Celebrity economists

Garret FitzGerald recently referred to celebrity economists. Who might they be? According to one definition, a celebrity economist is more often cited by journalists and bloggers than by fellow economists in academic papers — the thought being that social visibility should be proportional to academic impact, or that lay perception of expertise should be related to peer recognition.

I picked 15 names of Ireland-based economists, google-newsed and publish-and-perished them. Here are the results.

Table 1. Number of hits in Google News, number of citations in Publish-or-Perish (i.e., Google Scholar) and Celebrity Index.

News P&P Celeb
D. McWilliams 1188 44 27.00
R. Lyons 119 5 23.80
C. Gurdgiev 113 17 6.65
S. Kinsella 31 5 6.20
C. McCarthy 710 139 5.11
J. Fitzgerald 571 393 1.45
A. Barrett 350 978 0.36
B. Lucey 199 628 0.32
M. Kelly 201 767 0.26
A. Ahearne 142 1119 0.13
J. McHale 62 928 0.07
K. Whelan 122 2000 0.06
R. Tol 242 6412 0.04
P. Lane 84 7384 0.01
J. Markusen 3 14573 0.00

91 thoughts on “Celebrity economists”

  1. McWilliams is bad enough without scientific evidence that he is infinite!!

    I think a better scale is achieved if we use the square root of the denominator. It slightly changes the order in the bottom half of the table. I am working on a rationale as to why it should be the the square root.

    Also is it possible to benchmark some leading international economic celebs?

  2. Mc Williams is in Google News because he was right. Annoying isn’t it!!!
    Economics journals and economists let the public down badly in the run-up to this crisis.
    Wouldn’t get too carried away with citations as some form of measure of worth.
    As the saying goes – Great minds think alike and fools seldom differ

  3. poor old Philip Lane!

    Needs to work on those media skills – perhaps a stint on big brother or, better yet, start dating a model or a celebrity – maybe Jordan?

  4. @seafoid

    Richard Tol couldn’t resist putting his own name on the shortlist.

    I think it is fair enough that Mr Tol includes his own name (any economist who ends up on TV is fair game) but it would be interesting to present the table with the citations and Google News references split into before and after the Lehmans incident that signalled the start of the current crisis of capitalism to see whose currency is increasing and whose seems to be loosing value.

    Why you could even add another column for the number of times economists mentioned “property bubble”, “insufficient regulation” or “excessive risk” before the crash to see which pundits had their eye on the ball. The fun you can have is simply endless.

    However you would need a lexis/nexis account to do date restricted searches, that is not Google News’s job (yet)

    Is anyone so blessed?

  5. @ Tull
    Let me offer a defence (of sorts)
    Re the bank guarantee.
    The solution of the bank guarantee followed on from the political decision to save all banks. It was the decision to save the banks as opposed to the specific mechanism involved that would leave us up to our eyes in bank debt.

    McW also claims that the guarantee was only intended to be temporary – this might have made a difference too I think. But amazingly the same pressure to implement the guarantee in the first place was there to extend it. (Could it be the hand of JCT again?? – who knows!)

    Anyway – I accept your point. I was overgeneralizing. But you have to admit that the dynamics and weaknesses he identified in the Irish economy turned out to be fairly accurate.

  6. This is an interesting way of looking at things – slapping words into google and considering what this means.

    I am sure this can be of value in the current crisis.

    I began by putting the name of the person cited in inverted commas plus economist afterwards to narrow down a bit.

    I got (as listed in the post):

    David MacWilliams 48,200
    Gurdgiev 9,950
    Garret FitzGerald 44,800
    Brian Lucey 12,4000
    John McHale 18,300
    Morgan Kelly 16,600
    Karl Whelan 22,900
    Richard Tol 40,700

    I then added the word ‘twat’ to get a economic ‘twat association ratio’ and divided the total number of named references, by the sites also using the word ‘twat’. I found that the results (to two decimal places) in order are:

    David McWilliams 53.67
    Morgan Kelly 56.85
    Richard Tol 75.65
    Brian Lucey 217.54
    Gurdgiev 248.75
    John McHale 269.12
    Garret FitzGerald 361.29
    Karl Whelan 545.24
    Philip Lane 1558.14

    I conclude from this:

    Many people cannot spell Garret
    Many people do not know what Gurdgiev’s first name is
    That McWilliams, Kelly and Tol make people angry enough to use the word ‘twat’ in association with their work.
    That Philip Lane is above the fray.
    That more work needs to be done to see if ‘twat’ is a direct perjorative, or a stout defence against their supposed enemies.

