May 2008

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Comments

John

I'm in - I only wish we could get the rest to follow us like lemmings - then again, that is part of the problem in the first place

Tom

Never. Economy is meant to serve people - not the other way. Degrading individuals, society and culture to pure economical factors is definitely a totalitarian (and primitive) concept, not very different from radical communism as in Nort Korea or Pol Pot's Cambodia.

Ricky

Count me in!

wrench

Sorry, no. You missed the huge economic benefits from higher productivity and lower health care costs of ridding this country of tobacco, alchohol, high fructose corn syrup and trans fats. And I fail to see the economic benefits of suicide, abortion, and marijuana. Plus the long term economic benefits of cut-and-run from Iraq is unclear.

Mark

"No, but I can demonstrate that they use data and rational thought to reach conclusions. The alternative is emotion and superstition. Since those are the only options, you have to pick one. -- Scott"

You've set up a bit of a false dichotomy here, as well as a specious one. Is it really better to use data and rational thought to reach conclusions if the conclusions are just as erroneous as the ones from emotion and superstition?

To put it another way, if some Guru is able to use his intuition to reach the correct conclusion 90% of the time, would it still be better to use data and rational thought if they led to the correct conclusion only 50% of the time?

A rather ridiculous hypothetical, sure, but it shows your own means-justify-the-ends fallacy.

I said it's a false dichotomy because, as you've told me and at least one other person in these comments, it's either your way or superstition, whereas, in reality, there are several different rational ways to interpret data and economic theories are merely one.

Since you can't demonstrate that the consensus of economists has been correct on the majority of issues, can you at least demonstrate that the economist community is able to, in general, actually reach consensuses? That say, 90% (allowing for 10% crackpots) of economists agree on most issues?

Also, are economic theories usually falsifiable? Have any experiments been conducted on a scale anywhere near the complexity of a national or international economy?

Since we're talking about data and rational thought here...upon examining the data you've given us a system that,

1) by your own admission, does not produce demonstrably better results than either the current system, or randomness, or, in fact, any other conceivable system; and

2) has an unquantifiable, ill-defined set of exceptional circumstances (ie "you have to put life ahead of money at some point.")

would it be rational to adopt that system?

You're advocating a sort of technocracy, but limiting it arbitrarily and detrimentally to your own field of expertise. If you'd like to open it up to scientists, I'd be onboard, since the scientific method produces better results than superstition or randomness. Until then, what you're arguing is that your way is better simply because you have a process, regardless of how well the process works. That sounds familiar...have you noticed your hair becoming pointier lately?

Keenan

I'm in.

Joshua Rothhaas

Count me in

Neighbor Dave

As my freedom is more important than any current whining, I'll remain a Libertarian. But I wish you all the best. It would beat either of the 2 current frat houses.

N.D.

Michael

I love this line, made me laugh out loud:
"In other words, our brains function properly."

It reminded me of this:
"I have trouble believing in organized religion because my brain doesn't turn off like that."

Dave

RE: Zardoz
Not getting drawn into the whole legalizing pot (I don't smoke, I don't care) but the problem with studies on whether or not marijuana causes cancer are flawed. Namely because many because pot is illegal and there is a stigma attached to admitting to using illegal drugs in research studies and/or CDC findings. Cigarettes are much easier to track due to the fact that they are legal, taxed, tracked, and widely studied. Plus what do you do when someone smokes cigarettes and weed? And at what ratio? Is it a pack a day and a joint at 4:20?

In general putting things in your lungs that don't belong is bad. Now should the government legalize it? I turn that back over to the Economist party approach. Does smoking cigarettes or pot result in a higher overall cost in terms of healthcare? If so, make cigarettes illegal, if not light up.

Jeff

"Economist" party may be a bit of a misnomer for this party; of the items listed only tax policy, government size, drug control, and education policy are ones where economists have a uniquely informed view of the topic.

