Bryan Caplan  

Cato Unbound Update

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So Larry Summers was Right?... Bernanke to Friedman...

My reply to my critics is up at Cato Unbound, and the followup conversation is now underway. My favorite part:

To turn Friedman's argument around, I think that he's the one with an unrealistic, stilted psychology that's "vulnerable to caricature and dismissal." Friedman seems to think that everyone wants to get the right answer — and given enough information, everyone would get the right answer. In contrast, I maintain that cognitive motives are more complex. People want more than just the truth. They also want beliefs that give meaning to their lives, and cement relationships with friends and family.

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RogerM writes:

People want more than just the truth. They also want beliefs that give meaning to their lives, and cement relationships with friends and family.

Not even close! Very few people want the truth. People want their prejudices confirmed. Study public relations research; it has been teaching that for decades.

What's wrong with elites ruling? Education breeds arrogance, and arrogance causes stupidity. To paraphrase Orwell, some things are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them.

Better than rule by elites or democracy would be rule by simple statistical models, as this article suggests:

A main point of the article above is that overconfidence on the part of experts (elites) causes them to ignore counterfactual evidence. Statistical models don't suffer form that.

RogerM writes:

Sorry about the link above. Here it is: http://www.parmly.luc.edu/~jtrout/50YearsofSuccessfulPredictiveModellingShouldbeEnough.pdf.

[I can't seem to access this link. Connecting to parmly.luc.edu fails.--Econlib Ed.]

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