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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    a computationally expensive model isn't the same as an accurate model.
    Also FYI the computationally expensive part isn't the model, it's the analysis. It turns out that when you have two hundred years of income tax records from dozens of countries you need some pretty powerful hardware. Who would have thought? I mean, not you, since you seemed to have been under the impression that an econometric model isn't talking about a regression model, but rather that computer program from the movie Pi.

    fwiw Piketty talks about all of this in the introduction of the book. I'm surprised you didn't notice it while you were reading the book, since you seem so familiar with the rest of it.

  2. #82
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    ^ Did I make my position clear about this whole line of conversation, or should I keep going?

  3. #83
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    No keep going.
    Code to the left of him, code to the right of him, code in front of him compil'd and thundered. Programm'd at with shot and $SHELL. Boldly he typed and well. Into the jaws of C. Into the mouth of PERL. Debug'd the 0x258.

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Also FYI the computationally expensive part isn't the model, it's the analysis.
    You're missing my point, I think. Of course it's a regression model, that's whole the problem. The interpretations of purely empirical regressions on a massively complex, often chaotic systems, are going to be strongly biased by the people performing a regression. The significance of the regression is easily biased by how you control it, and since there's no way you could possibly know all of the possible significant variables, it becomes kind of a mess. There are few theoretical principals of economics that can really give you an idea of whether your conclusions are reasonable or not. If I was wrong, economics would have consensus on basic ideas, and something to show for it. It has very little of either.

    I've never heard of this Pi movie you are talking about, but my point is that because we can't make a sci-fi, magical, omniscient computer program, economics as a field is necessarily fraught with uncertainty.

    It's like climate science. We know with confidence that the earth is warmer and why because we have both the theory and observations to verify them. What we can't do well is predict exactly what will happen to the climate, because the climate, while far simpler than the world economy, is still highly chaotic, and has many, many nonlinear, time variant positive and negative feedback loops that we only find out about as the global temperature changes. The purely empirical regressions aren't good enough to predict the future with great accuracy because they require a lot of unknown contextual information in order to make any sense of them. We see this in the significant variance of the predictions of current climate models.

    I could read your book, and I'm sure its very interesting, but at the end of the day, I know that I don't have the competence to judge its validity. I could go to the creation museum, and loose an argument with the staff, but that's because I know jack **** about biology, not because I'm wrong. I can generally rely on a strong scholarly consensus, but if there isn't one, I'm not so susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect to think that reading a couple of non-academic publications is going to equip me with a meaningful position on an undecided field of study.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    I could read your book, and I'm sure its very interesting, but at the end of the day, I know that I don't have the competence to judge its validity. I could go to the creation museum, and loose an argument with the staff, but that's because I know jack **** about biology, not because I'm wrong. I can generally rely on a strong scholarly consensus, but if there isn't one, I'm not so susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect to think that reading a couple of non-academic publications is going to equip me with a meaningful position on an undecided field of study.
    I know what you mean, man. Sometimes actually becoming educated on a subject just isn't possible, so you've gotta read some wikipedia pages and go with your gut on the rest. It's pretty much the same thing as being extremely well-read on the subject.
    >>untie shoes

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    I'm not so susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect to think that reading a couple of non-academic publications is going to equip me with a meaningful position on an undecided field of study.
    "Capital in the Twenty-First Century is, as I hope I’ve made clear, an awesome work. At a time when the concentration of wealth and income in the hands of a few has resurfaced as a central political issue, Piketty doesn’t just offer invaluable documentation of what is happening, with unmatched historical depth. He also offers what amounts to a unified field theory of inequality, one that integrates economic growth, the distribution of income between capital and labor, and the distribution of wealth and income among individuals into a single frame." - a nobel prize-winning economist

    "lmao, what is this 'data' ****? historiography is basically like creationism" - you

  7. #87
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    I mean gosh it must never have occurred to this professor of economics (who has worked for MIT among others) or the dozens of other economists who helped him during his decade long statistical analysis that there might be a such a thing as multivariate or that there might be such a thing as confounding variables. Surely it's just a coincidence that the only significant correlation for SES is parental SES which has already been shown literally hundreds of times in hundreds of different studies ranging from economics to developmental psychology with the addition of capital income to labor income being merely the latest nail in the coffin that is the myth of meritocratic capitalism.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 01-31-2015 at 05:21 PM.

  8. #88
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    tbh though it's not like I think Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a perfect book.

    for example, Piketty proposes a tax on capital ownership as a solution to growing inequality, to essentially reduce the benefit of capital to a rate which is the same or lower than the rate of economic growth.

    I propose eating the rich.





    After all, if the rich really earned what they had through merit, they should be able to bootstrap themselves back into wealth. They're always telling the rest of us how easy it is. I'd love to see a demonstration.

