-day ramblings.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:44 | Link to Comment Hansel
Hansel's picture

Open-minded people should ignore everyone without a PhD?  Whatever.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:03 | Link to Comment FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

Wash your blue pills down with this kool aid and go back sleep.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 13:02 | Link to Comment Paul E. Math
Paul E. Math's picture

That was the line that jumped out at me too.  With double-speak like that, Kartik can teach Greenspan and Bernanke some new tricks!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 13:17 | Link to Comment Cistercian
Cistercian's picture

 The appeal to credentialism was hilarious.The whole paper was an epic fail.

  To say his abilities are marginal is to give him far more credit than he deserves.

 Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, Economics is hard.

 FAIL

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 13:40 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

Fully agree, although it hardly even really needs to be said.

I picture him saying it like George Bush would have, in a whiny, petulant tone: "This economics stuff is hawrd!"

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:48 | Link to Comment LoneStarHog
LoneStarHog's picture

Examples Of Top Inventors/Researchers With NO Degree!

 

> Preston Tucker

> Vivien Thomas

> Robert Kearns

> Temple Grandin

> Orville & Wilber Wright

 

Just five of thousands who with NO DEGREE proved to those WITH DEGREES how things SHOULD be done.

Shut Down The Damn Federal Reserve And Use Its So-Called Economists For Speed Bumps!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:44 | Link to Comment johngaltfla
johngaltfla's picture

>Bill Gates

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 13:15 | Link to Comment Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

> Dean Kamen

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 18:56 | Link to Comment LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

Thomas Edison

Nicola Tesla

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:48 | Link to Comment Djirk
Djirk's picture

Yeah they have done a bang up job of preventing market bubbles and smoothing out the economic cycles since their creation. Hmm 1929 great depression was 16 years after the Fed creation?

When I was in economics you would get thrown out of class if you did not agree with the premise that markets were rational. Anyone who has spent time on a trading floor with all the snot nosed money lovers knows that fear, greed and envy rule the markets.

Whoa Tyler, I got thrown out of my Phd studies can you lighten up on the math problems for comments?

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:49 | Link to Comment LMAO
LMAO's picture

 

Yet another fine example of how the FED redefines the word "Research" to suit their own purposes.

 

LMAO

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:51 | Link to Comment TheClub55
TheClub55's picture

Wow just anther example of our tax dollars being wasted away by stupid governmental employees... she really instills zero confidence in the Fed (not that I had any to start w/).  I am betting if forced to work in the private sector and forced to actually do something "productive" her wage would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 per hr plus tips.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:05 | Link to Comment Pinky
Pinky's picture

The Federal Reserve IS in the private sector. It's not a government agency, it's privately owned. I thought everyone who reads ZH knew that. Guess not?

and . . . "she?"

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:58 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

Exactly, and here is a list of the PRIVATE PEOPLE/MEMEBERS who own the Federal Reserve:

www.save-a-patriot.org/files/view/whofed.html

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:12 | Link to Comment FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

The research on FED ownership needs updating.  I would like to see the names and ownership interests as of 2010. 

My understanding is member banks own the FED and the largest members own the controling interest.  I would think the CEOs of the six major US banks have the most to say about extracting wealth from America and bailing out their broke ass banks.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:43 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

Agreed it probably needs some updating, yet it is not like one can simply ask the Fed who are the actual owners. Still, the above link provides some insight.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 13:45 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

+10, and a *grin*.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:52 | Link to Comment grunk
grunk's picture

His CV:

http://www.richmondfed.org/research/economists/bios/pdfs/athreya_cv.pd

 

 

You think he uses these lines to pick up a woman in a bar?

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:14 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

I'd sure like to read one of her papers :)

“Unsecured Debt with Public Insurance: From Bad to Worse”, joint with N. Simpson Journal of Monetary Economics, 53 (2006)

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 14:08 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

"I'd sure like to read one of her papers :)"

 

is that a euphemism, nudge-nudge-wink-wink?

(dude, you do know that "she" is a "he," right?) *cough* trannyporn

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:51 | Link to Comment FischerBlack
FischerBlack's picture

An econ Ph.D. is and has always been a mercenary whose opinions are shaped in no small part by the interests of whoever writes their paycheck. Understand this, and understand the whole of economics.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:51 | Link to Comment cossack55
cossack55's picture

I am tooo stooopid to be a akonim....ekonamin....money person.  I gots me up to the fiffh grade.  Ahs dont be habin no PHD.  Will U vote for me for US kongruss?

