Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Requiem - On to 2016

I've ceremoniously replaced the website with it's brother page on Facebook. It seemed only fair to add an end-of-the-year post on the site before beginning 2016.

Here goes.

To sum up the year, at least in a post, it's tempting to take a sentimental tone, leaning into mawkish territory with anecdotes of what certain life moments meant during 2015, adorned by special hallmark memories that evoke feelings of joy and contentment. While this sort of synthesis effectively does emotionally charge its author (and readers) at least in terms of finding virtual peace with whatever station in life is being described, it's possible that in doing so therein lies a subtle difference between deriving satisfaction from the little joys in life versus extracting knowledge and maybe a little bit of wisdom from deeper sources that echo higher-impact thoughts. 

Quick pop-culture reference:  the Ferris Bueller quote "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it" makes a valid point in this regard. 

What does "stop and look around once in a while mean" to each person? Philosophically speaking, this statement could mean severe contemplation, decisive introspection and a strong focus in answering self-doubt by addressing general/specific unanswered questions. Banal and mundane approaches could interpret the suggestion to take a pause and think as a way of not letting the rudimentary day-to-day habits drag us into old age without ever having experienced the different joys and thereby personal growth every human being aspires to. The latter definition is what Matthew Broderick referred to in the movie. 

The former explanation, though, demands more. However, there is little time to play the deep thinker when making a living or raising a family. 2015 was a trial in that regard. 

Man, in general terms, is content with what is. Ignorance is bliss. Psychologists, as is their wont, have referenced family, work and friendships as all contributing to a person's wellbeing. Social Scientists and Economists vie to address the current allocation of resources, optimization of different systems, study of human processes and interpretation of behaviors that determine growth, and reach for, crudely speaking, a closer way to achieve utopia. 

Note: Pseudoeconomics looks to address just that - the different players and their attempts towards optimization (i.e. Utopia, or augmented reality in its current terms). Economics is an art in that regard. And a very amusing past time for whomever takes on its study as a serious amateur.

The worldly professions and the learned men (and women) behind them that move us and shift our existence in this world -  politicians, doctors, lawyers, scientists, activists, writers, artists, religious folks, businessmen, yoga instructors - in their origin, provide a service, donning a win-win to society. Until they deviate and don't.

2015 was the year when victims, and here I reference self-imposed victimhood, not the truly afflicted, were not victims, but potential champions that fizzed out. In my personal experience, this was a year in which life re-affirmed itself, upheld by shared experiences with a loyal family, friends and enriched by experiences at work and outside of it. 

Octavio Paz said: "Deserve your dream." I think, in plain-speak that means, "get your ass to work". The trick therein is to work for a dream, not for it's own sake. 

As a segue to this post's ending, and on to a richer and much better written text, an opportunity to contemplate the year's successes and great opportunities  through an eloquent explanation of the risk represented by excessive pride (always a danger to take note of!), by Paz himself (from the chapter on "Rhythm" in his book "The Bow and the Lyre),

A favor: pay close attention to the "magic" and "magician" concepts mentioned. The reference might seem archaic. Far from it.

"Magic is a dangerous and sacrilegious enterprise, an affirmation of human power vis-a-vis the supernatural. Separated from the human herd, facing the gods, the magician is alone. His greatness and almost always, his final sterility is rooted in that aloneness. On the one hand, it is a testimony of his tragic decision. On the other, of his pride. Indeed, every magic that is not transcended - that is, not transformed into a gift, into philanthropy - consumes itself and ends by consuming its creator. 

The magician sees men as instruments, forces, nuclei of latent energy. One form of magic consists in the dominion over self for ultimate dominion over others. Princes, kings and leaders surround themselves with magicians and astrologers, the precursors of political advisors. The formulas for magic power are fatally bound up with tyranny and the domination of men. The magician's is a solitary rebellion, because the essence of magical activity is the quest for power. The similarities between magic and technology have frequently been pointed out, and some think that the former is the remote source of the latter. Whether or not this hypothesis is valid, it is obvious that the characteristic mark of modern technology - like that of ancient magic - is the cult of power. 

