Likt en sländas spröda vinge

23 Oct, 2020 at 15:20 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Likt en sländas spröda vinge

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Good advice

22 Oct, 2020 at 17:55 | Posted in Statistics & Econometrics | Comments Off on Good advice

An approximate answer to the right question is worth a great deal more than  a precise answer to the wrong… | This or that questions, Big words,  Inspirational quotes

Ola Gjeilo — Serenity

22 Oct, 2020 at 15:11 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Ola Gjeilo — Serenity

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What is causality?

22 Oct, 2020 at 13:27 | Posted in Theory of Science & Methodology | 8 Comments

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Pelle Erobreren

21 Oct, 2020 at 17:26 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Pelle Erobreren

Max von Sydow (1929-2020) was a Swedish actor who featured in more than 100 films and TV series. He made many memorable film roles, but the one that touched me most was as the father in Pelle Erobreren — based on Martin Andersen Nexö’s epic masterpiece. Bille August directed. Stefan Nilsson wrote the music. Max von Sydow made the performance of his life. And it breaks my heart every time I watch it.

A legend is dead. Long live his memory.

Interpreting regression coefficients (wonkish)

21 Oct, 2020 at 14:52 | Posted in Economics | 1 Comment

When econometric and statistical textbooks present simple (and multiple) regression analysis for cross-sectional data, they often do it with regressions like “regress test score (y) on study hours (x)” and get the result

y = constant + slope coefficient*x + error term.

UnknownWhen speaking of increases or decreases in x in these interpretations, we have to remember that it is a question of cross-sectional data and ‘increases’ — which means that we are referring to increases in the value of a variable from one unit in the population to another unit in the same population. Strictly seen it is only admissible to give slope coefficients a dynamic interpretation when we are dealing with time-series regression. For cross-sectional data, we should stick to static interpretations and look upon slope coefficients as giving information about what we can expect to happen to the value of the dependent variable when there is a change in the independent variable from one unit to another.

Although it is tempting to say that a change in the independent variable leads to a change in the dependent variable, we should resist that temptation. Students that put a lot of study hours into their daily routine on average achieve higher scores on their tests than other students that study for fewer hours. The regressions made do not analyse what happens to individual students as they increase or decrease their study hours.

Why is this important? It is important most of all because misinterpreting regression coefficients may give a totally wrong causal view of what is going on in your data. A positive relation between test scores and study hours in a cross-sectional regression does not mean that you as an individual student should expect to get higher test scores by increasing study time.

What is ‘effective demand’?

21 Oct, 2020 at 09:46 | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments

Samfundsøkonomi er en svær disciplin – også for topøkonomer - FINANSEconomists of all shades have generally misunderstood the theoretical structure of Keynes’s The General Theory. Quite often this is a result of misunderstanding the concept of ‘effective demand’ — one of the key theoretical innovations of The General Theory.

Jesper Jespersen untangles the concept and shows how Keynes, by taking uncertainty seriously, contributed to forming an analytical alternative to the prevailing mainstream general equilibrium framework:

Effective demand is one of the distinctive analytical concepts that Keynes developed in The General Theory. Demand and demand management have thereby come to represent one of the distinct trademarks of Keynesian macroeconomic theory and policy. It is not without reason that the central position of this concept has left the impression that Keynes’s macroeconomic model predominantly consists of theories for determining demand, while the supply side is neglected. From here it is a short step within a superficial interpretation to conclude that Keynes (and post-Keynesians) had ended up in a theoretical dead end, where macroeconomic development is exclusively determined by demand factors …

It is the behaviour of profit-seeking firms acting under the ontological condition of uncertainty that is at the centre of post-Keynesian concept of effective demand. It is entrepreneurs’ expectations with regard to demand and supply factor that determine their plans for output as a whole and by that the effective demand for labour.