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:13 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Mister President! What a honor to meet you here on this blog!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:52 | Link to Comment Jamisia Shido
Jamisia Shido's picture

First: in a mid-1970s book on economics, the auther (a Dutch professor) tells his readers that in the economy everything is connected to everything. Therefore, economy is about a) everything and b) nothing. That entitles everyone to an opinion.

Second: economics is a misnomer. 'Political philosophy' is a far better description, though social studies or civics/polity work too.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:53 | Link to Comment Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

If there was one thing I learned while earning my CFP(R), CFA, CLU, ChFC etc it was that this training is the ultimate in group think conditioning. I realized that I was being programed not only to act like the herd but to be a leader of the herd. As I attained each of these levels I was certified "sane" by the governing bodies and thus declared by the myth keepers to be one of the few keeper of the secrets and wisdom.

Bullshit.

I became a danger to my clients and an asset of the powers that be. I can't state this any simpler. I became a tool. Luckily for my clients sake I recognized this early and repudiated most of the programing. I see the same process through out the entire economic system. This "research" piece is a shining example. We are being told to only listen to the certified sane "expert" myth keepers.

Double bullshit.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:03 | Link to Comment peripatetic86
peripatetic86's picture

Excellent point CD.  Do you ever find yourself resorting to your programming and conditioning on instinct before catching yourself?   A scary thing, huh?

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:35 | Link to Comment Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Yes I do find myself reverting, even though it's been over 10 years since I began to consciously and deliberately fight the conditioning. What's so insidious is that this conditioning is supported everywhere you turn. Go to any financial web site (Zero Hedge and a number of others excluded) and read any article. In there you will find basic assumptions and "givens" that are universally accepted as fact. Even casual MSM stories carry financial myths. These are the myths that are endlessly repeated.

I was a repeater for many years until a looked in the mirror and realized what I was. It wasn't pretty and it's most certainly a huge blow to the ego. Combine this with the large money you can make going with the flow and it's not hard to understand why the vast majority go with the flow. The entire filed is corrupted and seriously conflicted.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:03 | Link to Comment peripatetic86
peripatetic86's picture

Exactly.  In your next article you should discuss some of these "givens"  and educate people as to why they are so deceptively wrong.  It could be quite an education for some.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 12:09 | Link to Comment Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

In my opinion, it would be a waste of time. The vast majority of people spend their day unconsciously seeking information that confirms their point of view. One persons "facts" is another persons "myths" is another persons "given". Unless people wish to conduct a self examination to discover why they think and act the way they do, no amount of "education" on my part will do much good.

My article would confirm some views and contradict others. All it would accomplish is to show the different sides. Theinformation you're taling about is already out there if people wish to look. Since we are all conflicted in one way or another, it's a deeply personal journey we must take if we are to determine what "truth" is.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 14:23 | Link to Comment RichardP
RichardP's picture

Are we to all find our own truth about what is the definition of a debit? a credit?  How about if we all make our own decisions about which side of the road we wish to drive on?  And I don't like stopping on red.  I think I'll be my own self and stop on green.

There is individual truth - what is true for me is not necessarily true for you.  And there is global truth - that which is true for everybody.  But there is also social truth.  Social truth is not absolute truth.  Rather, it is true because everybody agrees that it is true.  Such agreements to agree simplify the social interaction.  Agreeing to agree on the definitions of debit and credit, which side of the road we drive on, which color of light we stop on, etc. helps to simplify a complicated reality.  Some "social myths" are accepted as "truth" simply because the majority of folks who study the target issue have agreed that they are truths.  The author of this article is claiming that folks who are not "officially" party to the study of this target issue have no role in what the "officials" want to agree is the truth.  (Think Galileo and the Catholic Church)

I don't disagree with the general thrust of what Cognitive Dissonance says.  But some social myths do serve a useful purpose in simplifying a complex reality - when we all agree to agree on the definition of ...

I also want to point out that the Fed author was not commenting on folk's ability to make legitmate points about economics.  He was commenting on who does and does not have the right/ability to determine economic policy.

"In what follows I will argue that it is exceedingly unlikely that these authors have anything interesting to say about economic policy."

If you are not part of the "club", if you are not part of those who have agreed to agree on what the definitions are in economic policy, how can you have any special insight into what the thinking is about economic policy by members of the club?

