Monthly Archives: October 2013

Epicurean Philosophy as Progenitor to Marginalism

As is often pointed out marginalist economics tends to be characterised primarily by a couple of distinct axioms that operate ‘under the surface’ to produce its key results. Varoufakis and Ansperger neatly characterise these as: the axiom of methodological individualism; … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory, Philosophy | Leave a comment

Did Irish Austerity Really Lead to an Increase in Competitiveness?

Ever since the austerity programs began in Europe after the crisis of 2008 Ireland has been a poster boy. Even though the economy has crumbled enthusiasts still point to the improved current account balance which they claim is due to … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Policy, Politics | 3 Comments

The Economics of the Royal Mail Privatisation

The privatisation of Royal Mail will begin tomorrow when the final launch price of the shares and their allocation will be announced. How are these shares likely to perform? Well, if history is any guide, they will perform fabulously well. … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Policy | Leave a comment

Paul Krugman Misses Key Component of His Own Model

John McHale over at Irish Economy has written a post on the possibility of a default by a sovereign currency issuer. In the post he discusses Paul Krugman’s stripped-down Mundell-Fleming model in which Krugman shows that a country issuing a … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory | 3 Comments

Matter and Models

What if all the world’s inside of your head Just creations of your own? You can live in this illusion You can choose to believe You keep looking but you can’t find the woods While you’re hiding in the trees … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory, Philosophy | 7 Comments

The Theory of Relativity: Anticipated at the Turn of the Seventeenth Century by George Berkeley

Bishop George Berkeley is, in my opinion, the most profound philosopher ever to have written. He came up with many ideas in the early modern period — that is, around the beginning of the 18th century — that were only … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | 2 Comments

Faith-Based Arguments in Empirical, Causal and Probabilistic Reasoning

David Hume is today the philosopher most often associated with what might be termed ‘radical empiricism’. The problem, of course, as I have pointed out on this blog before, is that he was not the originator of what should properly … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Statistics and Probability | 2 Comments

The Economist Magazine, Marxism and the Conventional Wisdom

This morning I came across a rather awful piece on The Economist‘s website entitled A Marxist Theory is (Sort Of) Right. The piece is indicative of what I think to be a far more general trend in contemporary intellectual life: … Continue reading

Posted in Media/Journalism, Politics | 15 Comments

The Holy Grail: Distractions in Econometrics and Economic Modelling

Lars Syll ran an interesting piece today on the “confounder” problem in econometrics. This is basically the problem of how do we tell that if there is a relationship between, say, A and B that it is not, in actual … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Statistics and Probability | 3 Comments

The (Brief) Rise and (Inevitable) Fall of Gold

Gold fell rather precipitously yesterday and it appears that many in the markets are scratching their heads. “Why,” they think, “is gold falling in price in the face of a looming government shutdown and a recent indication by the Fed … Continue reading

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