And now for another American moron …

31 May, 2020 at 19:50 | Posted in Politics & Society | 5 Comments

Totally incredible. From under what rocks do all these racist morons in the US crawl out? Maddening and saddening to see!

Mother’s Day (personal)

31 May, 2020 at 16:59 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Mother’s Day (personal)

Lisbetwp-1590939903265382057111.jpgToday is Mother’s Day here in Sweden.
This one is in loving memory of my mother Lisbeth. Although it is thirty-one years since she passed away, not a single day goes by without her in my mind.
Those whom the gods love die young.

But in dreams,
I can hear your name.
And in dreams,
We will meet again.

When the seas and mountains fall
And we come to end of days,
In the dark I hear a call
Calling me there
I will go there
And back again.


31 May, 2020 at 12:27 | Posted in Politics & Society | Comments Off on Jämställdhetsintegrering

UnknownMen har de ovanstående exemplen något med regeringens krav på jämställdhetsintegrering att göra? Jo, förmodligen. Men det har, enligt Fredrik Bondestam på Nationella sekretariatet för genusforskning, i alla fall inget med hans verksamhet att göra. Det var inte sekretariatet som pressade Lunds universitet att skohorna in Butler på den där kursen för att snygga till jämställdhetssiffrorna. Tvärtom är han kritisk till att så skedde, berättar han. Han är också tveksam till uppgifter om Chalmers tankar på att köpa ut äldre manliga forskare. I motsats till bilden som målas upp i boken menar han att det här är lärosätenas egna tolkningar av sina uppdrag om jämställdhetsintegrering.
– Jag tror att man prövar att integrera jämställdhet på vissa kurser och har olika metoder för det. Och dessa ska naturligtvis utvärderas. Man ska inte göra det av politiska skäl, utan från ett kunskapsperspektiv och utifrån relevans.
Det visar sig rent av att Fredrik Bondestam själv är kritisk till jämställdhetsintegrering som en generell lösning på utmaningar med ojämställdhet.
– Ta vårdutbildningar till exempel. Där undervisas blivande personal i sjukvården, som kommer möta våldsutsatta kvinnor, och då är det självklart angeläget att kunskaper om mäns våld mot kvinnor integreras i kurser. Men att generellt kräva jämställdhets- eller genusperspektiv på alla utbildningar, av en eller annan anledning, det tror jag leder fel. Det är svårt att vetenskapligt eller pedagogiskt motivera den typen av tvingande riktlinjer. Dessutom kommer det inverka menligt på den akademiska friheten.

Filip Yifter-Svensson/SDS

Microfoundations — neither law nor true

31 May, 2020 at 09:45 | Posted in Economics | 3 Comments


Simon Wren-Lewis is one of many mainstream economists that staunchly defends the idea that having microfoundations for macroeconomics moves macroeconomics forward. A couple of years ago he wrote this:

I think the two most important microfoundation led innovations in macro have been intertemporal consumption and rational expectations …  [T]he adoption of rational expectations was not the result of some previous empirical failure. Instead it represented, as Lucas said, a consistency axiom …

I think macroeconomics today is much better than it was 40 years ago as a result of the microfoundations approach.

On this kind of argumentation I would like to add the following comments:

(1) The fact that Lucas introduced rational expectations as a consistency axiom is not really an argument as to why we should accept it as an acceptable assumption in a theory purporting to explain real macroeconomic processes (see e. g. Robert Lucas, rational expectations, and the understanding of business cycles).

(2) “Now virtually any empirical claim in macro is contestable,” Wren-Lewis writes. Yes, but so is virtually also any claim in micro (see e. g. When the model is the message – modern neoclassical economics).

(3) To the two questions “Can the microfoundations approach embrace all kinds of heterogeneity, or will such models lose their attractiveness in their complexity?” and “Does sticking with simple, representative agent macro impart some kind of bias?” I would unequivocally answer yes (I have given the reasons why e. g. in David Levine is totally wrong on the rational expectations hypothesis).

(4) “Are alternatives to microfoundations modelling methodologically coherent?” Well, I don’t know. But one thing I do know, is that the kind of miocrofoundationalist macroeconomics that New Classical economists in the vein of Lucas and Sargent and the ‘New Keynesian’ economists in the vein of Mankiw et consortes are pursuing are not methodologically coherent (as I have argued e. g. in What is (wrong with) economic theory?). And that ought to be rather embarrassing for those ilks of macroeconomists to whom axiomatics is the hallmark of science tout court.

As Paul Krugman once remarked — “what we call ‘microfoundations’ are not like physical laws. Heck, they’re not even true.”