Simplified:  if you are not one of us and privy to our private conversations, how can you know what we are thinking?  I think that argument is correct.  Whether their thinking is correct enough to save the day is a different argument - and I don't think it is an argument that the author is making.

 

 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 15:46 | Link to Comment seventree
seventree's picture

Simplified:  if you are not one of us and privy to our private conversations, how can you know what we are thinking?  I think that argument is correct.  Whether their thinking is correct enough to save the day is a different argument - and I don't think it is an argument that the author is making.

If that is indeed the author's entire thesis, then you, RichardP, have not only simplified it but condensed it into one sentence. Makes me wonder why the four-page word salad of the original was necessary to say the same thing.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 18:08 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

"It's not what you don't know that causes the greater harm, it's what you know that just ain't so!" -- Will Rogers

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 15:34 | Link to Comment seventree
seventree's picture

Unless people wish to conduct a self examination to discover why they think and act the way they do, no amount of "education" on my part will do much good.

I suppose intensive deprogramming sessions could be devised to recover the original personna, but how many would want this? At the end the subject might recover some self-respect, but also would have fewer friends and job prospects, and get funny looks in group conversation.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 08:24 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Hey Seven,

One such program has been devised. It works.

For most people, the first step is too simple, they believe it could never bring the desired shift, and stop.

But even the hardest path begins with the first step:

Here:

 http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/first-exercise-second-part/

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:19 | Link to Comment Bryan
Bryan's picture

OK, you're hired.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:26 | Link to Comment russki standart
russki standart's picture

Bis, Bis CD.

I wasted 4 years doing undergrad work in Economics, and then stupidly continued my studies at the graduate level.  I woke up from my intellectual stupor when I lost my shirt on a stock and decided to analyze my mistakes.

I believe that most modern  macro-economics is  purposely misleading and wrong, designed to create a plentiful supply of suckers to be fleeced by Wall Street, High Street, Howe Street, ad nauseum.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:47 | Link to Comment Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Exactly. The ugly ego deflating and emotionally troubling realization I came to was that I willingly trained myself to be a shepard and I happily and greedily drove my fellow man into the slaughter house. I was even trained to repeat nonsense such as "The markets are a good long term investment vehicle so simply stay invested and this will work out" and so on.

I'm still working through the shame and deep regret I felt for blindly following my ego and monetary ambitions. This was and is what drives me to look ever deeper within.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:57 | Link to Comment trav7777
trav7777's picture

See, I studied engineering.  Consequently, I have always laughed at economists.

The economists think economics is hard because THEY CAN'T FIGURE OUT WTF IS GOING ON.

The world is defying their models and forecasts.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:12 | Link to Comment worldlymrb
worldlymrb's picture

LOL!   +1

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:30 | Link to Comment WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Heh heh heh. The real reason.

Any scientist who can't explain to an eight-year-old what he is doing is a charlatan. - K Vonnegut

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 12:16 | Link to Comment Buzz Fuzzel
Buzz Fuzzel's picture

A guy named Isaiah explained Keynesian economists several thousand years ago, "YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE"

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 12:16 | Link to Comment Buzz Fuzzel
Buzz Fuzzel's picture

A guy named Isaiah explained Keynesian economists several thousand years ago, "YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE"

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:20 | Link to Comment Trifecta Man
Trifecta Man's picture

Don't forget to forgive yourself.  We all make mistakes.  You are one of the lucky ones who get to understand yours.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:59 | Link to Comment Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Don't forget to forgive yourself."

I agree. But what I find a lot of people do, and what I initially did, was to blindly forgive myself without understanding what I was actually forgiving myself of and for. And I understand my mistakes because I make a conscious effort to do so, which means repeated explorations into painful subjects. We are conditioned to avoid pain at all costs, even the "good" pain of self examination that builds true courage and growth.

This realization led me deeper into understanding our/my motivations and self deceptions. I have now forgiven myself for past transgressions, though not the type you might think. I was never one to blindly sell the highest commission "investment" simply because I could. What I needed to forgive was the deeper sense of wrong doing I always harbored in the back of my mind and soul and that I ignored for many years.

Many people simply stop at the top layer, forgive themselves, and then continue to make the same mistakes again and again. I didn't wish to do so.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 12:36 | Link to Comment Dicite justitiam
Dicite justitiam's picture

Ah, another Chartered Fairytale Authority.  You are trained in the arts of telling clients soothing bedtime stories.