  9. #89
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    Jon'C, if you can't be bothered to read what I've written, I can't be bothered to respond. It's like you scanned what I wrote, and assembled a tenuously relevant straw man from a few random keywords, and then typed some stream of consciousness thoughts about Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

    Quote Originally Posted by Antony View Post
    I know what you mean, man. Sometimes actually becoming educated on a subject just isn't possible, so you've gotta read some wikipedia pages and go with your gut on the rest. It's pretty much the same thing as being extremely well-read on the subject.
    I think it's best to just say, "I don't know," if you don't have anything solid to go off of. You don't have to have an opinion on everything. It's a good opportunity to learn about your own biases.

  10. #90
    That's fine for someone who doesn't know. Laudable, even. But Jon`C knows. And that's better than not knowing.
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  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    Jon'C, if you can't be bothered to read what I've written, I can't be bothered to respond.
    I have carefully read what you wrote and I understand your opinions.

    You feel that every school of economics operates the same way. You feel that economics is or should be economic engineering, rather than measurement and description, and you feel it should be judged on that basis. You feel that modern statistical methods are incapable of measuring or describing complex systems, and that even properly executed studies are still subject to the whims and biases of their authors, and by extension that statistical analysis does not work. You believe that establishing correlation is not valuable. You believe there is dramatically more contentiousness in economics than there actually is, an idea of the same sort and source as climate change denial (i.e. rich people who personally benefit from misinforming you). You also seem to be under the impression that simply because you don't know anything about economics or statistics past the mandatory 3 credits you had to take, nobody else does either. But that's okay, because you aren't so susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect to think otherwise.

    I understand your opinions, and my responses reflect what I see as the level of discourse you are trying to establish. Or am I wrong, and "you know economists are dumb because they aren't rich" is honestly the best you can manage on this subject?

  12. #92
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    Jon'C: I've asked this of other smart people i know, and I'd like some recommendations from you if you've got any. What are some good books on modern economic theory and/or descriptions of our current economic climate? Piketty's book is on my list already, and I recently finished Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blythe which I highly recommend for people who want to get a handle on what happened during the 2007-2009 economic crisis and how a banking problem became a government problem. Currently reading Capitalism Hits the Fan by Richard Wolff, who at this point in the book seems to lean towards Marxian ideals.

    I'm finishing up my classes for an Econ Minor this year, but it seems that most of what is being taught at my school isn't necessarily descriptive of how things currently work and I just want to create a better picture in my mind of how things are working and where things are not working with the hope of gaining some insight into how things could work better. Maybe.
    My girlfriend paid a lot of money for that tv; I want to watch ALL OF IT. - JM

  13. #93
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    I think that Krugman's End This Depression Now! is worth a read & so is his blog The Conscience of a Liberal (I haven't actually had the time to read his book of the same title yet). I think that everyone would recommend Piketty at this point--maybe even Republicans, haha.
    Last edited by Mentat; 02-01-2015 at 05:01 PM.
    ? :)

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ford View Post
    Jon'C: I've asked this of other smart people i know, and I'd like some recommendations from you if you've got any. What are some good books on modern economic theory and/or descriptions of our current economic climate? Piketty's book is on my list already, and I recently finished Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blythe which I highly recommend for people who want to get a handle on what happened during the 2007-2009 economic crisis and how a banking problem became a government problem. Currently reading Capitalism Hits the Fan by Richard Wolff, who at this point in the book seems to lean towards Marxian ideals.
    Honestly, I barely have time to read anything anymore, especially books with this kind of density. It took a lot of prodding and planning to get started on Piketty's book. I have my own list of recommendations to work through (which incl. Blyth's, whose book I've triaged because I'm already familiar with his critique).

    I'm finishing up my classes for an Econ Minor this year, but it seems that most of what is being taught at my school isn't necessarily descriptive of how things currently work and I just want to create a better picture in my mind of how things are working and where things are not working with the hope of gaining some insight into how things could work better. Maybe.
    From my experience, undergrad econ is mostly about building vocabulary. American/Canadian economics is a cesspool though, largely thanks to the influence conservative thinktanks have had on the field.

  15. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mentat View Post
    I think that everyone would recommend Piketty at this point--maybe even Republicans, haha.
    Of course:

    The rich Republicans need to know whose name to write in the critiques they buy from WSJ and Forbes.

    The poor Republicans aren't physically capable of reading a 700 page academic text.

  16. #96
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    FYI, if you're interested, here is the rich person response in its entirety:

    1.) Rich people aren't doing as well as you think they are, despite the volume of evidence to the contrary.

    2.) Poor people aren't doing as poorly as you think they are, despite the volume of evidence to the contrary.

    3.) Capitalism is the rising tide that lifts all boats, despite the volume of evidence to the contrary.

    4.) The returns from capital and GDP growth will converge once global industrialization is complete. Because Kuznets said so.

    5.) Even if none of this were true, it would be unconstitutional to tax capital.

    6.) And besides, even if you did, Laffer Curve!

    7.) Social Security should be abolished.