Therefore, it was somewhat unfortunate that Keynes called his new analytical concept ‘effective demand’, which may have contributed to misleading generations of open minded macroeconomists to concluding that it was exclusively realized demand for consumer and investment goods that drives the macroeconomic development. Hereby a gateway for the IS/LM-model interpretation of effective demand was opened, where demand creates its own supply.

tmp10C1_thumb1On the contrary, it is the interaction between the sum of the individual firms’ sales expectations (aggregate demand) and their estimated production costs (aggregate supply) that together with a number of institutional conditions (bank credit, labour market organization, global competition and technology) determine the business sector decisions on output as a whole and employment …

The supply side in the goods market is an aggregate presentation of firms’ cost functions considered as a whole. It shows a relation between what Keynes called ‘supply price’, i.e. the sales proceeds that, given the production function and cost structures, is needed to ‘just make it worth the while of the entrepreneurs to give that employment’ (Keynes, 1936: 24). This means that behind the supply curve there is a combination of variable costs plus an expected profit at different levels of employment. At each level firms try to maximise their profit, if they succeed there is no (further) incentive for firms to change production or employment.

These assumptions entail that the aggregate supply function (what Keynes called the Z-curve) is upward sloping and represents the proceeds that has to be expected by the industry as a whole to make a certain employment ‘worth undertaken’ … In fact, this aggregate supply function looks like it was taken directly from a standard, neoclassical textbook, where decreasing marginal productivity of labour within the representative firm is assumed; the main difference is that Keynes is dealing with the aggregate sum of heterogeneous firms i.e. the industry as a whole.

The other equally important part of effective demand is aggregate demand function, which is the value of the sales that firms as a whole expect at different levels of macro-activity measured by employment (as a whole) …

Firms make a kind of survey-based expectation with regard to the most likely development in sales and proceeds in the nearer future. This expectation of aggregate demand (as a whole) is a useful point of departure for the individual firms when they have to form their specific expectation of future proceeds. This sales expectation will therefore centre around the future macroeconomic demand (and on the intensity of international competition).

Accordingly, Keynes’s macro-theory has a microeconomic foundation of firms trying to maximise profit, but differs from neoclassical theory by introducing uncertainty related to the future, which makes an explicit introduction of aggregate demand relevant i.e. the expected sales proceeds by business as a whole.

Why does someone have to die?

19 Oct, 2020 at 21:22 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Why does someone have to die?

Till minnet av min vän Bengt Nilsson.
Det gör fortfarande — efter två år — ont.
Det känns ofta — som du brukade säga — ‘förtvivlat.’
Men jag minns också — skratten, glädjen, omtanken, den mäktiga intelligensen, den drastiska humorn, det starka sociala patoset.
Livet går vidare, men kommer alltid att vara lite gråare, lite tristare, utan dig min käre vän.

Public debt — how much is too much?

19 Oct, 2020 at 11:56 | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments

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Public debt is normally nothing to fear, especially if it is financed within the country itself (but even foreign loans can be beneficent for the economy if invested in the right way). Some members of society hold bonds and earn interest on them, while others pay taxes that ultimately pay the interest on the debt. The debt is not a net burden for society as a whole since the debt ‘cancels’ itself out between the two groups. If the state issues bonds at a low-interest rate, unemployment can be reduced without necessarily resulting in strong inflationary pressure. And the inter-generational burden is also not a real burden since — if used in a suitable way — the debt, through its effects on investments and employment, actually makes future generations net winners. There can, of course, be unwanted negative distributional side effects for the future generation, but that is mostly a minor problem since when our children and grandchildren ‘repay’ the public debt these payments will be made to our children and grandchildren.

To both Keynes and Lerner — as to today’s MMTers — it was evident that the state has the ability to promote full employment and a stable price level — and that it should use its powers to do so. If that means that it has to take on debt and underbalance its budget — so let it be! Public debt is neither good nor bad. It is a means to achieve two over-arching macroeconomic goals — full employment and price stability. What is sacred is not to have a balanced budget or running down public debt per se, regardless of the effects on the macroeconomic goals. If ‘sound finance,’ austerity and balanced budgets means increased unemployment and destabilizing prices, they have to be abandoned.

Can a government go bankrupt?
No. You cannot be indebted to yourself.

Can a central bank go bankrupt?
No. A central bank can in principle always ‘print’ more money.

Do taxpayers have to repay government debts?
No, at least not as long the debt is incurred in a country’s own currency.

Do increased public debts burden future generations?
No, not necessarily. It depends on what the debt is used for.

Does maintaining full employment mean the government has to increase its debt?
No.

