Monday, October 13, 2008

To the people of Washington, DC: Don't panic.

That awful bellowing cough in the distance is not the Cloverfield monster: It is Megan McArdle, learning that Paul Krugman has won the Nobel Prize.

Happy Columbus Day, McArdle. Cover your mouth.


brad adds:

Megan might be too sick to post about this, but Ann Althouse, a person whose self I do not share in, isn't, and boy, are her readers pissed off about it.

Clem suggests:

McArdle, I know that you're sick, lazy and dumber than a giant clam, but the fact that your bĂȘte noire has been awarded a Nobel ought to have galvanized you into some modicum of action writing some fucking thing. You should be mortified that an alcoholic law blogger made out of uncooked meringues blogged it first. She'll brain you with a frozen bottle of Chardonnay the first chance she gets. What's it going to take, McArdle? FUCK!

Clem imagines:

"Because my sputum persist in being a vile colour, I don't have time to blog about Krugman's Nobel in even cursorily pissy terms, nor do I have time to take note of the Federal government nationalizing the banks, but my friend Ann Althouse is doing a good job of discussing the implications of both. She likes me, you know. Do you think if I tell Clive I'm consumptive he'll find me droll? I think I just broke a rib."


spencer said...

I was really hoping that was a link to a post of Megan's, in which she explains why Krugman isn't really all that and she could *so* win a Nobel Prize if she wanted to.

bulbul said...

Oh man, it's so great watching them implode.

Clem said...

Krugman just sent McArdle the following text:

"Won 1.4 mil. Can I buy you a kumquatini? PWN3D!!!11ONE1!"

clever pseudonym said...

You've got to love the nutters over at Althouse's place. They're complaining in one breath about how irrelevant the Nobel Prize is and then complaining about who it's been awarded to in the next.

Check out about four comments in, when somebody named "MadisonMan" wonders why there's a Nobel Award for economics, since it's not a "real science." Right. Because literature and peace can be quantified scientifically.

NutellaonToast said...

I love Ann Althouse,if love is that thing you feel when you want to bas someone into a messy pile of goo.

That's what love is, right guys?

Anonymous said...

hey now, clever psedonym. I think the economics prize is pretty lame, but I've got no problem with peace and literature. Economics was not part of Nobel's original bequest, just some vanity prize funded by the Swedish? National Bank. It makes me want to start a Nobel Prize in sociology (no offense to sociology, at least sociologists aren't as pretentious as economists in pretending they're doing real science)

NutellaonToast said...

Economics is so real science! I mean, look at the law of supply and demand! What else but scientific rigor would predict that things will cost more if there's less of them, but only if people actually want said things.


spencer said...

That's what love is, right guys?

That's what my wife keeps telling me.

spencer said...

Okay, I do have to offer a (tepid) defense of the idea that economics is a science - or rather, that it *could be* a science, in a hypothetical universe where things are different from this one.

A discipline's status as science or not-science is not dependent on the actual content of the discipline. All science is, is the application of a specific process - the scientific method - in order to answer questions about the world we live in.

This is why literature and humanities are not sciences - how would you even go about applying the scientific method to textual analysis, or whatever it is that people in those fields do? And this is also why the social sciences are somewhat justified in calling themselves sciences - they formulate hypotheses, collect data, and use it to test their hypotheses. Then they take what they've learned and do it again, only asking a slightly different question.

Where economics falls down is that it is so infused with political ideology that it becomes impossible for many economists to reconcile observable reality with what economic theory tells them should be true. So ultimately, the problem lies not with economics, but with economists. They are the ones responsible for advancing the discipline and ensuring that it is robust and rigorous and *useful* in answering the questions it allegedly sets out to answer.

Also, economists are way to enraptured with mathematical models that are simply incapable of accurately modeling human behavior. People do not behave in ways that can be accurately represented by a linear regression analysis. But for whatever reason, many economists are reluctant to embrace newer mathematical tools that are (apparently) better able to do exactly that.

So I guess, if I were to sum up, I would say that economics = science, but economists generally != scientists (that's "are not equal to," for those of you who have never been programmers).

clever pseudonym said...

anon - I don't really have an opinion about the award either way; my issue with the comment I noted was that it was criticized on the basis that it wasn't scientific, when there are actual Nobel Prizes awarded that aren't either.

Clem - you pretty much nailed the tone of Megan's comeback. "I'm a little late to the party--my various ailments have taken longer than expected to recover from." Ugh.

"I would offer my congratulations if I thought that the good professor cared to get them." Double ugh.