Saturday, 28 October 2017

Quandaries about ethics

In Quandaries about ethics mt is anguished. I try to help, but I'm not sure I have (archive).

Updated archive. New comment:

I don't think I'm making my viewpoint at all clear. I may be forced to write my own post; everyone should re-invent their own wheel after all. But

> if the optimal pathway is one in which we could cross a number of climate tipping points, then how much confidence should we place in such an analysis? It may well be that it's been done as well as it possible could have been done, but if we aren't sure of the consequences of passing these tipping points, how do you incorporate them into the analysis?

I think is typical of the incompatibility between my (and std.econ) and mt / ATTP, I think. I find it very hard to understand what anyone means when they write stuff like that; it seems to imply a complete failure to understand the std.econ viewpoint. So I'll make one last despairing attempt here: the std.econ viewpoint takes into account all those tipping points, costs then as best it can, and then balances all the different costs in an attempt to provide a view of competing costs and benefits. This is fundamentally incompatible with your viewpoint, as I understand it, which is (I exaggerate for effect) "woo tipping point scary lets not go there". Which is to say you substitute your (and others) intuitive ideas of damage for the std.econ analysis.

There's probably an analogy here with the denialists; there usually is. The std.econ folk, if challenged, could write all their stuff down in numbers and equations. Just as folk could do the same for their calculations of warming, or of sea level rise. But the denialists that write bollox about "cooling is about to start" or "the GHE doesn't exist" can't write their stuff down in that way, and we are contemptuous of them for it. Why do you expect protection from contempt when you do the same for costs?

But Tim is an idiot

A Brief Segue Into Contestable Markets by CIP (archive). Not I think a post of any quality. I continue in the hope of converting him, with out any real hope. My comment below may be too provocative to live.

See-also: One More Try (archive).

> But Tim is an idiot.

No. You're being silly; and you're being silly from within the comfort of your own bubble. In any actual discussion of economics Timmy would rip you to shreds. Being Brave calling him an idiot here ought to be beneath you.

> Mr. Connolley

I didn't waste three years of my life for you to call me "Mr".

> A perfectly contestable market is not possible in real life.

Sigh. Yes, of course I read this. I almost wrote something pointing out that of course the theoretical perfection isn't actually met with in real life, but I thought: no, I'm talking to someone intelligent, I won't bother.

Consider physics. Often, physics problems neglect friction; air resistance. They do so because the fundamental features of the problem can be described in this way, without obscuring the essentials in pointless detail. Naturally, if making exact calculations this can be factored in. You know all this. I'm patronising you. You should not deserve this.

As to contestability: Micro$oft probably does have a genuine monopoly, but as I've already said, no-one really gives a toss any more. They are history.

Amazon and Google are I think contestable. It isn't free, but there are no real barriers, at least not compared to the scale of what is required. And of course Google is indeed contested.

Fb might be different due to network effects. But actually it is contested: many young folk head off to Instagram and so on. You're making the typical unimaginative "there is no alternative" when actually there are choices.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Things You Can't Say


PG is vair sensible; I came to his blog late, so have never read that one. But his "would have gotten me in big trouble in most of Europe in the seventeenth century, and did get Galileo in big trouble when he said it—that the earth moves" is probably wrong. G was stomped on for a variety of complex reasons; e.g. And he loses points for linking to Crichton, of course.

Is Galileo a side issue or not? Maybe; but people using him as an example and getting it wrong deserve correction. scottaaronson also gets him badly and naively wrong. Note that Galileo's only "firm" proof of the Earth moving (as opposed to a Tychonic system), the tides, was bollox.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

You keep parroting yourself on this point

New comment on your post "Morality and economics"
Author: Kevin ONeill

WC writes:"[...But the criticism of Stern was by mainstream economists, and doesn’t. I can’t decide if you’re so out of touch with the mainstream that you don’t know where it is, or if you’re being deliberately misleading -W]"

You keep parroting yourself on this point, but you never really have offered any evidence of it.  Stern's formula was based on *mainstream* economic theory.  It was supported by many *mainstream* economist.

What is true is that Nordhaus denigrated his choice of social discount rate and that the only real difference between the two was more specifically within the social discount rate the PRTP.

So there were  *mainstream* economists that lauded Stern's Review and there were some that didn't.  I've never seen *any* evidence - nor have you ever provided evidence -  that the majority fell one way or another at the time of publication.

