Monday, March 29, 2010

Brooks on Economics

David Brooks does a quick take on economics, and he believes that economics as history and a part of the humanities will make a comeback. I agree. I see more and more evidence that economics will change away from its pinched idea of humanity. Adam Smith was an outstanding moral philosopher; Hayek dealt primarily with the limitation of knowledge; Keynes with uncertainty and "animal spirits": all great precedents. These great thinkers knew that we humans are as much flaw as reason. Brooks gives a shout out to Herbert Simon, Tversky and Kahneman, and Becker. Someday, perhaps, the economists will catch up to the political scientists!

About All of the Craziness on the Right

The craziness on the Right continues to attract attention. Yesterday, Love is Stream commented on the radical rhetoric of the right. This morning in the NYT, we found these two articles pertaining to the issue. This article discusses how it happens and how it can spread. Frank Rich analyzes what has happened and provides some historical perspective. Comments on Love is a Stream cite commentary from Iowa bard Chuck Offenburger and Charles Blow @ NYT on this topic. Offenburger demonstrates that perceptions of this problem aren't limited to "East Coast elitists" like those who write for NYT. Offenburger (a Republican—how'd that happen?) shows that a few Republicans see the folly and offensiveness of this right-wing hysteria. Blow's analysis notes that topic like rates of taxation and the role of government are legitimate topics for disagreement, but what we read and hear doesn't rise to the level of thoughtful political discourse. I don't think that this phenomenon will last, since, like Social Security and Medicare before it, the world did not end with the adoption of this legislation. However, the violent metaphors and extreme language can trigger some to go off the deep end. Let's hope that we've seen the worst of it.