I couldn't bear the curriculum until I told myself to shut up and just learn the material.  At every step, my mind would blurt out, 'no, that's complete BS, that's a fabricated notion', or 'they are really teaching people this??'  But that's fine, there are many others like us.  It's really just a Sam's Club card, but with higher fees and a more time-consuming application.

Many of the greats are autodidacts.  My problem with the essay is that it lumps good thinkers along with the riff-raff.  There is no need to receive training at a particular institution in order to contribute to the stream of knowledge on a particular subject, unless that institution has unique resources that are not available to outsiders.  This is generally not true.  It is not the case that any Nobel professor can transform the mental apparatus and passion for thinking of any of his or her students.  All such institutions serve as a magnet for the gifted and exceptionally monied, so that the attendees can get their badge, their Sam's Club card.  What the author really meant when he said 'decent institution' was that you have to be of a certain IQ as measured by standardized tests.

The greatest chink in the armor of the essay that it does not giving enough attention to the corrosive effect of orthodoxy in his pursuit of understanding and ameliorating his field of study.  In fact there is no mention of this, because it is antithetical to the essayist's conclusion.  I was going to use an analogy but then thought better of it.  Then changed my mind again, because I like it, even though it is fraught.  If you give a hundred economists buckets of green and blue paint, and told them to paint the room, you would get a compelling design.  You would have economists argue over whether the appropriate color is, in Crayola speak, blue-green or green-blue.  Perhaps the color should be red.  This is a terrible analogy, because the field of economics is not a room to be painted (although Godel would consider it an isomorphism), and the constructs used in economics are not so readily reduced to blue and green.  But we might feel there is a certain intuition in the idea that if you spend your whole life studying the design of the blue-green room, then you might lose the ability to understand the other colors.

The essay is an iteration of the expert fallacy, with a grain of truth that there may things the economist does that are analogous to removing a cerebral aneurysm--things that require "known tools".

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 14:34 | Link to Comment Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

The greatest chink in the armor of the essay that it does not giving enough attention to the corrosive effect of orthodoxy in his pursuit of understanding and ameliorating his field of study.

So that's why the words Climate Change kept creeping into my mind. Thanks for the focus.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 14:50 | Link to Comment Dicite justitiam
Dicite justitiam's picture

My cousin has spent her life defending that notion.  At some point, one's 'life's meaning' becomes identical to 'the notion', and that's a hindrance.  cheers.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 18:13 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

To paraphrase:  Asking whether an Economist can think is like asking if a submarine can swim.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:53 | Link to Comment LoneStarHog
LoneStarHog's picture

Economics For The Federal Reserve:

 

I have FIVE apples.  I use my apples and TRADE one for an orange.  I then EAT the other FOUR apples.  I then JUICE the orange.  How many assets do I have?  How do I get more assets?

Oh wait...I have FOUR rotting apple cores and decaying orange pulp...I can take these assets to the FED for a taxpayer loan.....

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:17 | Link to Comment Postal
Postal's picture

[sarcasm]

1. You don't "need" five apples. Obviously, since you only ate one. The other four are proof of you collecting funds for terrorists. You will go to prison.

2. "Orange" is secret code for "kiddie p0rn." You will go to prison.

On the plus side, your future compost might be sold to the green community. Perhaps you could start some kind of derivatives trading...

[/sarcasm]

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:59 | Link to Comment The Rock
The Rock's picture

ROFLMMFAO

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:56 | Link to Comment Cincitucky
Cincitucky's picture

Athreya must be downing the good brews, Bud/Coors/Miller (pick your cheap American beer) doesn't induce this kind of idiocy unless your getting enough of those artificial preserving chemicals in your system.

The underlying logic is that we accept your garbage because you have a PhD?  Show me the car facts.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:28 | Link to Comment inflation.stude...
inflation.studentloan--0's picture

apparently so.  But once you can add this line to biography "Recently, he taught a Ph.D. course at the University of Virginia" then you're really in a position to lecture the public about anything.

 

1 whole course???  So he's probably a shoe-in for the Nobel next year.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:55 | Link to Comment MGA_1
MGA_1's picture

Coming soon - "add a zero day" - a policy which will solve all of our financial problems.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:28 | Link to Comment Jim B
Jim B's picture

You mean you CAN print your way to prosperity, I wish I had a PHD in Econ.