We *do* know that since then the majority believe Stern's discount rate was too *high* and by inference Nordhaus was really, really wrong.  And that's the point you still refuse to address; who cares if mainstream economists thought he was wrong then?  Today they think the discount rate should be even lower.  Recent observatios and experience suggest they may *still* be too high even yet as more and more economists tend toward a belief in negative discounting.

I'm really not sure why you put yourself in a position of defending a past criticism that proved out to be incorrect - whether it was held by the majority or not.  Is it that difficult to admit that Stern's discount rate turned out to be appropriate after al and that maybe it should have been even lower?

BTW, Richard Thaler gets the Nobel Prize for Economics this time around.  That's two shots at the whole EMH and Rational agents crowd in just the past 5 years.  I think we know where mainstream economic thinking now lies.  Some people adjust to new evidence.  The Nobel Committee has, that's for sure.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Indeed, and it's hard to decide which of the two is the silliest.

Author: willard (@nevaudit)
> A better analogy is between the “correct” discount rate and the value of climate sensitivity.

Indeed, and it's hard to decide which of the two is the silliest.

Which returns us to the last time I visited:


There’s no discount rate to “find out.” In part because like climate sensitivity we only can establish a very rough ballpark, and in part because, like interest rates, it’s a human decision.


It'd be hard to deny that all we have are ranges of values in both cases. Yet the luckwarm playbook comes with this very pussyfooting in both cases.

Fancy that.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Richard Murphy is an idiot and so is anyone who quotes him

wmconnolley says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation. 
Richard Murphy is an idiot and so is anyone who quotes him. This *is* just like WUWT: people quote spurious “authority” for their foolish claims, and everyone nods along.

wmconnolley says:
> Seems that TimW’s a money denier
This place, when talking about economics, is like WUWT when talking about science. And the sad thing is none of you know it, none of you care, you’re happy to just wallow in your errors in a warm comfortable sea of economics ignorance. You’ll all happily back each other up, and none of you will call each other out. Just like the Watties with their “science”.

wmconnolley says:
> Thomas Piketty is an economics denier
TP has certainly made major errors leaning in a leftward direction, yes.
> I didn’t say this. I pointed out that Kevin Anderson argued this.
I know you didn’t say it. I didn’t say you did say it. Why are you saying that you didn’t say it when everyone knows that you didn’t say it? It is however something that you picked out from his talk, presumably because it is important.
> Perhaps closer to “ignore climate sensitivity”.
Yes, that’s closer.
> …when the social and financial system breaks down as a result of agricultural collapse or population reduction, economics, with grrrowth and interest rates becomes largely irrelevant…
The (economic) cost of the civil system breaking down entirely would be enormous; as would the death toll. Costs, even passed through discount rates, would show that. So why would you want to ignore them?
> I am interested in your moral argument to ignore the GHE in comparison.
I’ve made no such argument; I don;t understand what you’re asking.
To reply to your other point, not knowing the correct discount rate is no reason to ignore the concept. To return to the analogy with climate sensitivity: what you’re suggesting is analogous to ignoring CS entirely, because you don’t know its exact value.

wmconnolley says:
> Technically, “denial” means dismissing something that is regarded as true (a consensus position) not disagreeing with what should be done, given that truth
Yes, of course. And that’s what I’m saying most-of-you do to economics. Saying, for example, “ignore discount rates” is analogous to “ignore the GHE”.

wmconnolley says:
> I’m a bad, bad person.
No; but everyone has blindspots. You won’t notice them because they are blind spots, so you need someone else to point them out. As, it would seem, do all the other commentators here.
> Economics isn’t the best way to measure the significance of action in this case
Well, it certainly isn’t the *only* way; that’s for sure. That it isn’t the *best* way is surely a value judgement, so you shouldn’t state it definitively; it can only be a personal preference. No?
> discount rate may be relevant, but surely the point is that the less we ‘invest’ now, the more we will have to invest soon
Ah: this is where you go off the rails, taking ATTP with you I strongly suspect. You’re entirely within your rights to say “econ isn’t the only measure”. But you shouldn’t mix that up with “if I re-write econ (which I don’t really understand) in a somewhat muddled way, then…”. That isn’t valid; it is analogous to what the denialists do with the science.

wmconnolley says:
> should be avoided at all costs (discount rate is irrelevant)
Sounds economically illiterate. Roughly equivalent to “we should believe in magic CO2 removal technology and therefore not worry”. But since it is economics, not science, it passes by your blind spot.

Monday, 7 August 2017

> She is trying to take advantage of you.

New comment on your post "Ze Robots are comink"

She is trying to take advantage of you.

