Friday, March 21, 2008

One of These Things is not Like the Other, or Ouch!

by Ken Houghton

From David Warsh's Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations:
During the administration of the first President Bush, [Larry] Summers became chief economist at the World Bank, then, after Bill Clinton was elected, rose steadily through the Treasury Department ranks, eventually becoming the youngest treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton, and finally president of Harvard University. His old friend Andrei Shleifer moved to Harvard from the University of Chicago in 1992 to lead a U.S. mission to Moscow on behalf of the U.S. Agency for International Development. His deputy, J. Bradford Delong, moved to Berkeley, wrote a textbook, and started a widely-read blog.

After finishing the book, I'm not certain that Warsh doesn't believe that DeLong didn't make the best choices of the three. (Nor would I be inclined to argue with that conclusion.)

Labels: ,

After finishing this post, I'm not certain that Houghton doesn't believe that not eliminating excessive negative constructions isn't the best way to make people not understand what you weren't trying to say. (Nor would I be inclined to argue with that conclusion.)

The Style Police
To be clear, the reasoning runs roughly like this:

1) Warsh put them all in the same paragraph, without any conditional.

2) Warsh emphasizes that the book is about the dialog of economics with the rest of the world. In that respect, Grasping Reality... is the centrist version of Marginal Revolution, and key to the extension of the dialog.

3) And, of course, given the way Summers and Shleifer's careers moved, er, forward (Warsh is not great fan of the Shleifer/Summers relationship and what it did at Harvard; see almost any link here), it's a fair statement that the only one whose results could be taken as optimal are DeLong's.

So my hedging is in part because I know what Warsh knew but didn't put into this particular section of the book.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?