Monday, February 9, 2009

TPM, e tu?

I love Have read it almost every day of my life since 2002, roughly...

But, now it looks like they are having MIT economist Simon Johnson on as a guest blogger...

That's too bad, because Simon Johnson is completely nuts. I saw him speak at the AEA conference in San Francisco this year (for the non-economists, the AEA is the biggest economic conference of the year). Johnson is a coauthor (or should I say accomplice?) or Daron Acemoglu, also at MIT. Both are lunatics.

Just to give a taste of their lunacy, in one paper "Reversal of Fortune" they try to explain the apparent paradox of why countries which were rich in 1500 are poor now, and countries that are rich now, were poor then (actually, part of the problem is that this is definitely not true -- Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson didn't understand the Malthusian model) -- the conclusion that they reach is that countries which are poor now could be much richer if only they had embraced colonization more!

Having said that, I don't see anything too crazy yet in his writings... Mostly sounds benign, and a touch boring so far...

1 comment:

  1. That's a big statement. Although it is interesting to see Simon absolutely everywhere now.

    I've read some of the pair's more institutionally driven work, it is generally somewhat boring neo-modernist institutional writing. It's like reading Max Weber without any of the political history associated with it. Generally it seems like undergrad old school political science/sociology with a pumped up pseudo-statistical model. That never gets tested.

    As per usual economists are the idiot savants, making explanations out of nothing. Why you ask? A grasp of common sense? No, Math! For math means science in an OLS world! I've always been confused as to how people accept geographic explanations for wealth. It is because they fell in a certain latitudes...really?

    No economists should be allowed to make any policy related claims unless if they understand the sociopolitical background. However, this world will always feature a shortage of these types. Otherwise it is better to beware of PhD's wielding equations and numbers.