    8.) *keyboard shorts out due to accumulated drool*




    Edit: I'm not joking about this. Well, maybe #8, but I don't have any proof to the contrary. The Forbes criticism of Piketty literally used it as an excuse to take a swipe at Social Security of all things, and it fit about as well in the article as it did in this list. Jesus H. Mother****ing Christ these people are so stupid and evil it's infuriating.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 02-01-2015 at 05:35 PM.

  17. #97
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    You also seem to be under the impression that simply because you don't know anything about economics or statistics past the mandatory 3 credits you had to take, nobody else does either.
    I never said that no one knows anything about economics. My point throughout, was that I don't know anything about economics, and that anything short of graduate degree in economics is insufficient to allow me to weigh in with an opinion on a topic that hasn't even been decided within the field. Certainly a layman level publication from one point of view won't. As I said, already, economics isn't totally worthless, it's just that it's not been very successful in solving the main objective of the field. Hell, from what you say about Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the thesis of the book is basically that modern economic theory and policy is leading us straight back to where we were 150 years ago. That's not progress. Is it all figured out now that this book has been published? It's not for me to say. Given time and academic consensus, maybe so. But one book, and an endorsement from a noble winning economist isn't enough to convince me the matter has been settled. Maybe that economist represents a faction, or he could be totally crazy. I'm not saying Krugman is crazy, but an endorsement from a big-shot is not the same thing a strong consensus among relevant experts.

    Economists are not stupid. That's not my point either. I was describing the difficulty of that task before them. Economists haven't had a lot of success in predicting and preventing bad market behavior, but that's not because they are stupid, but because successfully extrapolating from purely statistical models is really hard. This is the case in every field. Economists just happen to be stuck dealing with difficult tools, and all the problems that come with them. In the mean time we have the liberal and conservative sides of academia trying to discredit each other, and I don't have a good way to sort it all out. Krugman wants us to believe that his opponents are only disagreeing because they have bad motives, but that's harder accusation to prove than it is to make. I don't have the competence to sort it all out.

    The reason I can say I'm confident that climate change is anthropogenic is not because it's my opinion, but because I know that it's the opinion of virtually every single person who has dedicated their lives to studying it. The Koch brothers haven't been able to change that fact. When I see a meta-analysis strongly supporting Piketty's position, than I can assume that he's probably right, or at least that it's the best opinion so far available. Until then I'd be picking winners based on nothing but ideology if I chose to agree or disagree with him. That's for actual subject matter experts to do, not me.

    Which is why, in the end, the democratic process is a complete failure when it comes to choosing an economic direction. People can't accept that they don't have the competence to evaluate competing economic theories, so they base their opinion on ignorant, naive reasoning, and then find economists who agree with them to make them feel better about the decision they've already made.

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    I never said that no one knows anything about economics. My point throughout, was that I don't know anything about economics, and that anything short of graduate degree in economics is insufficient to allow me to weigh in with an opinion on a topic that hasn't even been decided within the field.
    Do you want to know what the most contentious issue in mainstream economics is? Whether fiscal policy or monetary policy is more effective at dampening the business cycle.

    Keynes won the discourse a long time ago. The fact that every economist even talks about the business cycle (et accoutrement) is an historically unbelievable degree of consensus, with even the most hard-liner Chicago economist tacitly admitting that capitalism has intrinsic failures and that we need a neutral monetary policy to keep the whole thing running. What you see as deeply divisive is in reality minor quibbling played up for morons on TV. The only economists who really are different are way outside of the mainstream and are not taken seriously either within the field or by policymakers.

    Certainly a layman level publication from one point of view won't.
    Capital in the Twenty-First Century was written for social scientists. Piketty's goal was to convince economists to adopt the techniques of the other social scientists, and for social scientists to revisit economic issues in their own works. It's also longer than most dictionaries. I feel that the book is accessible to laypeople, but it is profoundly foolish to characterize it in the way you did.

    As I said, already, economics isn't totally worthless, it's just that it's not been very successful in solving the main objective of the field.
    Different economists have different goals and different approaches to the field, ranging from descriptive study of present systems like Piketty, to normative studies like Marx. There is no such thing as a "main objective" to the field, any more than there is a "main objective" to any other science.

    Hell, from what you say about Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the thesis of the book is basically that modern economic theory and policy is leading us straight back to where we were 150 years ago. That's not progress.
    The thesis of the book is that accelerating inequality is an intrinsic feature of capitalism, because the return of capital ownership exceeds the rate of economic growth even when (indeed, especially when) markets are operating efficiently. This is not due to modern economic theory or government policy, but rather very old ones which have long outlived their usefulness.

    Is it all figured out now that this book has been published?
    That there is a problem, yes. What to do about it, no.

    Maybe that economist represents a faction, or he could be totally crazy. I'm not saying Krugman is crazy, but an endorsement from a big-shot is not the same thing a strong consensus among relevant experts.
    Sigh.

