Miscellaneous


There Is No General Money Problem In Economics

There Is No General Money Problem In Economics

Alex Rosenberg asks for an explanation of why I’m not worried about the “invisibility” of money in “economic theory”. I’m not entirely sure why he thinks there’s something here we should be worried about. He clearly seems to think that the absence of money in some leading macroeconomic models has produced false predictions, specifically of recent bouts of inflation in the US that didn’t happen. Don Ross responds again to Alex Rosenberg

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I've Still Got Money Problems

I've Still Got Money Problems

I’d be grateful for more attention from Professors Ross and Coyle. Their dissent from my observations about mainstream economic theory invites a response, at least to get them to focus on my actual subject, the role of money (or the lack of any role) in the theory economists employ. Alex Rosenberg responds to his respondees about his money problems.

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Brief Aside On Rosenberg's Money Problems

Brief Aside On Rosenberg's Money Problems

In the mid-1980s I worked on monetary policy in the UK Treasury (this was before Bank of England independence), and monetary targeting was the policy of the Thatcher Government. It was based on the simplistic monetarism Professor Rosenberg criticises toward the end of his blast against economics: control monetary growth and you would control inflation as the two were supposed to be closely related. Diane Coyle responds to Alex Rosenberg

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Lack-of-omniscience Problems

Lack-of-omniscience Problems

Will President Biden’s thrilling fiscal plans cause serious price inflation? I’d like to know. I’m curious about and emotionally involved with the future, but there’s also the practical reason that I’d then know whether I should reduce the weight of equities in my investment portfolio. Alex Rosenberg would also like to know, perhaps for a similar mix of reasons. He is disappointed, however, that when he asks economists he finds disagreement. This leads him to doubt, as a philosopher of science, that economic theory is of any value at all. Don Ross Responds to Alex Rosenberg

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Money, Inflation, and the Lack Thereof:  A Reply to Alex Rosenberg

Money, Inflation, and the Lack Thereof: A Reply to Alex Rosenberg

Alex Rosenberg laments the current state of economics, worrying both about its failure to secure its basic concepts (notably the concept of money) and its predictive failures. In the end, he asks the following question. “The elimination of money as a real causal factor from economics’ description of reality certainly hasn’t improved its predictive power. In fact it’s done the opposite: exposed the theory to disconfirmation by the actual facts about money. Is this what we should expect from a science we can use?” EJ Spode responds to Alex Rosenberg

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Money Problems

Money Problems

The disagreement among otherwise like-minded economists about the consequences of President Biden’s stimulus plans has brought a major embarrassment for economics out into the open again. The embarrassment is that economics doesn’t have the slightest idea of what to do with money. In fact economists can’t even agree on whether money is real and what exactly it does. Alex Rosenberg Asks Whether Economists Know What Money Is and Does.

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Sade, Bataille and Beckett Take Lunch

Sade, Bataille and Beckett Take Lunch

For Bataille, eating is a form of ‘appropriation’, one of the two polarized human impulses he locates in Sade. Its polar opposite is ‘excretion’. He sees eating as an oral communion involving participation, identification, incorporation, assimilation, one that can be sacramental depending on whether the food is heightened or conventionally destroyed. If destroyed then its preparation is vital.

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John Calder Talking About Sam Beckett

John Calder Talking About Sam Beckett

A short film of the late great John Calder talking about publishing Sam Beckett

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1968 and the emotional meaning of 2020

1968 and the emotional meaning of 2020

2020 is as distant from 1968 as the Apollo 11 moon-landing was from the end of World War One. For some of us Americans 2020 has rubbed the hard and weathered scar of 1968 raw enough that we can feel its poison again, 52 years later. But those of us who are old enough to still feel 1968 can treat 2020 as a moment of redemption, or even atonement, one that somehow cancels out a small part of the lingering regret and almost certainly foolish mistakes we made back in that terrible year between the Tet offensive and the election of Richard Nixon. Alex Rosenberg reflects on 2020

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Hans Falla and Janine Paulette discuss Vampyr by Louis Armand

Hans Falla and Janine Paulette discuss Vampyr by Louis Armand

Let us be grateful to Armand who makes us happy: a charming monster who makes our souls blossom. The real writers of discovery consist not in seeking new landscapes, nor in having new eyes but rather in the mere effort to patch the writing above and against a life. Predictions of things to come are necessarily the memorising of things as they are. Armand, as he writes, is actually the reader of a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he sees in himself without the book. The writer's recognition in himself in what the book says is the proof of the book's worth. Hans Falla and Janine Paulette discuss Louis Armand's Vampyr

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Hans Falla and Janine Paulette in conversation about Steve Finbow’s ‘The Mindshaft’

Hans Falla and Janine Paulette in conversation about Steve Finbow’s ‘The Mindshaft’

The 70s has only one face: that of a violent contradiction. It went astray, was destroyed, was extremely private, distant, passionate, turbulent and filthy. Nothing is more necessary or stronger in us than this time. It was the beginning of a kind of cannibalism. It was a time that didn't want your love unless you knew it was repulsive, and love would neverbe what would survive it. It was in harmony with its annihilation. It never seemed decent because its indecent people had moral eyes and feared lewdness. They wanted to be frightened by the crowing of a rooster or when strolling under a starry heaven and savored the "pleasures of the flesh" only on condition that it wasn’t insipid. Steve Finbow's new novel The Mindshaft discussed.