 

FED is a joke, they are running the 1930's great depression playbook.  FED wake up, there are some minor differences

1.  We had significant nation debt prior to the collapse

2.  We are not an ascending industrial power, can you say China.  Oh, that's right, the talking heads have said for years that manufacturing doesn't matter, we will be a service economy.  Pathetic!

3.  We are living in a private and government debt bubble, and it will be corrected one way or the other.  The price must be paid.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 18:15 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

"...they are running the 1930's great depression playbook."

 

Reminds me of:  Generals are always busy fighting the previous war.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:55 | Link to Comment Hondo
Hondo's picture

These PhD’s have destroyed this country......I advise everyone not to listen to them because they are compete idiots.........how many idiot PhD’s can you think of that you came across during your years of undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate education......I can tell you I don't have enough fingers on my hands to count them.....many are not mentally based in reality.  From someone who has seen this BS at work I still recommend they do away with the Fed or clamp down very hard on the idiots......and remember they get to publish this garbage with your tax dollar.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:56 | Link to Comment bogeyman
bogeyman's picture

he wasn't drunk

it was his jerry maguire moment...

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:42 | Link to Comment stoverny
stoverny's picture

haha was thinking Jerry Maguire also. 

More proof that you should always wait 24 hours before pressing "send".

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:57 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

What do you mean pack my things? Budget what?!

I have TENURE!!!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:58 | Link to Comment sumo
sumo's picture

What a jack-off. How about he explains:

(a) why all those golden PhD peer-reviewed economists didn't predict the GFC; and more importantly

(b) why they ridiculed the few economists who did predict it, like Roubini and Rajan?

 

 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:58 | Link to Comment luigi
luigi's picture

It is somewhat embarassing and uncomfortable for me to think that I share more or less the same qualification of studies with the author of this amusing piece. Didn't know the Fed edits comics...

Anyway, looking at the Fed's policy, a training on the job with printing machines would just do as well...

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:59 | Link to Comment Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

I hereby give Dr Athreya full permission to use my avatar as it is so much more fitting for him!  BTW, here's his bio on the Richmond Fed site:

 

http://www.richmondfed.org/research/economists/bios/athreya_bio.cfm

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:13 | Link to Comment Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

One of the tabs under his picture is titled "Work in Progress".

I agree, he is a "Work in Progress". A never ending "Work in Progress".

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 08:59 | Link to Comment LoneStarHog
LoneStarHog's picture

Uh!  What were the DEGREES and AWARDS of those at Long Term Capital Management?

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:07 | Link to Comment sumo
sumo's picture

They had Nobel prizes, man. You don't get higher than that.

In Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine, a Nobel really means something. It recognizes a pinnacle of human achievement.

Economics must be different - the intellectual runt of the litter, so to speak.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:23 | Link to Comment goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

They had Nobel prizes, man. You don't get higher than that.

 

 Gore and Obama both "won" a Nobel prize.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:39 | Link to Comment OldTrooper
OldTrooper's picture

I think they just ordered the US Mint to stike those medals and then staged the award ceremony.  It's all a conspiracy.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:35 | Link to Comment russki standart
russki standart's picture

Quoting Sumo

 

"They had Nobel prizes, man. You don't get higher than that.

In Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine, a Nobel really means something. It recognizes a pinnacle of human achievement.

Economics must be different - the intellectual runt of the litter, so to speak."

 

Sorry Bro, but the pinnacle of Nobel inanity was the awarding of Peace prizes to Al Gore and IPCC head, the ugly indian guy with the rat on his head. Second Place goes to the anointment of the Mulatto Messiah with Peace Prize snakeoil for accomplishing....well, we are still waiting

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:51 | Link to Comment sumo
sumo's picture

Kissinger got a Nobel Peace Prize, so yeah, what's going on there ...

I stand by my statement about Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine. The Nobel means something in those fields.

 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:16 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Their daddies had a PHD, so they're okay

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:03 | Link to Comment Pinky
Pinky's picture

The Federal Reserve IS in the private sector. It's not a government agency, it's privately owned. I thought everyone who reads ZH knew that. Guess not?