    As a simple control I used myself as a playwright and found that I have a startling ratio of 4660 and am thus not writing prevocative enough work.

  7. What is the point of this post?

    Is it hinting that the “real” economists are not guilty of headline grabing predictions or doom and gloom and that we shouldn’t listen to the pseudo-economists that on TV and in the mainstream press?

    I would like to see the names of some others added to this list, specifically Colm McCarthy and Martin Wolf. I’m guessing the credibility of these guys is less in doubt than McWilliams or Gurdgiev.

  8. I thought John Fitzgerald would be more likely to be on the list.
    What do the people at the ERSI make of all this ?
    And no NAMA architect economist either !

  9. @Gavin Kostick

    Google is a tricky beast, a substantial proportion of the Internet’s contributors are very far along the autistic/libertarian scale and the results tend to be skewed in that way.

    This is clearly demonstrated by J K Galbraiths “crazy person” quotient being 4.5x Fred Hayek’s.

  10. @ Richie T

    why’s is Gurdgiev on this list? He works for IBM after all, though he rarely mentions this in his celebrity appearances…

  11. Garrote Fitz wants to strangle all dissenters with an iron collar:)

    The 49 academics who questioned the Nama strategy should be on the list too. He’s worried the banks who treated his own loans favourably some years ago might not hack the criticism. And where would the sherryfitzers family businesses be without Nama; or the banks without Dukes to hold them all together:)

    Glad I’m not on that list:)

  12. Peter Neary is the most-cited Irish economist I could find on Publish or Perish – with 6,602 citations.
    I don’t think he figures in the other list, so his ratio comes out at zero. Certainly not a Celebrity but surely an Economist!

  13. Surely you should control for the numer of newspaper columns/blog posts they publish? Being a celebrity should be more having others talk about /quote you than talking yourself

    @Eoin Bond

    By that logic, Hal Varian is not an economist

  14. Overall it would have been worth analysing the coverage of economics over the past 2 years on RTE/TV3 to see who got most attention, critics of government policy eschewed by the media, or proponents and supporters of government policy. Overall it appeared to me RTE was a chorus of those in charge of Government policy, in spite of the fact the vast majority of the population were highly critical of this. It isn’t without amusement to find critics of previous government policy now get more airtime as RTE try to do a bit of catchup:)

  15. “He also said that inequality may have helped cause the financial crisis. “Inequality might have been one of the ‘silent’ causes of the crisis. On the eve of the crisis, inequality in the United States was back to its pre-Great Depression levels. Like the Great Depression before it, the Great Recession was preceded by an increase in the income share of the rich and a growing financial sector. In these circumstances, borrowing could have acted as a safety valve for ordinary people to increase living standards – but on borrowed time. Over the longer term, sustainable growth is associated with a more equal income distribution.””

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/apr/05/world-economy-faces-black-swans-imf-strauss-kahn

    Why is there absolutely no discussion of inequality (by the posters as opposed to the commenters) on this blog? Inequality is an efficiency issue as much as anything else and it should be addressed seriously. Have we truly become just a debt collection agency as one “celebrity” economist put it?

  16. The Celebrities know exactly who they are !!!

    It is an abomination to refer to them as Economists . GF is spot on to put these chancers in their place once and for all. Large numbers of them infest RTE and TV3 along with the Indo/Sindo /Newstalk.

  17. I think it’s terrific that academic economists have broken into the actual public discourse rather than a 10 second quote to camera (usually a private sector economist) on Six One News as would have been the case up to what, 2008? 2009 even?

    I was appalled by the piece because it does not name names. There are economists like McWilliams who courted celebrity and then there are others like Morgan Kelly who became one by (a) producing a shocking prediction and (b) being right about it. At the rate we should tell Fitzer “shut up you corrupt git” for no other reason than he shares the same former job description as Charles Haughey.

  18. @christy – if P Lane started dating Jordan, he’d need a head for ‘figures’ then alright! Phwoar! Geddit?!

