Tuesday, September 25, 2012

EconoTrolls: An Illustrated Bestiary


In your journey through the Econ Blogosphere, you will be beset by a great many curious and interesting species of EconoTroll. At first you may be intimidated by their voluminous use of insider jargon, their rough-and-tumble personal attacks, their strenuous insistence that you read the complete works of their movements' founders before participating in any discussion, and above all their sheer persistence and apparent surplus of spare time. But fear not, noble traveler, for I have taken it upon myself to create this Illustrated Bestiary, in order to prepare you for (most of) the characters you will encounter on your way...
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An Illustrated Bestiary of the Econ Blogworld

Libertarians

"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter."

How they see themselves:

How the world sees them:
Favorite blog: EconLog

Favorite dead economist: Milton Friedman

Will appear in response to posts regarding: Trade, the environment, third-world labor, patents, immigration, education, the environment, sugary soft drinks, anything really

Craziest idea: Eliminate public education and legalize crack 

Special attack: Soaring rhetoric

Secret weakness: memories of the parties they didn't get invited to in college

Notes: This species of troll appears to be on the wane, as left-leaning college women have broadened their taste in men considerably, blunting the anti-liberal ressentiment that led to an explosion in the young angry libertarian male population...


Post Keynesians

"[I]t is always the outliers that are pushing back the curtain of ignorance. It's not the zebra in the middle of the herd, safely away from predators and mishaps, who finds the new food sources for the herd, or alerts the group to impending dangers."

"I'm not going to provide the links, but I called the crisis more precisely than any of those people."

How they see themselves:

How the world sees them:
Favorite blog: Steve Keen's Debtwatch

Favorite dead economist: Hyman Minsky

Will appear in response to posts regarding: Who predicted the economic crisis first

Craziest idea: That anyone is listening

Special attack: Anger

Secret weakness: the fear that Paul Krugman has said everything they've thought of, but better

Notes: When not engaged in bitter denunciation of the "neoclassicals" who supposedly pushed them out of their once-hallowed place in the halls of academia, this species can actually have quite a lot of interesting things to say...


Market Monetarists

"NGDP, NGDP, NGDP, NGDP."

How they see themselves:

How the world sees them:

Favorite blog: The Money Illusion

Favorite dead economist: No one. The spot is being reserved for Scott Sumner, along with thousands of life-sized terra cotta grad students.

Will appear in response to posts regarding: Monetary policy, macroeconomics, any word containing the letters "NGDP"

Craziest idea: Pegging the monetary policy of the world's leading nation to an obscure and highly illiquid futures market

Special attack: NGDP-style kung fu

Secret weakness: Supply shocks

Notes: Having now effectively swayed the Federal Reserve and won essentially all of the Econ Blogosphere to their way of thinking, the Market Monetarists can hardly be classified as "trolls" any longer...


Republicans

"[T]here are 47 percent...who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them...And so my job is not to worry about those people."

How they see themselves:

How the world sees them:

Favorite dead economist: Art Laffer

Will appear in response to posts regarding: taxes, politics, taxes

Craziest idea: Difficult to say, but probably a tie between bankrupting the country with debt, privatizing the prison system, invading Iraq, cutting funding for science, dishing out billions in pork to well-connected no-bid contractors, throwing millions of harmless marijuana users into nightmarish prisons, repressing gays, disenfranchising black voters, forcing millions of "illegal" immigrants into second-class citizen status, and blocking any sensible policy reform through the abuse of supermajority tactics in the Senate...

Special attack: Taking over the entire United States for three decades

Secret weaknesses: hot liberal chicks, fatty food

Notes: See also History, American, all


Austrians

"Cue hyperinflation in 5...4...3..."

"With real money backed by real gold, America experienced the greatest boom in any nation's history. Things were great and the American people flourished."

"No math needed. Read Rothbard. Economics (human action) is logic. Beautiful, simple logic."

How they see themselves:

How the world sees them:
Favorite blog: Zero Hedge

Favorite dead economists: Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard

Will appear in response to posts regarding: Monetary policy, the gold standard, gold, and possibly pyrite

Craziest idea: That fractional reserve banking and fiat money are a conspiracy by the Rothschild family to take away people's freedom

Special attack: Real money, backed by real gold

Secret weakness: cannot withstand being subjected to intellectual contempt

Notes: For more on this odd and often frightening species of troll, please consult the fieldwork of the intrepid naturalist J. Bradford DeLong...


Modern Monetary Theorists

"Sorry, just to expand that further.....the currency would appreciate, but as there would be no market for government debt the govt would be forced to monetize. The increase in currency in circulation would offset the appreciation due to Acme share price increase. Assuming that the rise in Acme share price was due to the vast increase in demand for those shares as a consequence of the total rejection of govt debt as a savings vehicle, it is possible that the effect on the currency would be neutral..."

How they see themselves:


How the world sees them:
Favorite blog: yours

Favorite dead economists: G.F. Knapp, Wynne Godley

Will appear in response to posts regarding: Government debt

Craziest idea: That all of economics can be derived from a few simple accounting identities

Special attack: Jargon, jargon, and more jargon

Secret weaknesses: Mark-to-market accounting, logic

Notes: It has been said of this species of EconoTroll that holding a discussion with one is akin to "administering a Turing Test to a computer designed to impersonate an acute schizophrenic." Travelers are advised to proceed with extreme caution. Fortunately, this dangerous species has many natural enemies, and often the clever wayfarer can escape in the fracas between a Modern Monetary Theorist and an Austrian, Republican, or New Classical.


Marxists

"[it is] simple self-evident reality that the international monetary system was created by, and remains founded on, US military power. "

"capitalism will not be around for ever. An engine of infinite expansion and accumulation cannot, by definition, continue for ever in a finite world."

How they see themselves:

How the world sees them:
Favorite blog: None. Blogs are tools of capitalist oppression. Comment trolls of the world, you have nothing to lose but your word verification!

Favorite dead economist: Marx, duh.

Will appear in response to posts regarding: (actually, not sure about this one)

Craziest idea: Take your pick

Special attack: David Graeber

Secret weakness: the Postmodernist Essay Generator

Notes: We have not seen this species around much in recent years, but the tales of their infestations in far earlier times still make for lively campfire entertainment...


Scientists

"[M]acro is mostly a 'science' without falsification. In other words, it is barely a science at all. Microeconomists know this. The educated public knows this. And that is why the prestige of the macro field is falling."

How they see themselves:

How the world sees them:

Favorite blog: Noahpinion

Favorite dead economist: Are you kidding? That's the only good kind!

Will appear in response to posts regarding: Economic methodology, statistics, math

Craziest idea: That economists should do experiments

Special attack: the "economics isn't science" taunt

Secret weaknesses: bad posture, the knowledge that economists get paid more than they do

Notes: This troll, which periodically ventures into the Econ Blogworld, attempts to intimidate its enemies by the puffing up of its Physics Credentials in a strange sort of dominance display. This tactic can easily be defeated by immediately presenting the troll with a deceptively difficult or even insoluble math problem, and then ridiculing the troll for failing to solve it in short order.


New Classicals

"Krugman's blog post mainly tells us that his deficit in macro-knowledge persists."

"Get a life, Krugman!"

How they see themselves:


How the world sees them:

Favorite blog: New Monetarist Economics

Favorite dead economists: Frederic Bastiat

Will appear in response to posts regarding: Macroeconomics, history of economics, fiscal policy, stimulus, monetary policy

Craziest idea: That recessions are caused by a combination of A) people forgetting technology, B) people suddenly deciding to take vacations, and C) fear of future socialism by liberal politicians

Special attack: Dissing you anonymously on Econ Job Market Rumors

Secret weakness: the econ job market

Notes: This type of troll, long confined to a series of deep caves in Minnesota, emerged into the surface world and began marauding the landscape in response to attacks by the wizard Krugman. It is the sworn duty of all New Classicals to hunt down their antagonist and make him pay for his crimes. This makes them relatively harmless to travelers not affiliated with this grudge battle...


