Archive for November 2009


Interpreting the news

I want to talk a bit more about the Chinese “bubble city” of Ordos, but do so indirectly, by discussing how I interpret news stories.  (First read the previous post.)  Unlike many other people, I don’t like to interpret news as “narratives,” instead I like to think in terms of numbers, and highly abstract economic principles.  This often makes me a contrarian. 
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Say’s Law in China

This video shows a brand new city in China with no residents, and has attracted a lot of attention.

In this video Gary Shilling takes a pessimistic view of China’s future.

In this video Mark Dow is much more optimistic.
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Memo to liberal pundits

Since October 2008 I have devoted much of my life to educating people about the need for further monetary stimulus.   Thus I was pleased to see that in the past few days both Krugman and Yglesias have addressed the issue, although in somewhat different ways. 
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Reply to Yglesias

Last week I did a post that discussed a recent NYT article on the Dutch health care system.  The quotation I provided claimed that the Dutch health insurance industry is entirely private, with nothing like our Medicare, Medicaid, and VA plans.  I noted that conservatives would probably prefer this approach, even with universal health insurance coverage, to what we are likely to have 5 years from now.  Matt Yglesias commented on my post as follows:

The Obama plan is, in my view, sort of loosely modeled on the Swiss and Dutch systems. And it’s attracted no support whatsoever from conservative politicians. But the GOP leadership did release a health care plan, focused on deregulation of health insurance companies, that would do nothing to reduce the number of uninsured people. I think it’s perfectly fair to say that universal coverage is the issue separating the left and right. When I see conservative politicians getting behind some version of universal coverage””even something like Martin Feldstein’s plan to give everyone catastrophic coverage””then I’ll stop saying conservatives don’t care about helping the uninsured.
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Check out Nick Rowe’s latest

Nick’s one of the most creative thinkers in the field of monetary economics.  This post is brilliant.  We need more people thinking outside the box, and less doing VAR studies.