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Eric Blair
Retired Silicon Valley engineer, dabbling in econ to try to keep the synapses firing.
Recent Activity
Our host seems to be losing interest in this site, preferring to spend more time on his personal Twitter feed, which echoes everything here and includes a bunch of other stuff.
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I do not believe that the US intervening would have resulted in harsher sanctions, more likely it would have ended in something like a draw. All sides were exhausted when we came in and tipped the balance, had we not come in then Germany would likely have been able to put up a strong enough resistance to deter the French and the British from imposing the "peace to end peace" that was the Versailles treaty.
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2017 on Reading List at Economist's View
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wrt "To End All Wars", I never have understood why we let ourselves get sucked into WWI. Our main "accomplishment" there, as best as I can tell, was to create an inherently unstable Europe which requires our periodic intervention.
Toggle Commented Jul 5, 2017 on Reading List at Economist's View
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Cochran's is one of many pieces I have seen recently saying that the hype about computers and robots eliminating jobs is overblown hysteria, because similar warnings in the past have been exactly that. But this time really is different; over the next 50 or 60 years we will be building robots that do virtually everything that is required to ensure a reasonable level of well-being in a modern economy. This is going to cause unimaginable changes in how society is structured and how it functions. These changes won't be inherently good or bad, but denial will make things worse.
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2017 on Links for 07-02-17 at Economist's View
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Where's Mark? It's not just this site, he's not tweeting either.
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2017 on Links for 06-09-17 at Economist's View
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Well, he did call for more antitrust enforcement in the health care sector in a post on this blog two days ago, and you posted a reply to it.
Toggle Commented Mar 29, 2017 on Links for 03-29-17 at Economist's View
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Who is "they"? I don't think that Obama consulted much with PGL about his antitrust activities or lack thereof, and I doubt that Clinton would have either.
Toggle Commented Mar 29, 2017 on Links for 03-29-17 at Economist's View
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I live in California and I'm afraid I haven't heard any talk like this, nor did I find anything when I googled. If you know of any links to articles talking about people trying to do this, I would be very interested in reading about that.
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One of my son's high school math teachers put all his lectures online, and lets his students learn by just watching the lectures. For technical subjects at least, this seems to be a much better way of learning--when something is tough you can go back over it as many times as you want while when something is obvious you can just fast forward through it. The sticky part, as with most online content, is how the content provider is going to get paid. Right now a lot of enthusiastic remote Thoma fans are having their education paid for by the taxpayers of the state of Oregon, and by the "real" students in Eugene, but I doubt that that is a sustainable model in the long term. Maybe Paul Krugman will turn out to be right, and one of our most famous economists at the end of the century will be a hobbyist with a day job in a veterinary clinic.
Toggle Commented Mar 21, 2017 on The Demand for Education at Economist's View
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The article makes the point, clearly and repeatedly, that "alternative fact" means, quite simply "verifiably false". Of course our carny barker POTUS and his minions love to invent absurd terms like this. It is important, for those of us us who insist that two plus two equals four, that we repeatedly call these phrases out for what they are until the idea becomes entrenched in popular culture.
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Did the Fed buy any of the kind of corporate bonds shown in this graph? To my knowledge, their asset purchases were mostly long term treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. If anything I would expect this to increase the risk premia for long-term below investment-grad (aka "junk") bonds compared to treasuries.
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Yes, Hillary voted in favor of the Iraq war. So did John Kerry and Joe Biden and Harry Reid and a bunch of other now-retired Democratic political leaders of the time. What in the world does this have to do with Trump, or anything else related to the current political situation?
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He certainly wasn't rallying behind Bush in the 2001 column he linked to. Maybe he said something like that in some of his other columns, but I don't remember it. My recollection is that he went along with the invasion of Afghanistan as obvious and necessary, but otherwise he was very, very critical of Bush from the very earliest days of his administration.
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I don't think that's the argument, especially since the vast majority of the world was colonized at some point in the last three centuries. The argument seems to be that "heavy colonialism", where a large population is more likely to attempt to replicate European institutions, is better than "light colonialism", where a smaller group attempts to extract maximum economic benefit without worrying much about the consequences.
Toggle Commented Feb 6, 2017 on Links for 02-04-17 at Economist's View
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Sanders said a number of things about economics and the budget that were demonstrably false, and Krugman demonstrated their falseness. His gig is primarily an economist and I am glad that he feels compelled to call out candidates who say untrue things about his field, even if they play on his team.
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Trump's clumsiness makes the Fed's job easier: http://www.businessinsider.com.
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Tyler Cowen argues that Trump's economic policies, though a disaster economically, will likely be very popular politically, and therefore difficult to undo: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-31/the-left-underestimates-trump-s-economic-plan .
Toggle Commented Feb 1, 2017 on Links for 02-01-17 at Economist's View
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David Frum--How to Build an Autocracy: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/how-to-build-an-autocracy/513872/
Toggle Commented Feb 1, 2017 on Links for 02-01-17 at Economist's View
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Both spellings of judgment/judgement are correct. The first spelling is generally preferred in the USA, the second in other English-speaking countries.
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Krugman supplemented this column with a classic tweetstorm. Final tweet: "This AM I decided to write a relatively low-key col re Trumpoid trade policy; I mean, nothing drastic would happen that front today, right?"
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Paul Krugman's new column is up, along with a classic tweetstorm from him. Final tweet: "This AM I decided to write a relatively low-key col re Trumpoid trade policy; I mean, nothing drastic would happen that front today, right?"
Toggle Commented Jan 27, 2017 on Links for 01-27-17 at Economist's View
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Interesting that Krugman writes a column about how ignorant many Trump appointees are about what they're supposed to manage, and he didn't mention Rick Perry or Ben Carson once. Those targets were too easy, I guess.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2017 on Paul Krugman: Donald the Unready at Economist's View
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I wouldn't be surprised if Trump's vow to repeal Obamacare does in fact lead to single-payer. He's not going to repeal the Medicaid expansion, which per many Republican governors would be political suicide. As other options fall away, more and more people are going to be clamoring to get Medicaid, which is not very good but is better than nothing, and congress will be forced to respond for the sake of its own survival. We may well wind up in a situation where, ten years from now, 60 or 70% of the working-age population is on Medicaid. At that point it will be as impossible to change that as it is Medicare.
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Most of what Krugman is saying can be boiled down to a simple sound bite: government should be generous in bad times, and stingy in good times. That's the right thing to do not just economically, but ethically.
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My understanding of PPP GDP is that, in plain English, it is "how well people can live in the per capita GDP of country X, as compared to country Y". Of course this favors poor countries, since when you live in a poor country and have dollars in your pocket, you can hire somebody to clean your house or cut your grass or cook your dinner for a criminally small sum. This is why many middle-class Americans retire to Latin American countries. I don't see why PPP GGP is a better indication of a country's economic strength than is nominal GDP, though. Nominal GDP is a measure of the value of what a country produces, PPP is not.
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