A question from Chris Blattman’s midterm:
Suppose, in 1900, Nate Silver wanted to build a model for predicting autocracy—that is, which countries in the world would end up more or less democratic in 2000. Knowing everything you know today, what do you think would be the five most influential variables that would help Nate predict dictatorship versus democracy? These can be historical, geographic, cultural, political, economic, or something else—it is entirely up to you. They just have to be 1900 or pre-1900 measures. And you must justify your choice of these five variables and link them to the readings or lecture material.
Rachel Laudan “I’m a Happy Food Waster”:
It would be wonderful if the “don’t waste” value never clashed with other values such as safety, health, taste, choice, respect, and financial sense.
Life’s not like that. Values clash all the time. Behaving well as an adult means making choices about which values are most important.
Michael Nielsen on the tradeoff between accuracy and desirability
On top of this, asking an active researcher in macroeconomics to consider what is wrong with macroeconomics today is sure to produce a biased answer. The answer is simple: everything is wrong with macroeconomics. […] Researchers are experts at identifying the flaws in our current knowledge and in proposing ways to fix these. That is what research is.
There is something wrong with a field when bright young minds no longer find its questions interesting, or just reproduce the thoughts of close-minded older members. There is something right with it when the graduate students don’t miss the weekly seminar for work in progress, but are oblivious of the popular books in economics that newspapers and blogs debate furiously and tout as revolutionizing the field.