Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Daily Dozen

  1. The Great Repression? "Repression in economic matters may not always lead to doom. But the scale of unconscious denial of the past five years amounts to a Great Repression. That is the widespread and sustained, if unconscious, denial of economic reality on a scale sufficient so that eventual reckoning spells equally widespread and sustained financial devastation—of which we should now be collectively acutely conscious.... Trouble is, the temptation appears strong to continue to repress rather than confront."
  2. A new type of catalyst. The first mechanically activated catalyst might be used in self-healing materials.
  3. 12 US towns on the edge of spectacular wilderness. I've been to two so far -- Asheville, NC and Moab, UT. If the other ten are as beautiful as these two, I have some more exploring to do!
  4. "We are now a Nation filled with overgrown adolescents getting used to whatever we desire."
  5. Newspapers are dying. Are universities next?
  6. 50 things every 18-year-old should know.
  7. A Harvard course in visualizing information. Looks interesting.
  8. The four pillars of sound policy: 1) fiscal restraint; 2) the rule of law; 3) free trade; and 4) privatization. "Today, those four policy pillars, once known as the Washington Consensus, are abandoned in the city that gave that consensus its name."
  9. Legal Theory Lexicon: The Reasonable Person.
  10. From bubble to depression? "We economists were wrong: Even when traders in an asset market know the value of the asset, bubbles form dependably. Bubbles can arise when some agents buy not on fundamental value, but on price trend or momentum. If momentum traders have more liquidity, they can sustain a bubble longer."
  11. Finding balance between time and money: "If you had a magical credit card and you could buy back the days of your life, how far in debt would you go and not even care?” Words spoken by a man who lost his wife and child during childbirth.
  12. Quote of the day: "The study of law is to the study of philosophy as Spanish is to Latin." -- Eugene Volokh

1 comment:

thinking said...

I like that conceptualization: the Great Repression.

Of course humans always have a propensity to believe what they want to believe, regardless of reality, but I would argue that in economics the Great Repression unfortunately began under Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan.

Reagan propagated this myth that we could have it all economically: tax cuts, huge spending, no budget deficits, both a materialistic society that worshipped wealth as well as a morally grounded one. Somehow the rise of materialism and greed could go hand in hand with the rise of the religious right.

Greenspan took the idea and ran with it, and basically primed the pump for over a decade, always arguing in one form or another that, again, we could have it all economically if we just believe.

Amazingly enough, once the tech stock bubble burst, Greenspan set about to create another bubble even worse, the housing bubble. Of course this was to keep the economy pumped in spite of the Bush tax cuts, which had little stimulative effect but created large budget deficits, and the Iraq war.