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Bloggingheads 04-09-2009 10:28 AM

Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 

very weak internet arguer 04-09-2009 01:24 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
dang, bob, how'd you get access to this heavy hitter??
here's a semi-related article on the seedy underbelly of debt-fueled Dubai:
http://license.icopyright.net/user/v...E0ODg4Nw%3D%3D

beren 04-09-2009 02:01 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Smart guy, that Simon Johnson. Good perspective on the economy from someone who apparently knows what he's talking about.

ginger baker 04-09-2009 05:31 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
refreshing!! great diavlog!! thanks!

Eastwest 04-09-2009 08:05 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Stunningly fine DV. Finally: Somebody speaks the truth.

EW

popcorn_karate 04-09-2009 08:24 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
no kidding!

truly refreshing.

Thank you Simon and Paul.

bhf 04-09-2009 11:02 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Wow, that was truly scary... Did anyone consider selling all their stocks after hearing that?

Baltimoron 04-13-2009 01:35 AM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
I'm shocked so few are commenting on this diavlog! Simon Johnson really struck both a philosophical and topical chord with his article. I only wish modern media could prove Johnson's points.

Dani Rodrik did take issue with Johnson in a humorous way, too.

Simon Johnson's morality tale

Ideas and interests

nikkibong 04-13-2009 01:32 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Baltimoron (Post 110019)
I'm shocked so few are commenting on this diavlog!

Might this have to do with the fact that most comments would consist of "excellent diavlog" ?

The crappier diavlogs (i.e. TWIB, beinart/goldberg) tend to generate more comments, because they are such easy fodder for being torn apart. I, for one, have nothing of value to add here in the comments to this diavlog besides, well . . .:

Excellent diavlog.

Francoamerican 04-13-2009 06:53 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by nikkibong (Post 110065)
Might this have to do with the fact that most comments would consist of "excellent diavlog" ?

Outstanding dialogue and I agree: It is hard to comment when the speaker makes such good sense.

My only question: if there is such widespread outrage at the oligarchy from within the oligarchy, what is keeping the oligarchy from reforming itself? Or do we have here a clash between the economic self-interest of the oligarchy and its sense of the common good? Rousseau, Marx e tutti quanti had something to say on that issue.

ledocs 04-14-2009 03:21 AM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Yes, this was excellent, although I zoned out at the end, for reasons having nothing to do with Mr. Johnson.

Good to hear him making this point about too much economic/political power undermining...what, exactly. He could have been more precise. He seemed to be another voice, along with Elizabeth Warren and Paul Krugman, saying that the disproportionate power of big financial institutions has society underwriting their outsized profits on the upside and then taking all the downside risk too - privatizing of profits, socializing of risks. Add Dean Baker to that list.

Let's have a diavlog that talks about anti-trust law over the past 40 years and how it was that the Right moved away from the anti-trust model of capitalism. Isn't Robert Bork a major figure here? And Gary Becker and parts of the Chicago School? This call for reinvigorating anti-trust laws is extremely important, but most unlikely to be heeded, I would think. This is another area in which the Republican Party would be ripping itself apart, if it stood for anything at all, but in fact, the Chamber of Commerce (small business) and the statist Republicans seem to have equally little interest in anti-trust. I really don't know what I'm talking about in this paragraph. So let's get someone who does, and please let it not be Megan McCardle. I mean someone who really knows, not someone who pretends to know.

pampl 04-14-2009 11:42 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
If you like Johnson, he did a short interview with TNR here:
http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_p...-recovery.aspx

ledocs 04-15-2009 12:45 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
This is one of the best and most important diavlogs ever to appear on the site, and the response by commenters to it is pathetically limited. People should read the article in "The Atlantic," also. It's not long and not technical.

bjkeefe 04-15-2009 03:22 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ledocs (Post 110383)
This is one of the best and most important diavlogs ever to appear on the site, and the response by commenters to it is pathetically limited.

As with other diavlogs, most prominently Science Saturday and UN Plaza, it is often the case, for me at least, that it's hard to come up with something that feels worth saying, precisely because of the high quality of the diavlog. I suspect I'm not alone in this.

I don't know why I'm resistant to just saying, "Great diavlog!", but I am, and again, I suspect I'm not alone in this.

Think of it in terms of a lecture in college. One rarely compliments the good ones, and one is much more likely to go up to the professor and complain about the bad ones.

ledocs 04-15-2009 05:05 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
That's a very inadequate explanation, bj. It does not account for the fact that the reliable "conservative" iconoclasts aren't poking holes in Johnson's argument. I can see that there is a tendency to reject the hypothesis that the lack of commentary on this diavlog demonstrates that our vaunted commenters actually aren't that interesting, but this tendency is like hearing thunder and failing to anticipate lightning.

pampl 04-15-2009 07:05 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ledocs (Post 110415)
That's a very inadequate explanation, bj. It does not account for the fact that the reliable "conservative" iconoclasts aren't poking holes in Johnson's argument. I can see that there is a tendency to reject the hypothesis that the lack of commentary on this diavlog demonstrates that our vaunted commenters actually aren't that interesting, but this tendency is like hearing thunder and failing to anticipate lightning.

I think you may be putting the horse before the cart here.

bjkeefe 04-15-2009 07:28 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ledocs (Post 110415)
That's a very inadequate explanation, bj.