    On the subject of making a fuss over economics, does anyone think Paul Murphy MEP is right to say that he thinks the elected representatives of the ‘people’ should also be allowed to let said people know what O Rehn is briefing them on ‘in confidence’ all the time? I’m getting heartily sick of people in powerful positions hiding things from us. I will obviously have to become a socialist….. the peoples’ flag is deepest….. flying here…. tum te tum.

  19. @ Gavin Kostick

    Excellent stuff 😀

    What journal (with presumably low twat rating) are you planning for publication?

  20. @ seafóid

    Has anyone ever done a study on academics who excessively reference themselves in their own work? Now, there’s a table I’d like to see.

    @ gavin kostick

    Gurdgiev also appears as ‘gurdiev’ in a number of places, also as IIRC ‘constantin’ (source: what I suspect was Mr. Putin’s biggest fan Googling himself under these alternate spellings some years ago, which showed up in hit stats after I mentioned him on my own blog)

  21. @ former glory

    Why is there absolutely no discussion of inequality (by the posters as opposed to the commenters) on this blog?

    Why, that’s nothing to do with capitalism, of course. As were the circumstances around the making of Mr. Denis O’Brien’s fortune, as I was told here recently.

  22. @ Mark Dowling

    Garret (in his eighties?) shows clear signs of what John Quiggin calls “emeritus disease”, i.e. someone clearly in the throes of declining mental powers. As such, his utterances are sometimes embarrassing these days – for everyone but those using him.

  23. John TheOptimist is down the pub gettin seriously lashed at being cut by Dickeen Tol. Philip Lane and Jordan are trying their best to cheer him up but he is having none of it … this could result in a serious restructuring of the blog’s content, and at a minimum a triple notch downgrade of the vichy_bank/sovereign rating by Fitch, S&P, & The Moody Blues.

    Come on Richard – have a heart!

  24. This is what Gurgdiev says in an interview in today’s Irish Times:

    “Economics is an art and not a science.”

    “Economics is powerless to predict the future.”

    “Any random number picked from the air is better than an economic prediction.”

    “I was a C student at school.”

    “A good economist shouldn’t even agree with himself, never mind with other economists.”

  25. @EWI

    On Garret FitzG.

    As such, his utterances are sometimes embarrassing these days – for everyone but those using him

    I do wonder who is wheeling him out, it is a queasy spectacle and even as someone with no time for the man I feel sorry for him.

  26. @ JtO

    Gurgiev would prescribe for his students:

    Adam Smith, the School of Salamanca, the Austrian School, Milton Friedman.

    One hopes that the actual economics courses in TCD are a little broader…

  27. @Brian Lucey

    I am reading it in the print edition of the Irish Times.

    It is in column 4, page 15, in the ‘Education Today’ section.

    I am sure that other posters will confirm (unless the Irish Times has zero sales among posters on this site).

  28. @Brian Lucey

    When was the last time you posted a leading post on this blog? Is there a reason – or have you given up on political economy?

    Pluto forbid – you might be reading Ayn Rand under the desk (-;

  29. ah yes, the old art of “selective quotation”
    Why look at that rascal, Ferriter “we have to study history not to learn the lessons of the past ”
    Truly, this site has now gone to P.ie levels… and it used to be good. Troll la la lads..

  30. @David
    I have never posted a leading post : I dont recall ever getting such permissions/priviliges…Perhaps I did but ITIR not.
    As for political economy? No, just troll infested hurling on the ditch anon attack places. All economics is political economy. But in a place where people cheer on the beggaring of future generations to pervert capitalism I do think their politics aint ones I want to be near for fear of contamination.
    I read AR years ago, meh. Adrian Goldsworthy my main man at present.

  31. @Brian Lucey

    There is hope then …. & the key decisions remain political ones … we are beyond capitalism and ideologies into insanity.

    Silence is not an option in such circumstances …. glad you declined breakfast on pluto with the mess of vichyities ….

  32. It is clear that ‘Irish economy blog’ has become a premier forum for knowledge, clarification, analysis and debate on the Irish economy, BUT not for ‘Hello Magazine Style’ posts as this one on celebrity economists.

    Frankly, no one cares who is a celebrity economist or not. Yes we are acquainted with the noteworthy ‘regulars’ in the media but we are simply interested that their comments make sense, and more importantly that they can offer workable solutions for this small nation.

