Thursday, May 5, 2011

Good Keynesianism

Referring back to economics once again, this is Krugman explaining how Keynesian insights have been abused. Indeed, we use "stimulus" way too much. We need to save during the good times and spend up during slack times. But, oh no, some can't bear the thought of money in the til. Foolish democracies: can we be trusted with Keynesian insights?

David Brooks on What Drives History

David Brooks reflects on the life and death of Bin Laden. I found the article very interesting, as it pointed out some aspects of the individuality of Bin Laden. We often forget that great actors in history, including some of the most despicable, are human, all too human. Brooks also uses this occasion to demonstrate how individuals, with all of our quirks and individuality, can make a huge difference in history, for good or ill. This is one of the things that makes history so fascinating. Yes, in my year of Big History, I've been looking at the big trends, like economic change, demographics, technology, and so on; yet, individuals in the midst of all of this change, still count, still make crucial differences.

Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

This blast of a video is the sequel of their initial offering of "Fear the Boom & Bust", and it's a worthy sequel indeed. Of course, it lacks the shock of the original (two of the greatest economists as rappers), but still, when you think of what they're saying, you realize a lot of knowledge and perspective is packed into this video. Russ Roberts of EconTalk, a terrific podcast, is one of the writers and producers, and if you've listened to him as much as I have, you appreciate his ability to address complex concerns on these topics in very approachable ways. You do note that the Hayekians have a bit of a chip on their shoulder, their man's Nobel Prize notwithstanding, but I suppose that's accurate. I've only come appreciate Hayek more of late. I thought (without reading, shame on me) that The Road to Serfdom was some right-wing rant. Unfair. In fact, I like the ending of this video because both of these great economists (who, by the way, wrote in prose primarily and not math) have very important and worthwhile things to say. For me, in a crisis, go Keynesian, but for day-to-day, Hayek's perspective on the disbursement of knowledge and decentralized decision-making is crucial. Cheers to both these fine rappers!