Uncategorizable

"The magical policy is MY GUARANTEED INCOME plan to auction the unemployed we can put 30M people to work 40 hours per week in less than 1 year this platform immediately reduces the cost of organizing and rehabbing the 12M homes that ARE gong from being owner occupied to rentals and my plan SOLVES for immigration [truncated]" 

How they see themselves:

How the world sees them:

Favorite blog: ...and how many times have you made a single argument against giving taxpayers the freedom to choose which government organizations they give their taxes to you've made ZERO arguments against tax choice don't you think it's just a little strange that you can't even make one argument [truncated] 

Favorite dead economist: ...against tax choice? I don't think it's strange...you know why? Because I know that you really don't want to embarrass yourself. there is no argument about them taking our jobs because IF the employer could hire the cheaper subsidized American he would the left over jobs are ones where there is true unfilled demand    [truncated]

Will appear in response to posts regarding: ...WHY DID YOU BLOCK ME mostly at the low end this field work that robots haven’t replaced yet by his definition my policy is magical bend to my will you haven’t proven yourself enough to get to take potshots why not just root for rampant fires to wipe out the unemployed [truncated]

Craziest Idea: ...when confronted with an insurmountable obstacle it's a good idea to break the obstacle down into smaller components that are easier to handle this is the divide and conquer strategy you'll never convince each and every taxpayer [truncated]

Special attack: ...you are just afraid to engage with my ideas because you know that i am intellectually as far beyond you as homo sapiens is beyond a slug why don't you come over here to boycott the entire government but you certainly will be able to convince every taxpayer to boycott at least one government organization [truncated]  

Secret weakness: nerve gas

Notes: The less said about this most fearsome species of troll, the better.

238 comments:

  1. So, you're even poking fun at everybody including yourself, but not at Krugman and Brad De Long? Are they THAT sacred? Surely not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. +1

      Krugmanite

      " To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble."

      — Paul Krugman (2002)

      How they see themselves :

      http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/KrugMan-625x416.jpg

      How the world sees them:

      http://1.media.collegehumor.cvcdn.com/36/21/977be9afe4fb0797136c16077364711d.gif

      Favorite Blog :

      Conscience of a Liberal.

      Favourite Dead Economist:

      "In the long run, we're all dead"

      — John Maynard Keynes

      Will appear in response to posts regarding :

      "But did I call for low interest rates? Yes. In my view, that’s not what the Fed did wrong. We needed better regulation to curb the bubble — not a policy that sacrificed output and employment in order to limit irrational exuberance. You can disagree if you like, but that doesn’t make me someone who deliberately sought a bubble."

      Craziest Idea:

      Bubbles replacing bubbles replacing bubbles replacing bubbles.

      Secret Weakness:

      Psychohistory.

      Delete
    2. Alternative Craziest Idea:

      "If we discovered that, you know, space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months"

      Delete
    3. Aziz, the space-alien claim was a thought experiment, not an idea as you claim. In any event, what about the thought experiment did you think was crazy? Substitute "Germany and Japan" for "space aliens" and it's exactly what happened in the U.S. beginning in 1939.

      Delete
    4. Aziz, you are taking Krugman too literally. In a normal (no financial crisis) world, monetary policy affects the economy primarily through the housing industry, because mortgage debt vastly outweighs all other consumer debt in magnitude and duration. Raising interest rates makes housing more expensive, leading to a slowdown; lowering interest rates makes housing more affordable, leading to a pick-up.

      Delete
    5. The space alien thought experiment may have arisen as away to avoid bringing up America's WW2 experience and having all of the trolls screaming that Krugman is a warmonger, which they have repeatedly done.

      Delete
    6. Every cent and second spent on creating giant ion cannons and ray guns and shit to fight off the non-existent Alpha Draconian invasion force is a cent or a second that could have been spent creating stuff we actually do need and people actually want like better infrastructure, solar energy, research, special pillows so that Noah Smith doesn't injure his neck.

      Keynes had a relatively good argument before he tried to ram it home to the nth degree with the comment about digging ditches. If you're deploying excess capacity to create stuff people actually need you're much likely to create enough momentum to return to organic growth. If you're creating stuff people don't need then it is more than possible you're doing more harm than good (wasting useful resources, etc). In the real world nothing is purely supply side or demand side, depressions are much more complex than that. The claim that "the slump would be over in 18 months" is very reductionistic.

      I guess, though, that if I am forced into a binary choice between fake aliens and war in the middle east, then I choose propaganda to suggest lizard people arriving imminently on Earth.

      EVERYONE PANIC!

      Delete
    7. Aziz, Congress refuses to spend on things people want. That was part of the point. A hypothetical event such as an invasion that would frighten Congress into action would result in having the appropriate Keynesian stimulus.

      Delete
    8. The Krugman/Delong category is "Post Keynesians". Please re-read. (Oh wait. I've just been trolled.)

      Delete
    9. Nope, would result in Congress spending lots of money on relatively useless shit like this that no-one other than the military-industrial complex wants:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dq6ZsF6bzOA

      Delete
    10. Aziz - LULZ. Nice.

      I was toying with putting profs in there, but I decided to restrict it to people who had appeared in my own comments section... ;)

      And I didn't put you because you're too unique!

      Delete
    11. I fit quite nicely into the uncategorizable category ;)

      Delete
    12. Anonymous11:23 AM

      The whole point of Krugman (and Keynes) is that right now those cents are *not* spent, but just sit somewhere unused in a vault, probably at the FED. So the point is that a cent *earned* (by building stuff you may not need) is, right now, better than a cent doing nothing in a vault. Both Krugman and Keynes agree that doing something useful (like building bridges) is far better still. But it's hard to have politicians (especially from the R side) to do that, while politicians (especially from the R side) are not so held back when it involves a big (military) threat, either real or perceived. And perceived (e.g. aliens) is far more preferable, because it does not involve the destruction (see WW II).

      Delete
    13. Well, Krugman for one doesn't comment on blogs. You don't seem to get that this is about TROLLING, not blogging.

      Delete
    14. Anonymous1:09 PM

      I wondered the same thing. Are there no Krugmanite trolls? Krugman himself comments on blogs. There just seems to be a gap. Now, if this is technically strictly about trolls and not bloggers why is Scott Sumner (effectively) on the list?

      Delete
    15. Tygerrr1:31 PM

      Aziz

      Thanks for the huge laughs!

      A devoted Krugmanite

      Delete
    16. Anonymous2:52 PM

      Aziz:

      Brilliant - love the kid throwing money out of the window.

      Another devoted Krugmanite.

      Delete
  2. This is awesome. Well-done.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think there's an "engineer" species, that involves people who's only experience with a complex dynamical system is the circuits class they took as an undergraduate, and think everything can be explained in terms of "negative feedback".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm. There is something interesting here, which is that negative feedback doesn't explain much -- but negative feedback is the basis of most of control theory.

      So if you want to CONTROL the economy you should CREATE negative feedback. Hmm. Actually that was one of Keynes's great insights and the basis of his advice to governments. Seems hard politically to do it, doesn't it?

      Delete
  4. Great post. Bob Solow would love it. He took sentiments similar to those in this post very seriously and converted them into a research programme.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What, no special category for Morgan Warstler?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:23 AM

      The whole "auction the unemployed" is Morgan

      Delete
    2. Isn't the Uncategorizable quote directly from something I've read Morgan say ad nauseum in more than one blog?