    Economists are not stupid. That's not my point either. I was describing the difficulty of that task before them. Economists haven't had a lot of success in predicting and preventing bad market behavior, but that's not because they are stupid, but because successfully extrapolating from purely statistical models is really hard.
    Economists have been quite successful at detecting irrationality and predicting the market failures that will arise due to government policy (for example, that QE would hurt the working class and only help the super rich). It's not even that hard to predict that there will be consequences, or even what the consequences would be, but rather when exactly the consequences are going to happen, because any number of complex macroeconomic shocks can set something off.

    The only people in the neighborhood of economist who consistently fail to predict these things are our politicians, our rich people, and the journalists they own. Coincidentally, I'm sure.

    This is the case in every field. Economists just happen to be stuck dealing with difficult tools, and all the problems that come with them. In the mean time we have the liberal and conservative sides of academia trying to discredit each other, and I don't have a good way to sort it all out.
    Because the narrative is deliberately muddied.

    Krugman wants us to believe that his opponents are only disagreeing because they have bad motives, but that's harder accusation to prove than it is to make. I don't have the competence to sort it all out.
    Figure out who hires all of the Chicago economists, and you'll be well on your way to understanding.

    Rich people love to obfuscate the legitimate scholarship of the field, and their favorite vehicle is the right-wing think tank. For example, take the Laffer Curve. It was a literal back-of-the-napkin sketch linking productivity to the income tax rate and the marginal utility of free time. It was invented by an economist for sure, but one who was (at the time) a full-time member of Reagan's cabinet, in order to generate artificial credibility for clearly insane fiscal policy. Laffer ended up founding his own right-wing think tank FYI.

    But this is really no different than what they do for climate change, although the campaign against economics is a lot more successful; most people understand what "warmer" means, but economics is boring and scary and people don't understand it or want to understand it. Evil rich people get away with a lot more here.

    The reason I can say I'm confident that climate change is anthropogenic is not because it's my opinion, but because I know that it's the opinion of virtually every single person who has dedicated their lives to studying it. The Koch brothers haven't been able to change that fact. When I see a meta-analysis strongly supporting Piketty's position, than I can assume that he's probably right, or at least that it's the best opinion so far available. Until then I'd be picking winners based on nothing but ideology if I chose to agree or disagree with him. That's for actual subject matter experts to do, not me.
    Piketty provides his raw data if you want to give it a go. idk w/e

    Which is why, in the end, the democratic process is a complete failure when it comes to choosing an economic direction.
    Yeah, you might end up with something like capitalism, which subverts democracy as an intrinsic feature. (Source: Piketty's book. Read it, god damn.)

    People can't accept that they don't have the competence to evaluate competing economic theories, so they base their opinion on ignorant, naive reasoning, and then find economists who agree with them to make them feel better about the decision they've already made.
    Hmm, do I detect a pointed comment?
    Last edited by Jon`C; 02-02-2015 at 01:05 AM.

  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    You could, but people will insist that "every little bit helps," even though it clearly doesn't when you take into account the opportunity cost of the materials and the nonexistent payback period of the energy investment. These same people think it's a good idea to harvest energy from cars useing plates on the road ways, as if small car engines are somehow more energy efficient than a power plant. Pointing this out makes you a shill for the oil industry, despite the fact that oil isn't used for power generation to any significant degree.
    Yeah, people seem to not realize that solar installations 1. won't last forever and 2. demand lots of resources to construct

    Of course, most people have no clue how actual things work in the world

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    Yes, but acknowledging that would mean that non-trivial personal sacrifices would be required to feel morally superior to everyone else.
    Exactly, we may have to ride public transport and put on blankets instead of heating a 2500sqft house. The horror!

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    Time variance is solvable. The issue is that the scale of the problem is too large. We can't successfully model a brain. Much less billions of them and all the trillions of environmental variables that they all process. It's a chaotic, time variant, non-linear system, of chaotic, time variant non-linear systems. If you assume linearity in order to make some kind of analysis, you don't even know all the variables that you have linearized.
    What exactly do you mean "nonlinear" and "chaotic"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    It's not totally worthless, it's just very hard, and in practical terms, economists haven't really been all that successful. Look at biology. We can cure diseases and illnesses now that one hundred years ago we wouldn't even diagnose. Aerospace engineering, Electrical engineering, materials science, all fields of research that have had a massive amount to show for themselves in the last hundred years. Economics? I guess we don't get recessions quite as badly as we used to? Maybe? Every few years we hit a recession, and it's all due to the evil influence of the other schools of thought who are stupid and bad.
    And since studying the human genome is ~20 years old, it mustn't be successful? They were able to take the CDO debt crisis and prevent another complete meltdown; wouldn't you say that's at least something?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Capital in the Twenty-First Century talks about this actually

    its only been very recently that large scale data driven economic studies have been possible, since it requires both an enormous amount of computer power and societies that mandate the creation and retention of income records. Before income taxation few people even had an idea of how much money they made or where it was going.

    past economists may have had good points but they literally never had the data to back it up. And now that it turns out that Marx Was Right(tm) pretty much the only thing the rich have to fall back on is warring ideologies because anybody with a brain knows better.
    I'm inclined to believe a few other of his principles are true, not that I can confirm that in any reasonable way

  20. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Also FYI the computationally expensive part isn't the model, it's the analysis. It turns out that when you have two hundred years of income tax records from dozens of countries you need some pretty powerful hardware. Who would have thought? I mean, not you, since you seemed to have been under the impression that an econometric model isn't talking about a regression model, but rather that computer program from the movie Pi.

    fwiw Piketty talks about all of this in the introduction of the book. I'm surprised you didn't notice it while you were reading the book, since you seem so familiar with the rest of it.
    yeah but pi was a good movie. so how about that then, mr. smartypants?