Well, I don't claim that it's comprehensive, but I do think it is one that applies to a certain type of diavlog, and that this diavlog probably falls into that category for at least some viewers. As I said, I can be sure that's part of what was involved for me, and since I don't think my thought processes are that distinctive, it seems a safe bet that others felt the same way.

But sure, there could be other factors. Another one for me, matter of fact, is burnout: I'm about done for a while with hearing economists talking about our economic problems. I have perhaps the immature sense that after almost every one, I think, "Yeah, wow. That seems smart," and then the next one comes along and says something opposite or even orthogonal, and I think the same thing. And then I think of the old joke about what you'd reach if you laid all the economists in the world end to end.

Quote:

It does not account for the fact that the reliable "conservative" iconoclasts aren't poking holes in Johnson's argument.
True. So are you saying the RCIs agree with Johnson? Or that they are so unable to disagree substantively that they're remaining silent? Or something else?

Quote:

I can see that there is a tendency to reject the hypothesis that the lack of commentary on this diavlog demonstrates that our vaunted commenters actually aren't that interesting, but this tendency is like hearing thunder and failing to anticipate lightning.
That's also possible, although it has been my experience that truly dull diavlogs usually provoke at least a few comments complaining about that. So far, I do not see any of that kind here.

claymisher 04-15-2009 07:54 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 110436)
But sure, there could be other factors. Another one for me, matter of fact, is burnout: I'm about done for a while with hearing economists talking about our economic problems. I have perhaps the immature sense that after almost every one, I think, "Yeah, wow. That seems smart," and then the next one comes along and says something opposite or even orthogonal, and I think the same thing.

Me too. The Thoma/Sumner episode from a few days ago covered completely different territory! For them it was all about monetary policy. Then you've got Steve Keen asking probing questions about money and debt that can't be squared with mainstream economics. If I took sides right now I'd be missing out on a lot of good stuff.

ledocs 04-15-2009 08:47 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Well, I have made several posts of the sort, "This was good." I do that because I have the idea that someone (God perhaps) is keeping track of what I think and that I can have an effect on the programming. This is highly narcissistic and unrealistic, I realize.

My point is this. You're trying to sell this site to investors, and you start looking at what excites comment, then you discover that something important and informative like this does not seem to attract eyeballs, while Ann Althouse's love life does. So to me it looks like bhtv simply mirrors American culture as a whole. Of course, the question becomes whether there is a positive correlation between diavlog views and number of comments. I'll bet there is such a correlation.

I just heard a "cognitive scientist" say to Joshua Knobe on bhtv that, "There is no empirical evidence of a positive correlation between fear of death and religious belief." That has got to be one of the most counter-intuitive and craziest claims I have ever heard, and the guy claims to have facts on his side. What kind of experiments are done in this field? How can anyone in his right mind believe shit like that? This is like saying that there is no empirical evidence that counting in base 10 is a practical system for human beings to count in.

bjkeefe 04-15-2009 09:33 PM

Re: Breaking the Economic Oligarchy (Simon Johnson & Paul Kiel)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ledocs (Post 110451)
Well, I have made several posts of the sort, "This was good." I do that because I have the idea that someone (God perhaps) is keeping track of what I think and that I can have an effect on the programming. This is highly narcissistic and unrealistic, I realize.

Bob Wright is God, let there be no mistake about that. At least in my universe. And if Joel Achenbach is to be believed, the working title for Bob's latest book was The Autobiography of God. And it is in any case true that Bob Wright is aware of your petitions.

I think it does not hurt to believe that adding your voice may have an effect. I believe the same thing, many times, and I always believe that it doesn't cost much to try. Can't complain if you don't vote, I always say. So I reject your last, self-flagellating, sentence. (Perhaps because I too am HN and U.)

Quote:

My point is this. You're trying to sell this site to investors, and you start looking at what excites comment, then you discover that something important and informative like this does not seem to attract eyeballs, while Ann Althouse's love life does. So to me it looks like bhtv simply mirrors American culture as a whole. Of course, the question becomes whether there is a positive correlation between diavlog views and number of comments. I'll bet there is such a correlation.
First, I'm glad you mentioned views, since I suspect that's a much more important measurement to investors than is the number of comments.

Second, to the extent that number of comments say anything, I'd be inclined to believe that there are, from time to time, lots under any diavlog (and lots in total) is mostly going to say to an investor that this site has an engaged audience and/or core of dedicated fans.

Third, unless every investor in this country has suddenly developed a value system I can only dream about, I do not think very many of them will be put off by this site's display that people like to talk trash about trash. Investors usually want to make money, and in the context of the Web, that means visitors, and most of them have very few qualms about what exactly it is that draws visitors as long as it does.

Quote:

I just heard a "cognitive scientist" say to Joshua Knobe on bhtv that, "There is no empirical evidence of a positive correlation between fear of death and religious belief." That has got to be one of the most counter-intuitive and craziest claims I have ever heard, and the guy claims to have facts on his side. What kind of experiments are done in this field?
Heh.

If he is to be believed, clearly not many, or perhaps, not the right ones. On the other hand, it is sometimes true that what seems intuitive, self-evident, obvious, what have you, turns out not to be the case. I won't argue about this claim in particular, since my intuition about it is as strong as yours, but in general, this is precisely why we do experiments and collect data -- to see if we can claim to know what we believe. Lots of science is painfully incremental. No choice, as far as I'm aware.


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