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Tag Archives: philosophy of economics

Branko Milanovic — 1½ Adam Smiths

The recent book by Jesse Norman simply entitled “Adam Smith” is a pleasure to read. There are of course innumerable books on the founder of the political economy, so why another one? Norman’s book is directed toward that, at times elusive, general educated reader, and has, in my opinion, three objectives: (i) to situate Adam Smith in his time, both intellectually and politically, (ii) to argue that there is a remarkable consistency between the Adam Smith of the Theory of Moral Sentiments,...

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David Gordon — Liberalism and “Classical Liberalism” — An Unfortunate Evolution

Backgrounder in the history of the development of liberalism. While it written from a Libertarian point of view, it is useful in understanding the historical background. For a more thorough treatment although still a summary backgrounder, see the entry on liberalism at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Where it falls short is assuming the John Locke somehow discovered the foundations of genuine liberalism, when the fundamentals emerged in ancient Greece and where treated...

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Lars P. Syll — The main reason why almost all econometric models are wrong

Since econometrics doesn’t content itself with only making optimal predictions, but also aspires to explain things in terms of causes and effects, econometricians need loads of assumptions — most important of these are additivity and linearity. Important, simply because if they are not true, your model is invalid and descriptively incorrect. And when the model is wrong — well, then it’s wrong.... Simplifying assumptions versus oversimplification.Lars P. Syll’s BlogThe main reason why almost...

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Jason Smith — A list of macro meta-narratives

In my macro critique, I mentioned "meta-narratives" — what did I mean by that? Noah Smith has a nice concise description of one of them today in Bloomberg that helps illustrate what I mean: the wage-price spiral. The narrative of the 1960s and 70s was that the government fiscal and monetary policy started pushing unemployment below the "Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment" (NAIRU), causing inflation to explode. The meta-narrative is the wage-price spiral: unemployment that is...

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Jason Smith — Macro criticism, but not that kind

With all the tired and plain wrong critiques of economics out there that are easily shot down by even the most critical student of economics, I thought I'd try my hand at writing at one that might pass muster. I did write a book, but it was more aimed at taking a new direction; this will be a more specific critique. First, let me avoid the common mistake of using the word "economics" but then exclusively talking about macroeconomics: my critique is being leveled at macroeconomics (macro)....

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