      Delete
    3. Yes uncategorizable, suis generis, and unique like a snowflake.

      Delete
  6. Love this post. Hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's a question why Noah is sometimes a splitter and sometimes a lumper above.

    Anyways, I do not think David Graeber is a Marxist. He's more like a member of what Lenin called left-wing communism: an infantile disorder.

    By the way, you do know that certain economics departments have definitely engaged in purges? Harvard, Rutgers, and Notre Dame are not Post Keynesian fantasies.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very funny! The bit on Laffer made me laugh.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Awesome ! (from a libertarian who do really see himself as Ironman)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lots of great stuff here, but "and possibly pyrite" is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YESSSSSSS someone actually noticed that!!

      Delete
    2. Anonymous4:19 PM

      more than one - and while I'm at it - thanks!

      Delete
  11. Great fun to read this post, Noah, except for your note on "bitter denunciation of the "neoclassicals" who supposedly pushed them out of their once-hallowed place in the halls of academia". "Supposedly"? I can assure you that we are quite a few who have personal and non-supposedly real experience of this. So - be funny, be be mean, that's great. But on this point you're wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous8:59 AM

    Nice piece but I think you should give Steve Keen a bit more respect. He has a lot of interesting ideas if you give him a fair chance (Krugman is a legend but we dont know for sure if he's right about everything!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tygerrr1:35 PM

      But, Oh God, the verbosity and digression!

      Delete
    2. 2 things to remember
      1. Krugman is always right......
      2. When you think Krugman is wrong, refer to Number 1!

      hilarious post with kudos to commenters addition of Krugmanite troll.

      Delete
    3. BT London3:07 PM

      Steve Keen's latest is very level-headed and interesting:

      http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/financial-crisis-economy-stock-market-shares-pd20120923-YEDVJ

      It's a pity Keen and Krugman had a bust-up.

      Krugman likes IS/LM because it is a very useful approximation/simplification of things, even though he knows it has flawed foundations.

      But Keen finds IS/LM too approximate and simple for his taste, because it is fundamentally flawed.

      The article above explains where Keen is coming from.

      Delete
  13. Speaking as a science troll, what keeps me up at night is that you do experiments. They call it history. Its ignoring the data that drives me crazy. Funny piece though. Plenty of truth in it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. So nothing to make fun of Mankiw or Krugman?

    I think laughing at yourself as well would help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:30 AM

      This - if you can't explicitly take the piss out of your own tribe (democrats?) then you still have a long way to go.

      Oh and your also missing my proffession - engineers - if your not going to do the job properly then just stop doing it ok and let the experts in :)

      Delete
    2. Anonymous6:07 PM

      Engineers = libertarians (see above)

      Delete
    3. Anonymous7:08 PM

      I take it you didn't notice that the second picture of "scientists" was quite possibly Noah making a creepy face at a camera with a flash.

      Delete
    4. Yup, and the quote is mine too...

      Delete
  15. Illustrates what scientists and philosophers of science know — economics is not a science — at least not the way that many if not most economists think it is.

    BTW Noah, you need to update Who Writes This Stuff Anyway? You still list yourself as a PHD candidate. Congratulations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:39 PM

      It is a social science, like psychology or political science. Unless of course no social science is a science.

      Delete
    2. I don't think so. Social "sciences" including are not hard sciences like physics, which is why so many economists have physics envy and try to emulate physics — equilibrium and all that.. Most other social "scientists" are smart enough to know better than that.

      Moreover, most social scientists do their best to test hypotheses. Economists not so much. They are smug with assumptions that other social "sciences" strong suggest are daft, like an omniscient representative rational agent operating in a perfect market. It's reminiscent of Aristotle's assumption that orbits must be circular because circles are perfect. Economics is not science, it is philosophy and bad philosophy at that, i.e., ideology.

      Take a look at what other social scientists have said about economics. You might start with David Sloan Wilson's series Economics and Evolution as Different Paradigms at Science Blogs.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous2:54 PM

      Physics envy, hmmm, here is a term that would make Freud jealous. You either somehow managed to psychoanalyze several thousand of economists or you are making things up. For example, how do you explain that evolutionary economists who are influence by biology rather than physics, reject optimization, and work with complexity theory and agent-based models use so much math that they need to rely on computations?

      Moreover, economists test hypothesis all the time, definitely more than sociologists. Economic journals are filled with empirical work of this sort. I have published two such papers.

      Even within mainstream, a large amount of the literature imposes adaptive expectations, bounded rationality, and the like. The claim has always been that aggregate behavior can reasonably be approximated by a few agents exhibiting x form of rationality, not that every individual person acts this way, and any predictions based on these assumptions are tested.

      Noah should add one more category, those who like to criticize all economics without bothering to learn enough about it.

      Delete
    4. Read Noah's posts some time back entitled, "What I learned in econ grad school" (4.29.11) and part 2 of the same title (5.5.11). Noah is trained in physics as I am sure you know. He gets it. Noah in Part 2: "But it was telling that even when the models made wrong predictions, this was not presented as a reason to reject the models (as it would be in, say, biology). This was how I realized that macroeconomics is a science in its extreme infancy. Basically, we don't have any macro models that really work, in the sense that models "work" in biology or meteorology. Often, therefore the measure of a good theory is whether it seems to point us in the direction of models that might work someday."

      Anonymous: "For example, how do you explain that evolutionary economists who are influence by biology rather than physics, reject optimization, and work with complexity theory and agent-based models use so much math that they need to rely on computations?"

      That's not the neoclassical mainstream. I agree that this is the way to go, and it is the point that David Sloan Wilson makes in his series. I hope more in the profession can be persuaded to adopt it.

      Look I don't have to be an economist to criticize economics. Frankly, I don't give a damn what economists do theoretically. But economics is a policy science and read what economists assert that economics says about policy guidance. Most of the mainstream stuff is just bonkers. They did not see the crisis coming and cannot say afterward why it happened. Wynne Godley not only predicted the crisis in advance but explained why. Mainstream economists don't know what to do to fix the damage done, whereas Godley's models show the way out too.

      The economists that aren't part of the solution, are part of the problem and should stick to teaching economics in the ivory towers and theorizing among themselves instead of inserting themselves as "policy experts."

      Delete
    5. Here's another nice quote from Noah's part 2 of What I learned in econ grad school:

      "It was only after taking the macro field course that I began to suspect that there might be a political motive behind the neoclassical research program (I catch on quick, eh?). "Why does anyone still use RBC?" I asked one of the profs (not an RBC supporter himself). "Well," he said, stroking his chin, "it's very politically appealing to a lot of people. There's no role for government." 

      "That made me mad! "Politically appealing"?! What about Science? What about the creation of technologies that give humankind mastery over our universe? Maybe macro models aren't very useful right now, but might they not be in the future? The fact is, there are plenty of smart, serious macroeconomists out there trying to find something that works. But they are swimming against not one, but three onrushing tides - the limited nature of the data, the difficulty of replicating a macroeconomy, and the political pressure for economists to come up with models that tell the government to sit on its hands."

      I personally came to the same conclusion without being told. Mainstream economics is chiefly neoclassical, Samuelson's bastard Keynesianism and New Keynesianism being neoclassical syntheses. The models work really nicely without government — although not representationally due to the simplistic assumptions. The whole point of doing economics with this approach is excluding government as complicating otherwise neat models even though they are still non-representational. But the contention of economists offering policy advice on this basis of this contraption is that government intrusion is the problem. So these models are trundled out as justification of neoliberal policy to "prove" that everything would be fine if government would just get out of the way and let "natural laws" operate. It's transparent ideological rhetoric passed off as "expert advice." Especially when 1) the models are based on unrealistic assumptions, and 2) the economists are clueless about monetary economics, finance, and accounting if the textbooks they write and teach from are any indication, not to mention what they say in the context of economic policy.

