December 2014

Don’t diss the framework

Noah Smith writes a great piece on “what economics gets right” over at Bloomberg View today. In it, he criticizes the view of Alex Rosenberg and Tyler Curtain, who claim in a recent New York Times piece that economics “lacks the most important of science’s characteristics — a record of improvement in predictive range and accuracy.” […]

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“An ostentatiously prodigious worker”

George Howe Colt writing in Brothers: On His Brothers and Brothers in History about the work habits and many accomplishments of Dr. John Kellogg: The Doctor was the wizard behind this vegetarian Oz. He was, in his way, no less a visionary than Ellen White, and his goal as no less ambitious: to change the […]

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The lowdown on negative interest rates

Here’s my humble attempt to explain the logic of “negative interest rates” over at Enhancing Capital. I’ve found some good stuff written on this topic already, but nothing that I thought was accessible to the average person. Hopefully this report helps to fill that gap. One highlight I’d like to point out is that negative […]

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The value of expertise

I think respect for common sense is an amiable, humble, and often useful habit for a thinker to have. It reminds a thinker of the complexity of the world. But one can’t articulate anything clearly, or follow any sophisticated chain of logic, or conduct an experiment, without departing somewhat from common sense, and entering the rarefied, elite world […]

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What happened to Ebola?

The Ebola outbreak was one of 2014’s biggest stories. But now, by the year’s end, we rarely hear about it. So what happened? For one, the survival rate among patients is improving, at least in Sierra Leone. Among patients admitted since November 4 to a particular clinic in Sierra Leon’s capital, only 24 percent have […]

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Don’t have “wolf eyes”

Some inspiration from Jeff Haden. It’s easy to view even those we know extremely well through the lens of one slice — a mistake, a misstep, a blunder, an ill-chosen word — and then forever view them through the lens of that moment. Yet everyone is the sum of their parts, and when we view […]

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Some interesting facts from 2014

Here’s a cool piece from Pew Research. It lists “14 striking findings from 2014.” Here are some highlights (though you really should go check out the whole piece…it’s quite interesting!). The median wealth of white households is 13 times that of black households and 10 times that of Hispanic households. That’s insane! 63 percent of Americans say it’s a good […]

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What happened to savings in late 2012?

What happened to the personal savings rate in Q4 2012? I’m not asking why it tanked between Q4 2012 and Q1 2013. The drop simply put it closer to it’s long term trend. I want to know why it spiked so high in Q4 2012. I came across this chart earlier this morning. I looked […]

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Dark clouds looming

A good piece from The Economist on “the dark clouds around the silver lining” of Fed monetary policy. A highlight: …constraining the economy to so low a rate of average inflation is a good way to ensure that very low inflation or deflation becomes a serious threat whenever the next shock hits. That would be nasty […]

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The Fed is frustrating (and won’t raise rates in 2015)

The Editors at BloombergView are spot on with this one: Here’s the point, and it’s really quite simple: The Fed doesn’t know when it will start to raise interest rates, nor should it have to know, nor should it indulge analysts’ misconceived determination to find out. Interest-rate changes are not, and should not be, on […]

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