    Action plans are what we need not words nor tables… So I guess back to the work Prof. Tol 🙂

  33. @ Brian Lucey

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/education/2011/0405/1224293859882.html

    The so-called “Institute for Business Value” is IBM’s army of PD-like think-tankery (formerly the consulting bit of PwC, which some here may have encountered in Ireland before). Expect lots of talk about privatisation, PPPs and putting the public sector at the disposal of commercial interests. I particularly found noteworthy their recent efforts to get at the personal information of Dublin’s citizens.

    Gurdgiev watchers may find it interesting to note that Rand happily took benefits from the state in later age; some precedent there for former free-marketeers themselves in negative equity who are now advocating mortgage-holder bailouts.

  34. @Richard Tol

    I don’t find your post in the least bit amusing.
    Garret Fitzgerald made his point rather harshly. Clearly he does not believe in the analysis presented by some economists. yet he has stood head and shoulders above most of the politicians, economists and statisticians in this country for decades. For you to attempt to make a joke of what is a serious point in an extremely serious situation is very distasteful.

    If most economists had accepted Garrte Fitzgerald weekly analysis of the loss of competitiveness in the economy since 2002, we would not be where we are now. Time for you to take on somebody your own age.

    So you can take you celebrity pole bandwagon and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

  35. @ Joseph Ryan

    Your post gave me pause for thought.

    If indeed the opening post is a satirical swipe at Garret then that is disgusting – Garret would leave all these econ-celebs for dead.

    I took it as a harmless piece of fun as the author is usually more interested in trees than money, and I innocently participated in that fun.

    As it happens he has got his biggest response level ever, but he should clarify whether his post was a satirical attack on Garret or just a bit of a laugh.

  36. Other interesting data points would be:

    – strike rates.
    – articles publications vs research publications ratio.
    (eg. Richard Tols publications would be on energy and the enviroment, so if he starting harping on about the property marke we’d know to ignore him.

  37. I was going to say that David McWilliams was notable once again for his singular contributions, but then I remembered that you forgot someone in your list.

    D. McWilliams 1188 0 inf
    G. FitzGerald 105 0 inf

    Although the true number of articles mentioning Fitzgerald must surely be higher. Anyway, in order to compare the two, you would need to introduce transfinite numbers or some other metric.

    Either way, I think the crow has called the raven black here.

  38. @Joseph, Brian
    I would agree with Garret FitzGerald that some people get more airtime than is warranted by their expertise.

    @OMF
    I count 818 citations to Dr FitzGerald’s scholarly work.

    This is an amazing result: The internet has gained historical depth.

  39. I thought Garret Fitzgerald raised an issue that was worthy of debate when he criticised what he referred to as ‘celebrity economists’.

    Risk can be seen as inherently subjective. It does not exist “out there,” independent of our minds and cultures, waiting to be measured. Instead, risk can be seen as a concept that human beings have invented to help them understand and cope with the dangers and uncertainties of life. Although these uncertainties are real, there is no such thing as “real risk” or “objective risk.”

    Gerd Gigerenzer of Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin studied the effect of the 9/11 event on the travel behaviour of Americans and by analysing data from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the 3 months following September 11. The analysis suggests that the number of Americans who lost their lives on the road by avoiding the risk of flying was higher than the total number of passengers killed on the four fatal flights. His analysis suggested that (a) Americans reduced their air travel as a consequence of September 11 and (b) a proportion of those who reduced their flying instead drove (as opposed to staying home or taking a train), then (c) an increase in traffic fatalities resulted.
    http://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/volltexte/institut/dok/full/gg/dreadris/dreadris.pdf

    Based on this research Garret’s hypothesis is worth considering. The publicity given to the more populist opinions of some celebrity economists, particularly around November 2010, may have resulted in behaviours among the public that, for instance, caused depositors (individual and corporate) to remove deposits from the Irish banks – thereby exacerbating the banks problems. This is not an unreasonable hypothesis and is worthy of debate.

  40. I suppose the key point here is to what extent do those who make the most noise actually shape public opinion – and the balance of public opinion is the crucible in which policy and political decisions are made. It is interesting though that the noise seems to vary inversely with scholarly heft.

    This may upset the solid academics, but, prior to this blowout, they didn’t push themselves very much to inform public opinion or to participate effectively in the policy-making process – though I accept that in general they were neither encouraged nor allowed (and many might have found themselves conflicted or compromised).