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    Yeah, except many, many, probably most, economists disagree that the data says that.
    Who? "scientists" also say candy canes cure cancer

    As Jon`C already said, right-wing think tanks pump out garbage to convince you to vote republican. Do you really think trickle-down economics came from the minds of honest, hard-working economists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    You can have all the processing power you want, but a computationally expensive model isn't the same as an accurate model. As soon as someone does get an accurate model, you'll know because they will suddenly become very, very rich.
    proving r>g can't make anyone money

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    Really, it's probably not a bad thing. We can complain about the market under-performing the ideal, but in the grand scheme of things, we are advancing at a dangerous rate. Our success as a species has happened far too quickly for us to biologically adapt our behavioral instincts. We could be advancing ten times slower and it would be effectively be discontinuity on a larger ecological scale.
    Okay but that doesn't have any precedence on the truth of Piketty's work

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    You're missing my point, I think. Of course it's a regression model, that's whole the problem. The interpretations of purely empirical regressions on a massively complex, often chaotic systems, are going to be strongly biased by the people performing a regression. The significance of the regression is easily biased by how you control it, and since there's no way you could possibly know all of the possible significant variables, it becomes kind of a mess. There are few theoretical principals of economics that can really give you an idea of whether your conclusions are reasonable or not. If I was wrong, economics would have consensus on basic ideas, and something to show for it. It has very little of either.
    But that's totally not true.. and what does chaotic even mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    I've never heard of this Pi movie you are talking about, but my point is that because we can't make a sci-fi, magical, omniscient computer program, economics as a field is necessarily fraught with uncertainty.
    you should totally watch it, and watch every aronofsky film while you're at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    It's like climate science. We know with confidence that the earth is warmer and why because we have both the theory and observations to verify them. What we can't do well is predict exactly what will happen to the climate, because the climate, while far simpler than the world economy, is still highly chaotic, and has many, many nonlinear, time variant positive and negative feedback loops that we only find out about as the global temperature changes. The purely empirical regressions aren't good enough to predict the future with great accuracy because they require a lot of unknown contextual information in order to make any sense of them. We see this in the significant variance of the predictions of current climate models.
    Economics isn't nearly as complex as meteorological events

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    I could read your book, and I'm sure its very interesting, but at the end of the day, I know that I don't have the competence to judge its validity. I could go to the creation museum, and loose an argument with the staff, but that's because I know jack **** about biology, not because I'm wrong. I can generally rely on a strong scholarly consensus, but if there isn't one, I'm not so susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect to think that reading a couple of non-academic publications is going to equip me with a meaningful position on an undecided field of study.
    Surely you can't be serious? How does one ever learn, if no one can ever judge validity?

  21. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antony View Post
    I know what you mean, man. Sometimes actually becoming educated on a subject just isn't possible, so you've gotta read some wikipedia pages and go with your gut on the rest. It's pretty much the same thing as being extremely well-read on the subject.

    Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/v/OBRKPoAPXEQ



    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    I think it's best to just say, "I don't know," if you don't have anything solid to go off of. You don't have to have an opinion on everything. It's a good opportunity to learn about your own biases.
    This exact line of argument is dangerous in the face of immediate concerns. "Oh, we can't be sure of global warming, best not to stir the pot too much".

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    I have carefully read what you wrote and I understand your opinions.

    You feel that every school of economics operates the same way. You feel that economics is or should be economic engineering, rather than measurement and description, and you feel it should be judged on that basis. You feel that modern statistical methods are incapable of measuring or describing complex systems, and that even properly executed studies are still subject to the whims and biases of their authors, and by extension that statistical analysis does not work. You believe that establishing correlation is not valuable. You believe there is dramatically more contentiousness in economics than there actually is, an idea of the same sort and source as climate change denial (i.e. rich people who personally benefit from misinforming you). You also seem to be under the impression that simply because you don't know anything about economics or statistics past the mandatory 3 credits you had to take, nobody else does either. But that's okay, because you aren't so susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect to think otherwise.

    I understand your opinions, and my responses reflect what I see as the level of discourse you are trying to establish. Or am I wrong, and "you know economists are dumb because they aren't rich" is honestly the best you can manage on this subject?
    Meanwhile the coke (Koch) brothers are preparing to spend close to a billion in the 2016 election

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Of course:

    The rich Republicans need to know whose name to write in the critiques they buy from WSJ and Forbes.

