Pursuit of Truthiness

my gut tells me I know economics

Archive for the ‘about me’ Category

Economics Subfield Interests

leave a comment »

Like all areas of inquiry in the modern era, economics has been broken off into progressively narrower subfields, so that as the sum of human knowledge expands people can still feel as if they have mastered their “field”, however narrowly it has been defined.

With a healthy supply of youthful arrogance and naiveté, I hope I can reach a much broader understanding.

So what is worth studying in economics?

The practical answer is: econometrics. Econometricians are able to use their knowledge of economics, math and statistics to draw inferences from mounds of raw data. In the era of the internet, data is becoming ubiquitous, so its analysis is at a premium; econometricians can go into government, academia, or even the private sector.

The ambitious (power-craving) answer is: Applied macroeconomics. This is the most sure stepping stone to obtaining powerful, unelected government positions in the Federal Reserve, Treasury, or Council of Economic Advisers.

The ambitious (important mystery-solving) answer is: Development, health care, or macroeconomics. These fields each study complicated systems which effect just about everyone in the world. They are each fields into which many highly intelligent and driven people have poured their lives into studying; these people have discovered some simple rules, but the fields remain full of problems that have not been fully solved. These are the fields where the biggest payoff to society at large would accrue if they were to be “figured out”.

Our approach to each of these, especially health care, is likely to undergo sweeping changes in the near future. There is broad agreement of the need to reform health care policy, but very little agreement or understanding of what these reforms could look like. It is extremely possible that the desire for change, the pent-up political will, will be spent making a bad system worse. I hope that when the health care revolution comes, I will be at the policy-wonk barricades fighting for brighter, better-utility future.

Advertisements

Written by James Bailey

June 9, 2008 at 5:27 pm

On Motivation

leave a comment »

I’ve been finding lately that motivation is largely about momentum.  It gets caught in circles vicious and virtuous.  Having fun? Have more fun!  Got some work done?  Great, I bet you’d do well at some more work!

I’m in the virtuous circle at the moment, as long as blogging counts as work.  Accomplishing this post will push me on to great feats of mathematics.

Written by James Bailey

March 23, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Posted in about me, human nature

American Again

leave a comment »

Superbowl Sunday is the new July 4th.

I am officially acculturated and assimilated, purged of French idées and cultures.

Playing basketball was a good start; watching the Superbowl with friends patriotic; but the burgers, mozzarella sticks, and hundreds of wings are the real secret.  This food is enough to make a man’s heart burn with revolutionary fervor.

Written by James Bailey

February 6, 2008 at 4:28 am

Posted in about me, America, bad jokes

How well do you know yourself?

with one comment

As I get older and gain some experience in the wide world, I realize that some qualities which I had thought were intrinsic to my being were in fact contingent on something else.

When this happens, it feels a little bit like find out that your arm in detachable, or that unaided flight really is possible if you get the ratio of frosted flakes to beer just right.

Usually, these discoveries are really minor, but some are pretty important.  In middle school and high school, everyone (including myself) thought I was just a quiet person.  To some extent I was just shy.  But to a large extent, I was just chronically tired; I realize that I went through high school in a state of continual sleep deprivation.  Once I went to college and had classes starting at 11, I was suddenly a lot more social; and now I see as clearly as if it were graphed out this inverse relationship.

Conclusion- don’t make assumptions about your body or personality.  Instead, try some natural philosophy, where life is your laboratory.

Written by James Bailey

August 7, 2007 at 2:59 am

Church softball= Moral Dilemmas

with one comment

Do *you* think it’s bad sportsmanship to cartwheel onto home plate after your best hit of the season?

‘Cause the other team and the umpire sure did.

Me, I thought it was fun.

Written by James Bailey

August 1, 2007 at 1:33 am

Posted in about me, the church

The Loser Decision

with 2 comments

Dilbert guy tells us how his ego screwed up a great opportunity. Of course, this served as a life lesson and things worked out for him in the end.

By his analysis, I think my “winner decision” would be taking a merit scholarship at a school no one in Maine had heard of instead of going to a more respected institution and graduating with $80,000 in debt.

Written by James Bailey

July 23, 2007 at 8:52 pm

Sappy answer to above post

with 3 comments

I’d like to think that my money can’t do anything terribly important on its own, but that it will be lubricant or catalyst that helps make important things happen better, faster and with fewer explosions.

I hope my wealth will reflected in the things I learned, the places I went, the friends I met, and the people I helped; that is to say, I hope it helps me do what I think is really important.

I hope that in ten years, I will have a house full of good books, a passport full of stamps from interesting and meaningful places, and some serious work done in development.

But that’s the easy part.  The tough question:

Do these things have intrinsic value, or are they just a higher form of personal  entertainment?

Written by James Bailey

June 28, 2007 at 1:58 am

Posted in about me, the future