Jim

I have to say that the stupidest thing that I hasve heard regarding tax policy came in the last Democrat debate. Obama was presented with the premise that historical data has shown that an increase in capital the gains tax rate has always resulted in a reduction in capital gains tax income. He was asked if this fact changed his stated aim to raise the capital gains tax. He stated that he would still support such an increase because it would be more fair. Maybe I'm a retard, but I thought the purpose of taxation was to pay for NEEDED government expenditures. If taxing "The Rich" at a lower rate results in increased revenues for the government, why is that a bad idea?

ParanoidIndividual

It makes a lot of sense. Managing the economy is the best way to manage everything else. No one will go to war with a major trading partner. A good economy means fewer social problems, and thus lower crime. A good economy means more funding for services, and prepares the country to weather any crises or disasters. And though people might fear that using money as the basis for most decisions could be frightfully immoral, it's in the interest of the economy to have workers and consumers happy and safe.

Most third-world countries going to war? It's not really about religion or racial divides. It's about economy, and they just use various causes as an umbrella to rally under. I think EVERY country needs an economic party.

Erin

Sounds fantastic (by which I mean logical - they become more and more synonymous at all levels of meaning)! Count me in!

Enginerd

"For example, if a natural disaster hits a poor part of the country, it might be cheaper to let everyone die, but you have to put life ahead of money at some point."

Economically speaking, their lives are roughly worth the present value of their income. Alternatively, you could assign all humans the same value (average over the country say), and if it costs more than that to save peoples lives you wouldn't spend it.

I know it sounds callous, but money is an allocation of resources. If you spend a million dollars to save 10 people, and the next year you need a million to save 1,000 but no longer have it, you probably shouldn't have saved those 10 people in the first place.

Seeing as the vast majority of problems can be formulated in terms of Economics, I think this is a good idea.

wes

if you do this for real then (in no particular order):

1. I'd join and campaign for this organization
2. The world WILL be a different place
3. The candidates would have to change their approach
4. Media would have to change their approach
5. You might start the snowball effect of a reason revolution

Russ

My hand is up, I am in!

Doug Johnson

I will not join the Economists Party. This group will be utterly redundant once Dogbert's New Ruling Class is in charge.

TallDave

- More aggressive energy policy (back off on ethanol)
- More sane tax policies
- Limited government
- Legalize doctor assisted suicide
- Keep abortion legal
- Decriminalize marijuana
- Strong education policy

These are pretty good, and were supported by prominent economists like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.

Ethanol does actually make sense economically, although that was not the case when oil was under $50/bbl. Cellulosic ethanol in particular makes a lot of sense.

Education needs to be exposed to the free market; public education is ruining the country. Parents should be able to choose between schools that compete for their tax dollars. This can be achieved via charter schools and vouchers.

Bret

No.

Tyranny of the economists wouldn't be something I'd like to live under. There's more to civilization than just maximizing economic efficiency and output.

Justin

I'm in!

CPB

Scott,

Agree with everything except a Strong Education Policy.

Let's Separate School & State!

William SMith

Sure. Just come up with a usable definition of "rationality" for defining rational economic behavior, because all of economics is based on various, and often violently-conflicting, definitions of "rationality".

Cavpollo

yeah, im in, even though I dont even know anything more than inflation and recession about economics, hehe

but your idea of saving money and by letting people die sounds a little bit frivolous...

TallDave

"- Withdraw from Iraq"

Yes, abandoning a country to be taken over by the most violent and anti-American extrremist elements rather than supporting their democratically elected government is a wonderful strategy for long-term economic security. It's not like we'd suffer more $2 trillion terrorist attacks after AQ established itself in the Sunni areas.

While we're at it, we can withdraw from S Korea and tell Israel we're cutting all ties with them too. Hey, those countries are costing us money! And Kosovo, what have they ever done for us? If the Serbs want to massacre them, hey, it doesn't cost us anything, right?


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