    The poor Republicans aren't physically capable of reading a 700 page academic text.
    I wasn't aware that the Republicans had wrote a critique, is it between the near-libelous accusations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    FYI, if you're interested, here is the rich person response in its entirety:

    1.) Rich people aren't doing as well as you think they are, despite the volume of evidence to the contrary.

    2.) Poor people aren't doing as poorly as you think they are, despite the volume of evidence to the contrary.

    3.) Capitalism is the rising tide that lifts all boats, despite the volume of evidence to the contrary.

    4.) The returns from capital and GDP growth will converge once global industrialization is complete. Because Kuznets said so.

    5.) Even if none of this were true, it would be unconstitutional to tax capital.

    6.) And besides, even if you did, Laffer Curve!

    7.) Social Security should be abolished.

    8.) *keyboard shorts out due to accumulated drool*

    Edit: I'm not joking about this. Well, maybe #8, but I don't have any proof to the contrary. The Forbes criticism of Piketty literally used it as an excuse to take a swipe at Social Security of all things, and it fit about as well in the article as it did in this list. Jesus H. Mother****ing Christ these people are so stupid and evil it's infuriating.
    Here to corroborate:

    1.) http://www.cnbc.com/id/102134929 Number of billionaires doubles since financial crisis

    2.) cf literally anyone who's not in the 1%

    3.) cf capital in the 21st yada yada

    6.) yup if you tax billionaires then they will shrug us all off and the world will collapse. i read about it somewhere. totally not simply a case of npd being guarded by swathes of cash

    7.) yup, the program that was totally well-funded before greed ripped it up, and now they would literally have 80 year old women starve just because the 1% haven't created enough jobs yet

  22. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    I never said that no one knows anything about economics. My point throughout, was that I don't know anything about economics, and that anything short of graduate degree in economics is insufficient to allow me to weigh in with an opinion on a topic that hasn't even been decided within the field. Certainly a layman level publication from one point of view won't.
    Typically I'd agree

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    As I said, already, economics isn't totally worthless, it's just that it's not been very successful in solving the main objective of the field.
    And chemistry, from alchemy, never turned lead into gold either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    Hell, from what you say about Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the thesis of the book is basically that modern economic theory and policy is leading us straight back to where we were 150 years ago. That's not progress. Is it all figured out now that this book has been published? It's not for me to say. Given time and academic consensus, maybe so. But one book, and an endorsement from a noble winning economist isn't enough to convince me the matter has been settled. Maybe that economist represents a faction, or he could be totally crazy. I'm not saying Krugman is crazy, but an endorsement from a big-shot is not the same thing a strong consensus among relevant experts.
    There totally is a strong consensus though. Like, this isn't some off the wall subject, here, you can corroborate these things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    Economists are not stupid. That's not my point either. I was describing the difficulty of that task before them. Economists haven't had a lot of success in predicting and preventing bad market behavior, but that's not because they are stupid, but because successfully extrapolating from purely statistical models is really hard. This is the case in every field. Economists just happen to be stuck dealing with difficult tools, and all the problems that come with them. In the mean time we have the liberal and conservative sides of academia trying to discredit each other, and I don't have a good way to sort it all out. Krugman wants us to believe that his opponents are only disagreeing because they have bad motives, but that's harder accusation to prove than it is to make. I don't have the competence to sort it all out.

    The reason I can say I'm confident that climate change is anthropogenic is not because it's my opinion, but because I know that it's the opinion of virtually every single person who has dedicated their lives to studying it. The Koch brothers haven't been able to change that fact. When I see a meta-analysis strongly supporting Piketty's position, than I can assume that he's probably right, or at least that it's the best opinion so far available. Until then I'd be picking winners based on nothing but ideology if I chose to agree or disagree with him. That's for actual subject matter experts to do, not me.

    Which is why, in the end, the democratic process is a complete failure when it comes to choosing an economic direction. People can't accept that they don't have the competence to evaluate competing economic theories, so they base their opinion on ignorant, naive reasoning, and then find economists who agree with them to make them feel better about the decision they've already made.
    All Piketty did was use careful analysis for years by incredible minds, dozens of historical and statistical studies to confirm a single mathematical relationship. A single one.

  23. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    My point throughout, was that I don't know anything about economics, and that anything short of graduate degree in economics is insufficient to allow me to weigh in with an opinion on a topic that hasn't even been decided within the field.
    I disagree. Often, the arguments & "evidence" from one side of an issue are so terrible or weak that even a layman with a hint of intellectual curiosity could tear them to shreds. Even if you're only casually interested in the subject, it's difficult not to notice how terrible the predictions of certain economists are & how rare it is for them to admit when they've been wrong instead of just moving the apocalypse further down the line.
    ? :)

  24. #104
    (Still) On 13 week vacation
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    Don't be ridiculous, Mentat. It's completely responsible to trumpet your uninformed opinion.
    >>untie shoes

  25. #105
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    In other Kickstarter related news, high-netting crowdfunded project TriggerTrap Ada has announced they didn't raise enough money and are packing it in.