(Edit: oops this comment belongs upthread, let me fix)

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:39 | Link to Comment tmosley
tmosley's picture

The Federal Reserve is private sector the way Fannie and Freddie are private sector, ie, only in theory.  They have the power of the press, so it doesn't really matter who writes the laws.  They are a bigger part o the government than congress, or even the president.  They enable everything done by the government.  EVERYTHING.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:02 | Link to Comment TLT
TLT's picture

Pathetic.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:32 | Link to Comment WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

When they get desperate we get to see how competent they really are.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:03 | Link to Comment firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

Holy LOL Batman!  This is some funny shit, thank you for starting my day with a laugh...well next to the personal income report (which I look forward to next months numbers).  This guy obviously is feeling a bit insignifcant and feels that he has to swing around his PhuD (as my econ prof would refer to his PhD).   

Seems to me that he feels that his models are far superior to reality, becuase we all know assumptions are what reality are based on......

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:03 | Link to Comment dead hobo
dead hobo's picture

Can't you recognize satire when you read it?

Oh, it's meant to be serious?

Nevermind.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:08 | Link to Comment ShankyS
ShankyS's picture

"should be ignored by an open-minded lay public." = "Little People"

Just leave it up to one of the 400+ Fed stooges to out fancy a Brit with the language issue. This is bullshit and can be compared to the Tom Brokaw statement I went ape shit over about a year ago. Every day it just gets worse. Warning to the Government, you are losing the battle and the sheeple are waking up.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:19 | Link to Comment FrankIvy
FrankIvy's picture

I'm curious - what was the Brokaw comment about?  I did a quick web search - no dice.  Thanks.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:05 | Link to Comment jkruffin
jkruffin's picture

Remember the rules for hyper-inflation?  It all starts with lying and desperation.

 

Governments will often try to disguise the true rate of inflation through a variety of techniques. These can include the following:

  • Outright lying in official statistics such as money supply, inflation or reserves.
  • Suppression of publication of money supply statistics, or inflation indices.
  • Price and wage controls.
  • Forced savings schemes, designed to suck up excess liquidity. These savings schemes may be described as pensions schemes, emergency funds, war funds, or something similar.
  • Adjusting the components of the Consumer price index, to remove those items whose prices are rising the fastest.

None of these actions address the root causes of inflation, and in fact, if discovered, tend to further undermine trust in the currency, causing further increases in inflation. Price controls will generally result in hoarding and extremely high demand for the controlled goods, resulting in shortages and disruptions of the supply chain. Products available to consumers may diminish or disappear as businesses no longer find it sufficiently profitable (or may be operating at a loss) to continue producing and/or distributing such goods, further exacerbating the problem.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:26 | Link to Comment goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

Don't forget:

  • Setting fires to rooms with information in them.
Mon, 06/28/2010 - 18:19 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Appeal to Authority is a logical fallacy!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:05 | Link to Comment casey13
casey13's picture

Great. I will be waiting for the professionals to warn me when the market is about to tank next time rather than the "Everything is all right all the time" we usually get. Their job is to be cheer leaders and promote public confidence all the time. It is not to tell the truth. That is why in the eyes of most people they have no credibility.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:05 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

I do have a Economic masters! :)

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:06 | Link to Comment NUREG
NUREG's picture

This guy seems to be equal parts credentialed idiot, coddled bureaucrat, and ass-kissing sycophant.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 18:19 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

You forgot "Glorified Fortune Teller!"

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:08 | Link to Comment BennyBoy
BennyBoy's picture

How many FED Econ Phd's, well trained to ignore financial reality, saw the bubble and tried to prevent it?

Several non Phd bloggers did, most using the FED and other publicly available data.

 

How many Econ Phd's does it take to change a light bulb?

3,000 to study and dissect the problem, publish nonsensical papers, studies and meaningless statistical analysis about being in the dark.

And one blogger to screw in the light bulb.

 

 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:26 | Link to Comment The Rock
The Rock's picture

nice!!

Sun, 03/27/2011 - 15:46 | Link to Comment Sun_Tzu
Sun_Tzu's picture

Maybe they can wipe out the bloggers with malicious reinterpretations of copyright law.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:08 | Link to Comment grunk
grunk's picture

No PhD in economics? Then shut up about economics.

No J.D. in law? Then shut up about legal issues.

Never played pro baseball? Then shut up about baseball.

Never been in a porn movie? Then shut up abou F***ing.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 14:57 | Link to Comment RichardP
RichardP's picture

Athreya was not commenting on those who discuss economics.  He was commenting on those who discuss economic policy.  Big difference.  Discuss the world of economics all you like, regardless of your knowledge of the subject.  But since economic policy is the province of the "club", those who are not members of the club cannot make any reliable comments about what the members of the club are thinking.  Economics and Economic Policy are two different animals.  Athreya was referring to Economic Policy.

