walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

More from _Black Box_

All may be forgiven!

I've encountered a section about the inflationistas of 2010 and thereabouts/thereafter. Oh, that's a juicy lot of Too Much Commitment to a Wrong Belief, right there.

Of course, every last one of those assholes had huge incentives to try to pressure central bankers and others to worry more about inflation than deflation. If the author ignores that, I'm gonna be annoyed.

Here is the list of people: Michael Boskin (HW era), Klarman (half his fund in cash pretty much always), John Taylor (the oddball in the group that isn't stinking rich, but his audience is the stinking rich, and Krugman has been calling him out for misrepresenting the work of economists he is quoting for years now), Paul Singer (OMG could you get more conservative) and Niall Ferguson (I so don't need to say any more at this point). Bummer is that the author represents these conservative a-holes as: "some of the most celebrated individuals in their fields", without acknowledging their massive political skew, or, for most of them, their personal incentives for supporting monetary policy that focused on inflation vs deflation. If you talk about people who are VERY political without acknowledging that, and then go, why would they do that? You don't come across as very well-informed, for starters, because you're looking in the wrong place for the explanation. Something about the drunk looking for his keys under the street light.

"Indeed, there was something intellectually courageous about the group choosing to make their predictions so public in the first place." Uh, no, actually. Self-serving nonsense that distorted our policies in a way that harmed the world for longer than we had to do.

Altho, where did Rogoff and Reinhart go in this mess? I had to explain to my sister the other day why I couldn't bring myself to buy Rogoff's book about cash, given his participation in this mess (and Rogoff has actually mostly my-bad'ed about the whole thing, unlike the rest of these idiots).

Author sort of does a weird thing by failing to address the asset inflation that the idiots were complaining about.

Wow. That was distressingly short. Never did dig into the many more double-downs on Hyper Inflation Now that happened (to be fair, there's just no point in drawing any more attention to the idiots, because if you pay attention to them for any length of time, you do figure out that they are ... idiots).

There really was an awful few months in the time frame in question (2010/2011), before what's his face had to leave his bond fund, where a _lot_ of advisors were spewing Inflation Just Around the Corner Just Like Interwar Germany!!!! And whenever I walked them through, okay, tell me how this is going to happen? Just at the point where their argument fell apart, they re-asserted, and this time, refused to walk down the path of okay, so commodity prices are going to somehow stay high even when no one is buying them any more? But most people recovered from that and even admitted, yeah, my bad, I was wrong about inflation, ha ha. IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO ADMIT BEING WRONG. Unless it is, because you have external incentives and/or have abnormal interior life.

I hope he goes after Einstein being such a jerk about quantum theory. Einstein deserves to be called out on that one.

"The most striking finding of all was that the celebrated experts, the kinds of people who tour television studios and go on book tours, were the worst [predictors] of all."

Yeah. Well. I think we're all learning that it's a lot more fun watching people screw up than get it right every time. I mean, blooper reels. Reality TV shows. Dr. Phil. Etc.

This is such a weird book! "You might suppose that the higher up you go in a company, the less you will see the effects of cognitive dissonance." I guess if you've never even _heard_ of the Peter Principle. Or contemplated the probable overlap between cognitive dissonance reduction activities and narcissistic personality disorder. I mean, come on! "I am great! So why did I just get fired/dumped/told off by friend or family member. They must just not appreciate me! Screw them!"

Or, for that matter, the Psychopath Test by Ronson -- he spends a bunch of time on CEOs and insensitivity to feedback/lack of empathy, inability to see that they screwed up, etc.

You know, part of how I am feeling is that only part of the problem are these personality disordered leader/pundit types. The rest of the problem is that we are collectively prone to believing their bull shit. It is really our expectations, hey this guy says he is the smartest, best leader ever! That must be true. Because he said it! The expectations, the willingness to believe these people is the real problem. But we actually _recognize_ that we've been misled, and move on to someone else. I'm not sure we're as good at better identifying good leaders. Like, the process we should work on is Spot the Bullshitter. Not, spot our own reframing to avoid acknowledging our screw up. Altho maybe it is the same thing in the end -- we keep reframing how the person in charge can't really be as awful as he seems to be, thus not disinvesting, not finding another job, not divorcing the idiot, not changing to a better educational program, etc.
Tags: not-a-book-review

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