Standing opposite the magician is Prometheus, the loftiest figure created by Western imagination. Neither magician, nor philosopher, nor sage: hero, stealer of fire, philanthropist. The Promethean revolt embodies the revolt of mankind. Implicit in the chained hero's aloneness throbs the return to the world of men. The magician's solitude is a solitude with no return. His revolt is sterile because magic - that is to say, the quest for power by power - ends by annihilating itself. And this, precisely, is the drama of modern society."

Happy new year.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pseudoeconomics on Facebook

Pseudoeconomics now has a facebook page!

Please follow the link above and like the page.

The dynamic on facebook is such that a page for the website there lends itself nicely to a broader (and more participative) audience.

The website will still be active - albeit with a slight change in focus.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Gearty Grilling: The Noble Economist

2010 Nobel Prize in Economics winner Chris Pissarides explaining the difference between Scandinavia's and Italy's compromise between promoting free markets and keeping a social democracy afloat.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Reading list

Have been keeping busy reading the following:

Capital in the 21st Century - Thomas Piketty

Will be posting comments soon.

A quick summary:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

How the euro caused the Greek crisis

The Greek crisis explained in under 3 minutes.

Posted by Ezra Klein on Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sunday, May 3, 2015

On the never-ending journey that leads to sound personal convictions

Malcolm Gladwell is often remembered for one key idea: the 10,000 hour rule (as mentioned in his 2008 non-fiction book Outliers).

Gladwell insists on the validity behind the idea, that to become an expert, in basically anything, one must (taking into account some "x" level of aptitude) put in 10,000 hours of practice...which roughly equals 10 years time. The interesting premise here is that, to become an expert, one does not necessarily have to be a genius.

In reading up on Gunner Myrdal, and Friedrich von Hayek, the 1974 Nobel Prize in Economic winners I have yet to profile, I realized: these men obviously exceeded the ten year quota required to excel in their field. Their professional careers in academia, politics, and as part of their country's intelligentsia community translated into far more than 10,000 hours of dedication to the economic research, application and theory-building needed for the breakthroughs that led to their nobel prize wins. Their work was a product for a lifetime, having built on other economist's own 10,000 hours.

The common (yet very extraordinary) denominator between these Nobel Prize winners (and their equally gifted contemporaries) is the clarity in their ideas, convictions and beliefs. 

The winners' prize lectures archived in the website denote an acute understanding of the world, as if these winners knew exactly what their place on earth meant, and what their work needed to reflect, so as to be valued as truly model citizens. It's baffling to read such clear ideas and strong feelings. It's overwhelming at times, and very exciting to know what their findings meant to them, before their ideas and applications began to mean so much more to the societies, institutions, governments, economies and businesses that benefited indirectly and directly from the work derived therefrom. 

I sometimes mention what this blog is supposed to do, and what it's supposed to mean, but the reality is that both those things are in a constant state of flux. What does persist, though, is the never-ending search for a deeper truth; one related towards making sense of the way the world functions, and how to strive that same functioning towards continual improvement. 

What's beautiful about concentrating on how economists came about it, is that, economists don't just limit themselves to the established ideas in their field: economists pick and take what works in other realms (psychology, philosophy, sociology, mathematics, politics, etc...) and apply it to the problems that we faced yesterday, face today and will face tomorrow.

All this makes for sound convictions. Naturally.

This man clearly had strong convictions.

From The Economist: Techs-Mex

Slowly, but surely, Mexico is catching up with the rest of the world's start-up scene.

I wish I could fast-forward my nobel prize in economics series to start learning about the origins of entrepreneurial economics, and the men/women that shaped this school of thought.

I've recently read up on Schumpeter, specifically about the term and concept he coined, that has become synonymous with innovation: creative destruction.

A quick and inspired Google search (keywords: entrepreneurism in Mexico) led to an interesting result: 

I believe Mexico's and other similar countries' growth will come from entrepreneurship.

Better yet, to have this growth be a product of the virtuous circle that results from inclusive political (checks on power from those that govern) and economic (freedom to compete in a fairer market) institutions would be most momentous.

Sustainable growth. 

Just as is the case with other countries, we have yet to catch up.

We (us) must do it right.

This is what this blog has been meant to pursue: the search for an interesting, objective formula that leads to sustainable economic growth.