"In what follows I will argue that it is exceedingly unlikely that these authors have anything interesting to say about economic policy."

 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:10 | Link to Comment if
if's picture

If you are truly an expert you do not need to hide your incompetence behind a degree.  Your mastery of the subject matter should make you the intellectual equivalent of Mike Tyson in the ring with a skinny kid from wherever.  Sadly, far too many experts are little more than group thinking incompetents.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:11 | Link to Comment rats
rats's picture

I have got a feeling that we are nearly at a tipping point in terms of controlling the message.

Who would trust a research paper from the Fed?

 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:11 | Link to Comment aaronb17
aaronb17's picture

Finally, the Fed is learning to debate in a tone the blogosphere understands!  Nothing sparks an Internet debate like a little arrogance, and contempt lovingly wrapped in know-it-all conviction.

 

TD, you should solicit this guy as a regular guest-posting counterpoint to George Washington. 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:39 | Link to Comment The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk's picture

Finally, the Fed is learning to debate in a tone the blogosphere understands!  Nothing sparks an Internet debate like a little arrogance, and contempt lovingly wrapped in know-it-all conviction.

It's indeed kind of tempting to say Tyler has been trolled, but really, the very fact that they feel the need to address this at all is an enormous victory for the blogs. It means they're afraid enough of them to address them openly at the cost of mentioning them at all and thus drawing additional attention to them. We can only hope this escalates.

 

Still, y'all Austrians posting in a Fed thread.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:53 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

"Finally, the Fed is learning to debate in a tone the blogosphere understands!  Nothing sparks an Internet debate like a little arrogance and contempt lovingly wrapped in know-it-all conviction.

 

Wait, did I somehow miss Leo's involvement in all this?



Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:11 | Link to Comment Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

hey if u can't afford to buy a good phd dissertation paper then u don't deserve to be an expert in economics.

http://www.academicwritinghelp.net/

 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:12 | Link to Comment Bryan
Bryan's picture

I wrote off "Economics" as a serious subject after taking my Econ classes in college.  The most I got out of them was something about "guns and butter."  Otherwise, I liken economics to a subject like philosophy:  everyone has an opinion, and they all stink.  ;-)

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:14 | Link to Comment whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

I smell fear

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:07 | Link to Comment The Rock
The Rock's picture

“We never should have invented the Internet.” Jay Rockefeller

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:26 | Link to Comment FrankIvy
FrankIvy's picture

 

I suppose I need to write this.

Isn't this just this person saying, "don't look behind the green curtain."?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWyCCJ6B2WE

 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:32 | Link to Comment MayIMommaDogFac...
MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Yellow brick road?  Silver slippers (not ruby!)...

That Frank Baum sure could write a Kids' Book...or is it?

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:15 | Link to Comment Paper CRUSHer
Paper CRUSHer's picture

 

If you acheived an Austrian School Of Economics PhD..... you may hold your HEAD UP HIGH.

If you acheived a Keynesian Economics PhD...... you will need SKULL ENLARGEMENT SURGERY for attending that HEAD SHRINKING INSTITUTION so please accept my dearest apologies people.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:15 | Link to Comment fallst
fallst's picture

Just look at the Fed Funds Rate since 1999. 6% to 2% to 5% to 0%.

The Fool in The Shower does not know What He is Doing.

It Is Over. The Internet has Made Us Aware.That is Correct.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:16 | Link to Comment Misean
Misean's picture

Ph(ck)'d Ebubblegnomists spend a whole lot of time using partial linear differential equations modeling the chaotic non-linear movements of little green pieces of paper, which they acknowledge in Econ101 are as subjectively and marginally valued as everything else, then promply forget so as to have a unit of measure in their linear differential equations.  Because they use linear differential equations, they are engaged in Hard Science, which is, well, hard, and thus not accessible to the mundanes outside the guild.  Ignore the man behind the curtain; model the wave pattern of the curtain's flutterings...and ignore the feedback loop those flutterings have on the fluttering.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:29 | Link to Comment goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

Ph(ck)'d Ebubblegnomists...brilliant!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:17 | Link to Comment Innocent Bystander
Innocent Bystander's picture

“Would anyone tolerate the equivalent level of public discussion on cancer research? Most of us readily accept the proposition that Oncology requires training, and rarely give time over to non-medical-professionals’ musings.”

