Pursuit of Truthiness

my gut tells me I know economics

Mini Biographies

with one comment

1) The Great Zucchini: How to make six figures while working two days a week with a high-school education. Plus: the dark side. Great reporting/writing.

2) A Profile of Andrew Sullivan: I knew from his blog that his life, both personally and intellectually, was interesting and a bit contradictory; but this story truly makes the reader wonder if it could all be describing a single person.

3) A Hagiography of Larry Summers: Definitely a puff piece, but it does make him sounds perfectly suited to his current job; and as Dr. Horn says, given who his parents and his uncles were he had no chance of living a gaffe-free life among ordinary people.  My favorite part of the piece is Summers’ quote about why he chose to be an economist:

During his senior year of college, Summers was considering graduate school in both theoretical physics and economics. For weeks, he anguished over whether to pursue his passion (physics) or the family business (in addition to his economist parents, Summers has two uncles–Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow–who won Nobel prizes in the field). After he finally decided on the latter, he explained his thinking to Rollins: “What does a bad theoretical physicist do for a living? He walks into an office, sits at a desk, and stares at a plain white sheet of paper.” “But,” Summers added, “there’s a lot of work in the world for a bad economist.”

4) John Rawls: On My Religion gives insights into the mind of the most influential political philosopher of recent times.  Apparently Rawls was at one point quite religious and considered attending a seminary to study for the Episcopal priesthood.


Written by James Bailey

June 14, 2009 at 6:23 pm

One Response

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  1. With time, I believe the mathematical “problem solving” orientation of twentieth-century economics will be viewed as piece-meal and insufficient, especially as we look at the viability of the market-mechanism itself in the wake of the financial crisis. Relatedly, Samuelson’s “mathematization” of economics treats the discipline as though it were a science–ignoring the inherent limits to prediction of a human system, whether social, political or economic. For more, pls see http://euandus3.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/paul-samuelson-the-20th-century-economist-has-passed/


    December 14, 2009 at 3:43 pm

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