      Delete
    6. That's rite BB! U dn't need to kno n e thing abt economics to kno that economics is not worth knowing about!

      Delete
    7. Jimmy LT12:40 PM

      Thanks, Tom Hickey, for the reference to David Sloan Wilson's blogging on mainstream economics and advocating for a more evolutionary approach (assuming that I got the gist of it correctly).


      I've been immersing myself within the following schools: Austrian Economics, Public Choice, New Institutional Economics, etc., so unsurprisingly I've found myself saying, "well, of course, David Sloan Wilson!"--but I forget that I'm not mainstream. Nevertheless, insights from other fields are always appreciated. Thanks again for sharing.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous10:03 AM

    Krugmanite... Good try Aziz, but not as funny as Noah.

    What is this psychohistory business? Asimov? OK. Now that's funny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Considering Noah actually made me cry with laughter via this post, I'll take not being as funny as Noah as a compliment.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous - the reference to psychohistory was brilliant because Krugman has said that it was Asimov who inspired him to become an economist.

      Delete
  17. Brilliant. Just a pity that your MMT quote wasn't from an MMT theorist. It was from me, and I'm not one. I may be a troll, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love you, Frances. :)

      Obviously the quote was pulled out of context, and selected for the fact that it was a giant run-on sentence... ;)

      Delete
    2. Yes, it was an epic, wasn't it! Give me some credit - I'm in the UK, it was about three a.m. when I posted that and I'd had several glasses of Rioja!

      Delete
    3. LULZ

      If not for alcohol, the econ blogosphere would be a dull place indeed... ;)

      Delete
  18. Anonymous10:10 AM

    Brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous10:18 AM

    Noah,
    Arthur Laffer is not dead!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lulz4l1f310:33 AM

      For all practical purposes, it makes no difference if Mr. Laffer is living or not. He is a stopped clock.

      Delete
    2. Martin11:15 AM

      I think the word for that is Zombie, as in Quigin's Zombie Economics.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, he's brain dead.

      Delete
    4. argosyjones7:23 PM

      That's the joke!

      Delete
  20. Nice work, Noah. Sadly, the Marxists' "How The World Sees Them" image 404s, but perhaps that's your point? May I suggest this: http://gifsanimados.espaciolatino.com/x_gatratoli1.gif (Tom and Jerry) or http://www.picgifs.com/anime/dragon-ball-z/captain-ginyu/anime-captain-ginyu-300173.gif (Captain Ginyo, laughing.) Can't wait to see Zerohedge's reaction to your (ahem) revelation! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous10:22 AM

    This is some funny shit man. While you have interesting posts, your sense of humor is why your stuff sticks out to me in the crowded place that the Econosphere (i would also say your comments, since the fight club post, are some of the best).

    My only quibble is that I am not sure your image of how the world pictures a libertarian troll is right. I don't know why but I just dont picture a second life user. I am not sure what I picture buts its certainly not that guy.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Replies
    1. This is mediocre humor that could be generated by a computer program.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous2:18 PM

      This guy is one of the Uncategorizables.

      Delete
    3. "Uncategorizable" things are often rooted in some sort of confusion. However, with that said, I think that I can categorize Gene pretty well. At least to my own satisfaction.

      Delete
  23. 1) Where did the "Uncategorizable" entry come from?

    2) I'm going to find uses for that lion riding a horse pic more often...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where did the "Uncategorizable" entry come from?

      A mashup of two people who used to troll this blog...

      Delete
    2. I recognized Morgan, but who is the other?

      Perhaps it's best not to name names?

      Delete
  24. Wonks Anonymous10:37 AM

    Art Laffer isn't dead yet. And some of those aren't blogs. And I don't think Graeber is actually a Marxist. And...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps you didn't notice that Noah was trying to be funny in this post. Saying Laffer is dead is FUNNY! Unless you have to say so, that is ...

      Delete
  25. Haha, this is hilarious. Never thought I'd ever get a chuckle reading an economics blog

    ReplyDelete
  26. This was absolutely hysterical. Way to nail down the stereotypes! Well done sir.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Bravo¡ Bravo¡

    ReplyDelete
  28. Good post, Noah. When the Austro-libertarians take over, I will plea for them to spare your life. You can be a jester, if only we had a royal court.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the Austro-libertarians take over, I'm sure Hans Hermann-Hoppe or his spirit will establish such a court...

      Delete
    2. When Bob Murphy is king, you will be first against the wall...

      Delete
    3. Methinks that Saturos has been listening to too much Radiohead (or reading Hitchhiker's Guide). ;)

      Delete
    4. There's entries for libertarians, AND Austrians, AND Bastiat fans? I always assumed we (yes, I am one of the angry male nerd libertarians, grrr) were all in the same camp.

      Delete
  29. As a fan of Krugman, the fact he is not made fun of here ruins the experience. Update it with SOMETHING for New Kaynesian.. Krugman, Mankiw(?), De Long, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  30. It's been said above, but it bears repeating: David Graeber is not a marxist- he's an anarchist as far as I can tell from reading Debt, the First 5000 years. (So, not a leftwing communist of infantile disorder fame either; such people were definitely Marxists.)

    No: the anarchists and Marxists had a row in the Hague in 1872 and haven't really made it up since then.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anonymous11:23 AM

    Fantastic !


    -Ludwig Von Mises :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Very funny ... though I think Art Laffer may have some mild-mannered objection to being called dead.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Alan Goldhammer11:26 AM

    If Stony Brook doesn't work out there is a career in stand up comedy in the offing! Great work.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hysterical.

    However,
    1) Isn't Art Laffer alive? (Or is that your point?)
    2) I'm quite sure all Market Monetarists, and all people advocating NGDP level targeting such as Jeff Frankel, view supply side shocks a strength, not a weakness. I'm curious what your justification is for that remark.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Asset-market imperfections/Anti-EMH could be a better weakness for Market Monetarism. But that doesn't sound funny at all. I'm going to ask Sumner's commenters to see if they can come up with funnier ones for MM. Perhaps mentioning that the second-most prominent advocate is a 19 year old? (Nah, Evan is awesome.)

      Delete
    2. I thought the Laffer thing was a joke. And I found it funny.

      Delete
    3. Really the MM weakness is the illiquidity/narrow base for the NGDP future market. But Noah mentioned that, and it's only relevant for Sumner's proposal.

      Delete
    4. I agree with Mark: fantastic post.

      However I'm also a bit perplexed by your "secret weakness" designation for market monetarists (disclaimer: I'm personally a fan of NGDP targeting). Regardless of the merits of NGDP targeting though, it's definitely the case that one of the main strengths market monetarists claim for NGDP targeting is its ability to properly respond to supply shocks by delivering looser monetary policy.

      Delete
    5. According to Miles Kimball, NGDP targeting is inferior to a number of other targeting schemes (such as, IIRC, nominal wage targeting) if supply shocks are sufficiently large. I believe this is one reason that Scott Sumner has gone to lengths to argue that supply shocks are small (in his "no mini-recessions" posts).

      Delete
    6. OK - I can live with that answer. NGDP targets do tend to implicitly assume that supply shocks stay within certain limits.

      I'd still say that NGDP targeting does a better job of dealing with supply shocks than our current policy of targeting inflation (and since you don't defend inflation targeting in your answer, I'm guessing you agree).

