Thursday, February 07, 2008

World Growth

This is a great video presentation of World Economies Growth data. He has very good presentation skills and knows how to keep his audience engaged. However, I do not agree with some of his suggestions about making data free. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch!! Enjoy the presentation.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

GMU style humour

No diet will remove all the fat from
your body because the brain is entirely
fat. Without a brain, you might look
good, but all you could do is run for
public office. --George Bernard Shaw

Monday, February 04, 2008

Choice of Economic Systems

I have been reading a lot of articles and books on communism and communist states these past few months. It is strange that in many instances where a higher quality of life is observed, people try to explain those variables as a result of communist government intervention, while they neglect to think about the causes for the low income levels in these regions. It is certainly laudable that these regions have high social indicators (if the official statistics are correct), but isn't it as important to find out why they are doing badly on economic indicators. Is it sufficient that people are more literate when they are dirt poor?

There is something missing in this equation, and I do want to know what. I am also extremely skeptical about aggregate numbers on well being. Aggregates hide a lot of regional differences. Means distort the differences between the highs and the lows. What is true is that all ships rise in a rising tide (Buchanan analogy), that is precisely why even the poor in America are better fed than the poor in India. Please do not tell me that the poor in India are happier. That is not true! Happiness is a relative term that has no measurement standard. Interpersonal measurement comparisons can just not be made objectively with happiness as a measure. It is easy to romanticize the notion of an agrarian economy. One crop failure in such areas is sufficient to induce famine like conditions and acute poverty. Besides, these people endure hard labour under harsher conditions to get that one 'earth grown' and 'self grown' meal.

If communism is indeed good and has lead to better health and literacy in these regions, why hasn't it reduced poverty or lead to higher incomes? Or is the ideal of communism to keep everyone equally poor but well read?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

One little step

I am finally ABD (All But Dissertation). I have taken all written exams possible, completed all course work, and at this juncture just need to write my dissertation which will take approximately eighteen months if I consistently apply the seat of my pants to the seat of my chair and write every single day. My committee is unofficially setup and I have been working closely with at least two of them the last six months to come up with a well written dissertation proposal. I am very proud of myself that I have been focused in my pursuits and have single mindedly applied myself to the pursuit of my dreams. I am proud that I do not have to hide behind excuses or have to explain my lack of progress to anyone. I will not say that I did not have my doubts around the same time last year. However, tenaciousness has shown results beyond my expectations and I believe even strongly now that hard work always produces results. I intend to plough on, to be torn apart at every Graduate Student Paper Workshop, so that I have a chance to take my papers to the highest level necessary for publication. I have learned that papers do not write themselves overnight. You need to work and rework them several times before they are even passable. But it is only practice that makes perfect and I am glad to say I am getting there through a tatonement process as a true Hayekian and Misesian. In the process I am getting better at editing my papers as well, and I am very happy that becoming ABD has coincided with my writing improvements.