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Sunday, July 24, 2005

"He wrapped himself in quotations- as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors." - Rudyard Kipling


Windows Vista - Viruses, Infections, Spyware, Trojans and Adware

Heh heh.


Anbu kurnthupayanigal gavanikavum unggalin pa thu ga ppu munniddu manjal kodduk.



Some people think that economics is a purely positive (ie devoid of value-judgments) discipline, while ignoring the normative aspect of it:

A: Economics is descriptive, not normative. All it can do is help you determine the results of different decisions. It can't tell you whether those decisions are good or bad.

Me: Isn't there both positive and normative economics?

Economists make normative decisions all the time.

A: Economists make normative decisions all the time, economists are people first and people make normative decisions, but they are not part of their economic analysis any more than a physicists lunch decision is part of their study of physics.

Me: I'm not talking about lunch decisions.

When central bankers decide whether to lower interest rates for greater growth at the expense of higher inflation, although this is a normative decision, it's still under the domain of economics.

A: Only to the point where they have determined that if they do it X will happen and if they don't Y will happen. There is no economic analysis that can tell you whether X is better than Y. For that you need to rely on either politics of philosophy.

Me: Which independent central banks use politics or philosophy to determine interest rates?!

Economics is a Social Science, despite some people's efforts to cut the Social part of it.

A: Which independent central banks use politics or philosophy to determine interest rates?!
All of them. They may have someone with a degree in economics answering the question and the person answering the question might not be thinking about the philosophy behind it too hard, instead defaulting to the philosophical position that "more growth is always good," but neither of those factors take the question out of the realms of philosophy and politics and put it into the realm of economics.

Economics is a Social Science, despite some people's efforts to cut the Social part of it.
Economics is a social science in that it is the study of human actions. That doesn't mean that it can make normative decisions.

Me: With such reductionism, all Social Sciences are positive.

A: What do you mean by "positive?"

If you mean normative, then you are wrong. The only Social Science (if you can call it that) that is really normative is philosophy. All of the rest just give you the information necessary to make well informed normative decisions.

Out of curiosity, could you give me an example (even a very simple one) of economics showing you how to actually pick between various options?

Me: The Keynesians believe that governmental spending should be boosted during the downswings of business cycles for a counter-cyclical effect.

A: No, the Keynesians believe that governmental spending can be boosted to create a counter-cyclical effect. I don't recall Keynes ever arguing that it was an ethical imperitive that government should do this, though.

And even if he did argue that, he would have done so as a philosopher and not an economist.

Me: "In the long run we're all dead"

In the long run the Classical economists asserted that the economy would move back to equilibrium. This was Keynes's report.

Anyway we have different world views, so it's no point arguing.


The Students' Sketchpad

"Express cartooning by two students, En & Hou reflecting the realities of the Singapore education system and its schools. Everything on Singapore Schools you need to know!"

So far this webcomic has only one issue, but it's damn funny!

The Evil SCGS Girl

ACS boy: I spent all my money on GUCCI, IPODS & LV, & you still say I am not your type.

SCGS Girl: I'm HURT...

SCGS Girl: Ever since I was a child... I had my material needs not met... THEY OUTCASTED ME, AND MADE FUN OF ME WHEN I DIDN'T HAVE A... BARBIE DOLL. NOW, ALL I WANT IS YOU TO DO EVERYTHING I SAY!

ACS Boy: I'm sorry... I can't afford you... we will have to part... I DUMP U.

Someone: ... well i don't approve of such young girls already attracting such giant amounts of attention, so.
perhaps it's part of what my boyfriend calls "4s" - single-sex school syndrome
the girls are particularly bitchy
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