      Delete
  35. AaronF11:53 AM

    Well played, sir. I would easily pay $20 for a trading card deck here...

    "Also, i'll tap 2 Thoma linkfests to upgrade my Zerohedge to a Soberlook. Counter your Yves Antidote Du Jour with Menzie's Extraordinary R Chart. *BOOM*"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see a profit opportunity here...

      Delete
    2. AaronF12:36 PM

      oddly enough, the chicago guys don't, because it would have already been arbed out! *zing*

      also, given how popular this is getting, i sincerely hope this doesn't represent the peak of your career :P

      Delete
    3. Economics: the Gathering?

      Delete
  36. Anonymous11:53 AM

    New Keynesian:

    "Torture the data until it confesses."

    Favorite blog: Daily Kos

    Favorite dead economist: Master Keynes

    Will appear in response to posts regarding: savings, consumption, austerity

    Craziest idea: The long run can be postponed indefinitely by a series of short-term band-aids

    Special attack: The print button

    Secret weaknesses: balance sheets, modern credit market mechanics, spurious correlations

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like it.

      You know, you can use HTML tags to include pics in the comments, if you like.

      Delete
  37. Anonymous12:01 PM

    Secret weakness: DARWINIAN BIOLOGY

    ReplyDelete
  38. weareastrangemonkey12:03 PM

    Alternative special attacks for Marxists:

    Seizing the means of production.

    The Specter of Communism.

    The hobgoblin of Communism (Which is the original translation, I kid you not)

    An immediate committee meeting to discuss the "attainment of world supremacy in the next 5 years". (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YawagQ6lLrA)

    And finally,

    The T-34 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-34).



    ReplyDelete
  39. @Sam Brasel: "the space-alien claim was a thought experiment, not an idea as you claim."

    So thought experiments are not ideas? They are some non-idea kind of thought?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Noah, there is yet another uncategorizable species of troll, available on the MoneyIllusion comments. I see you found Mr. Warstler, but have you seen Major Freedom? Tell me he doesn't belong on that list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this post so much though, thank you sir.

      Delete
    2. Major_Freedom5:12 PM

      Haphazardly calling those who disagree with you "trolls" is bad form.

      Tsk tsk.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous5:26 PM

      Yes, MF is a major troll. Had a debate with him on Daron Acemoglu's theory of economic growth. He knew nothing about it yet went on and on in his typical tirade about how Acemoglu was a closet Marxist.

      When told that in fact the whole theory was based on limiting political power he changed direction and actually praised the theory and critized me. What a weirdo! Even Morgan is nothing compared to that kid.

      Delete
  41. one of the best things i've seen in a while! bravo!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Good fun.

    Except I don't think I'm any of those things. Which means I probably missed something ;)

    ReplyDelete
  43. Ummm i want to comment but don't want to get thrown into a troll category... But sound money has produced the greatest wealth creation this world has ever known... Just sayin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous2:26 PM

      haha, they just can't help themselves.

      Delete
  44. Anonymous1:09 PM

    You forgot the Hayekians

    "No-one can do anything, knowledge is incomplete except at the local level.
    Nothing can be done, we must wait for the system to fix itself.
    The most efficient system for transmission of tacit knowledge is the collapse to a single point indicator..."

    ReplyDelete
  45. My suggestion:

    Traditionalists

    They see themselves as: industrious working leaders

    Others see them as: Zombies!

    favorite blog: "hey, what's that?"

    favorite dead economist: "who needs economists, anyway?" although they may be slaves to 19th century National System without knowing it

    Craziest idea: protectionist tariffs, the government should subsidize the industry more than those Chinese do.

    Special attack: some knowledge of history, may actually remember Ike

    Secret weakness: they have yet to find a single economist who agrees with them.

    Notes: they reappear unpredictably in the incarnations of Ross Perot, some fringes in both parties, sometimes the US will impose stuff like the Chicken tax.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I used to work on an econometric software product called TROLL (which originally stood for Timeshared Reactive On-Line Laboratory, but by the time I worked on it, it was no longer timeshared, and the acronym had taken on a life of its own). I recall one user group meeting where one of our Norwegian users gave a presentation on the different types of trolls that exist in Norwegian folklore ("Some have two eyes, and some have one eye, and some have three eyes...")

    ReplyDelete
  47. This is nicely done and I agree with just about everything. Except...

    I generally have total intellectual contempt for libertarians. Most of their ideas are just puerile fantasizing. But they are right about the drugs and prostitution thing. Those should absolutely be legalized. Crack being legal is not at all crazy idea (1). It is plain old common sense.

    That so many insanely intelligent people are mentally hung up on this is a testament to DEA (and it's predecessor's) propaganda. For the love of God one would have thought the 1960's would have done away with the whole thing.



    (1)Full disclosure, I happen to know through experience that crack is nothing more than cocaine and baking soda heated together in water. I've seen it being made. The whole it's 10 BILLION times stronger that regular cocaine thing is DEA nonsense. In fact it somewhat weaker that real free base (like folks tend to smoke in the suburbs). It simply a cheap and easy way to sell coke in the ghetto. It is crappy low grade drug for poor people. (That and, as an added bonus. the cooking process actually increases the weight of the product and thus profit margins.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous2:28 PM

      this was in fun, but you're right.

      Delete
    2. Well, Portugal has basically legalized all drugs, crack included.

      And it worked. Drop in the rate of drug abuse, big drop in drug-related crime, much cheaper for the government, etc....

      Delete
  48. Anonymous1:26 PM

    Noah, Laffer isn't dead, as far as I know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous2:55 PM

      Except from the neck up...

      Delete
  49. Laughed out loud (still laughing ... ok catching my breath)
    Congratulations on a well deserved link from Krugman.

    I am a "scientist" but I differ. First, OK I love this blog, but I have my own blogs too. Second "Microeconomists know this." Yes and macroeconomists know that much of microeconomics is a pseudoscience too. I mean we don't have a monopoly on pointless math.

    But really the true passion for the fact that Economics is not a science comes not from ex physicists such as yourself but from failed biologists (really singular being me). Physics has something in common with theoretical economics (lots of math) yet is fundamentally different because theoretical physics bows to facts. Molecular biology is scientific but involves very little math.

    A big problem with economics is that natural science envying economists identify all of natural science with physics. So they think that hard math is a necessary aspect of natural science. Then they go on to think it is sufficient. But if they looked at the science which terrifies the world with its playing godlike power, they would find almost no math at all.

    I am invulnerable to your counterattack for two reasons. One is that I don't base my claim on the claim that I have superior math skills. One doesn't need to know much math in order to pay attention to facts.

    I've trolled enough to stop before describing the second reason why I have not yet been defeated by anyone presenting me "with a deceptively difficult or even insoluble math problem, and then ridiculing [me] for failing to solve it in short order." I just note that hasn't happened yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous2:35 PM

      "A big problem with economics is that natural science envying economists identify all of natural science with physics. So they think that hard math is a necessary aspect of natural science."

      I don't know where you get this from. Ronald Coase, a Nobel laureate economist, used very little math. But some issues are so complex that one cannot simply reason to the correct conclusion. Plus, math is necessary to derive quantitative predictions. I hate doing math, I much rather be talking casually about economics over coffee or beer. But some points are very difficult to make without using a model. Just look at how difficult it is for Lou Dobbs to understand that you can be more productive at making everything and yet benefit from trading with someone less productive than you.

      Delete
  50. Yeah BB!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Anonymous1:35 PM

    Come up to Canada. TONS of marxists floating around at places like UWO and York.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Also I really really honestly thought of the new classicals = cargo cultists analogy yesterday. Yes exactly !!! They think that imitating the form of physics they will obtain the substance and power of physics. Same equations but variables stand for different things is like the plane made of palm fronds not aluminum.