    We thought we had all the skills we needed to deliver this project. We were incredibly wrong. As soon as the Kickstarter money hit our account, we should have hired an experienced hardware product manager.


    Towards the end of the project, we engaged an extremely experienced hardware project manager, both to discuss how things were looking, and to see if we could salvage the project.


    To kick it off, I figured I’d ask him how we should have run this project. The challenge we set him: “If you have £300k to develop a consumer electronics product, how would you go about it?” He looked me straight in the eye, blinked twice, and said “I wouldn’t. Not with a budget of under £1m.”
    lol, kickstarted again

  26. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi_Kwiet View Post
    The reason I can say I'm confident that climate change is anthropogenic is not because it's my opinion, but because I know that it's the opinion of virtually every single person who has dedicated their lives to studying it. The Koch brothers haven't been able to change that fact. When I see a meta-analysis strongly supporting Piketty's position, than I can assume that he's probably right, or at least that it's the best opinion so far available. Until then I'd be picking winners based on nothing but ideology if I chose to agree or disagree with him. That's for actual subject matter experts to do, not me.
    Except that climate change is NOT anthropogenic. There's actually lots of evidence that supports this (and more coming out every day it seems). Climate Change is real. But it's certainly not because of humans and there is absolutely nothing that we can do about it. Frankly, we're just not that significant (as much as that may bust the egos of many of you out there).

    Let me first start by saying that there are probably at least a hundred health reasons alone why we should reduce emissions. However...

    CO2 has never lead temperature changes. Also, we've stopped warming. Yes, I know, NASA reported that 2014 was the hottest year on record. However, NASA later admits that it's only 38% sure about that. In fact, despite significant increases in CO2 emissions over the last 15 years, we have seen no significant increase in temperature and indeed it has dropped over the last several years. Anthropogenic ("Global Warming!") also doesn't explain the climate extremes that have been occurring elsewhere in the solar system.

    At the end of the day, it all ties back with the solar climate and the changing of the cycles. For much more detail then I could ever hope to explain, check out this youtube channel, especially the climate change series which goes into a lot of detail of how the whole "Global Warming" thing came about and the ever evolving truth that many scientists (slowly but surely) are fleeing the "Global Warming" AKA "(Man Made) Climate Change" supporters.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/Suspicious0bservers
    Last edited by Alco; 03-03-2015 at 12:00 AM.

  27. #107
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    Edit: Double post

  28. #108
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    *exasperated sigh*

    Quote Originally Posted by Alco View Post
    Frankly, we're just not that significant (as much as that may bust the egos of many of you out there).

  29. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alco View Post
    Anthropogenic ("Global Warming!") also doesn't explain the climate extremes that have been occurring elsewhere in the solar system.


    At the end of the day, it all ties back with the solar climate and the changing of the cycles.
    FYI solar irradiance has been steadily decreasing over the past fifty years. The 'climate change' we've observed on other planets is certainly dominated by seasonal effects, but honestly we have such incomplete and short-term measurements that we can't conclusively detect fluctuations in either direction. Plz don't believe everything you read on inter.


    Global temperature levelling out doesn't necessarily mean that the total energy of Earth has stopped increasing. Earth has a grab bag of compensatory mechanisms, some geophysical and some biological, which work to dampen ecological shocks. For example, the excess energy could be consumed to fuel a reaction (such as glacial melt) or stored in a reservoir (the ocean). We've observed both of these things, by the way, so even if the Earth isn't "warming up" we know for a fact that our total energy is increasing. So when you say that there's little evidence of negative consequences despite the obvious changes we've made to everything from atmospheric composition to surface albedo, that's a huge testament to how well those compensatory systems work.

    The danger is that most of these systems have super terrible boundary conditions and under the right circumstances can suffer a catastrophic failure of composition. We're already getting railed in the pooper by runaway processes directly and clearly due to human activity, like algal blooms exhausting ocean oxygen and CO2 sequestration causing ocean acidification. Even if most of the climate change is a natural process, for example returning to normal out of the last ice age, we're clearly putting a huge additional strain upon natural systems which did not develop to handle it.

    It's also incredibly disingenuous to state that humans aren't significant enough to cause climate change. Of course we are. The photo I posted above is of the dust bowl, wherein Americans transformed their heartland into an uninhabitable desert using plows of all things. Desertification, aquifer depletion, light quality and even straight-up mass irrigation of the sort we've been doing for literally thousands of years are among the ways that humans have very, very obviously transformed our environment, often on a permanent basis and occasionally even on purpose. We're also not insignificant: humans and domesticated animals make up some 95% of the terrestrial vertebrate biomass. We're a huge part of the earth system. But even if we weren't, there are many examples of small changes having a large impact on a complicated system. So basically both halves of your statement, that humans are insignificant, and that humans can't affect a system of the earth's scale, are outright lies.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 03-03-2015 at 02:09 AM.

