Adam Reger | Freelance Writer

Pittsburgh-based fiction writer

Tag: economics

Andy Reid is John Maynard Keynes

At least, so says Jim Cramer, according to this Philadelphia piece by Dave Spadaro. Cramer, the lunatic who has kept a fairly low profile (relatively low, anyway, since he is still doing the same show and performing the same ridiculous antics, with sound effects, screaming, push-ups, props, etc.) since being demolished by Jon Stewart some months back, is apparently a huge Eagles fan. Who knew? I didn’t.

Here’s the relevant selection of the article, quoting an e-mail Cramer wrote re: Reid’s decision to start back-up Michael Vick over future-of-the-franchise Kevin Kolb (who played poorly in one half of football before going out with a concussion):

“Cramer in an email to me: ‘Here’s the logic. All great investors follow the logic of Keynes. What happened is that Keynes, the greatest economist in history, had made a mistaken call and he changed his mind about it. He was being hectored about it and he said to the questioner, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

“‘It is the watchword of Mad Money. It must be the watchword of an NFL coach if he wants to win. IF he doesn’t, well, fine!'”

So there you have it. Just like the bailout, this Eagles season will serve as some kind of definitive test of Keynes’ economic theories (except that people will find reason to dispute the results, whichever way they may go; even in the case of the Eagles’ record, if the Washington Redskins do better, there’s that; short of winning the Super Bowl, there will be wiggle room for sports talking heads to second-guess all of Reid’s decisions).

As a bonus, here is a rap video in which Keynes and one of his ideological nemeses, Friedrich Hayek, square off. It is actually pretty informative.

Adorable Economists

Slightly related to this earlier post on economics and how I find it fascinating, to the extent that I ever understand it, I ran across something interesting this morning.

At my office, there is a department that publishes a journal that is essentially a bibliographic list of economics books. They receive a ton of books on various strains of economic thought, of varying levels of seriousness, from Freakonomics-level stuff for people like me to data-heavy reference books for the hardest of hardcore econ weenies. Every few months, there accrues a surplus of these books and an e-mail goes out announcing that whomever so desires can take whatever books he/she wants (from certain, marked shelves; it’s usually a surefire laugh (for me, no one else) to reach for an adjacent shelf, which will send one of the bibliographers into a mini-conniption, as they go to great lengths to keep their shelves organized and have to account for every book).

Anyway, I ended up taking Peter Leeson’s The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates. It looked interesting, meant for the layman, and concerns an area that I’m doing some minor research in for a project. (See this earlier entry re: pirate research.)

I went to thumb through the table of contents and came across this dedication: “Ania, I love you; will you marry me?”

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On Economics

What I know about economics is pretty conventional, and what I have to say is pretty uninformative. My general take is that it’s a fascinating and wide-ranging discipline, capable of analyzing and explaining nearly everything, but that the interest of any particular scholarly article is invariably ruined by the appearance of math. (If you are asking why I would be looking at scholarly economics articles in the first place, rather than sticking with Freakonomics or occasionally perusing Slate: it’s because I work on a scholarly economics journal. I have to look at these things.)

I am only just catching on to the preponderance of economics-for-laymen resources that are out there. In that vein, I’d like to share an economics blog I’ve found super interesting: Dan Ariely’s. He’s a behavioral economist at Duke. Behavioral economics (again, to the extent that I understand anything) is much more focused on the applicability of economics to life, and to that end uses the observed behavior of human beings much more than classic economics. A pleasure of coming across work in behavioral economics, often, is simply noting the topics that these scholars have gotten interested enough in to pursue (and to pursue so doggedly: we’re talking, often, of long-term, labor-intensive studies looking at reams of data, if not pestering thousands of people for survey responses. It’s the kind of thing that, as a creative writer, kind of boggles my mind.). At Ariely’s blog right now he’s discussing happiness, personal efficiency, and the reasons you might let your vegetables go to waste in your refrigerator drawer. And I looked into him after being pretty impressed by this video, which follows a recent paper Ariely published on online dating.