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Denizen of the Dead

Denizen of the Dead

This anthology of horror stories set in and around 43 Golden Lane in central London is a continuation of a series of protests against a luxury apartment development. Taylor Wimpey’s new building at this address replaces 110 social housing units for key workers with 99 much bigger investment flats. The new apartment block is considerably larger than the one that was demolished to make way for it and now overshadows local social housing, a park and schools. Some council flats have lost 70% of the light in their living rooms and afternoon sunshine is blocked from the heavily used Fortune Street Park. While impoverished local councils often roll over for developers, the City of London which is home to this luxury development is the richest and most undemocratic council in the UK, and one which very proactively represents and lobbies for corporate interests. Stewart Home introduces a vital anthology of horror stories.

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Can the Experience Machine Save the Planet?

Can the Experience Machine Save the Planet?

About fifty years ago the very creative Harvard philosopher, Robert Nozick, invented the thought-experiment known as the “experience machine.” His aim was to show that people value other things beside pleasant sensations, and so hedonistic theories of value, like John Stuart Mill’s--“pleasure is the good”--are mistaken. One version of his thought-experiment goes like this: suppose you were offered the choice between living your future life as it will actually happen, or being wired up to a machine that produces in your brain exactly the same sequence of experiences as you will have in your real life from now on. Alex Rosenberg on How We Might Survive the Future

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Brief Asides on She’s My Witch by Stewart Home

Brief Asides on She’s My Witch by Stewart Home

This is a love story following a pretty conventional trajectory, told with feeling and warmth. Who’d have thought? Mind you, if I tried to summarise what was going on then it’d sound a lot like a typical Home affair: lots of wild sex, drugs, weird esotericism, Metro Euro-London rad lefty underground culture, music references with time travel, witches and reincarnations thrown in to keep the pot boiling. It’s playful and subversive of course, but what I found new was the tone of the performance which seemed to be less astringent, less belligerent and more tuned to the hallowed than the sensational. It rattled along at a fair old pace and there’s lots of it which gives Home the space to game large and wide.

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Brief Asides on Licorice by Bridget Penney

Brief Asides on Licorice by Bridget Penney

‘Chalk, gorse, old coppice, redundant dew ponds, a crossroads formed by the intersection of a B road and an ancient fisherman’s track. It’s August. The rain shows no sign of stopping. Licorice, a reclusive middle-aged filmmaker, has only a brief window of opportunity to realise her long-cherished film project about the story of Nan Kemp. A grisly story of infanticide, cannibalism and rough justice remembered on the map: local kids have dared and scared each other to run round ‘the witch’s grave’ since way back when. The rebuilt windmill provides a hypothetical link between the time from which Nan’s ‘story’ springs and the present.

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Brief asides on No-Signal Area by Robert Perišić

Brief asides on No-Signal Area by Robert Perišić

I like this new book by Robert Perišić which is set in somewhere like Croatia. Probably is Croatia given that that’s the place he writes about. He’s got what it takes to carry a complicated story through to the end whilst giving you the politics and zeitgeist of the place. And he’s got a great eye for detail, especially the humane stuff between people. So when I read it I felt I knew his characters well enough to argue with them and sometimes I wondered if they’d really do what they did. I felt I could ask that because he does such a good job letting you know what the character is thinking and what she or he did before so you can say: hmm, I don’t believe you. Or, hmm, you wouldn’t do that. Or else. If you’re doing that then what you were saying, doing, thinking before wasn’t quite the truth.

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Brief Asides on SJ Fowler's I Will Show You the Life of the Mind (on prescription drugs)

Brief Asides on SJ Fowler's I Will Show You the Life of the Mind (on prescription drugs)

The private garden of a dying mind, loaded and loading prescription drugs towards a dying end in ‘a state of extremely slow emergency’, is laid out as compassion and seed initiates. Substituting feeling and emotion with slo-mo information mosaics the life resembles one rapidly discarded stage set after another, folding over and over, with permanent effect, a sense of meaning ruled by shifting identities, transient delusions and fickle estrangements.

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