Battlepanda: In praise of econ blogs


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

In praise of econ blogs

From the comment boards of the Angry Bear:
Camille: Of course I'm a non-economist, but I'm addicted to reading these econ blogs!

A Different Chris: Me too!! Who ever though economists, of all people, could be so compelling? Next year I'm going to find myself following all the Chartered Public Account blogs, if I'm not careful.

Grandma Jo: Who ever thought reading economic blogs could be interesting?????

No I. But here I am. Wandering around cyber world, learning about stuff I never believed I could learn, let alone find interesting.

Who says you are too old to learn. Not I

I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with the experiences of those commenters. I've only took one econ class at school and I hated it. Not the prof's fault, of course. I just couldn't get interested in all those graphs and stuff when I don't see their connection with everyday reality. I thought the whole study of economics was overly-fudged pseudoscience rife with ideology. Not that I was completely off-base. It's true that economics is not an exact science, and that it's damn hard if not impossible to keep our values from creeping into our analysis. But somehow, when I approached economics from the point of view of the bloggers, that is, focused on current affairs and real-life consequences, all those things that used to bother me about economics became fascinating. Yes, trying to model human behavior using two-dimensional graphs is an intellectually thankless task, but it's a challenge we have to face up to in order to reap the rewards of knowing how best to allocate resources and incentives in our society.

Now I feel like I'm walking around with the knowledge of some secret code that allows me to see patterns in the forces that shapes out lives. I groan when well-meaning friends earnestly talk about the evils of globalization. I lift an eyebrow when a real-estate agent tries to tell me that real estate in the Carrboro area is going to be growing at 5-10% p.a. for the foreseeable future. When I think about social security or the budget deficit, it's not some unknowable conundrum but problems with answers.