Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Free State of Jones.

Newton Knight (1837–1922). [A]
It's October, 1862. CSA Army medic Newton ("Newt") Knight, already sceptical about the real motivation behind the secession and appalled by the carnage he witnessed in the battlefield, deserted. Upon returning to his farm in Jones County, Mississippi, Knight witnesses the abuses visited by the Confederate authorities upon the white farm women left behind. Knight intervenes and is forced to join a band of runaway slaves, hiding in the swamps. Welcomed by the former slaves, Knight befriends and leads them, after finding they share a common cause.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Friedman as Logician (i)


"Few persons care to study logic, because everybody conceives himself to be proficient enough in the art of reasoning already. But I observe that this satisfaction is limited to one's own ratiocination, and does not extend to that of other men". Charles S. Peirce.
"You seem a little confused. You [sic] first statement ‘all dogs are mammals' is indeed circular". Phil Stein.

If the proposition "good reasoning is unimportant" were a human being, it would surely be an extremely unpopular and sad character: few would like to be seen in her company. In particular, economists and econo-aficionados of all stripes glory themselves in their assumed, but frequently unproven, logical thinking.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bits and Pieces: Aliens Edition.


Capitalism is a mess.

After a year's worth of news involving 7-Eleven Australia franchisees scamming their staff (Google News informs us: "About 562,000 results"), another new week brings us … another new 7-Eleven pay scandal! Surprise!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friedman's Methodology: Maximally Questionable.


The expression below shall prove useful, even if we avoid the maths. So, be brave:

        Max p*q(K, L) – w*L – r*K
       K, L
(1)     K >= 0
        L >= 0


Firms and households/consumers are the two fundamental economic agents: microeconomics begins with their study. Expression (1) is the firm's most basic representation: it shows its profit maximisation problem in the long run and embodies a number of different assumptions (see Appendix 1, for details). Even if readers find that expression otherwise cryptic, at least the "Max" should indicate "maximisation", while p*q - w*L - r*K is profits: revenue (price times quantity) minus costs (wage bill: wages times manhours; and capital costs: percent return times capital).

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Her Grampa Saved Neil Armstrong!


"My grandfather had a lot of stories", writes Katie Mack, "but there was one that transfixed me: about how he worked with NASA and saved the crew of Apollo 11".

Really cool story. Mack's pride in her grandad is justified.

Update:
21/01/2016. "This is About - The Moon and Other Things", by Robyn Williams and Jordan Raskopoulos (14/01/2017) is an extended interview with Prof. Katie Mack (University of Melbourne page, personal website) about her grandfather, Apollo 11 and other things. She herself seems to be a very interesting young lady.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Dorman on Ideology.


One may learn something from Peter Dorman … in his better moments.

An example? "Taking a Stand on Standpoint" is a good post (mostly).

Prof. Dorman describes the relationship between one's position in the pecking order and one's beliefs system (ideology) in terms of proclivities or predispositions:
"Any differentiated social position, such as one’s national background, religion, subculture, age, etc., could be the basis for ideological proclivities. This wider conception of ideology begins to appear in Karl Mannheim and his program for a sociology of knowledge."

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Calling the Election: the People Lost.


Two sides battled it out for nearly a year: the crook vs the unhinged, the loudmouth vs the liar, the grotesque vs the repulsive, the misogynist and racist vs the elitist warmonger, the self-declared billionaire vs the Wall Street puppet. In short: the deplorable vs the irredeemable. One side had to win.

And the winner is... Hillary Trump! No, wait! It was Donald Clint'n?!

Human kind dodged a bullet and the world, once again, was made safe for democracy.

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The older I get, the wiser this idiom sounds to me: same shit, different pile. To American readers: my sympathies.

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Wikileaks and Julian Assange have endured a lot of criticism from liberals for publishing information damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Well, it's time Assange addressed this issue and it's only fair to give him the chance of explaining himself: "Assange Statement on the US Election" (November 8, 2016), by Julian Assange.