Friday, January 9, 2009

etheorist: The zeroth point of economics

I have been following a Malaysian blogger, etheorist's blog, Economic Policy, for some time now. He approaches the thicket of economics with a humanistic, philosophical and first-principles paradigm. Initially, his writings give you a strange sensation of deja vu because there are many things that he writes about that is familiar to us.

But, we then have a nervous creeping sensation of intellectual vertigo when we realise that he tends to avoid quoting famous economists, thinkers or philosophers to underpin his propositions. Many readers will find it difficult to grasp the context of his propositions and curling observations of Life, the Universe and, Everything Else pearls of wisdom contained in his writings. But I urge you to press on.

His writings offer a familiar, yet, new perspective on many matters around us. His writings have a sagely tone. But peel away the simple phrases and words and you will be rewarded with insight.

I consider etheorist's posts the zeroth point of a holistic study of economics. It is a good starting point. Not that it is introductory by any means. But, that, it lends us a context in which to read economics.

My level of appreciation of the reading of economics has improved as a direct result of reading etheorist's take on things. Through his blog, I have also embarked on an interesting journey that has taken me to the following blogs:

Greg Mankiw, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, whose blog entries are always concise and succinct.

Through Mankiw, I have discovered Eugene Fama's collaborative blog, the Fama/French Forum, which he shares with Kenneth French, Professor of Finance at Dartmouth College. Eugene Fama is best-known for his seminal work, the Efficient Market Hypothesis and the random walk model.

Through the Fama/French Forum, I have discovered Richard Posner's collaborative blog, The Becker-Posner Blog, which he shares with Gary Becker. Posner is one of the founders of the so-called Law and Economics Movement that is still very-much driven by the University of Chicago Law School. This Movement advocates an application of economic principles to the evaluation of legal principles and, more importantly, proposed legislation, to test whether certain laws are economically feasible.

As an aside, the Law and Economics Movement, which is very much an American approach, has found a very excellent translator in Professor Brian Cheffins of the Cambridge University Faculty of Law. Cheffins has done extensive work to apply the Law and Economics matrix of analysis to English legal principles, particularly, in the area of Corporate Law.

The Universe of Knowledge is infinite so long as one remains inquisitive, I guess.


Anonymous said...

Anything that smacks of the Chicago School - to me - reeks to high heavens. But then again, this is due to the Chicago School of Economics' insistence on implementing neo-liberal 'shock therapy' to revive an ailing economies.

The Chicago School ideology (Milton Friedman-ism) has resulted in the utter collapse of economies from Bolivia, to Russia and now, even Iraq. Malaysia just narrowly missed being the recipient of 'shock therapy' during the '97 financial crisis had it not been for Tun Dr Mahathir's hard-headed stance in resisting the IMFs overtures at lifting protectionist policies, wholesale privatisation of national assets and deregulation of price controls.

On the other hand, the Chicago University School of Law may be a different animal altogether. evaluating the validity legislation from the standpoint of economics is a novel ides (at least to me). This is worth some investigation.

Thanks for opening new doors for me, my friend.

de minimis said...

Bro Mat B

I agree that the Chicago School of Economics and their "monetarist" credentials were very influential in the Reagan-era of the 1980s. They may have been a key influence in Reaganomics and Thatcherism, policies that promoted de-regulation and privatisation of state assets. It may also have sired aspects of Mahathirist economics.

I am encouraged that the references I have given is of interest to you. Happy journey to you, bro.

etheorist said...

de minimis

There was usual activity on my blog this morning.

I am encouraged but, alas!, not to doodle.


walla said...

and for Ben:

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Err, uhh, uhmm, where am I? Help!!!

de minimis said...

Kak Kama

It appears that you may have lost your cyber-bearings :D Hey! Welcome back to Malaysian soil.

mekyam said...

how come my comment didn't show, ct?

de minimis said...

Hi mekyam

Pelik betul? There were no earlier comments on record that were awaiting moderation. Ben was complaining about his comments not showing a few days ago. I kata takde comment pun. Must be technical issues that are beyond me. Anyway, my apologies on behalf of Larry and Sergei :D

ben said...

walla, thanks. I am always amazed with your databank ! ;-D