i just saw this guy on CBS. 94 years old, trading stocks since the great depression.

he's a survivor! his advice on how to get through a recession: pick the right stocks.

no shit!


we moved on to game theory and information economics this week, which caused a visible buzz in the lecture theatre. we covered lemons, hawks vs doves and other standard problems. So, here is the famous monty hall problem which we opened up for discussion, and since answers to that are readily available,

enter the extremely cunning (and much more subtler variant), the Terminator Question.

"In the 1984 movie, The Terminator, a robotic killer is sent back through time to present day Los Angeles to kill Sarah Connor, who will one day give birth to John Connor, a hero who will lead humans to victory in a future war against machines.

After the Terminator is sent back through time by the machines to change history, John Connor sends a dedicated soldier, Kyle Reese, back through time to defend Sarah Connor.

The situation is as follows (details do not follow the movie precisely):

There are 3 Sarah Connors in L.A. Neither the Terminator nor Reese knows which is the “correct” Sarah Connor.
In any round, the Terminator can choose to target one Sarah Conner, and Reese can choose to defend one Sarah Connor.
Any undefended Sarah Connor who is targeted by the Terminator is killed. If the Terminator encounters Reese, both the Terminator and Reese are destroyed (Connor survives).
If, at any point, the Terminator successfully kills the true Sarah Connor, Reese will disappear as there will be no John Connor to send him back in time (there will be no need for a Terminator to go back in time either, but let’s forget the usual time paradoxes and just allow me this assumption).

What is Reese's optimal strategy?"

all the world wants to do

despite all that has happened....

is to lend the us govt money to bail out its banks.


america.... america....


wow stephen fry in america is one of the most stunning travel documentary series i have seen. some of the footage they have is absolutely amazing. the smoky mountains look beautiful in autumn.

give it to me!!!

have i written about the guy who jumped in front of the train tracks during peak hour?
anyway, he's decided to go jump, and in tube parlance, this is known as a passenger incident.
so in exasperation some people go, couldn't he have chosen a better time to jump?

well, no. i think if he wanted to go kill himself he might just want to do it at the busiest, most annoying time to maximise impact and point 2 fingers at the rush hour crowd who have driven him to his doom.

baiters. social phenomenon. about people who want to jump off bridges and the ensuing commotion which results, causing a traffic jam. sometimes the crowd breaks up into spontaneous honking and go "jump already bitch, so that we can all get to work"

so yeah, these can be heartless cities to be in.




what i learnt


bbc 3 psychological training of spendaholics

daniel kahneman on praise/reward

on regression to the mean and implications for human behaviour. remember attending a lecture on behavioural rewards and it's interesting how we can understand things in large samples but are always misled in the small, which influence our attitude towards rewards/witholding:

i read this because i was trying to find something on regression to the mean which might affect income distribution, mainly that regression to the mean DOES not mean that income will become more equal over time, which is not really related to the point here.

"I had the most satisfying Eureka experience of my career while attempting to teach flight instructors that praise is more effective than punishment for promoting skill-learning. When I had finished my enthusiastic speech, one of the most seasoned instructors in the audience raised his hand and made his own short speech, which began by conceding that positive reinforcement might be good for the birds, but went on to deny that it was optimal for flight cadets. He said, "On many occasions I have praised flight cadets for clean execution of some aerobatic maneuver, and in general when they try it again, they do worse. On the other hand, I have often screamed at cadets for bad execution, and in general they do better the next time. So please don't tell us that reinforcement works and punishment does not, because the opposite is the case." This was a joyous moment, in which I understood an important truth about the world: because we tend to reward others when they do well and punish them when they do badly, and because there is regression to the mean, it is part of the human condition that we are statistically punished for rewarding others and rewarded for punishing them. I immediately arranged a demonstration in which each participant tossed two coins at a target behind his back, without any feedback. We measured the distances from the target and could see that those who had done best the first time had mostly deteriorated on their second try, and vice versa. But I knew that this demonstration would not undo the effects of lifelong exposure to a perverse contingency."
i just had this idea before bed today. maybe this is nothing interesting and new, and really it isn't, but i guess i was impressed by the sudden clarity of it.

i am going to make a controversial and bold assertion. i believe that there will be 2 major political parties in singapore by the end of the next 20 years. maybe 30. not because singapore needs it, not because it is good for singapore, not for any normative reason.

i think there exists a basic tension in societies between redistributive justice and the sort of justice which believes it is fair for those who earn to keep their earnings, because they have deserved it.

it is increasing simply because of the dynamics of income inequality. what i am really impressed with is that we have achieved growth over the last 30 years without a significant increase in inequality. did we see a rise in inequality and then a subsequent fall?

this distribution is not stable. i'm just jotting down the idea but we need data. we need ginis (which we have, but need to check reliability), but also we can expect an increasing twin-peakedness in the distribution,

come to a point. which tradeoffs do you make. you must lurch in one direction or another, especially. then you leave a gap to exploit.

better economics than to split on another issue.

to be continued/elaborated. tbc.


today's family guy has stewie, the maniacal young genius maturing into a sensible old man as he travels into the future. no world domination, no statues to his greatness. so sad!
the first scissor cut into a fresh piece of construction paper

- things which make us happy according to stewie

what i learnt in economics: tbc
in terms of learning much about the economy, how to make money, predict bubbles, even analyze news, not much. but what i learnt... next episode

a very very early call on the housing bubble.


nassim taleb may seem like a lunatic when you watch him ranting and raving, especially when many of the points he makes have been made by some of the financial economists that he so derides. but he did popularize the theory of black swans and i love his memorable picture of one of the fallacies of induction. a chicken assumes reasonably that it is going to be fed every day of the year and if it plots its utility, it thinks things are going to go smoothly. problem of induction. you do need an inductive hypothesis to create knowledge. but relying on such a hypothesis places limits on your "knowledge"

bear markets are not quite as dramatic. but you can understand why it is difficult to call one. let me even call attention to something closer to home.

as a hypothetical example, if a company or a country grows at 8% a year for 30 years, one would be reasonable confident it is a good country or company, and you should buy stock in it. however, anytime you see something wrong, and you point it out, it is always tempting to be rebutted by the argument : hey look, we've been growing for 8% for the past 30 years. we have a great track record, don't worry. then start worrying. it is alright to buy into growth, but don't put all your eggs in that basket. there is nothing more dangerous than buying into the apex of a curve. this is my argument against CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) type arguments for picking industries which I was subjected to a lot in the summer.

for some things, this can be remedied by taking an even longer time series. for big things such as how well a country will do, i think it is best to be humble and probably rely on our intuition on its vision for the future and more qualitative considerations. (which are unfortunately derailed by our psychology).

so, this "knowledge based economy" is important. it is a vision of the future which relies less on accumulating factors.
there is an atheist bus ad campaign here: "there probably is no god. so quit worrying and now go enjoy your life." richard dawkins has contributed £5,000 himself, no surprise.

when asked, the person responsible (who seems like quite a cheerful young girl) said that this was a response to bus ads preaching apocalypse and the church as a shelter from doom.

i leave judgement to the reader.


job cuts seem to be getting worse in singapore. several plants are closing down, intel & motorola. in a controversial statement, manufacturing will go the way of agriculture. both high productivity sectors, great success stories but also tradable and subject to full market competition. thus the industry revenues as share of GDP will compete itself to irrelevance compared to non-tradables like services or tradables such as commodities in which productivity gains are slight. it's still a big pie, but it's not going to be a growing one

this of course doesn't apply to all manufacturing. when you have nice shiny growing industries, you're actually really unproductive! and you earn lots of money. of course, such as clean tech are subject to a critical productivity threshold which is at least slightly inferior to the current one (then we can justify it with the superior environmental performance). hmm, next bubble?

it almost seems like a paradox of productivity until you consider that all the gains are passed on to us in the form of lower prices.


speaking of lower prices, economies of scale: on slate, article detailing that the budget for outfitting sarah palin and making her look photogenic is $150,000. it sounds a lot, until you realize it's really very little per voting audience. of course, that budget is probably higher for celebrities. when your job is looking good, some of those clothing companies want to claim those returns.

(this is a joke)
spotted on the FT: "Ford Motor was hit by a fresh blow as the investor Kirk Kerkorian began to sell his stake in the lossmaking US carmaker, saying he saw more value in his gambling and other interests. Ford shares fell 6.9%"

Now I thought this meant that he would rather take his money to a casino and blow it in vegas because it would make more sense than blowing it on ford, which would be funny and ironic. unfortunately, it turns out he has "investments" in these las vegas gaming businesses.


from dani rodrik's page: fed data shows that non-borrowed reserves of banks are close to -$200 billion.! which means that without government money, banks actually owe us money and have negative leverage. the fact that money still comes out of the ATM is testament to the fact that we have learnt a lot.


macroeconomics = "stochastic calculus porn"
if done wrongly, totally agree


research assistance:
algebra porn which masquerades as theory
lots of stata and excel

no good. boo.

keynes vs ohlin:

keynes : "transfers from germany are going to cause all of us to suffer"
ohlin: "no it's not, it's just a transfer of purchasing power"

20 years later, world war ii happens. nothing in the theory then could explain why indeed there was a transfer problem which led to a fall in global aggregate demand.

turns out keynes was right and probably he had some intuition (but no theory). but it's amazing because the actual theory isn't trivial. the distribution of world income has an effect on world expenditure when there are transport costs and real barriers to trade.

and the point today is: world distribution of income matters. the net position of countries deficits and surpluses matters. so we should worry about them.


the power of hunger, part 2

hunger is a very powerful thing. it can lead you to hoard, in the hope you will never be hungry again.

i bought myself a mountain of food. i wish to surround myself in the comfort of carbohydrates and the security of snacks. and none of that mars bars stuff. in comes milk, cereal, bread, fruits, pasta, tea and other fine products of the agricultural revolution from all across the empire.

i shall never go hungry again.
i have reached a new low in life.

i have managed to deplete my larders and my fridge of everything that is edible, and it is now late at night, with the nearest 24 hour shop.... far away. the local vending machine has decided to expire.

i have bars of mars and cans of red bull left. i can't have any more of them or i will fall ill. and red bull only makes me hungrier.

sadness. must raid stores tomorrow. meanwhile, i will tighten my belt and drink water.
there is a certain kind of freedom in knowing that in the short run, you only have a year to take a tilt at things. you don't have to be afraid of burnout.

went hillwalking 2 weekends ago at the trossachs, because it's probably the only long weekend i would have had the whole year. i don't see myself having many more free weekends anytime soon.

last week! spent a bit on time on my personal web page, and was also getting used to typesetting. i am glad that typesetting mathematical equations no longer involves complex lines of code in LaTex and Scientific Workplace has made things a lot more easier. LaTex does strike me as being very last generation. But who knows, I may need it when I start desiring a certain degree of flexibility (which i'm glad I don't need for now)

Anyway, it also means that my documents are starting to look very homogenous and very much like your average JSTOR article.

Graphs are still a pain though. Not data plots, I mean those graphs that you draw because you want to make some conceptual point. These things handle data plots well but not concepts.


i wanted to write about current account imbalances. will just jot down main points
- why do east asian countries save so much?
- bernanke thinks that this is a "savings shock". there is also a thinking that "cultural factors" have a lot to do with saving.
- high saving = prudence. not optimal. but who can blame asian economies? when they run out of money something like the AFC happens and the suffer a loss of a certain degree of economic independence.
- could this be the reason for high S in E Asia? true, artificially depreciated currencies may be a cause but I think that this is a result of a fear of 1997 happening again.
- why is so much of our K locked up in low-yielding treasuries? K could be deployed elsewhere.
infrastructure, and shouldn't domestic return on K be higher than foreign return on K in a less-developed economy. unless we have already over-accumulated and what we really need is TFP growth.
- to be fair, asian swfs were changing their asset portfolio. but then this risk environment arrives again.
- are we over-accumulating capital?

- history: debate on sources of east asian growth : krugman article in foreign affairs (who refers to this )

i wouldn't be surprised if people started sitting down again to discuss a real Bretton Woods ii soon. there are some huge imbalances on the global scale.


song i've been playing this weekend... michael jackson!

been interested in political interviewing after hearing ken livingstone being interviewed on bbc recently. at the london film festival they've been showing frost/nixon which is a highly dramatized version of the following interviews, 4 years after he resigned:

nixon getting philosphical. he looks crushed at two points: "no purpose", and at the end, when asked when it was punishment enough: "oh probably not".

it's always interesting to listen to politicians once they have nothing to lose, looking at today's us election coverage, nobody knows what these people's characters really are.

and this is the famous: "if the president does it, it isn't illegal". which is right, by definition, but has been famously taken out of context many times. minute 2:40 onwards

and this is my writeup of nixon price controls for my 1st class

wage price spiral?

last month's cpi was 5%, which was the highest in some time. it co-incided with the renewal of most inflation-linked contracts, which includes mine. so i got a 5% pay rise in a falling inflation environment.

so it is true that there is some price rigidity in the market and wages and prices don't adjust perfectly. they should, but it's hard to make contracts contingent on future prices, unless we index it to some measure of future expected inflation.


and the winner is... paul krugman.

well done
i was made to feel very mediocre today by a song.

1000 oceans has been on my ipod playlist forever. i liked it a while when i was still in school, but then my mind filed it away as a general "sad song, never to be played again" when i got over it and i was sick of listening to melancholic songs on journeys in the belief that it generally made me a very unpleasant person.

of course i listened to the song one full run today instead of skipping past it. (i was also listening to take that). my first thoughts were, ok geez, this sounds quite nice. how do you write something that nice? and i thought that it must be a lot of trouble to compose something which sounds nice enough and put it out to the world. then i had a very randian thought about how most of us associate ourselves with mediocrity and like to hum along to other people's songs. and i felt sad, as i guess the song was meant to make me feel.

then i read how she came up with the song. if it's real, it's certainly very enviable. oh yes, "home had to be in G" and an "african woman was singing to me at 5.30 am in the morning"


gifts. what most of us would kill to have.

yay! 24 and an emo post.

hot nobel favourites



this is beyond annoying. i set up a stylesheet for my page, and it appears 3 different ways on 3 different browsers, none of which is remotely what i want.

i need help from someone who knows how to use css


"as protection against financial illusion, memory is better than law"
j.k. galbraith, the great crash of 1929.

we forgot dynamism and growth, we had thatcher and reagan. and we forgot prudence, and we have... fdr?

also on tv: "politics is nothing but the pursuit of power. i was ruthless with getting rid of people."
- ken livingstone, on why he bears no grudges against people like peter mandelson

wow, what honesty!


authoritarian pointers i have picked up

1. my classroom is not a democracy
2. act like you're paid to be there

Why we do this: we want people to believe that the front of the class is your rightful place. We want nervous students to feel assured that in your able hands, they will accomplish whatever targets they have set themselves out on the course.

the best thing you can do at the start of your class is to look at the blinds. if they are shut, get someone to open them. if they are open, get someone to shut them.

start off by dividing your board into 3 columns. before even starting, this tells everyone. "this is my board, and i know what i am going to do with it. i have a plan", even though you may not have one. use 4 different pen colours. anyone with 4 pens is impressive and worth their

don't dress like a student on your first lesson. keep up the lies, especially to those paying £12,000 a year

don't preface requests with "could we please", like "could we please turn to the board." say "now, let's look at the board". likewise, if you want a response, name + question, and not question to the general spirit in the air dwelling in the classroom.

when passing a question over for unmoderated group discussion, first start to look busy. this is their cue that they can no longer look to you for answers. then walk around to assert authority and keep an eye on what they are doing.

speaking without notes is impressive. so is laying out the entire course in context.

easier to go from authority to conviviality than vice versa.


the british solution.... clean and elegant

here's a bunch of taxpayer's money. i'm going to lend it to you. if you take it you have restrictions on executive compensation and dividend payouts. so please take it only if you really need it. oh, by the way, it also counts as tier 1 capital. pay it back when times are better.

direct recapitalization. no need to design some half-assed auction scheme for mortgage backed seurities.
ec102 lecture reminded me of a macworld conference. about a 1000 people, into this theatre, two huge projector screens projecting whatever models are meant to learnt on the day. a lecturer with pressed shirt, jeans and trainers enthusiastically bundling up and down stage, speaking with loads of energy. everything struck me as pretty american... much more american than i've experienced in my 3 years in london.

well, it extends to the course as well. no more relying on past exam papers. everything's going to be theoretically more tractable (less technical), but the questions are going to be different every year. better for creative and critical thinking, they say.

meanwhile, stephen fry has gone on the record as saying he's migrating to america. he thinks europeans make fun of midwestern americans too much without going over and really understanding what they're like in the country (generally nice, according to him).

at the same time, @ leveragedsellout.com comments you see some of the most hilarious comments imaginable. it reminds me of the comments you get when you've been playing starcraft over the internet when you're 13.


have had a little more time recently after the mad rush that was the september course.

for lse alumni, they'll be interested to know that the new academic building is indeed very new, and is one of those buildings which actually looks up to par with a modern city campus building, ala SMU. gated entry etc... looks fantastic.

in an older corner of the school, brunch bowl has been rather stunningly revamped. very beautiful, clean place, same food though. there are also two rooms in the old building where there is a touch screen whiteboard. you project the stuff onto the whiteboard, the grid on the whiteboard figures what you're touching and clicks accordingly.

Will be doing MRes Metrics this year, the lecturer graciously agreed that I might be bored with the regular Methods of Economic Investigation. Well, the first five weeks are not as important to me, it's basically probability and mathematical statistics built up more rigorously using set and measure theory (like learning grammar). But I'm glad I get to learn different estimation methods, particularly methods which are more amenable to computation.


wall street vs main street?

wall street values. very creative, though=p. also realized most of this shit comes from leveragedsellout.com as in the video. very funny reading


had a great birthday!

but back to work. as you may notice from my reading list, it's mainly international trade which is (pretty boring) and (outdated), judging by the age of some of the textbooks.

well, it's good to know the basics, but this stuff is ripe for some change. also, i hope the US doesn't shut in on itself after this crisis.


"can we go back to the days the dow was strong
can you tell me how a subprime loan goes wrong
can somebody tell me how banks lend with no credit history
hubbard you know the reason... the market crashed on me"

columbia business school is at it again... this is sung to the tune of "on bended knee" by boyz ii men

soundtrack... go scotland!


advert for new york bagels

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

E.B Browning

nothing you confess can make me love you less - the pretenders
i just had my video-recorded training teaching session today, about which i was nervous as hell preparing for it. i chose to present a simple wage search model that they will cover later on in term, which wouldn't be as boring to me or the other economics phds who would form the audience. but it was slightly more difficult because this is not a topic that i deal with every day.

and it was sort of in reverse order, there were 2 of us who came for the session having not been to the theory sessions, which will be next week. so we had to do our own reading up.

basically it was 4 people going at it and then indulging in mutual and self criticism. my initial fear was that i would think i was teaching fine and then cringe when i saw the video. on the contrary, it was a good day for me because i thought watching the video that i was pretty alright, and it felt less like that as i was teaching.

my main weakness was with precision. as i was going through the motivation and exposition i didn't do some simple things like making sure the axes were labelled, or to mention the proper units of measurement. i also had to wing it when i elicited a question for which i expected a certain response which wasn't relevant. but it turned out that simply pointing out that the suggestion was not what you had in mind is a sensible way of dealing with those things.

picked up a few skills. how to partition the board. confirmed my distrust of projector-based methods of teaching quantitative subjects. linking the topic of the day to the previous lesson and to subsequent work. and they were really really sharp, although we were mostly presenting different courses they could pick up little mistakes in the content although we weren't meant to be prepared. then again this is undergraduate economics work.

but it was a good day. got through a session and i feel more prepared and optimistic about my abilities. and i thought the video was pretty entertaining in the end actually. damnit, i'd pay to watch myself.


had pretty little sleep preparing for the session today... perhaps i was little over-enthusiastic in trying to impress.

anyway, after some swimming i had a bus ride back and there's this magnificent version of sleep where you're listening to music and you just drift off to sleep. you don't fuss about being tired, you don't worry about whether you can get to sleep or what you have to do for the rest of the day. friday afternoon, work done, just sleep. reminds me of someone who told me once that the greatest joy in the world is to be able to tire yourself out and then fall into the most blissful sleep imaginable.
mick jagger was quoted after edmund burke today in the house of rep debates. he was introduced as a "great british philosopher"

"you can't always get what you want, but you get what you need"

the traders are gathering like vultures around the tv screens. seriously, this is the first time i've seen the nyse resemble a betting parlour broadcasting the horse races, as they watch the numbers blink on the screen.

and the thing about this crisis is that the economist has finally gone back to writing about economics again, instead of foreign policy

it looks like it's passed. the republicans are still split, and this only passed because the democrats got their party disciplined (albeit with all sorts of sweeteners)

the problem has spread

in the short term, it is no longer a mortgage securities problem.

i was surprised by how many european banks needed help. it turns out that this is because in terms of loan/deposit ratio, european banks actually lend an average of 1.4 € to the €, compared to 96 cents to $1 of deposits for US main street banks (that is why US regional bank share prices are still holding fairly steady).

banks have been used to liquidity provided by short term money market funds and institutional investors which issue 3, 6 and 9 month paper. in effect there is a run on this shadow banking system, and so banks have to borrow overnight from one another. this leads to a bidding up of overnight rates to crazy levels of 6.88%, and 11% to borrow dollars from the ECB (The Economist). Banks seem to want to hoard cash even though they can earn more lending to each other. So this will affect your run of the mill lending rates which affect the economy.

there are arguments that the paulson plan will not solve the crisis, because if the crisis is in the money markets now, then the problem is no longer the value of MBS. to fund the plan, they need to sell T-bills, but in the current climate, people prefer to hoard cash and pile into T-bills. So there is no net credit creation and still a drying up of credit lines to private businesses, and this represents a liquidity trap. (naked capitalism) In simple terms, this is a crowding out. Given uncertainty, I would rather lend to the government than to private firms/banks, as T-bills are less risky. This will drive yield down on these things, but if the fed keeps issuing, the yield will not fall as fast, so it still makes sense given the risk environment to just keep your money in them.

the view that a recapitalization of the banking system is what is truly needed now appears to be a consensus view among economists.

regarding the strength of the euro, marginal revolution puts forth the argument that the chinese now trust the us$ as a "battle-tested" currency, as the us has never tried to wipe out the chinese. he also mentions that european banks are now facing bigger problems and their problems will be a larger share of european gdp.

capital needs to flow back into the system. i think this needs a global solution, given that there is a global imbalance in capital concentration and capital flows which is not making this any easier.

i guess i'll be taking international economics. one of the lecturers is just back from a stint at the new york fed, so i hope to be hearing more about this soon.

nation building

what i learnt from miguel today

do you know what the five stars on your country's flag means?

uhmmm... i'm not sure... i think i used to know

what does the sun in the middle of the argentinian flag mean? is it some incan sun god?

no. it's a freemason symbol. josé de san martin who liberated argentina was a freemason. apparently he met up with simon bolivar who was the liberator of most of north america and had to give up his army to him because he was lower in rank


well i was stunned, and i went to check it out. but i went to check it out and it looks like manuel belgrano was the guy who designed the flag, and he was indeed a freemason.

well, they have plenty of history and wars of independence, and singapore may have a populace who doesn't know what their flag means, but we don't have tinpot governments that fire the entire statistics office for reporting proper inflation figures and run enough inflation to fuel 5% price increases per month while keeping the peso at a fixed rate to the dollar.
very happy with the micro syllabus that i have to teach for ec102. some of this stuff is even new to me!

that means that i did not cover them when i was taking ec102 here all those years ago. the micro course now feels more modern. search theory. adverse selection. some introductory game theory. of course there are your staples such as price and production theory, monopoly and industrial structure. i would say that there is a departure from classical utility theory, in the sense that the price theory portion does not go into detail with utility functions, indifference curves and the like, and that has been culled to deal with more interesting subjects.

so less rigour on that part, but a more engaging course overall, because many of these new things are less abstract and more amenable to real life experience and examples.

last year's exam was also reputedly hard, as there was a section with "more challenging questions" and a unique "MCQ" section, and MCQ sections can be really devillish.
the options market today shows the importance of incentives.

most of the lecturers today were pretty much on form. they were trying to pitch and sell their course and were very attentive to the needs of their audience, handouts and all. i would say it was more inspiring than most of my undergraduate lectures.

also, the number of people attending the capital markets brief was supposedly a 40% drop from last year. well, you have good times, you have bad times.

the msc options courses are their bread and butter. they are the most advanced taught courses they offer, and the less people take their course, the less they can justify the number of specialists they have in that particular subfield.

monetary - interesting techniques, handles asset pricing bubbles as well. unfortunately, deals with a closed economy

industrial economics - plenty of case studies and statistical analysis. very charming case put forward by a professor whose textbook is standard in the field.

international - open economy macro, but i have to sit through half a year of intellectual masturbation which is trade theory. trade theory has interesting questions but uninteresting answers.

political economy surprised me. but a little too abstract for my liking. i may also turn up for a few development and growth lectures

and i was surprised to see euro-usd at 1.38. the gut instinct was "wow, what an opportunity". i guess they are reacting to the contagion to the european economy, the european bailout plan and the fact that the ECB will finally lower rates. but if you asked me to trust the value of european money vs the value of american money i would choose european money any day. crisis in europe is oversold.


sudhir venkatesh always spends time with interesting people to retrieve data. shining example of a data-driven sociologist

first it was going undercover with a gang, and now it's prostitutes. he was the guy who did the work which was highlighted in freakonomics. steven levitt just did the regressions.

this is my contention:

men don't need to have their problems solved. men just need to be told (or feel) they're great.