Thursday, June 28, 2012

Writing, Radio & Rows

A quick catch up post.

Crazy Money
If you follow my tweets you'll know I've become absorbed into a post called 'Crazy Money'. It started out as a quirky little idea that I hoped would allow me to explore a couple of things about Money. Two weeks and 8K words later and I'm still not near finishing. I also had it in mind to try and make it vaguely readable. Unlike my 'ramble' posts - like this one - that just get typed and published.

So, still not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, I've decided to split the post up. Part one to a computer screen near you shortly. I just hope (a) I can keep on track with it, and (b) when and if a light does appear it's not an oncoming train. The problem with writing about money is its a very big subject. Every time you have something definite to say about it, you think, and then you find that the exact opposite is also true. Read Simmel, or Seaford and you'll see what I mean.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
This week has of course been significant because of the first dramatisation of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance broadcast on BBC Radio4. Really, if you've not listened to it, please stop reading my nonsense and head over here. It disappears this coming Saturday 30th June 2012, so you haven't got long. I know nothing about radio dramatisations, I just know that some of my favourite passages are featured. And I think the dramatisation manages to communicate the idea of Quality as the source of all things very well. (Of course it does so by reading Pirsig's words, but choosing which words to read and how to read them is an art in itself)

Hopefully, I can be more successful at showing how my conception of Money, and the MOQ fit together in my Crazy Money series.

Krugman, Coyle and Portes
Little spats like this need an immediate response. So I'm a bit late in the day. But if you missed it basically it was a discussion around the relative success of Micro Vs Macro Economics. Diane Coyle's post here, Jonathan Portes response here, Krugman weighs in here.

As far as I'm concerned there's not much to choose between micro and macro. The kindest thing I can say about micro is that it's consistent. The kindest thing I can say about macro is that tries hard. Neither of them goes anywhere near THE question (if you've not been paying attention THE question is 'What is Money?'). I think the macro debates are more easily sustained because of their political dimension. Usually they go like this:

The more populist ones say:
"Spend/Save* (delete as appropriate) to grow".

The more hardcore ones say:
"Keynes/Hayek* (delete as appropriate) said this, then, and meant A."
Someone disagrees. "Keynes/Hayek said something else, at a later time, and meant B."
Then they call each other stupid.

I don't read any micro stuff, but I guess they're debates would go like this:
"Your maths is wrong.
Oh, sorry."

It's not often you see a row between micro and macro. Diane Coyle was brave to have a go at the Emperors of economics. The last word in the row went to the Galactic Emperor himself, The Krugman who (blessed are we who hear his words) told us "these have been glory days for standard macroeconomics, which has done amazingly well under crisis conditions". I have it on good authority that he had no clothes on when he said it.

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