Quotes & Links #47


1) bbc.com: Has the global economy slowed down?

In other words, on one important measure the world economy is becoming less integrated, as a share of world output, fewer goods and services are crossing borders.

2) nytimes.com/opinionator: Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts

As a philosopher, I already knew that many college-aged students don’t believe in moral facts. While there are no national surveys quantifying this phenomenon, philosophy professors with whom I have spoken suggest that the overwhelming majority of college freshman in their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or are true only relative to a culture.

But are they *facts*? He doesn’t provide a very good arguments, only: “Moral facts exist. Basta.”

3) blog.fuw.ch: Das politische Desaster Europas (via @egghat)

Das Problem der Eurozone sind mangelhafte Institutionen, die die Exportüberschüsse Deutschlands (und damit auch die tiefe Arbeitslosigkeit und gute Finanzlage) aktuell genau so erleichtern, wie sie vor der Krise die Verschuldung Griechenlands und anderer befördert hat.

Interessant. Weniger “Demokratiedefizit” (Begriff ist an sich schon etwas schwammig) bedeutet aber immer mehr Verlust von Souveränität und daran liegt es momentan keinem Staat. Die Frage bleibt natürlich, ob der Euro schuld ist, schließlich hatte die Bundesbank ja schon vor dem Euro mehr Macht als andere Notenbanken. Die deutsche Politik und Wirtschaft haben schon vor der Einführung des Euros eine große Rolle in Europa gespielt. Vielleicht waren diese Strukturen aber in der Vergangenheit nicht so sichtbar? Oder vielleicht wurde über sie nur weniger berichtet? Finde die Berichterstattung da immer etwas unvollständig und etwas “fantasielos”. (PS: Ich wusste gar nicht, dass der Eintritt in die EU für die Schweizer überhaupt noch ein Thema ist.)

4) wired.com: The Plot to Free North Korea With Smuggled Friends Episodes

He believes that the Kim dynasty’s three-generation stranglehold on the North Korean people—and its draconian restriction on almost any information about the world beyond its borders—will ultimately be broken not by drone strikes or caravans of Humvees but by a gradual, guerrilla invasion of thumb drives filled with bootleg episodes of Friends and Judd Apatow comedies.

Joseph Nye will be proud. It seems very risky and hopefully they will be successful.

5) vox.com: American democracy is doomed
It starts out a bit slow (everybody knows about the perils of presidential democracies, party polarization etc.), but the latter parts are really interesting and insightful. It also contains lots of political science research! Yay!

6) medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog: Genetic Data Tools Reveal How Pop Music Evolved In The US

Instead, they say that the evolution of music between 1960 and 2010 was largely constant but punctuated by periods of rapid change. “We identified three revolutions: a major one around 1991 and two smaller ones around 1964 and 1983,” they say.

How the hell did medium.com get so many good blogs seemingly out of nowhere?!

7) fuw.ch: “Europe should use low yields for fiscal stimulus”
Richard Koo interviews are always interesting, although I do think his thoughts on monetary stimulus are a bit behind the curve by now. I do agree, however, that the “Japanese lesson” is not understood well-enough in Europe or at least in some parts of Europe. The book, sadly, costs 40€. COME ON!

8) america.aljazeera.com: Signs of intelligent life in the economics profession

Back in the 1990s, the policy types and political figures who held the views now espoused by Summers, Krugman, Stiglitz and Sachs were not just considered wrong but not serious enough to merit attention. They were know-nothings who didn’t understand modern economics.

I’m a bit surprised Dean Baker is actually writing something somewhat positive. ;)

9) andrewgelman.com: What hypothesis testing is all about.

My view is (nearly) the opposite of the conventional view. The conventional view is that you can learn from a rejection but not from a non-rejection. I say the opposite: you can’t learn much from a rejection, but a non-rejection tells you something.

I had listened to a discussion about p-values yesterday. I really have to get my statistical knowledge up to snuff again. Loved this comment.

10) wired.co.uk: Feign enthusiasm with this Gmail extension
Best. Thing. Evarrrr.

11) reuters.com: Buy-and-hold fund prospers with no new bets in 80 years

Light on banks and heavy on industrials and energy, the fund has beaten 98 percent of its peers, known as large value funds, over both the past five and ten years, according to Morningstar.

Stock pickers getting reeeeeeeeeeeeekt.

12) faz.net: Der „röhrende Hirsch“ und der Untergang des Feminismus

Diese [jf: “Gender Studies”] sind auch eher ein Hindernis in der Gleichstellungsdebatte. Der Feminismus macht sich selbst zur Satire, wenn er sich auf dieses Kuriosum im Wissenschaftsbetrieb reduzieren lässt.

13) macromarketmusings.com: The Origins of the Eurozone Monetary Policy Crisis

What these figures suggest is that the first stage of the crisis was a Eurozone-wide monetary crisis, while the second stage was only a regional Eurozone monetary crisis.

Note the “suggest”! I’d like to see the “Taylor Rule”-graph for countries instead of core/periphery.

14) project-syndicate.org: Austerity Is Not Greece’s Problem

Greece never had the productive structure to be as rich as it was: its income was inflated by massive amounts of borrowed money that was not used to upgrade its productive capacity. According to the Atlas of Economic Complexity, which I co-authored, in 2008 the gap between Greece’s income and the knowledge content of its exports was the largest among a sample of 128 countries.

Well, Greece is basically a country transformed into a museum. He doesn’t name any “structural reforms”, but I have a feeling that most of them won’t work without significantly reducing the income and wealth of the Greek people. This might be necessary (because the Greek crisis is not much of a demand problem), but is hard to swallow for people of any country.

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