Le ragioni del “No” all’euro: l’esempio della Svezia

19 Oct, 2020 at 09:48 | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments

lars-plsson-syll-a0f42810-c56b-4f3a-8856-811c9d9598f-resize-750Per Lars Pålsson Syll l’eurozona non è mai stata in grado di mostrare significativi aumenti a livello di crescita economica dalla sua creazione, ed anzi non ha fatto che accentuare i problemi che in alcuni casi, vedi Grecia, hanno portato a dei veri e propri disastri.

Uno degli argomenti portati a favore dell’euro era che, in caso di adesione, ci sarebbe stata una convergenza a lungo termine in termini di risultati economici come crescita, occupazione, inflazione e debito pubblico. Oggi possiamo vedere che le differenze non solo sono rimaste, ma si sono addirittura intensificate.

D’altronde non vi è nulla di cui rimanere sorpresi: rinunciando alla propria valuta si rinuncia di fatto alla possibilità di avere una politica monetaria. Si dovrà ricorrere al mercato per finanziare la spesa pubblica, cosa che come ben sappiamo in Italia può diventare molto costosa e a volte molto difficile.

Inoltre l’adesione all’euro porta con se l’impossibilità di adottare liberamente misure economiche atte a garantire determinati livelli di occupazione e di servizi pubblici. Secondo Syll diventa chiaro come l’euro non sia un progetto economico ma fondamentalmente un progetto politico, che mira a realizzare quello che non è riuscito alla rivoluzione liberista, che ha avuto i suoi massimi esponenti politici in Reagan e la Thatcher a partire dagli anni ’80 …

La domanda che si pone Syll e che ci poniamo tutti noi è se i popoli europei vogliano davvero privarsi dell’autonomia politica ed economica, imporre salari più bassi e tagliare la spesa pubblica e quindi i servizi essenziali, alle prime difficoltà? I popoli europei sognano davvero una crescente disuguaglianza e un sovrastato federale? …

La dura realtà mostra come sia difficile, lungo e pieno di sacrifici il percorso necessario per uscire da una crisi economica e ristabilire determinati livelli di occupazione e di crescita economica in una nazione senza sovranità monetaria, dove non sia possibile condurre adeguate politiche fiscali. Per quanto tempo ancora dovremmo sopportare le continue ingerenze? Quante persone ed imprese dovranno essere rovinate prima di porre fine a questo progetto folle chiamato euro?

Claudio Freschi / Il Primato Nazionale

Frankrikes sak är vår

18 Oct, 2020 at 12:55 | Posted in Politics & Society | 2 Comments

En lärare i historia och geografi i en av Paris förorter är det senaste offret för en terrorism med globala ambitioner. Läraren hade undervisat om yttrandefrihet och i detta syfte på en lektion i början av oktober visat magasinet Charlie Hebdos karikatyrteckningar av profeten Muhammed …

Militanta islamister i stater och terrororganisationer har visat sig beredda att mörda för att tysta kritik mot deras tro varhelst i världen den förekommer. Detta har varit ett västligt trauma ända sedan fatwan mot författaren Salman Rushdie och hans bok ”Satansverserna” 1989 …

Manifestationer väntas efter lärarmordet – Norrköpings Tidningar Så länge det inte är fritt fram i Europa att kritisera och håna också islams heliga figurer kommer självcensur att råda och oskyldiga människors blod att flyta. Därför är inget annat svar möjligt och rimligt än att sätta in rättsstatens och våldsmonopolets fulla arsenal mot terroristerna och de som hjälper dem.

Detta är inte en civilisationernas kamp, utan en civilisationens kamp mot barbariet. Här står inte kristendom mot islam, eller Europa mot Mellanöstern och delar av Asien. Här står yttrande- och trosfrihet mot censur, förtryck och mord …

I västdemokratiska staters kamp mot terrorismen har mycket tillåtits som varit fel, oklokt och direkt kontraproduktivt, men gentemot de islamistiska fanatiker som hotar och mördar publicister, tecknare och lärare måste Europa stå enat. Samma hot och samma fanatism finns också i Sverige, där konstnären Lars Vilks fortfarande tvingas leva med restriktioner och under dödshot. Frankrikes sak är därmed också vår.