    And many of those who did descend from the ivory towers (both here and internationally) do not seem to have contributed much of public value. As DSK recently put it “..the global financial crisis devastated the global economy and caused incalculable hardship and suffering all over the world. But it did more than this—it also devastated the intellectual foundations of the global economic order of the last quarter century.”

    Macroeconomic analysis based on an inadequate micro-theoretic basis with this again too narrowly based on the necoclassical microeconomic canon has facilitated the last three decades of Neoconnery. Given this academic record it is perhaps no surprise that the ‘great unwashed’ are paying more attention to the noise merchants.

  41. In all seriousness, I’m surprised we’ve got this far into the discussion without mentioning the bleedin’ obvious: brilliant communicators and brilliant researchers are not the same thing.

    Suppose all of the above had exactly the same outlook on the Irish economy. Then the list would be of little value apart from a measure of who spends most of their time communicating the group’s point of view versus researching that point of view and there would be no inferences about “economist quality” from the index.

    Both communicators and researchers can have an excellent/terrible understanding of the economic crisis. Who wants and is going to get more airtime?

  42. @Gerry Fahey
    “The publicity given to the more populist opinions of some celebrity economists, particularly around November 2010, may have resulted in behaviours among the public that, for instance, caused depositors (individual and corporate) to remove deposits from the Irish banks – thereby exacerbating the banks problems. This is not an unreasonable hypothesis and is worthy of debate.”
    That’s a reasonable point. It does, however, beg the question as to where the balance of risks lay. To my mind the greater risk was that the ‘authorities’ and their cheerleaders would underestimate the scale of the problems that they faced, as they had done for the previous three (and more) years. That is still a risk that remains. The highlighting of deficiences served to bring an awareness to the public, an awareness that the authorities and the official channels consistently underplayed. The air of unreality continues still and while there has been a greater open-ness about what is going on, there is much that is still unreasonably hidden.

    In the context of official secrecy, spin and outright lies, there is a continuing element of “lost opportunity” in Mr. Fitzgerald’s contribution to the debate – official Ireland knows better, leave it up to them…

  43. @ Paul Hunt

    “I suppose the key point here is to what extent do those who make the most noise actually shape public opinion”

    Yes, and I have thought for a while, and I think that a chunk of that is testable.

    Take some business/economics students (real traders would be better) and split into groups.

    Give one group some factual data and ask them to make an investment decision based on the data alone.

    Provide another group with selected reading material. This could be quite casual, eg, here is an ‘Irish Times’ I would like you to read cover to cover, before we start work. Give them the same data as the first group.

    Compare and contrast outcomes.

    You could easily imagaine variations, such as, spend one hour on the internet examining this before making decisions, – and tracking what people look up and again, how this impacts.

  44. If all the economists in the world were given media coverage on policy issues in line with their citations, there would be a heck of a lot of econometricians on Six One.

    Do you really want this world? Do you?

  45. @Ronan L

    brilliant communicators and brilliant researchers are not the same thing.

    JTO:

    This is true. But, there is also the important matter of what message the ‘brilliant communicators’ are trying to push, and how that fits in with media requirements. You yourself are a very good example. You are a brilliant researcher. But, with the greatest possible respect, I don’t think that you would claim to be a celebrity.
    So, why is this? I certainly don’t accept that it is because you are a less good communicator than the ‘celebrity economists’. I think it is because your research is very fact-based, and you are not constantly trying to push a message that is in tune with what the media are trying to push.

    For decades, the Irish media has demonised Fianna Fail, for a variety of historical and cultural reasons. During the years of high economic growth up to 2007, when there was no economic outlet for their demonisation, the demonisation focused mainly on the health service. We were told ad nauseum that Fianna Fail/PDs had destroyed the health service and reduced it to third world status. The words ‘health crisis’ appeared almost daily in the Irish media between 1997 and 2007. Mary Harney (cuturally, if not technically, a Fianna Fail politician) was vilified on a scale that no other Irish politician has ever experienced. It is only now, when the figures for that period are being studied and analysed (eg recent ESRI report), that it is seen that, between 1997 and 2010, Ireland actually experienced one of the largest falls in mortality rates and one of the largest rises in life expectancy that any developed country has ever experienced.

