Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I am half brained

In the spirit of Stumbling and Mumbling I have renamed my tagline to "Half-brained ramblings and insights...."

This is because I got called half brained by a guy doing a doctorate in Austrian economics when talking about sticky prices here.

Hmm I also got called Mr. Central Planner. Which is interesting. But I don't do intellectual name calling or baiting at all, and I won't even try and ridicule AJE's website at all because I quite like it actually, although admit to being a bit flaky about libertarian economics. I'm happy to learn under my own steam, but also happy to disagree or debate without the insults. Unless its insulting the royal family, politicians or Guardian columnists. Which are all fair game.

I did have a temporary feeling of intellectual inadequacy. I get this a lot when it concerns economics. The subject is so vast, subject to much theoretical debate and many ideas etc. Its actually quite overwhelming sometimes. I am happier sticking to the numbers sometimes. A spreadsheet or SPSS analysis can sometimes help answer more questions than theories from dead economists sometimes. Sh*t I must stop drinking 10 cups of black coffee a day. Does this induce paranoia?

For me, economics is all about learning. I would never call myself an expert at anything. As Kurt Vonnegut said about his table tennis playing days, just when he thought he was unbeatable, some young guy in the army came along and tore him a new asshole. Life is like that. But it doesn't dim my enthusiasm for learning more about economics and putting it into practice.

In terms of different models, theories, schools, I definitely do not stick to one philosophy. Maybe this is because I am also an athiest. I really view market models as imperfect tools for understanding how the economy works or doesn't. No different to most sensible economists I'll bet. I don't put so much stock in them as to remove common sense from operating from my full or half brain.

I am also a good analyst of data. I put a lot of stock in evidence too. This leads me to view theories as nice and vaguely useful, but not always relating to the numbers swimming around the screen in my spreadsheets. etc.


At 3:20 am, Anonymous Superlinker said...

Hi Angry Economist #1, I find it very refreshing to occasionally find a article such as yours with a familiar topic such as this post. It somehow ads to ones list of lifes experiences.

I have a soft spot for blogs related to web design and /or sites that have a central theme around web design type items.

Once again, thank you Angry Economist #1, hope to see more posts from you in the future :-)

At 5:25 pm, Anonymous AJE said...

Hi there,

I wanted to apologise for the tone of my comment that led to this post, and preface what I said with the humility that we are all curious observers of this complex and fascinating economy, and our best means to understand it is via open, honest, debate.

When I used the term "Mr Central Planner" I wasn't meaning yourself - just anyone who might base government intervention on static models of perfect competition.

I have great conviction that an alternative position is far more helpful (the Austrian school following from Carl Manger and Mises but encompassing Ronald Coase, James Buchanan and Doug North), and have great frustration that it's unacknowledged. Conviction and frustration can result it rudeness and/or swathing comments. I retract them, and apologise!

I enjoyed your post on clusters, and agree with your points. Clearly you're not half-brained (although it's a fun byline), and I didn't intend to name call. It's a habit I try to curb. That said I do engage in a little baiting, as a strategy to stimulate response (I don't like being ignored..) but as with every strategy it's dependent on other people, and can be misapplied.

Finally, on The Filter^ I sound more libertarian than I actually am, since I do like to be provocative. I encourage you to critique anything you find unconvicing, and I welcome opportunities to reconsider my arguments. The goal is conversation, though, and not mud slinging or intellectual battle. Everything is up for grabs, we're all at the table, and the only important rule is honesty and integrity.



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