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Tag Archives: Uncategorized

All history is presentism

Earlier this year, I wrote a piece in defence of presentism, discovering just before I posted, that the same title had been used (also this year) by David Armitage, Professor of History at Harvard. It was good to know that I wasn’t alone, but as Armitage made clear, “presentism” has been “a term of abuse conventionally deployed to describe an interpretation of history that is biased towards and coloured by present-day concerns, preoccupations and values”. A fairly standard version...

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Science and crossword solving

from Lars Syll The model is not . . . how one determines the soundness or otherwise of a mathematical proof; it is, rather, how one determines the reasonableness or otherwise of entries in a crossword puzzle. . . . The crossword model permits pervasive mutual support, rather than, like the model of a mathematical proof, encouraging an essentially one-directional conception. . . . How reasonable one’s confidence is that a certain entry in a crossword is correct depends on: how much support...

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Theorizing dollar hegemony, Part 1: the political economic foundations of exorbitant privilege

This paper explores dollar hegemony, emphasizing it is a fundamentally political economic phenomenon. Dollar hegemony rests on the economic, military, and international political power of the US and is manifested through market forces. The paper argues there have been two eras of dollar hegemony which were marked by different models. Dollar hegemony 1.0 corresponded to […]

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Inflation: where are we now?

from Dean Baker With the United States data we have seen from the last few months, it’s fair to say that no one has a very good idea of where the economy is. At the most basic level, we have seen seven months of incredibly rapid job creation this year; the economy added 3.3 million jobs through July, along with two consecutive quarters of negative growth. We don’t have to join the Trumpers in calling this a recession, to be bothered by seeing two main economic indicators going in...

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Econometrics — the danger of calling your pet cat dog

from Lars Syll The assumption of additivity and linearity means that the outcome variable is, in reality, linearly related to any predictors … and that if you have several predictors then their combined effect is best described by adding their effects together … This assumption is the most important because if it is not true then even if all other assumptions are met, your model is invalid because you have described it incorrectly. It’s a bit like calling your pet cat a dog: you can try...

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Say it ain’t so

from Peter Radford re-visiting economics’ basic concepts I am nothing if not annoying.  Allow me to elaborate. Let’s be basic. I mean really really basic. Our model world initially consists of two people, Adam and Eve.  I know, it’s been done before.  But we are economists.  What are we interested in?  What problems that Adam and Eve face do we want to study? Well, they need energy.  Human bodies, like all ordered structures, need flows of energy to maintain that structure.  The Second...

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