Arnold Kling  

Friday Afternoon Miscellany

9-15 anniversary event... The Real Problem With Monogamy...

Keith Hennessey has an interesting question.

What thought leader most clearly and effectively presents points of view with which you frequently strongly disagree?

He proposes that awards be given.

Would Tyrone be considered eligible?

Presumably, my nominees have to be progressives. My left-of-center blog reading list includes Mark Thoma, Menzie Chinn, and James Kwak, whose names are probably not well-known enough to count. I get a lot of second-hand references to Matt Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, and Ezra Klein. I recently booed Alan Blinder, but I still like him.

Joseph Stiglitz might be the best choice for me. He is certainly famous. He annoys people on the left, not just people on the right. He says enough things that I agree with to keep me on my toes and wonder whether he may be right about the things where we disagree. If only he weren't so arrogant. If they gave Stiglitz a personality transplant using somebody like Thoma as a donor, then I would nominate him in a heartbeat.

Mahalanobis points out that New York is using a national emergency grant to offer scholarship money to people seeking to become certified in quantitative finance. That should help draw talent out of areas where it is in surplus and into a sector where it is scarce. Christina Romer will no doubt be toting up the jobs saved by that part of the stimulus.

The topic of financial regulation is discussed by a confessed user of high-priced prostitutes and a confessed autistic. They find much to agree on.

The Manhattan Institute has some reactions to the Obama health care speech, including mine, although I didn't say anything nearly as clever as what I wrote for Atlantic Business.

COMMENTS (3 to date)
Don the libertarian Democrat writes:

No wonder I'm so out of the loop. My view about economists and economics is this:


"If you use a tool that is designed well for one purpose for a purpose for which it is not suited, that does not detract from the goodness of the tool for its purpose. The same thing goes with economics..."

Sincerely yours,
Milton Friedman"

To me, models and theories are more or less useful.

As for politics, I follow Burke:

"No rational man ever did govern himself, by abstractions and universals."

"A revolution will be the very last resource of the thinking and the good."

"... all that wise men ever aim at is to keep things from coming to the worst. Those who expect perfect reformations, either deceive or are deceived miserably."

"Man acts from motives relative to his interests; and not on metaphysical speculations."

So, I suppose that I would need to find people who:
1) Govern by universals
2) Want a revolution
3) Expect perfection in govt
4) Act based on metaphysics
And then, from that group, select the best advocate of that point of view.

I'm not certain that I can do either of those things.

Bob Calder writes:

The Manhattan Institute. Or maybe the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Not Liberal enough? Don't worry. They will be quickly enough for your deadline. Their funding depends on it and all the nice things thought about them over the last few years are going to have to be rethought.

Which makes us rethink the role of think tanks and the power we give them over us just because they promise the government a quicker turn-around than stodgy academic institutions. Peer review just gets in the way, don't you agree? ;-)

tom writes:

After reading Tyler's book and following the Spitzer case, I 'd say 'confessed' is the wrong word in each case. 'Self-proclaimed' in the case of Tyler. 'Caught' in the case of Spitzer.

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