My whereabouts at the beginning of the year will be at the ASSA '09, presenting a paper on the 5th of Jan.
But plenty of wine before that, continuing from the Napa Valley wine tasting yesterday :-).
Ad majora in 2009!
Best sentence I've read today:
If Chapter 11 cannot save GM, then nothing can.
The other wines in top 10 look very exciting as well. For instance, I just can't wait trying the Portuguese Quinta do Crasto: a task for my good old Portuguese friend, Miguel? :-).Check out as well my posts about the top wines of 2007 and 2006.
In closing, let me mention one other issue that I take very seriously. I recognize that this might not matter much to my Congressman, but in my view it may be the most important issue for global welfare. The U.S. has long been a beacon of free markets. When economic conditions turn sour in Argentina or Indonesia, we give very clear instructions on what to do: balance the budget, cut government employment, maintain free trade and the rule of law, and do not prop up failing enterprises. Opponents of free markets argue that this advice benefits international financiers, not the domestic market. I have always believed (at least since I began to understand economics) that the U.S. approach was correct. But when the U.S. ignores its own advice in this situation, it reduces the credibility of this stance. Rewriting the rules of the game at this stage will therefore have serious ramifications not only for people in this country but for the future of global capitalism. The social cost of that is far, far greater than $700 billion.
Thanks goodness we bailed out Bear Stearns back in March if we hadn't we might have lost Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and who knows what else. Oh wait...
The empirical conclusion from this analysis is important. A little prayer does no good and may make things worse. Much prayer helps a lot.
Milton Friedman stood for freedom, social, political, and economic. He realized that they are inextricably linked. If the government controls your job or your business, dissent is impossible. He favored, among other things, legalizing drugs, school choice, and volunteer army. To call him or his political legacy “right wing” is simply ignorant, and I mean that also as a technically accurate description rather than an insult.
There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.
Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two.
"The Dutch population is essentially antiurban,” de Vries says. “Therefore as architects in Holland we have a special responsibility to make living in cities and under dense circumstances not just habitable but preferable.”
It was in Moldova that Weiner began to see, or, rather, failed to see, the building blocks that make a culture happy. "While I did meet some people I liked, Moldova is the least happy country on the planet," Weiner says. "People go to great lengths to see their neighbors fail. Completely seriously, it is a very morose place. I've never been so glad to leave a country."
Prima impresie spune o poveste spontana, in care de fapt se intretes propriile noastre viziuni cu ceea ce dorim sa vedem. A doua privire este mai atenta, ordonand detaliile dupa logica mediului in care ne-am format ochiul. A treia privire spune o cu totul alta poveste, eliberata de constrangerile prejudecatilor. Povestea mea este galbena si verde, abstracta si concreta, statica si dinamica, reala si virtuala. Ea danseaza la marginea celor ce exista pentru ca exista, a celor ce nu exista pentru ca nu exista. O tentativa de a desena parmenidian.
(in Romanian on Ad Astra, via Alex Cabuz and Razvan Florian)
PS. A while ago I posted on the Scandinavians complaining about the shortage of skilled workforce (1st bullet point). They seem to be doing rather well compared to Romania, however...
[...] Basescu has repeated his insistence that Székelyföld will have no more nor less autonomy than anywhere else. This is not a position with which I disagree in principle, but since he trotted it out two years ago and has done absoultely nothing towards decentralisation in Romania since, it is clear that what he means by "Covasna will have the same amount of autonomy as Calarasi and Constanta" is, in fact, "absolutely none". I know he's fully locked into the Bucharest political scene, being ex-mayor of that city, but I suspect he needs to get out a bit more.
The above is by Andy, on Csíkszereda musings, part of an entry on whether the Kosovo precedent implies anything for Székelyföld. I also find the entire post well written and I disagree, if at all, only with respect to some minor details.
[...] here is my reaction as I read, say, page 50 of the 70 page paper. I am reminded of the character Elaine in the show Seinfeld. [...] She is watching the movie of The English Patient. Finally she bursts out “quit telling your stupid story about your stupid desert and just die”. That’s what I think when I am on page 50 of a 70 page paper. Even a really good one!
The reality is that democracy is a very blunt instrument, and in today’s environment we are choosing between ways of muddling through. We may hear that the election is about different visions for America’s future, but the pitches may be more akin to selling different brands of soap.
We hear so many superficial messages precisely because most American voters have neither the knowledge nor the commitment to evaluate the pronouncements of politicians on economic issues. It is no accident that the most influential political science book of the last year has been “The Myth of the Rational Voter,” by Bryan Caplan. The book shows that many voters are ill-informed or even irrational; many economic issues are complex, and each voter knows that he or she will not determine the final outcome.
Rather than being cynics, we should be realists. Democracy is reasonably good at some things: pushing scoundrels out of office, checking their worst excesses by requiring openness, and simply giving large numbers of people the feeling of having a voice. Democracy is not nearly as good at others: holding politicians accountable for their economic promises or translating the preferences of intellectuals into public policy.
Finding the applications that resonate with the students or the population in general and then showing them how a little bit of structured thinking can substantially improve their understanding — I think that’s where you get the power of economics. I’m still amazed that in the business world how having a coherent and structured way of approaching problems can allow someone like me to walk into an industry meeting and talk to people who are brilliant people managing large companies and still have unique insights for them. That’s because I have these really powerful tools at my disposal. Economics allows you to think several layers deeper. Without that structure, you just get lost in a muddle.
More to follow soon. Meanwhile, you can also check my "books" blog-category for other books I've read and/or talked about in previous posts.