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!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Professional deformations of economics, part whatever it is
Via Felix Salmon, Tim Harford, "The Undercover Economist" writes on how importing food isn't a bad thing. Not so bad as far as it goes, but he misses the most important point in any analysis of food miles, which is the one Alex picked up - the concept of food miles is pretty much totally incoherent, as a great deal of this stuff is picked up as a backload. It's not surprising that a conventionally-trained economist would have missed it, because backloads are surprisingly difficult to integrate into any normal economic model - it's certainly worth remembering that you don't need to tell debatable stories about QWERTY keyboards to get into trouble, because there are big issues of nonlinearities and nonconstant returns to scale in a simple trucking route.
Basically the Tommy Steele of Freakonomics. Not as irritating as L&D but still IMO a Bad Thing for the science. The only one of these books I've got time for is the Robert Frank one, precisely because it ties the whole science of economics down to specific problems with case-specific solutions (and then tries to generalise) rather than developing a set of generic solutions and then trying to force-fit the problems into them.
Labels: I like the word "backload".
this item posted by the management 11/19/2007 11:32:00 PM