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Friday, April 5, 2013
I love the models, the debates, the completely false belief that people behave consistently and rationally. Mostly, I love the fact that there's a little bit of thought and modeling that goes into the theories before they get tested out. I see economics as applied mass psychology and what I love about it is that it is a fairly new science so there are still pioneers and that the most famous practitioners are theorists more than technicians. I have a feeling that half of the economic theories we have are going to be as antiquated as alchemy is but I believe that like alchemy, it will give way to a good measurable predictive science just as alchemy gave way to chemistry.
So let me tell you about some of my favorite economic blogs so that you can go read a bit more about it if you are so inclined:
Do you ever see the unemployment report numbers on Friday and wonder why it's making the front page? Calculated Risk and Econbrowser are for you. Both of those blogs go over the economic reports, graph the trends and have nice short articles about what they mean. Next time you're heading to a party with people who aren't drinking Four Loco check out those two blogs and you'll sound like a genius all night.
So that's not enough for you? You want to have an opinion on Krugman's columns in the Times? Check out Marginal Revolution or get out on the track and listen to the Econtalk podcast. Marginal revolution has links to all the hot topics going on in economics and Russ Roberts, the host of Econtalk, has a guest every week to discuss one of the hot issues of the day. I'll give you a little warning that Russ Roberts and the economists on Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen, are conservative economists. That means that they believe in policies that many economists believe are harder on the poor and less productive members of society. I myself am on the very liberal side of economics, I don't think that being poor or unproductive is always a decision, circumstance weighs heavily on what you do in society. If you want to make sure you're getting a balanced view read your Krugman but also read Matt Yglesias's Moneybox column in Slate.
If you read those blogs from time to time you'll stay very current and you'll have an informed opinion when the budget talks start in a couple months. Also you will be a more informed voter, a smarter consumer and a better business person. Economics can impact every area of your life so its a topic worth being informed about. If you're really into it after exploring a bit, all of those sites will link you to places all over the web like a Coursera class I'm taking about irrational behavior or articles about what's really going on in Greece and Spain written by people who have been there. Tell me what you think of economics in the comments and thanks for stopping by.