  30. #110
    Admiral of Awesome
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    I do not miss these threads. Can we please get back to laughing at the crowdfund laff factory now

  31. #111
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    In other Kickstarter related news, high-netting crowdfunded project TriggerTrap Ada has announced they didn't raise enough money and are packing it in.



    lol, kickstarted again
    That's terrible.

  32. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    We're also not insignificant: humans and domesticated animals make up some 95% of the terrestrial vertebrate biomass.
    So what's the ratio of humans (only) to the total biomass of the planet? The number you threw out here was very disingenuous to the discussion. I think you're proving Reid's point. Also, I encourage you to actually take a look at the link I provided. There's a lot of fact based research in it. I stand by my original post.
    Last edited by Alco; 03-03-2015 at 08:55 AM.

  33. #113
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    In other Kickstarter related news, high-netting crowdfunded project TriggerTrap Ada has announced they didn't raise enough money and are packing it in.



    lol, kickstarted again
    It was incredibly satisfying reading that update, hahaha. Lol kickstarted indeed.
    "Nulla tenaci invia est via"

  34. #114
    The Veronica Mars movie, Wish I Was Here, Order of the Stick book, some other webcomic projects and Chuck's Challenge did just fine. Guess it's sufficient for similar projects (if you're popular enough) and not really for "LET'S REVOLUTIONIZE ROADS 8)" or whatnot.

  35. #115

    "Has it won yet?"

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    Again, not a Kickstarter backer or real user...

    But is there any real incentive for KS to combat the train wrecks that are happening at their front door? I assume (and I mean assume) they collect data and information regarding project success and failures, despite the many things that go wrong, but would it be beneficial to KS to openly share that information to future creators? Successful projects (e.g. Pebble Watch I guess) make great advertising material but failures seem to be swept under the door, except for the spectacular ones. When KS takes a portion of the funded money, regardless the project works or not, KS's growth would depend if they could lower and lower the requirements for more people to hop on the Merry-go-Round-of-Failure, all the while collecting the ticket sales, no?
    SnailIracing:n(500tpostshpereline)pants
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  36. #116
    Admiral of Awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECHOMAN View Post
    Again, not a Kickstarter backer or real user...

    But is there any real incentive for KS to combat the train wrecks that are happening at their front door? I assume (and I mean assume) they collect data and information regarding project success and failures, despite the many things that go wrong, but would it be beneficial to KS to openly share that information to future creators? Successful projects (e.g. Pebble Watch I guess) make great advertising material but failures seem to be swept under the door, except for the spectacular ones. When KS takes a portion of the funded money, regardless the project works or not, KS's growth would depend if they could lower and lower the requirements for more people to hop on the Merry-go-Round-of-Failure, all the while collecting the ticket sales, no?
    They've substantially increased requirements since they started. They now require projects to include a statement of risks.

    There's going to be a profit-maximizing success rate. If the rate's too high, it means Kickstarter is weeding out a lot of doomed projects they could have profited from. If the rate's too low, they alienate users. Either way, I honestly doubt that they're doing much to manage the rate: they're clearly alienating users, which puts them on the low side, but there are so few good projects run by capable people that they probably couldn't keep the servers running without the junk.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 03-03-2015 at 11:15 AM.

  37. #117
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    Alco: Jon'C left out ocean acidification which is having a big effect on ocean life right now.

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification
    My girlfriend paid a lot of money for that tv; I want to watch ALL OF IT. - JM

  38. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alco View Post
    Except that climate change is NOT anthropogenic. There's actually lots of evidence that supports this (and more coming out every day it seems). Climate Change is real. But it's certainly not because of humans and there is absolutely nothing that we can do about it. Frankly, we're just not that significant (as much as that may bust the egos of many of you out there).

    Let me first start by saying that there are probably at least a hundred health reasons alone why we should reduce emissions. However...

    CO2 has never lead temperature changes. Also, we've stopped warming. Yes, I know, NASA reported that 2014 was the hottest year on record. However, NASA later admits that it's only 38% sure about that. In fact, despite significant increases in CO2 emissions over the last 15 years, we have seen no significant increase in temperature and indeed it has dropped over the last several years. Anthropogenic ("Global Warming!") also doesn't explain the climate extremes that have been occurring elsewhere in the solar system.

    At the end of the day, it all ties back with the solar climate and the changing of the cycles. For much more detail then I could ever hope to explain, check out this youtube channel, especially the climate change series which goes into a lot of detail of how the whole "Global Warming" thing came about and the ever evolving truth that many scientists (slowly but surely) are fleeing the "Global Warming" AKA "(Man Made) Climate Change" supporters.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/Suspicious0bservers
    lol

  39. #119
    Alco is probably an anti-vaxxer too, since he's so insanely against solid scientific measurements.

  40. #120
    Admiral of Awesome
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    Even if Alco isn't deliberately misleading us, what he's saying demands incredulity for the sole reason that it benefits people who have repeatedly demonstrated willingness to lie about climate change for personal gain.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 03-04-2015 at 12:36 AM.

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