Oncology and economics? now is that a fair comparison, I think not,

when it comes to economics, Common Sense and experience can help you better understand the idea more than complex models and statistical data, not the case for cancer research.

An elderly lady in her 90s, that I know, who has had no formal education can breakdown economics and sound money, better than Mr. Krugman, and I would say I’m somewhat educated, as I have spent a fortune in adding a few letters to my name..

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:29 | Link to Comment The Rock
The Rock's picture

this idiot also likes to compare natural disasters with man-made ones!!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:17 | Link to Comment hcivic91
hcivic91's picture

I don't deny the author is probably a bureaucratic idiot but I mostly agree with the paper's thesis.  I don't deny that people without a PhD have good ideas but I think a large part of the author's point is that the ideas need to be actionable and tractable, thats all.  Not just hand-waving on a blog. 

I suppose you guys would also argue you are qualified to do research at CERN or design ballistic weapons.

Question to Tyler and the other posters: if your ideas are so revolutionary why aren't you at the Fed saving the economy?  Seems to me if you are so smart you might have some intrinsic motive to do some good - rather than just providing intra-day liquidity.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:23 | Link to Comment jkruffin
jkruffin's picture

You have to have worked at Goldman Sachs in order to become a member of the FED or Trsy.  Haven't you noticed?

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:27 | Link to Comment Postal
Postal's picture

Because the Fed is the problem.

Unlike CERN or ballistic weapons, scarcity is a fact of eveyone's life. We don't need a Ph.D. to understand the concept, nor to balance a checkbook. More training can help us (as individuals) make better economic decisions, but advanced degrees are not needed.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:31 | Link to Comment sumo
sumo's picture

Question to all holders of Economics PhDs:

If you understand how economies work, why aren't you all making fortunes with your own macro hedge funds?

 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:35 | Link to Comment Misean
Misean's picture

" if your ideas are so revolutionary why aren't you at the Fed saving the economy?"

 

BWAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHHA!

 

The Feral SAVING the economy!!??!??!?!  The Feral doesn't even like saving...thus ZIRP!  But seriously, do you have "I'm A Tool" tatooed on your forehead?

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:39 | Link to Comment mephisto
mephisto's picture

As a theoretical physics PhD, yes I am trained to do research at CERN or design 'ballistic weapons'. Thanks for noticing.

I think collective hand waving on a blog like ZH does good. It has for me. I am wealthier, a better trader, and probably a better person for the diverse articles and comments I find here.

The Fed can't save the economy. Never has, never will. 

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 09:58 | Link to Comment sumo
sumo's picture

Well, you got me. As a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering, start-up co-founder, and inventor of several patents, I'm qualified to help out at CERN but I'm not qualified to design ballistic weapons.

Damn, I feel so under-qualified ...

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 10:28 | Link to Comment OldTrooper
OldTrooper's picture

I suppose you guys would also argue you are qualified to do research at CERN or design ballistic weapons.

No, but I am qualified to note when a 'ballistic weapon' continuously, test after test, misses its mark and flys off in the wrong direction.  When that happens I do KNOW that the designer was an idiot.  And, I feel comfortable opining that that particular 'balistic weapon' is garbage and will never work.

if your ideas are so revolutionary why aren't you at the Fed saving the economy?

Do you really think that the economy can or will be 'saved' by the Fed?  Really?  Your 'revolutionary' ideas are part of the problem.  Did it ever occur to you that maybe we don't need more revolutionary ideas, but rather should go back to older ideas that actually worked?

And actually, I'm keeping pretty busy right here, saving the economy one family at a time, starting with my own and then employees, customers and so on.  I'm doing that with good, old-fashioned economics:  provide what my customers want, keep quality and value high, don't spend more that I make, set aside a bit for rainy days, etc.

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 18:27 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

The Fed is like a sledge hammer -- NOT recommended for removing flies from foreheads!

Mon, 06/28/2010 - 11:11 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The paper had solid points.

 

Yet it did not address the point.

People are not dissatisfied with the system, they are dissatisfied with being tossed by the system or seeing people they dont wish to benefit from the system benefiting from it.

They want the position in power so they can claim back what they think they are entitled to.

It is not about mending the system. It is all about the system leaving them at the doors or letting in people they dont want in.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!