    I was about to blog this insight. Really.

    In any case, that really really is the way I see them.

    Pity there is no economics humor journal. You are a comic genius.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cargo cult reference was brilliant (in fact most of the illustrations were inspired).

      Delete
    2. AWWW, thanks guys. :)

      Delete
  53. @ Leroy Dumonde:

    Legalizing crack is absolutely crazy. Maybe decriminalizing users is a good idea, but not total legalization.

    We all know the societal and personal dangers of hard drugs. Even rock-stars who can get any amount of them at any time with a low personal cost to them cause trouble.

    Also the dealers will still be killing each other in an even of legalization, because the drop of prices will be offset by lower costs of pushing to clients and promoting the product. Even now rivals are much bigger threat to drug dealers than all the DEA-type organizations in the world.

    There are still smuggled cigarettes and its a huge problem in many countries. I doubt that dealers will pay taxes and then feel protected by the police.

    The real solution is decreasing the societal factors that create rampant drug use so you can lower demand. Maybe decriminalization of *use* and free detox will help also.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Gee.. i am broken down the middle..

    So much I like about a lot of them.

    I agree with Scentists, Modern Monetarists, market monetarists and Post-keynesians.. what can I do? Am I tripple/quadrupple troll? But... I do not like tripple fermentation beers..so this can't be right...

    I need help...

    Bu ei.. Krugmanites need to be there too...some sentences in the fight with PK were so glorious that they need some space in there.
    -Where?
    -In there (me loves Monty Python)

    Great post

    ReplyDelete
  55. Anonymous1:52 PM

    I like how the reaction from most people in these camps is "yeah, that is my idea, but I don't see what's so crazy about it?"

    ReplyDelete
  56. Anonymous1:54 PM

    New-Growth Economists? (Favorite Dead: Schumpeter - LIving: Romer/Lucas - etc)

    ReplyDelete
  57. Anonymous2:10 PM

    I saw an entry on Republicans but not Democrats. Odd...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Democrats can be any of those.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous5:55 PM

      I saw an entry on Republicans but not Anyone With A Brain. Odd..

      Delete
  58. I have the Bluespawn Godslayer miniature. It's pretty awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Adrian Meli2:40 PM

    Too funny-thanks for the mirror!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Oh I get it. This is some clever sting operation to discover the identities of all the trolls. Fast and furious

    ReplyDelete
  61. Very funny, good for many laughs.

    ReplyDelete
  62. hard to tell where i'd fit in...i tend to align with MMT, but find zero hedge (& naked capitalism) to be the most useful in understanding what's happening...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous9:28 PM

      yves is herself mostly aligned with mmt

      Delete
  63. I love all you trolls! Never leave me. :D

    Unless you're in the final category, I mean.

    Oh BTW regarding the death of Art Laffer, see Paul Erdos to get the obscure joke.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Major_Freedom5:13 PM

    Noah, how in the hell did you know the Austrian secret weakness?

    I'm impressed.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Awesome.

    I think this is the best economics blog post I've ever seen.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Anonymous5:56 PM

    Wait, Art Laffer is dead?

    ReplyDelete
  67. Anonymous6:14 PM

    This is great! I've been walking around chuckling about this all day to the point where people have been looking at me like I'm crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Miracle Max6:32 PM

    The scattered giggles aside, this sucks pretty bad. CounterPunch is not a Marxist site, nor an economics site. David Graeber is not an economist, nor a marxist. (Note to the clueless: anarchists can be marxists.) As to whether anyone listens to the post-keynesians/MMTers, ask yourself whose work prefigures the crisis better: Ben 'Great Moderation' Bernanke, or Hyman Minsky.

    Sure it's all a joke, but either jokes make some serious point, or they are made by Adam Sandler.

    Notwithstanding your blog's frisky virtues, Prof Smith, you have absorbed the intellectual arrogance all too characteristic of the elite, autistic economics mainstream. In response to which, in case you missed it, increasing numbers of people are looking for alternatives. Cheers.

    -- The blogger formerly known as MaxSpeak

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ankur5:40 AM

      LOL. Best parody on this page.

      Delete
  69. Great post Noah. Still, I can't help notice Morgan Warstler made the cut-that last one-auction the unemployed is his baby.

    While I won't disagree he deserves his own species, don't I too merit as much?

    Then again, you missed on of the most bizzaro species out there: the Major Freedom.

    Try to classify that bird!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Major_Freedom1:09 PM

      You can't classify unique birds.

      Maybe your approach is all off, LOL

      Delete
  70. Anonymous8:00 PM

    I am laughing so hard I can't read any more. Brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Anonymous8:07 PM

    in case you need soundtrack

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1orMXD_Ijbs

    ReplyDelete
  72. I thought Laffer being dead was a joke, but I HAD to wikipedia it to be sure. :-)

    One minor quibble: many Austrians think Hayek is far too accomodationist to be a true Austrian (Scottsman.) They think Rothbard and Mises are the saviors.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Anonymous9:13 PM

    Awesome, thanks. Some great shots.. but it was the cargocult that really had me choking on my coffee.

    And the dissing on the econ job market.. oh thats good. Back then I laughed at someone speculating on your prospects at George Mason.. then I knew I'd been reading too many blogs. I'm not an economist and I live on the other side of the planet FFS.

    Hey, Laffer is not dead. Dunno if anyone has pointed that out yet.

    And cheers Aziz for the follow-up. Niice

    ReplyDelete
  74. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Being more or less an Austrian (I think their whole apriori axioms thing is a load of nonsense though)...yeah, pretty much.

    ReplyDelete
  75. That was hysterical.

    I'm a scientist and I'd look like the world sees me if I was smarter.

    Conesnail

    ReplyDelete
  76. Anonymous10:55 PM

    Favorite Dead Economist: Art Laffer.
    Couldn't stop laffing at that one.

    Most appropriately named economic theory: The Laffer Curve.

    ReplyDelete
  77. David Graeber is an anarchist, not a Marxist. Also, Marxists' favorite economics blog might be better as Henwood (nobody on the left reads Counterpunch now that it's the home of Paul Craig Roberts and Cambodian genocide denialism). But, funny regardless.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Hah...you saved the best for last! This post alone was worth adding your blog to my blog roll.

    Now I feel obligated to live up to my reputation. But I'm so tuckered from trolling so many other places that I don't know if I can muster the effort to spam you. Oh wait...I already did.

    Have you ever had Spam Musubi? My gf is from Hawaii...it's her favorite dish...she thinks it's deeeelish. Then again...her favorite movie is Dumb and Dumber. That probably explains why she's dating me.

    What's with the uncategorizable though? Maybe I haven't said "pragmatarianism" enough times? Oh oh...and I think I'd go with this as my one liner... "Here I am...trying to convince you that it's a brilliant idea that leaders of government organizations should be forced convince you that their brilliant ideas are worth your taxes. So many brilliant ideas...so few resources! That's how economics works."

    Well...since I'm here anyways...[truncated]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, I missed you Xerographica! Not sarcasm. :)

      FWIW, people choosing which programs their tax dollars go to presents a coordination problem. Imagine if the budget last year for highway-building was $50B. Now imagine that everyone thinks they did a good job and highways are important, so they allocate more to highways. But since they all do it at once, the highway-building dept. now has $500B this year. What do they do with all that extra cash?

      Delete
    2. Heh, missing a troll of any sort is way bad precedent.

      Too much extra cash? Here's the simple answer. Brace yourself...because this might sound absurd...but I'm guessing that each government organization would have a fundraising progress bar on its website. And...just like in the non-profit sector...taxpayers would be able to pay their taxes at anytime throughout the year.