I feel sorry for you, Jim. As they say in scientific circles, "You aren't even wrong." It dawns on me that you, after decades of being married and after twenty years of making heroic, love-motivated sacrifices for your invalid wife, have never been tortured by pining for a love denied you.

Love was always really easy for you, wasn't it, Jim? In our student days, you used to brag to me about how you could make a visit back to Germany and there was always one certain woman who was ready, willing and able to resume an intermittent love-affair with you, no questions asked and no pining involved. Does your language even have a German word for "pining" in the romantic sense? Would the male German mind puzzle forever over the idea of "tarring" or "turpentining" for "La Femme Fatale de Zwiebeldorf"? You dumb Kraut, why must I always explain everything to you?

Alright, here is your free lesson in "Romance 101". [Oh gee, why do I even bother?] But because you took me on that tour of Munich, you crypto-Nazi, showing me all the hidden shrines and sanctuaries of the NSDAP, I will explain to you the whys and wherefores of how the most desirable and love-worthy women think -- or at least "emote" and "rationalize".

There was once a garden where a woman offered an apple to a man. Can you capiche the scenario, Jim? I'm afraid it doesn't get any more primitive or primordial than the absolute Genesis of male-female relations. Now please keep in mind the specific case of Odna Mona, the ageless beauty whose charms and wiles ensnare American males on a coast-to-coast basis, and we're not talking radio-shows either, Jim, although Mona listens religiously to such a show and envies Yours Truly for being good buddies with that frequent star of the airways, Monsieur le ne plus Ufologique Peter Barnes Davenport. Love is like getting a job promotion, Jim. It's not _what_ you know, it's _whom_ you know. Odna Mona loves to ask me the most abstruse questions about my erstwhile boon companion Peter Davenport, who once visited me at my Vaierre [Wallingford Revier] apartment in Wallingford, where you also have been. That visit is your shared circumstance with Peter Davenport, and you may some day impress a young French or Swedish beauty by boasting that although you have never met Peter "Coast-to-Coast" Davenport, you were one in an apartment which Peter Davenport also once visited. She will throw her arms around you and beg you to tell her more about Peter. (I can provide you with lots of details, if needed :-)

Odna Mona knows that I am her source for titillating tidbits about Davenport the Man and Davenport the Stargazer. I tell her just enough spicy factoids to keep her intrigued.

But let's get back to your stupid, cretin, bourgeois, Joe Sixpack, unbelievably naive and detestably ignorant idea that the high-earning, medical professional Odna Mona R.N. L.P.N. Q.E.D. would try to take financial advantage of her pining, love-struck woe-is-me tortured-soul Arthur by letting him pay his fair share of $700-per-month to live in the same house with her in between her lucrative, high-income jobs as a nurse. These nurses make a fortune in salary, Jim, and a three-month gap is nothing to them. The purpose of charging the swooning wooer $700 a month is to make him _suffer_ not financially but emotionally, to make him _pay_ for being in love with the unattainable woman, for daring to assume that she would find him worthy of a second glance or a third thought. But you, Jim Hagestolz, have always had easy access to your own choice of very ordinary women, not the rare beauties like Odna Mona. Did I object when you seduced my cousin in San Francisco? No, because you kept it secret from me and Aardvark while we were in Mexico. Did Aardvark and I refuse to go with you to the mobster-run Firelight strip joint in Seattle? No, because we were curious about what was old hat and voyeuristic commonplace for a Rube like you. At that time, Aardvark was in love with Nurse Den-Mother, and you got to see true love up close when you went with Vark and me and Den Mother to water-ski at Lake Goodwin. But did you learn anything about pining, excruciating love? Apparently not, because you went blithely traipsing around America as a non-pining field researcher for the Dictionary of American Regional English (D.A.R.E.) and I dare say that youremain totally ignorant of the awesome love immortalized in such Country Western songs as "If the Phone Don't Ring, You'll Know it's Me" and "All My Exes Live in Texas." Poor Jim Kraut, spent years in America at two universities and did not learn the slightest thing about Love American-Style.

On the telephone, Odna Mona asks me about you, Jim. She wants to know if I told you about the time when I first caught sight of her as the young beauty whose gleaming locks were a-curlin' and a-streamin' down her winsome backside in the store window that I was trying to sneak past lest our quondam co-worker Jessica S. importune me to give Jessica a short break. Then Jessica could not believe it when Mona and I began asking each other ever more personal questions until Jessica's mouth was gaping in sheer disbelief Then six years later Jessica came running out of Murphy's Pub to tell me that Mona was back in Seattle. But where is Jessica now when I need her more than ever?

