Plática entre un liberal y una Occupy Wall Street

Russell Roberts, de EconTalk, entrevista a Cathy O’Neil de Mathbabe.org acerca de la crisis, los modelos financieros y de Occupy Wall Street. El intercambio es sumamente enriquecedor y es curioso ver cómo dos personas con creencias completamente distintas están de acuerdo en casi todo, incluso en lo fundamental.

Algunos pasajes interesantes de la entrevista:

I’m a capitalist; I love profit; and I love loss. And profit without loss is the most destructive thing you can probably imagine. And so a political system that has banks that make money at our expense as taxpayers and don’t bear the losses is pretend- or crony-capitalism, and faux capitalism. And those of us who love capitalism shouldn’t be defending their right to make profit, or defending them by saying, well, they are just playing by the rules. They help write the rules; they help make the rules; they influence the rule-makers as much as they can. And we can debate whether they are immoral or not, or evil, or dark, or unethical. All those things. Or even something minor, like jerks. That’s not the key issue. To me the key issue is: The system itself is not healthy in the way that capitalism should be. And don’t defend it. Those of you out there–they are going to destroy it.

Russ Roberts

Listen, I’m smart. You know. One of the reasons I disagree is because I’m smart and I don’t know what to do. And I know a lot of awfully smart people who don’t know what to do. And I know a lot of slightly less smart people who claim to know what to do. So really what it comes down to for me is, I want there to be a strong way of asserting: I don’t know.

And if you are saying: I don’t know the answer and we have to think about it, and we have to make sure the incentives are right and we have to make sure that the average person is protected from starvation, and it’s going to be hard, and the people who are in power now are going to have less power and they are going to have less money–that doesn’t sound like a very, you just don’t get play on that. But I do think that the ‘I don’t know’ somehow needs to have more cultural weight. And I think part of that is–starting this, that’s how I’ve chosen to start. I’ve chosen to start by saying: Distrust the expert. To be a skeptic. I want to first promote skepticism. Because once people sort of look under the covers to these mathematical models or whatever other models–political models–they realize that people are inside those. The systems are simply acting in their own best interests, almost all the time. And then people will start saying: Wait a second; that’s not working. What should we do? And that’s when they’ll come to–in an ideal world they’d come to this moment of: I don’t know. And they’d admit that they don’t know. And we’d actually get somewhere with our conversation.

O’Neil acerca de los financieros durante la crisis y su arrogancia en torno a los modelos financieros

Al final, Russ Roberts cita "The Second Coming," de Yeats.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

 

And that last line of that verse, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity," that to me is a big problem we have with experts.

 

Vía Econtalk

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Vínculos marginales XXXV

  1. Reglas kosher y captura regulatoria: aumentan los costos de producción y perjudican la competencia. Los consumidores pierden y los productores ganan. (Slate)
  2. Probabilidad y Teoría de Juegos aplicados a The Hunger Games. (Wired)
  3. Ya habíamos hablado de los robots-asistentes en el pasado y del problema de Japón, tanto de mano de obra como en manejo de desastres naturales. Ahora DARPA (sí, ellos de nuevo), impulsará y financiará el desarrollo de robots humanoides que utilicen herramientas humanas y operen durante catástrofes. (Modeled Behavior)
  4. El número neto de inmigrantes mexicanos en Estados Unidos ha llegado a cero. ¿Las causas? Posiblemente una combinación entre el poco crecimiento de la economía estadounidense, la creciente inseguridad en el norte de México, leyes antiinmigración estatales más duras y mejor patrullaje de la frontera. (Mark Thoma)
  5. Alejandro Villagómez (CIDE)  se pregunta “¿Cuándo se aceleró la inmigración de mexicanos a EUA?” Tal vez habría que analizar la gráfica en términos ajustados por población (como %) y comparar el crecimiento de la economía mexicana con la de EUA. (Tintero Económico Diario)

Regulación: aumenta costos de entrada y puede ser perjudicial para la competencia (Fuente)

Palabras para pensarse: Tucker sobre el gubernamental “ataque a la civilización”

Ah for the days when the socialists believed in material progress! That is no longer the case. Now they propose poverty and advocate government regulations to bring it about — and expect us to be grateful for it. Whereas socialism could not actually work to bring about greater productivity, it can do what the “postmaterialist” socialists desire. Socialistic means can work to bring about lower standards of living.

[…]

Somewhere along the way, during the last 50 years, the critique of capitalism changed from condemning its failure to spread the wealth to condemning the very opposite. Suddenly the great sin of capitalism was that it was producing too much, making us all too materialistic, fueling economic growth at the expense of other values, spreading middle-class decadence, and generally causing society to be too caught up in productivity and too focused on the standard of living.

De “The Decivlilizing Effects of Government.”, en la que Jeffrey A. Tucker habla sobre cómo la regulación gubernamental en Estados Unidos hace cada vez más imposible disfrutar de los placeres de la civilización, desde dormir sin bichos en la cama hasta tomar duchas largas. Por supuesto, muchos considerarán esta nota como exagerada, pero algo de razón hay detrás. Tantas personas he conocido que consideran a la pobreza como una virtud, la muerte temprana por enfermedades curables como algo aceptable y el crecimiento urbano como algo horrendo. Concluye:

Joseph Schumpeter said that the great tragedy of capitalism is that it produces riches so abundant that people tend to take them for granted, imagining that they can hobble and destroy its productive machinery without great economic and social consequence. This is precisely what is happening today. This tendency to romanticize poverty and simplicity and a world without modern technology is an ideology that is animating the antics of many of today’s intellectuals, politicians, and bureaucrats who have set themselves up as enemies of all that makes life grand, which is to say that they set themselves up as enemies of freedom.

Especially now, our taxes are paying not for civilization but rather for its destruction.

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