      Here's a fun "fact" that I learned the hard way (via a speeding ticket and traffic school)..."A $10 million investment in public transportation results in a $30 million gain in sales for local businesses." Does that mean that a $100 million investment in public transportation results in a $300 million gain in sales for local businesses? I have no idea what the curve would look like...but I can guarantee that every single government organization would want to maximize their revenue...just like most taxpayers would intuitively understand the idea of diminishing returns.

      Now for the complicated answer. The other day I was driving at the speed limit on the freeway when I noticed a couple cars ahead pull over to the side of the freeway. I instantly assumed they had gotten into an accident but then more and more cars started pulling over to the side. What did they know that I didn't? As I was slowing down and looking all around...I spotted something in the sky...it wasn't a bird...it wasn't superman...it was actually the shuttle Endeavor.

      If all the blind men agree that they are touching an elephant...if both libertarians and liberals allocate 100% of their taxes to the Dept of Defense...then is it a coordination problem or is everybody seeing Godzilla heading our way? If everybody you know buys the new iPhone...is that a coordination problem...or a bandwagon problem...or a bubble...or a fad...or just our consumer culture at work? Personally...I would never buy an Apple product...just like some people would never buy spam. Our wide diversity of perspectives, interests, values, concerns, fears and hopes would ensure heterogeneous activity in a pragmatarian system. So if everybody should happen to bet on the same horse...then you'd have to ask yourself whether they know something that you do not.

      Eh, don't take my word for it. Just e-mail Peter Boettke...after all...the name of his blog is "Coordination Problem". If you haven't read his new book yet...my offer to buy it for you still stands.

      Delete
    3. OK, so what determines the size of the fundraising bars? Isn't there an incentive for govt. agencies to say they need much more than they actually need?

      Delete
    4. Definitely...but it would be checked and balanced by taxpayers wanting more for less. That's the basic dynamic involved every time you spend your own money. You want to purchase products at the lowest possible price and producers want to sell their products at the highest possible price. The bargaining process is what incorporates all our perspectives (information, values, interests, concerns, hopes, dreams, etc) into determining how limited resources are used.

      Public goods don't have literal price tags on them...and you aren't going to sit by the door waiting for the EPA to send you a box of environmental protection. But when you give your money to the EPA...you're actually giving them a portion of your life. Here's the quote from Henry David Thoreau that "Name" shared in the comments..."The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." How much of your life is protecting the environment worth?

      Who are taxpayers? They are the people that produce the products/services that we voluntarily exchange our lives for. That's why they are our true representatives. And if I feel like Jeff Bezos is failing to represent my interests in the public sector....then I can easily give him less money to spend in the public sector simply by choosing not to shop on Amazon.

      J.S. Mill referred to bonsai trees a few times in On Liberty. A bonsai apple tree won't produce nearly as much fruit as an apple tree that has had the opportunity to reach its full potential. Perhaps liberals perceive that poor people, through no fault of their own, are like bonsai trees...and we would greatly benefit as a society by giving them whatever they need to reach their full potential. Clearly giving them all iPhones wouldn't help them reach their full potential...so what would? Options...giving them more options. But options are created by giving people the freedom to come up with new and innovative uses for limited resources. For example, people now have the option to become pilots because the Wright Brothers had the freedom to apply their unique perspectives to their limited resources.

      Having more options in life is having more freedom and more freedom leads to more options. So we give taxpayers the freedom to choose how they spend their own taxes in the public sector. This freedom will invariably lead to more options and everybody will greatly benefit.

      In other words...a mind is a terrible thing to waste. If you can't choose how you spend your time/money then your mind is wasted. By allowing 538 congresspeople to spend taxpayers' money...we are wasting the minds of 150 million of our most productive citizens. Well...partially wasting. Socialist experiments have already demonstrated the consequences of completely wasting the minds of your citizens. Yet...we still allow a small group of government planners to decide how 1/4 of our nation's revenue is spent.

      Errr...somewhat less seriously...I figure government organizations would create commercials kind of like Pat Robinson asking people to donate money for an interstellar cruiser. Would you spend any of your taxes on an interstellar cruiser? Yes? Well don't blame me if you wake up on Mars one day...it was your tax allocation decisions that contributed to the NASA bubble.

      Delete
    5. OK, but how would taxpayers know how much each agency needed? They can determine how much money they give, but the amount of money requested is set by the agency, right? So if the agency sets its website fundraising thermometer with a max of $100B when it can only really spend $50B effectively, how do people know when to stop giving it money?

      Delete
  79. Best comment off of Reddit:

    At first I was pretty nonplussed - being a libertarian myself, I was one of the lucky ones to get my diss right at the front of the line - and felt pretty strongly along the lines of "where does this guy get off infantalizing the views of anyone who even moderately disagrees with him?"
    But then it just kept going on, and on, and on. And I realized he wasn't singling people out, he was South Parking it. He was making fun of everyone, even himself, in the same gloriously dismissive and intentionally offensive tone. Suddenly, it was beautiful, and a grumpy Iron Man wannabe walked away impressed and amused.


    :D

    ReplyDelete
  80. Ogden Wernstrom12:59 AM

    Laffer out loud!

    ReplyDelete
  81. Anonymous2:38 AM

    I wanted to find this funny...but this stuff is weak. Work on it, you may eventually become a better comedian.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, I can't figure out why people liked it. I expected it to be a flop, I was just in a silly mood and it was late...

      Delete
  82. This is great!
    The icing on the cake were the comments by the offended people who completely missed the joke trying to correct you which totally supported the argument against them.
    I found this link through reddit.com and was delighted, A+ would read again.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Anonymous3:06 AM

    Huh, brilliant!

    I came through PK's blog but I think I'm a hatching Daleks2s. I think you could work more on MMT (and even better MMR), it is more hilarious and at the same time more serious than this.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Anonymous3:49 AM

    What's amazing is that in Spain the right wing government is full of people who actually want to eliminate public education completely. There have been recent proposals to charge fees for public high school ...

    ReplyDelete
  85. HYPERBOREA3:54 AM

    The problem is the "notes" on each post. Example: For the post-keynesians, the note makes it clear that there is no real criticism of them in the post. Yet the Austrian post has a note linking to a Delong piece accusing Austrian economists of being anti-semitic (classy; especially considering Mises' ethnic heritage).

    Anyway, here's a video of Krugman getting trolled by an Austrian economist named "Pedro Schwartz" - how's that for an Aryan Superman?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX55BH97quk

    ReplyDelete
  86. 1)POST: Nice way of mocking other school of thoughts.

    2)STYLE: - familiar - find this post " http://www.businessinsider.com/bernanke-vs-woodford-in-gif-form-2012-9 " more interesting though.

    3)CONTENT: NO COMMENTS (in general) - one question though - why BELIEF matters so much for scientists - as MILES post " I believe.." here - " http://blog.supplysideliberal.com/post/23959666073/what-is-a-supply-side-liberal "

    ReplyDelete
  87. Funny. Of course, the annoying thing is that people ARE in fact listening to the Post-Keynesians -- see: Krugman's recent Minsky paper (oh, and the whole neo-Keynesian capital theory was formed in reaction to the Cambridge critiques and... well, I'll stop there...). But the problem is that they keep having their ideas nicked and twisted into some garbage marginalist framework by the opposition. Here, I'll have a go:

    ======================

    New Keynesians/Neo-Keynesians

    How they see themselves:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-KVYSBfbKvy8/TYabNKqTSNI/AAAAAAAAFwg/ZsFv6O_HaSU/philosopher-king.jpg

    How the world sees them:

    http://i.chzbgr.com/completestore/2008/7/9/hypnosiskitteh128601398505038179.jpg

    Favorite blog: Krugman! (It's in the FREEKING paper of record!!!)

