2012年1月31日星期二

Assorted Links

这回基本上是PDF专辑。

  1. Andrew W. Lo为Journal of Economic Literature写的关于是次金融危机的21本书的综合书评
  2. 美联储成立近一个世纪以来的表现胜过此前的无央行时代了吗?
  3. 《通论》出版50周年时Alan Blinder对宏观经济学史的评论:PDFDOC
  4. 经济学中的价值判断与价值中立(提示:没有米塞斯、罗斯巴德想得那么简单)
  5. 1997年Critical ReviewPeter Boettke的文章,标题为:Where Did Economics Go Wrong? Modern Economics as a Flight from Reality
  6. KKK=Keynes, Keynesianism and Krugman
  7. David Brooks和Paul Ryan的辩论。谁再说Brooks是保守派,我不跟他急他也是基。
  8. 最后重复贴一个豆瓣上发过的,可以在浏览器中直接阅读的链接:名利场杂志(其网站似乎最近改版了)上关于20年来美国文化停滞不前的评论。作者的感受是:[T]he last 20 years or so ... feels like an end of cultural history.

2012年1月11日星期三

戒戾气,少争论

Marginal Revolution的Alex Tabarrok发现克鲁格曼前后不一之处,克鲁格曼回击后一向温文尔雅的Tyler Cowen终于忍不住对克氏的不地道嘟囔了几句。其中这句不错:The need to show all the time that one is better or more right than the others is itself harmful to depth, and responding with “but I really am better than them” is just falling into the trap again. 这也同样是中国好些知识分子最让人恶心的地方。

克氏当然还要反咬一口。以上三个链接所指向的博文都有三四百条评论。大家估计都能看出来,英文网站上的评论质量一般都远高于中文网站。这样的例子俯仰皆是。或者,可以看看海外的奥派学者如何对神经科学提出的挑战保持开放心态

Mises did not rely on natural science to work out the praxeological categories. Is it possible that the new sciences of mind such as evolutionary psychology and neuroscience will suggest the need to amend praxeology? In particular, praxeology, like other notions of economic rationality, seems to assume a unified consciousness. Neuroscience seems to be trashing that notion. Is it possible that we might have to amend praxeological categories to account for the internal contradictions of human cogntion?
但当评论太多时,恐怕没多少人会认真看完了,毕竟还有无数新鲜的原创内容值得去看,纠缠于某篇博文下没完没了的相互回应似乎得不偿失(“失”:机会成本)。英文网络内容尚且如此,中文网络自不必多说。而如果在大多数场合下围观争论都是浪费时间,那么这时参与争论就更是愚蠢,因为不但预期无果,还会养成戾气,不利于心理健康。我也蠢过,并且没法排除以后又犯那么一两回蠢的可能。但我现在真的一般不愿与人直接争论什么了。

另外,如沙门老师所说,有些人在争论中是这样的:

抬高自己是最简单的,骂人就行。居高临下的说某某是垃圾,这个某某水平越高越好,公知什么的都不好意思提。有人说二十世纪的哲学全是废柴。这站位就合适了,胆小腹空的立马就要膜拜你了。千万要神龙见首不见尾,骂完走人。千万别正面立什么论,那太危险。专门骂人就可以了。
好像微博上挺多这样的货,当然豆瓣上也不少。今天是有感而发,拉拉杂杂没条理地扯了这么多,顺便贴了几个好久没机会出手的链接,无非是想劝大家(同时再次警诫自己)都戒戾气,少争论,多读书——只要别读成知识分子那德行就好。

2012年1月7日星期六

今日佳句

一篇批评Cass Sunstein的文章中对自命不凡的实用主义者有一针见血的揭露:

The approach of pragmatism is to test each notion about these first things by tracing and evaluating its consequences. But the criteria for evaluating those consequences are derived from—what, exactly? Surely not our immediate preferences, for those have to be "nudged" from time to time. In order to define what works, pragmatism must have recourse to some principle outside itself. Unfortunately, too often pragmatists such as Sunstein leave it at "the best results on balance," without defending the implicit assumption about those best results. We are left with platitudes about being empirical, nuanced, and avoiding dogmatism, without a serious discussion of the important questions that are so carelessly glossed over. The platitudes provide cover for ignoring those assumptions, and framing one's position as based on facts, rather than "values" derived from metaphysical reasoning.
黑体是我加的。还有:

Ultimately, Nudge relies on the idea that there are "choice architects" with objective knowledge of what is best for us, who should frame choices in order to get us to understand what is in our best interest. But these are the same sort of experts who failed, miserably, to predict the consequences of President Obama's stimulus bill on the rate of unemployment. Sunstein and Thaler cannot get around the knowledge problem: how do we know which nudges will be helpful and which will be harmful? And then there's the knower problem: who out there is qualified to be a choice architect?

...

Worst of all, libertarian paternalism is confused about what it means to have liberty. Liberty is defined by Sunstein and Thaler as the ability to choose among competing options. But government can deprive someone of liberty even while presenting him with several options; and liberty can exist even when only one option is present. As Friedrich Hayek explained so well in The Constitution of Liberty, "the range of physical possibilities from which a person can choose at a given moment has no direct relevance to freedom. The rock climber on a difficult pitch who sees only one way out to save his life is unquestionably free, though we would hardly say he has any choice." The upshot is clear: choice and liberty are not the same thing. Liberty is possible even where choice does not exist, and choice does not always translate into liberty. Libertarian paternalism turns out to be merely soft paternalism.

当然,可以批评说,这两段的火力有些分散。比这重要的是,出于善意的积极政策何以能够逃脱权势集团的绑架,如同我们几无例外地一再看到的那样?最后:

Yet Sunstein's ability to expose the tension between conservative traditionalism and originalism does not diminish the profound contradictions in his own arguments. In some books he wants judges to defer to tradition and the wisdom of crowds, and to avoid imposing their rationalist blueprints on society. But in others he wants regulators and judges to be free to form citizens' preferences and establish a "deliberative democracy" where people are influenced to think rightly about questions of importance to them. The meaning of the Constitution or a law is not found in the document itself, he claims, and every interpreter must bring his own preferences to the text. But the meaning of such texts is not indeterminate, he warns, lest we give up on reason altogether. On the one hand, the New Deal regulatory state did significant damage to the Constitution. On the other, the meaning of the Constitution changes over time, and FDR's Second Bill of Rights should be the lodestar of American policy and jurisprudence. Professor Sunstein's own mental constitution is one of many minds.