Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Robert J. Shiller — The Coming Anti-National Revolution


Where Robert Shriller loses his marbles over economic liberalism and globalization and has a fit of irrational exuberance about the wonders of capitalism based on free trade and capital flows, but (not yet) free flow of labor. However, with free trade and capital flow, embedded labor is tantamount to actually immigration influencing the labor market. The different is that cultural differences remain at home so losing one's job is not further complicated by losing it to someone of a different ethnicity, culture, and language group.

While I agree in the long run, it's nonsense to talk about this under present conditions. The long run could be a very long time, measured in centuries rather than years or decades. The big story historically is the shrinking of the globe through advances in transportation and communications technology. 

Many of the issues that are now arising stem from the rough edge involved as the world shrinks and different groups come in contact and interact more closely than previously. It's messy, and it will get a lot messier. 

Yes, the pendulum will eventually begin to swing the other way, but that is not on the visible horizon and speculating about it in the face of the present storms is beside the point and a distraction. Better to focus on real challenges in the present rather than pie in the sky down the road.

Sheller's vision is based on the illusion individualism that assumes humans are like atoms, history is irrelevant, and enculturation and social relations don't matter. It also assumes that like atoms, human don't feel pain or have strong emotions that are not always rational, including about other people, especially "different" people.

Shiller is a behavioral economist that knows all this, but he seems to have forgotten in this post that human beings are not simple stimulus-response mechanisms.

Project Syndicate
The Coming Anti-National Revolution
Robert J. Shiller, a 2013 Nobel laureate in economics | Professor of Economics at Yale University and the co-creator of the Case-Shiller Index of US house prices
ht Mark Thoma at Economist's View

8 comments:

Matthew Franko said...

But Tom a basic comment here... arent we witnessing if anything a nascent 'pro-national' revolution? at least here in the west...

Brexit? Trump?

So this is hard to understand Shiller here...

Ignacio said...

He is biased, is what Tom is saying in this post...

Professional liberal urban class is deeply biased on many things, that's why they complain and don't understand people is voting for Brexit, dumping Clinton, etc. They just cannot comprehend what is going on, in their heads everything is wonderful and fine, recovery excellent, Obama great, and people is just whining about nothing. Insert whatever petty identity issue they worry about and that's it.

Self serving attitude, like the politicians they choose to represent their class, amongst their own class (nominal asset appreciation is goal #1, like keep R.E. bubbles going). For someone like Shiller who has been observing this 'asset appreciation' class for decades should know better to see through echo-chambers and bubbles.

Matthew Franko said...

" history is irrelevant, and enculturation and social relations don't matter. "

Well I would agree with the 'history is irrelevant' part from a material systems perspective....

Social relations are not a material systems issue...

imo a big part of the problem is that we have people trained in 'social relations' in positions which require 'material systems' expertise....

this 'history' thing is where we go off the rails with "well Marx said blah blah..." or "well Keynes said blah blah..." or "well Eccles said blah blah...".... none of those people's opinions, from a material systems perspective, matter today they were operating under metals so N/A for today...

Tom, do you think if we make it to Mars someday, as Mars gravity is 38% of earth, do you think we will figure out how much something weighs on earth and then multiply by 38% or rather just use the Martian acceleration constant if we are there?

Six said...

"this 'history' thing is where we go off the rails with "well Marx said blah blah..." or "well Keynes said blah blah..." or "well Eccles said blah blah...".... none of those people's opinions, from a material systems perspective, matter today they were operating under metals so N/A for today..."

Except, people still want to act like we are operating under the metals. So we have to try to instruct them that we are not under the metals.

Tom Hickey said...

There's a reason that a time series may differ from an ensemble, and in psychology, economics and the other the social sciences this can be crucial. As result methodological individualism and the microfoundations based on it that treats economic agents as atoms is nonsense. Economic liberalism therefore rests on a crack-pot foundation.

Bob said...

Who is to lead this anti-national(ist) "revolution"? Won't be les deplorables.

Matthew Franko said...

"Except, people still want to act like we are operating under the metals. "

Well they dont understand what that system implied either... hence all the stochastic analysis that survives that type of system even to today...

When you see somebody using stochastics, that's the tip-off that they dont really understand what is going on in the first place...

Ignacio has reported here that from a cognitive perspective, humans will always tend to represent via stochastics what we generally dont understand... or at least dont fully understand...

Tom Hickey said...

Mathematical model

Conceptual model

Models in Science