A nice statement on why, like establishing causality, prediction is difficult. Sample:
3. History is the study of surprising events. Prediction is using historical data to forecast what events will happen next.
Do you see the irony?
Historical data is a good guide to the future. But the most important events in historical data are the big outliers, the record-breaking events. They are what move the needle. We use those outliers to guide our views of things like worst-case scenarios. But those record-setting events, when they occurred, had no precedent. So the forecaster who assumes the worst (and best) events of the past will match the worst (and best) events of the future is not following history; they’re accidentally assuming the history of unprecedented events happening doesn’t apply to the future.
A few weeks back Treasury Secretary Mnuchin made an embarassingly stupid statement. Here's the corrective.
Why would anyone want to be well below average, and expect to be paid in perpetuity for it? That’s only possible in government . . .
Deirdre McCloskey is optimistic about the world's economic future.
So cheer up. The end is not near. The American story of raising up the poor, our ancestors, and our fellow humans, is not close to finished.
Nicole Gelinas argues that ". . . in buying a house and the land it sits on, the purchaser is also taking on a share of the jurisdiction’s future liabilities." And in a lot of our states and cities those future liabilities are large and getting larger.
Fine mini case study in how capitalism induces firms to supply what consumers want.
". . . has vied for (and frequently held) the mantle of busiest McDonald’s in the world." Guess where it is.
"An Interview with Deirdre McCloskey, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Economics and of History, UIC"
As usual, a lot of good stuff from Prof. McCloskey. She's asked how much of our GDP should be devoted to government and she replies, "Put me down for 10 percent slavery to government. Not the 30 to 55 percent at present that rich countries enslave."
I like it.
Much of the research on the economics of inequality stumbles on this simple ethical point, focusing on measures of relative inequality such as the Gini coefficient or the share of the top 1 percent rather than on measures of the absolute welfare of the poor. It focuses fashionably on an inequality that’s very hard to measure properly or to alter rather than on a poverty that is very easy to measure properly and alter. They elide the two. Speaking of the legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin’s egalitarianism, the philosopher Harry Frankfurt observed that Dworkin in fact, and ethically, “cares principally about the [absolute] value of people’s lives, but he mistakenly represents himself as caring principally about the relative magnitudes of their economic assets.” We should care about lifting up the poor, not how many diamond-incrusted Rolex or Cartier watches the rich have.
An Orange County Register editorial:
CNBC’s annual state-by-state “business climate” study is out. No surprise, we’re dead last — No. 50 — among the states for “cost of doing business.” Here’s an area where you don’t want to say, “As California goes, so goes the nation.”
Almost all of California’s business-climate problems are self-inflicted, as lawmakers try to balance conflicting interests.
Steve Horwitz has posted a wonderfully concise, beautifully exposited argument for why reasonable people should be suspicious of big government. It also serves as a very necessary rebuttal to the assertion that I'm, sadly, hearing more frequently from conservatives: big government is fine as long as it is guided by "conservative" principles.
(And Professor Horwitz's argument is nicely consistent with the case made numerous times on this blog that government has problems relative to the market in two areas: information and incentives.)