Politics: 4 October 2010

Physics and Economics

Paul Krugman writes in Math, Models, and Mystification about economists who consider the likes of Brad DeLong and him ignorant of modern macroeconomic theory. Krugman’s theory about these people is that they understand the math of their models, but not the theory that underlies them. This rings true to me. When I used to teach physics, students commonly complained that they understood the concept, just not the math. But when I removed the math, I found they understood neither. Higher-level students tend to understand the math. The concepts are the hard part of physics. This seems at least as true of economics.

Glenn Beck: Making “Wingnut” Normal

Are we Surprised by James O’Keefe?

I don’t even understand this. What is this about? I know that James O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart are worse than liars. But what exactly dose this attempt to get sex video of CNN correspondent Abbie Boudreau have to do with furthering the conservative cause? I think it is telling. Maybe this means that there really is nothing behind conservative ideology other than bile and hatred.

Libertarian Fire Control

I got this via DailyKOS:

This is a typically libertarian argument: insurance, insurance, insurance! The obvious problem here, and the reason that the $75 yearly payment should be mandatory is that Cranicks may be perfect libertarian rights-responsibilities examples: they had the right not to pay and the responsibility of keeping their own home from burning. But their next-door neighbors are what? Perfect examples of the other side of libertarianism: lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits? Their fields would never have burned if the fire department had responded to the Cranicks’ fire. Now what do they do? Sue the Cranicks, who probably have very little money (liquid and non-liquid)? What do they do if the Cranicks have to file for bankruptcy? They just lose. So much for the libertarian utopia.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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