Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived
A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?
Update: seemingly not
Update: Oh yeah!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Thursday Music Link
My plea a couple of years ago that after "Twenty years ago today" had been twenty years in the past for twenty years, we could perhaps stop blaming the 1960s for our problems, fell on stony ground. There is a piece of blah by Michael Kinsley doing the rounds, basically doing the whole "baby boomers, the selfish generation, entitled, not the Greatest Generation, concept of sacrifice, grr hippies, self-loathing, sixties" thing, tied to some dumbass idea or other about the national debt.
Fact: The 1960s postwar generation defeated the Soviet Union, a military power clearly comparable to Nazi Germany. And they did it more or less without firing a shot. They also managed to end apartheid in South Africa and the USA. That's pretty good going actually.
Of course, none of this counts, because what's missing is sacrifice, nobility, suffering for a cause etc. The greatest lesson of both the Sixties and the Cold War is - fuck that for a lark. One of the reasons why, despite it all, I'm still an economist is that economics, for all its many faults, measures the goodness of things by what their results are, not in some twisted calculus of misery. Victory in the Cold War is not less meaningful by the fact that its casualties could be measured in single rather than double digits of millions.
I wrote (but scrapped) a post on something I was going to call "the McCain ratio", after the Senator and Presidential candidate, this being the ratio between the amount of personal suffering and heroism expended in a cause, to the the actual contribution made. If someone had undergone five years of prison camp torture, but the end result was that they destroyed one of their own side's planes and made a propaganda film for the enemy, I would standardise that as minus one McCain units; an alternative numeraire might have been the corresponding ratio for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which wouldn't have the problem of a negative denominator.
this item posted by the management 9/16/2010 07:42:00 AM