In your Teutonic rationality, Jim, and in your romantic Fahrvergnügen you may not believe the following roughly accurate description of why Odna Mona tortures me into writing her so many despairing love-letters in a style and heart-ache such as you have never been privy to. Just humor me, please.

Nurses, and American women in general, love to complain about the men in their lives, and about the men _not_ in their lives. Some American women, who do not yet have a fiance or even a boyfriend, make elaborate plans for a wedding that has not yet occurred to any man they know. These same nurses, when they work together with someone like "La Femme Fatale de Zwiebeldorf" personified in  Odna Mona, take extreme delight in hearing how Mona tortures the poor Arthur who loves her through five-year gaps and twelve-year gaps and whose love for her grows even stronger the more he is deprived of her. One nurse will spend hours on the phone with Odna Mona scooping up the latest quasi-Bachelorette details and passing them on toMona's former co-workers who are all starved for True Love stories and real-time suggestions of what the femme-fatale nurse ought to do to Arthur to torture him even more and see how he reacts. Then they try the same things on their boyfriends. When Nurse Mona forwards the love-struck e-mails to her erstwhile co-workers, they print out the love stories and hang them up like X-rays in their nursing break-room. It becomes a real-life drama for all the nurses in the whole hospital. The nurses start comparing notes about guys who try to date them. One nurse will say, "He wants to date me, but he refuses to drive into the city. What should I do?" The nurses will take turns explaining the love-struck e-mails to one another. If a foreign phrase in German or French or Russian pops up, there will always be one smart nurse who knows the foreign language and will briefly take on a starring role by explaining the foreign expression to all the other nurses. Oftentimes the whole breakroom will be full of tearful nurses bawling their hearts out, until the nursing supervisor comes in and says, "What's the matter with you girls? What has got you so upset? Get back to work, all of you!" But one little tiny nurse from Kazakhstan, the only one who understands Russian, will choke off her tears and explain to all the American nurses the whole story of what the Russian word "суженое" means in Russian-language love stories, until even the nursing supervisor bawls her heart out and the whole hospital closes down while the entire nursing staff wails and sobs and hugs each other.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

This looks like obvious nonsense to me

At a post by mt at ATTP's a comment (why do I save this here like I used to with some at septic blogs? Because despite reminders some are getting lost there, too):

Your comment is awaiting moderation. 
> Economic, social and environmental losses climb rapidly and nonlinearly with temperature change, and may already overwhelm the short-term benefits of fossil fuels
This looks like obvious nonsense to me. The short-term benefits of fossil fuels include an industrial society that allows 7 billion people to live, many in comfort. Removing those would lead to the society collapsing and billions starving. I can’t really tell what’s gone wrong with your statement: are you massively underestimating the gains, are you somehow saying we could keep those gains, today, without fossil fuels, or is your statement malformed? It claims to be a cost-benefit analysis. I think the present-day costs of GW are “small” when measured against the global economy.
It looks like your PCAGWH similarly fails; again, it’s hard to tell how you’re accounting for the balance.
This is rather disappointing. You’ve been writing and thinking about this stuff for a long time. We’ve been discussing it for ages. How can someone who is essentially “on your side” end up thinking you’re writing nonsense?

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

There will be a desperate scramble for new ideas. This usually happens in response to an event like 1929 or 9/11

Comment on Unrecognised simplicities of effective action #2: ‘Systems’ thinking — ideas from the Apollo programme for a ‘systems politics’:

William Connolley | February 14, 2017 at 22:15

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

> There will be a desperate scramble for new ideas. This usually happens in response to an event like 1929 or 9/11

Errrm, I can’t think of any *good* ideas that came out of 9/11. I can think of many outstandingly bad ones. I agree that upheavals lead to openings for new thought, but neither is an inspiring precedent to cite.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Gosh James Annan

A new comment on the post "On being blocked on Twitter" is
Author: Tom C 

Gosh James Annan - thanks for taking a break from your taxpayer funded biking trips and offering your asinine take on Judith Curry.  Pity that her CV is so much more impressive than yours.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying

A new comment on the post "Trump Calls The Majority Who Voted Against Him Enemies And Losers In New Year’s Message?"

Author: See Noevo 

"If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, "Were going to PUNISH OUR ENEMIES and were gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us," if they don't see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think its going to be harder, and that's why I think its so important that people focus on voting on November 2."
- Barack Hussein Obama

[This one is over here, not over there, because it is sourceless and, I suspect, faked. I can find it at thenewamerican but I don't regard that as reliable. If it can be reliably sourced, I'll move it back.]