Friday, March 27, 2009

Worth Reading 3/27

  • Those Persistent Anonymous Sources (The New York Times): "The Times has a tough policy on anonymous sources, but continues to fall down in living up to it."

  • Goodbye, Homo Economicus (The Prospect): "What the “madmen in authority” heard this time was the distant echo of a debate among academic economists begun in the 1970s about “rational” investors and “efficient” markets. This debate began against the backdrop of the oil shock and stagflation and was, in its time, a step forward in our understanding of the control of inflation. But, ultimately, it was a debate won by the side that happened to be wrong. And on those two reassuring adjectives, rational and efficient, the victorious academic economists erected an enormous scaffolding of theoretical models, regulatory prescriptions and computer simulations which allowed the practical bankers and politicians to build the towers of bad debt and bad policy."

  • Richard Rorty and the efficient markets debate (TheMoneyIllusion): "It is widely assumed that the 2006 housing bubble was irrational, and perhaps in part it was. But again, let’s not get too overconfident. In fact irrational overconfidence—the same psychological trait that may generate bubbles, also generates an excessive level of confidence that we can spot bubbles. We all tend to remember when we make a correct prediction, or even have a correct hunch. But how often do we remember our failures? And if we forget the failures, do we grossly overestimate our batting average?"

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