    Come 2007, and the ‘health crisis’ gave way to the ‘economic crisis’. Since then, in pursuance of their campaign of demonisation of Fianna Fail, the line that the media wanted to push was not just that, after 21 years of record growth (almost all of it under Fianna Fail governnments), Ireland was experiencing a severe recession that would lop off about one-twentieth of the growth that had occurred since 1986, but that (a) the growth never existed in the first place and was simply a fraud based on property speculation and (b) the economy wasn’t just in a temporary recession, from which it would recover and grow again, as from 1986 on, but was totally and utterly destroyed. The reason the ‘celebrity economists’ are ‘celebrities’ is because they push this line, are therefore in high demand from the media. There are no ‘celebrity economists’ in Ireland taking an opposing point of view because, by taking an opposing point of view, they cease to be in demand from the media in this country and threfore can not become ‘celebrities’.

    As I said, you yourself are a good example. A few weeks ago you published a brilliant piece of research on your website, showing that both house prices and residential rents in Ireland are currently virtually the lowest by far of any EU country, directly contradicting the claims of McWilliams, Kelly and Gurgdiev. How much publicity did it get? Was it covered in the media? Did you have any radio or tv interviews resulting from it? I certainly saw none. And the reason is quite simple: the facts highted in your research did not fit in with the line that the media wish to push.

  46. The Google index always doesn’t show the total of what has been indexed.

    I don’t wish to be part of a celebrity rankings.

    As for general stats, the number of ‘finfacts’ referenced pages currently on Google is 168,000. MH Finfacts is at 5,300; Google Scholar has 406 mentions and Google Books has 425.

  47. @ Gerry Fahy

    I am sure ‘post-event’ research (consequences and responses) is valid enough.

    But it is ‘post event’.

    Do you think if the FBI had intelligence ANALYSIS, three months prior to an event, to the effect that there was a strong possibility of a 9/11 event taking place, they should not warn the public to be vigilant, to save the lives of people opting to travel by road (increased road deaths) opting to avoid a percieved risk of dying on an aeroplane on their individual part?

    Now it has come to pass that a lot of these guys were correct, the bank were/are full of short term charletans cheered on by foolish small shareholders for a pittance of a dividend and developers with phyallic dysfunctionality syndrome (Big house, big car, small ……) taking all the cash they could shovel at them – so where does that leave us?

    Rhetorical of course.

  48. @ Ordinary man

    Do you think if the FBI had intelligence ANALYSIS, three months prior to an event, to the effect that there was a strong possibility of a 9/11 event taking place, they should not warn the public to be vigilant, to save the lives of people opting to travel by road (increased road deaths) opting to avoid a percieved risk of dying on an aeroplane on their individual part?

    There was such intelligence, and the Shrub wasn’t interested (not least, I suspect, because the man who delivered the reports was a Clinton appointee, and it wasn’t Saddam Hussein’s name as the mastermind).

  49. he just possessed poor communication skills?

    To the Bush White House, he certainly had a communication disability – he was a Democrat! US politics is depressing these days.

  50. @EWI

    But he was right.

    I had dinner in Dublin last month with a couple of Mid-west Americans who work for a large Hi Tech industrial company supplying government and industry – they both pointed out that 95% of budgetary spending in the US was agreed between both parties and all the ‘bitching’ (their word) was over the remaing 5% !

    Now if we could get that far it would be a start, agree?

    🙂

  51. @BpW
    Yep, juggling sambos with economics and among things at micro, meso and macro level!
    Its great fun 🙂

  52. @hogan,

    Are you enjoying watching if we fall for the delayed April Fools’ Day effort – or do wish to give currency to the content?

  53. Was that UCD/Colarado’s Jim Markusen?

    God I can’t remember him being in the press.

    If there is any justice then the media will start quoting NamaWineLake with a degree of frequency too. I find Whelan and Lyons to be the leaders when it comes to actually conveying a principle or situation to the public.

  54. @ Jillian: Thanks. I was getting a bit worried for a while. Now, about that cup of tea … 😉

    On a more serious note. Where ARE the lady econs? Once there were few lady engineers and architects, etc. I would have thought that Political Economy being a human affair, that not having a regular and significant input from the female perspective might not be such a good situation. In fact, I believe its a right bad situation.

    Brian

  55. The Power of the Bobbio_nian Schrolls & Writs has silenced em all.

    Bit like being bowled out before lunch without a decent ball being struck!

