Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bartlett: Supply-Side Keynes?

The two faces of Janus. [A]

"As final proof of Keynes's 'supply-side' tendencies, one might also point out that he understood the existence of the Laffer Curve long before Arthur Laffer was born. In 'The Means to Prosperity,' written in 1933, Keynes said: 
'Nor should the argument seem strange that taxation may be so high as to defeat its object, and that, given sufficient time to gather the fruits, a reduction of taxation will run a better chance than an increase of balancing the budget. For to take the opposite view today is to resemble a manufacturer who, running at a loss, decides to raise his price, and when his declining sales increase the loss, wrapping himself in the rectitude of plain arithmetic, decides that prudence requires him to raise the price still more-and who, when at last his account is balanced with nought on both sides, is still found righteously declaring that it would have been the act of a gambler to reduce the price when you were already making a loss'."

Friday, December 25, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Bridgman, Elephants, and the Judges of Science.

The name Percy Williams Bridgman (1882-1961) will hardly ring a bell among econosophers. Physicists may remember him as the 1946 Nobel Prize in Physics
"For the invention of an apparatus to produce extremely high pressures, and for the discoveries he made therewith in the field of high pressure physics".
More of an experimentalist than a theoretician, Bridgman, however, was interested in the philosophy of physics. His ideas, under the label "operationalism", when applied to other fields, met with less than spectacular results.

Many of his observations (like those below, from his 1950 book "Reflections of a Physicist"), however, seem as valid today as they were 60 years ago and their application could go beyond physics:

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Joan Robinson and the Elephant.


Joan Robinson knows one when she sees one:
"I cannot define an elephant but I know one when I see it. An ideology is much more like an elephant than like a point." (Robinson 1962:8)
"Scientific method is another kind of elephant -- something which exists and can be described, not defined." (p. 25)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Eugenics: Did Fisher Shoot Keynes?

"If you shoot at a king you must kill him." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Sir Ronald A. Fisher (1890-1962) is considered one of the 20th century's greatest statisticians. Together with his work in biology ("the greatest biologist since Darwin" in Richard Dawkins' opinion) Fisher's contributions earned him among other honours and awards, "three medals of the Royal Statistical Society, the Darwin Medal (1948) and the Copley Medal (1956). He received honorary degrees from numerous Universities, and was a member in over 20 academies, societies, and institutes".

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Party!

Believe it or not, I used to be a Party guy.

Anyway, the opening scene from the 1998 film "Blade":

I've been to darker parties in my time. But I suspect there weren't many vampires there and then. If there were, at least in my recollection, they weren't as good-looking. I can't recall any tomato sauce sprinklers, either. :-)

I do remember two things, though: for one, I didn't like killjoys.

And the dance music was really cool. And -- even if I say so myself -- I probably still dance better than those guys.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Open Letter to British Labour.

Dear British Labour Party supporters,

So, your MP, elected during the last general elections with your vote, does not accept the Labour Party leader elected by Labour Party supporters.

He/she is happy with your vote, but is unhappy with the vote you gave Jeremy Corbyn. This is how things work in a liberal democracy: your vote gave him/her gainful employment in Parliament; within your own party, your democratic vote isn't so profitable.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cogito Ergo Sum (ii)

Let's try something different. Show that

            1       1         1
(1)       ----- - ----- < ---------
          1,000   1,001   1,000,000