Wednesday, June 18, 2008

English Only, Please

So you needn't give our muse a click, we reproduce in full (Save for the date & time.):

By request: growth in the Middle
East

Another reader asks:
How much growth in the mideast is attibutable to the rise in the price of oil, how much to normal growth, and how much to the removal of the Saddam regime?
This is of course hard to calculate, but in my opinion the positive value of the second derivative is entirely due to oil.
Does this mean that Ms. McArdle believes that growth in the Mideast is due to oil prices? Again, is she trying to be funny? Poking fun at academic double-speak? Aren't The Atlantic & its web logs intended for a general, albeit educated, audience? Or is it just me?

Perhaps if Megan briefly explained some of this crap she'd be providing a useful service. But if you can't keep it brief, please don't bother.

4 comments:

aw said...

Acceleration or deceleration.

The first derivative is growth, or rate of change. The second derivative is acceleration of the growth.

So if something's been growing at 3%, and then grows faster (say 4%), the second derivative is positive. If the growing slows down, the second derivative is negative.

spencer said...

the positive value of the second derivative

Malignant, she's not poking fun at anything. She has heard real economists using this sort of terminology, and she apparently picked up enough calculus (which admittedly isn't all that much) to be able to use it in a sentence of her own.

She could have used simpler language, as aw points out, if she wanted her point to be as clear as possible to as many readers as possible. But that would deprive her of the opportunity to remind everyone just how smart she (thinks she) is. And as we all know by now, there is simply no way in hell that she's going to pass up an opportunity like that.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an effort at a Tyler Cowen impression. Confident. Seemingly technical. Somewhat gnomic.

M. Bouffant said...

Were she truly intelligent, she'd realize she's better off expressing herself in a way a multi-college drop-out such as I can easily fathom. And shouldn't she "show her work," or give some reason why she believes as she does?

Or is it OK w/ her reader that she just make pronouncements from on high?