DN

I Sverige har vi länge okritiskt omhuldat en ospecificerad och odefinierad mångkulturalism. Om vi med mångkulturalism menar att det i vårt samhälle finns flera olika kulturer ställer detta inte till med problem. Då är vi alla mångkulturalister.

Men om vi med mångkulturalism menar att det med kulturell tillhörighet och identitet också kommer specifika moraliska, etiska och politiska rättigheter och skyldigheter, talar vi om något helt annat. Då talar vi om normativ mångkulturalism. Och att acceptera normativ mångkulturalism, innebär också att tolerera oacceptabel intolerans, eftersom den normativa mångkulturalismen innebär att specifika kulturella gruppers rättigheter kan komma att ges högre dignitet än samhällsmedborgarens allmänmänskliga rättigheter – och därigenom indirekt bli till försvar för dessa gruppers (eventuella) intolerans. I ett normativt mångkulturalistiskt samhälle kan institutioner och regelverk användas för att inskränka människors frihet utifrån oacceptabla och intoleranta kulturella värderingar.

Den normativa mångkulturalismen innebär precis som främlingsfientlighet och rasism att individer på ett oacceptabelt sätt reduceras till att vara passiva medlemmar av kultur- eller identitetsbärande grupper. Men tolerans innebär inte att vi måste ha en värderelativistisk inställning till identitet och kultur. De som i våra samhällen i handling visar att de inte respekterar andra människors rättigheter, kan inte räkna med att vi ska vara toleranta mot dem. De som med våld vill tvinga andra människor att underordna sig en speciell grupps religion, ideologi eller ”kultur” är själva ansvariga för den intolerans de måste bemötas med.

Om vi ska värna om det moderna demokratiska samhällets landvinningar måste samhället vara intolerant mot den intoleranta normativa mångkulturalismen. Och då kan inte samhället själv omhulda en normativ mångkulturalism. I ett modernt demokratiskt samhälle måste rule of law gälla – och gälla alla!

Mot dem som i vårt samhälle vill tvinga andra att leva efter deras egna religiösa, kulturella eller ideologiska trosföreställningar och tabun, ska samhället vara intolerant. Mot dem som vill tvinga samhället att anpassa lagar och regler till den egna religionens, kulturens eller gruppens tolkningar, ska samhället vara intolerant. Mot dem som i handling är intoleranta ska vi inte vara toleranta.

Rom i regnet (personal)

18 Oct, 2020 at 02:10 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Rom i regnet (personal)

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Till Anna — som fick mig att överleva tre långa gymnasieår på Linnéskolan. Och till Ulf — som skriver den sorts musik som glömskan inte rår på. 

Le consentement

17 Oct, 2020 at 09:59 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Le consentement

A paedophile writer is on trial in France. And so are a bunch of the most celebrated French ‘intellectuals.’ MeToo has finally reached France. That’s good news.

Jean-Paul Sartre, Roland Barthes, Simone de Beauvoir, Gilles et Fanny Deleuze … Jack Lang … André Glucksmann, et bien d’autres encore; tous font partie des 69 intellectuels français qui, aux côtés de l’écrivain Gabriel Matzneff … ont signé une tribune publiée le 26 janvier 1977. D’abord dans Le Monde puis dans Libération pour défendre trois hommes incarcérés depuis plus de trois ans pour avoir abusé sexuellement de mineurs de moins de 15 ans.

‘Trois ans de prison pour des caresses et des baisers, cela suffit !’ écrivaient les signataires.

Ils demandaient la relaxe des trois hommes au prétexte que les enfants n’avaient pas été victimes de la moindre violence, mais, au contraire, qu’ils étaient consentants.

Le 23 mai 1977, dans les pages “Opinions” du Monde, 80 intellectuels français parmi lesquels Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Simone de Beauvoir … Jacques Derrida … signent un autre texte pour demander que la loi décriminalise les rapports sexuels entre les adultes et les enfants de moins de 15 ans.

 Cécile de Kervasdoué et Fiona Moghaddam

Jealous guy

17 Oct, 2020 at 09:49 | Posted in Varia | Comments Off on Jealous guy

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Fragile

16 Oct, 2020 at 17:55 | Posted in Varia | 2 Comments

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