The Prudential Science

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

I ran into this quote going through an old EconTalk the other day, and thought it interesting:

As economists, we’re specialists in prudence only.

That, as you say, is not what Adam Smith recommended. Not at all. I and a number of other people would like to get back to a Smithian economics, which although it didn’t throw away the very numerous insights that we get from thinking of people as maximizers — maximizers in this narrow sense — acknowledges that temperence and justice and love and courage and hope and faith can change the way the economy works.

UIC Economist, Deirdre McCloskey

I’m trying to decide if I agree with it or not. I would certainly agree that economics basically only looks at certain prudential concerns, it doesn’t consider humanistic or theological questions. However, I’m not sure if economics should acknowledge those concerns, or if it is more the case that economists (and others dealing with the field) should clearly acknowledge that there is much more to any question than the question of what is most economically efficient.

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Obama Homeland Security Alerts

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

ObamaSecurity

Commenter Donna V. has come up with this list of Obama Homeland Security Alerts:

Hey, maybe the Obama admin will revise the Homeland Security alerts, now that we know we have nothing to fear from terrorists. Maybe something along these lines:

Level Red: The Great Leader is more popular than Jesus, the Beatles, and Michael Jackson combined. This is how it should be.

Level Green: A few grumblings are heard from disgruntled rednecks in fly-over country. Nothing to worry about, really, but keep your eyes open.

Level Orange: Uh, oh. The peons are doing a lot of grumbling and booing at town hall meetings and there’s a quite a bit of seemingly fishy information (cunningly planted by Fox News) out there on the Net. Couric, CNN, HuffPo, you know what to do.

Level Purple: Lord, the fish is now a great big dead rotting whale on the WH lawn. Comrades Dowd and Krugman, fire photon torpedoes!

Level Gray: We’re screwed. We have now crossed the River Styx and are in Jimmy Carter territory.


Sebelius and Specter Respond

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

Save_Freedom_of_Speech

Hattip to the ever reticent Lads and Lasses at the Lair of the Catholic Cavemen. Yesterday I had a post celebrating the warm reception that Secretary Sebelius and Senator Specter received at a town hall meeting.  Now the indispensable Iowahawk has thoughtfully penned here, a response to the voters for Secretary Sebelius and Senator Specter.  No doubt they will be duly appreciative of his efforts, and Iowahawk will probably enjoy his time on the no-fly list.


Coup as Solution to the National Debt?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  The sad thing is, that this scheme only seems slightly less crazy than many a proposal currently under consideration in Congress.  Such a stratagem as a fake coup to get out of debt reminded my wife of the plot of The Mouse That Roared, the howlingly funny Peter Sellars film from 1959: