15 October 2013

Noble Gases

These are the noble gases:
Helium, atomic number 2
Neon, atomic number 10
Argon, atomic number 18
Krypton, atomic number 36
Xenon, atomic number 54
Radon, atomic number 86
A bunch of guys in Stockholm, intellectual number 0

Yes, a bit of spleen regarding the good burghers of StockholmM who decided to award the economics prize to two right wingnuts from Chicago and one rationalist from New Haven. Talk about schizoid? Or, perhaps, they were intimating that sometimes the quant/micro guys are right and sometimes the behaviourist/macro guys are right?

In one sense, I suppose one could make such an argument. The problem is: what's good at the micro/quant level (corporation or hedge fund) is seldom good at the macro level. As Charles Erwin (not Roger Smith, and not what's commonly quoted) infamously said, "...I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa". Not that there's much semantic difference between the two statements. Turns out, not so much.

The underlying problem of quants versus the world, is that quants engage in gaming a zero sum game for their employers, while the macro folks worry about the greater good. Micro folks, not surprisingly, both deny that value judgments are meaningful and that whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In other words, an economy which produces 1 billionaire is just as good and fair as one which produces 20,000 $50,000 households. Chew on that for a minute.

Fama adds a snarky quote:
Asked in 2010 about those who warned that housing prices would crash, he responded, "Right. For example, Shiller was saying that since 1996."

Sometimes you just want to slap the brat.

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