    If we lose our sense of humour – we lose all. Gettin pretty close to it …

    Winston! Winston! Where is Winston? What an extraordinay triple rendition!

  56. @ hoganmahew

    Thanks for the link !

    I may not necessarily disagree with the theory, seems more than plausable to me to be frank, but to what end?

    Idealism, in my experience, only ends in frustration and grave filling.

    I am prepared to deal with the reality that faces us now.

  57. Now if we could get that far it would be a start, agree?

    I think that’s just an anecdote by the two boys, to be honest, and not much more. Reading the sort of stuff reported on TPM http://talkingpointsmemo.com doesn’t give much hope.

  58. I would like to recommend Gavin Kostick’s first post for post of the year!

    If there isn’t an award their should be.

    Can’t see it being beaten this year but I live in hope. 🙂

  59. @EWI

    That maybe correct.

    But it is what they believed to be the only difference between them (1 x Dem & 1 x Rep).

    Principle and idealism then enter the arguement and the fight begins re. previous.

  60. Breaking Newz

    Mirabile dictu – The Troika have demanded the Irish Sense of Humour as eligible core-Tear_I collateral for the ECB liquidity fund …. and .. er… it appears that they have .. er … got it.

    It is to be maintained in absolute silence in the trappist_monastery in Bobbio until such time as irish_serfs have served their thousand year indenture; on the positive side, there are unconfirmed rumours from Frankfurt that Dear Lorenzo is to be appointed the next bobbionian abbott …

    this thread, is therefore, suspended indefinitely …

  61. @Paul Hunt
    From the author (Yves Smith):
    “This is a satirical presentation of a serious theory. That’s why we didn’t run this on April 1.”

  62. @ DOD

    Agreed

    🙂

    Then, by acclamation and in the sure and certain hope of the ressurection of the said ISOH, the honours for this thread should go to

    Gavin Kostick Says:

    April 5th, 2011 at 5:13 pm
    This is an interesting way of looking at things – slapping words into google and considering what this means.

    I am sure this can be of value in the current crisis.

    I began by putting the name of the person cited in inverted commas plus economist afterwards to narrow down a bit.

    I got (as listed in the post):

    David MacWilliams 48,200
    Gurdgiev 9,950
    Garret FitzGerald 44,800
    Brian Lucey 12,4000
    John McHale 18,300
    Morgan Kelly 16,600
    Karl Whelan 22,900
    Richard Tol 40,700

    I then added the word ‘twat’ to get a economic ‘twat association ratio’ and divided the total number of named references, by the sites also using the word ‘twat’. I found that the results (to two decimal places) in order are:

    David McWilliams 53.67
    Morgan Kelly 56.85
    Richard Tol 75.65
    Brian Lucey 217.54
    Gurdgiev 248.75
    John McHale 269.12
    Garret FitzGerald 361.29
    Karl Whelan 545.24
    Philip Lane 1558.14

    I conclude from this:

    Many people cannot spell Garret
    Many people do not know what Gurdgiev’s first name is
    That McWilliams, Kelly and Tol make people angry enough to use the word ‘twat’ in association with their work.
    That Philip Lane is above the fray.
    That more work needs to be done to see if ‘twat’ is a direct perjorative, or a stout defence against their supposed enemies.

    As a simple control I used myself as a playwright and found that I have a startling ratio of 4660 and am thus not writing prevocative enough work’

    Time for Lunch.

  63. @ RT: Thanks very much for that listing. Restores my faith – somewhat. Need to observe lot greater public participation.

    BpW

  64. @Jesper

    Have a look at http://fora.tv/2007/01/26/Why_Foxes_Are_Better_Forecasters_Than_Hedgehogs. Philip Tetlock describes the methodology he used when looking at expert judgment in the political/economic world. Dan Gardner’s book is based on Tetlock’s research. The methodology Tetlock used is contained in 2 appendices (pages 238 -311 !) in his book ‘Expert Political Judgment@ and is much more complex that Richard’s methodology.

    An economist who appears often on radio/TV or writes in the press can be what Tetlock categories as either a ‘hedghog’or ‘fox’ pundit. So celebrity status isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The question then becomes ‘can Richard’s celebrity economists be sub divided into hedgehogs and foxes?’. If so then economists would be making real progess towards helping Garret to ‘out’ the celebrity ‘hedgehog’ economists.

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