    Favorite dead economist: John Hicks, Pre-1980.

    Will appear in response to posts regarding: They won't. They're too busy talking amongst themselves about how best to pervert other peoples' ideas.

    Craziest idea: That they've actually said anything remotely original or interesting.

    Special attack: LIQUIDITY TRAP!!!

    Secret weakness: Hiding the fact that Hicks later called the ISLM nonsense and pretty much became a Post-Keynesian.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Anonymous9:05 AM

    Nailed to perfection:

    "Will appear in response to posts regarding: Who predicted the economic crisis first... "

    "Having now effectively swayed the Federal Reserve and won essentially all of the Econ Blogosphere to their way of thinking, the Market Monetarists can hardly be classified as "trolls" any longer... "

    "Special attack: Jargon, jargon, and more jargon ... it has been said of this species of EconoTroll that holding a discussion with one is akin to "administering a Turing Test to a computer designed to impersonate an acute schizophrenic." Travelers are advised to proceed with extreme caution. Fortunately, this dangerous species has many natural enemies, and often the clever wayfarer can escape in the fracas between a Modern Monetary Theorist and an Austrian, Republican, or New Classical... "

    ReplyDelete
  89. Is Friedman really the libertarians' favorite dead economist? Seems like monetarism is a bit of a centralized notion for the modern crop of libertarians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. " Henry David Thoreau

      HDT did not self identify as an economist, but then neither does a libertarian.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous5:37 PM

      Yeah, really, I think Rothbard would much better fit the bill.

      Delete
  90. chris1:39 PM

    How do you leave out New Keynesians in any discussion of the econ-troll wars? Is the entire piece meant to be massively ironic (insofar as the post itself disparages everyone except the Delong/Krugman camp)? If so, kudos. Unfortunately I suspect it's just oblivious. I which case this is the most unintentionally sophisticated trolling I've come across. Other trolls take note: 'stupidest person alive' just seems lazy by comparison.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you leave out New Keynesians in any discussion of the econ-troll wars?

      They seem to stick to academia and avoid teh blogs...

      Delete
  91. "It has been said of this species of EconoTroll that holding a discussion with one is akin to 'administering a Turing Test to a computer designed to impersonate an acute schizophrenic.'"

    Do you ever consider the possibility (ahem) that this simply means the EconoBot passed the Turing Test?

    ReplyDelete
  92. Anonymous4:09 PM

    How Noah sees himself: (Bill Maher)

    How the world sees Noah: (Bill Maher)

    Not a complement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Noah left out the subspecies of Trolls who want to sound erudite but cannot correctly spell the words they use (or perhaps "complement" does not mean what you think it means).

      Delete
    2. Lulz. It was a perfect complement. Leontief in fact.

      Who is Bill Maher? (Googles.) An HBO comedian?

      Delete
  93. FUNNY. Thanks. Shared a link to you.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Great job! Great pictures! especially the libertarian.

    Are you still planning on writing a book on the economics blogosphere?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but job takes a lot of time! Hey, what's your email addy?

      Delete
    2. serlin@email.arizona.edu, email any time!

      Delete
  95. Just want to add a couple of types to the bestiary I have seen in my time as an econ blogger that Noah may not yet have encountered. First of all, one trope I encountered just this week...

    UFOlogist

    "Some of the wondroas technolgy we can expect, after Full Disclosure, which our Illuminati governments are resisting. Replicators that can produce food. Actually they can reproduce anything we want. Free energy; vehicles that can run 1000 miles on a gallon of water! The Illuminati have underground tunnels, connecting major cities around the globe, inside which travel ‘trains’ at Mach 9. 6,900 mph! Landing on Mars is naught but smoke and mirrors. How about medicine that will cure EVERY disease. Wondrous technology that can restore eyesight, and limbs. All free. of course. Please believe what I say. And please spread the Love and Light. The more we do, the quicker the Dark are totally wiped off the face of our wonderful planet. And the Galactic Federation promise, all will pay for their crimes against humanity. All. God bless you."

    How They See Themselves:

    http://azizonomics.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/img_webmaster_1218488808.jpeg

    How Others See Them:

    http://azizonomics.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/greygardens.jpeg

    Favorite Economics Blog:

    "Dear Aziz

    Your writing is beautiful. Far more beautiul is the Galactic Federation, currently in our skies. to assist Gaia, and all Souls upon her, Ascend on or about 21 Dec, 2012. The Illuminati know this and are resisting to their last evil breath. They are being erradicated, more and more every day. God’s will cannot be stopped. Thank God! There are many websites that channel news to us on a daily basis. I shall give you but three the2012scenario; aquariouschannelings; treeofthegoldenlight. I promise they speak the Truth. I promise they come in God’s name. You could do wonders, thru your blog, to spread Love and Light. Peace and abundance will soon be Ours. God bless you. "

    Favorite Dead Economist:

    The Ascended Master Lord Maitreya? E.F. Schumacher?

    Will appear in response to posts regarding:

    Anything they can piggyback their belief system onto...

    Craziest idea:

    Um....

    Special attack :

    "Free energy is real. Economics will be unncessary when we have Boundless Energy, Love and Light. Peace and abundance will soon be Ours. God bless you."

    Secret weakness: :

    Heaven's Gate.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Lulz. That's not real, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's all very real, direct quotes.

      In comments — http://azizonomics.com/2012/09/23/the-next-industrial-revolution/

      Delete
  97. Great post! I am missing my species though: the evolutionary economist

    ReplyDelete
  98. Daniel5:33 AM

    Thermoeconomists
    "One mus have a very erroneus view of the economic process as a whole not to see that there are no material factors other than natural resources. To mantain further that 'the world can, in effect, get along without natural resources' is to ignore the difference between the actual world and the Garden of Eden."

    How they see themselves
    http://themeaningofmadness.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/prometheus.jpg

    How the world sees them
    Nope, they are pretty invisible

    Favorite blog: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/

    Favorite dead economist: Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen

    Will appear in response to posts regarding: Solow, natural resources, thermodynamics, Cobb-Douglas functions, growth, peak oil, EROEI.

    Craziest idea: abolish advertisement

    Special attack: Second Law of Thermodynamics

    Secret weakness: entropy is a bitch, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Got my number there, I read "Do The Math" from time to time. I'd probably fit into the "scientist" one from above. No idea who Nicolas Georgescu-Roegen is though!

      I wouldn't think of myself as a troll though - I do realise that some people within economics are thinking about physical boundary conditions. Just because I think economists could learn from the natural sciences, doesn't mean I think the entire field is worthless.

      Delete
  99. a postkeynesian7:45 AM

    I look horrible in the mirror.
    Really, thank you very much for the good time reading your apparently swallow, yet very-deep-insights post.
    A post-keynesian

    ReplyDelete
  100. It's a shame you chose to truncate the Uncategorizable. I'm sure that if we but had the opportunity to read and comprehend the grand totality of their insightful remarks, it would open our minds and wallets to superiority of the differently-intellectuality-abled, and we would all come to realize that if "Bob" is the answer, perhaps we shouldn't ask the question [tape runs out] - von Goom

    "How about a nice game of chess?" - Joshua von Goom

    ReplyDelete
  101. And these are the caves of Minnesota (Okay, Twin Cities):
    http://www.actionsquad.org/underground.html
    http://www.actionsquad.org/labyrinth.htm

    While the explorers did not encounter any New Classicals in their native habitat, some of their artifacts were found.

    ReplyDelete