Something is rotten in the United States of America

31 May, 2020 at 08:59 | Posted in Varia | 5 Comments



30 May, 2020 at 19:28 | Posted in Economics | Comments Off on Unica


Momenti perfetti

30 May, 2020 at 18:34 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Momenti perfetti


Trump — a postmodern feminist

29 May, 2020 at 13:41 | Posted in Politics & Society | 1 Comment

postI think it is worth pointing out that parts of the academic community for a long time have been playing along with undermining the essential underpinnings of liberal democracy and that it is not as innocent regarding the rise of Trumpism as it now pretends to be … [One] type of criticism of Trump is about his ethnophobia and lightly hidden racism. A clear expression of this came when Trump dismissed a ruling by a federal judge regarding one of his companies because the judge concerned was of Mexican origin. Because of this, Trump argued that the judge in question should not handle his case because he would not be able to make an impartial ruling … This line of reasoning implies that we are all stuck in our ethnic or other such identities also when we exercise a public task and therefore are incapable of making an impartial assessment a of case involving a person with a different identity. This line of reasoning, known as “identity theory”, has had a huge impact in large parts of the humanities and social sciences and is usually seen as a leftist, radical approach. One example from this theory comes from one of the most cited scholars using this approach, the feminist philosopher Iris Marion Young. One of her central arguments is that the principle of impartiality is a fiction and that persons with different identities (such as gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation) cannot make impartial assessments of a case involving a person with another identity. Again, we can say that Trump’s dismissal of the judge because of his ethnicity has clear support within a significant and strong research approach in academia.

[Another] common criticism of Trump and his aides is their tendency to ignore established facts and their lack of truthfulness … It is obvious that, according to Trump, there is nothing that can be seen as a fact. Instead, everything is a matter of interpretation and perspective. However, this approach has also had a strong impact in large parts of academic research, mainly within the humanities, but also within parts of social sciences. Under the heading “postmodernism”, this approach has as its starting point that there can be no true or scientifically established facts due to impartial investigation … According to postmodernist theory, there is no real difference between the knowledge produced by scientific methods and perceptions coming from our ideological orientations or personal experiences. Thus, when Trump and his supporters claim that they base their positions on “alternative facts”, this has a clear connection to the postmodernist approach in academia.

Relativism, dismissal of the idea of truthfulness, identity hysteria and cynical economistic thinking have together become a witches’ brew that has, it seems, poisoned the intellectual climate in our type of societies and made it possible for the message that comes from Trump and his likes to win a broad audience. The academic world’s criticism against Trump is justified, but some honest self-criticism would be in order too.

Bo Rothstein

[h/t Jan Wiklund]

Pandemic depression antidote (XVI)

28 May, 2020 at 18:24 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Pandemic depression antidote (XVI)


En bok som varmt kan rekommenderas alla ‘tvångsläsare.’
Oöverträffat underhållande.

To my students

27 May, 2020 at 08:46 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on To my students


Genusdoktrinens offer

27 May, 2020 at 08:09 | Posted in Politics & Society | 2 Comments


Feynman’s trick (student stuff)

26 May, 2020 at 14:59 | Posted in Economics | 1 Comment


I had learned to do integrals by various methods shown in a book that my high
school physics teacher Mr. Bader had given me. [It] showed how to differentiate
parameters under the integral sign – it’s a certain operation. It turns out that’s not taught very much in the universities; they don’t emphasize it. But I caught on how to use that method, and I used that one damn tool again and again. [If] guys at MIT or Princeton had trouble doing a certain integral, [then] I come along and try differentiating under the integral sign, and often it worked. So I got a great reputation for doing integrals, only because my box of tools was different from everybody else’s, and they had tried all their tools on it before giving the problem to me.

Richard Feynman

Anders Tegnell on the Swedish corona strategy

25 May, 2020 at 23:02 | Posted in Politics & Society | Comments Off on Anders Tegnell on the Swedish corona strategy


Pandemic depression antidote (XV)

25 May, 2020 at 19:32 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Pandemic depression antidote (XV)


Alberto Alesina and the theory of ‘expansionary austerity’

24 May, 2020 at 17:14 | Posted in Economics | 3 Comments

albAlberto Alesina, the prominent Harvard University economist and main architect behind the theory of ‘expansionary austerity,’ has died at age 63, Italian media reports today.


As we all know there has been an obsession with government budget deficits since the crisis of 2008. Alesina’s ideas — mostly building on econometric analyses — about austerity expansion basically boils down to the hope that if you cut deficits, the confidence fairy will make business people invest.

No matter how much confidence you have in the policies pursued by authorities nowadays, it cannot turn bad austerity policies into good job-creating policies. Austerity measures and overzealous and simple-minded fixation on monetary measures and inflation ​are not what it takes to get our limping economies out of their present-day​ limbo. The austerity delusion simply does not get us out of the ‘magneto trouble’ — and neither does budget deficit discussions where economists and politicians seem to think that cutting government budgets would help us out of recessions and slumps. In a situation where monetary policies have​ become more and more decrepit, the solution is not fiscal austerity, but fiscal expansion!

austerity22We are not going to get out of the present economic doldrums as long as we continue to be obsessed with the insane idea that austerity is the universal medicine. When an economy is already hanging on the ropes, you can’t just cut government spendings. Cutting government expenditures reduces​ aggregate demand. Lower aggregate demand means lower tax revenues. Lower tax revenues mean​ increased deficits — and calls for even more austerity. And so on, and so on …

Economists have a tendency to get enthralled by their own theories and models, and forget that behind the figures and abstractions there is a real world with real people. Real people that have to pay dearly for fundamentally flawed doctrines and recommendations.

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