What better way to mark the 7th anniversary of The Filter^ than by switching it off?
Over half a million pageviews suggests that we've done something right - since January 2004 we've published well over 2,000 posts and attracted more than 3,000 comments. We've cultivated a core following of intelligent and courteous readers and all of us have enjoyed professional successes on the back of our articles here.
As regular readers will know, for the last couple of years most of the authors have moved on to other things, and since I (Anthony) have decided to take a break from blogging it makes sense to formally and officially mothball The Filter^.
Before we sign off, I want to explain the changes that have been made. The right panel offers new navigation so that you can easily browse our past articles. We've also drawn attention to our various "PROJECTS", which we've taken a great deal of pride in: we've been the media partner of an international choral tour, relaunched the careers of forgotten poets, and even live blogged a revolution. Some of us have published books and gained PhDs based on ideas we courted here.
I'll be working behind the scenes to make it even easier to wade through our past output, but for now, to all our readers - thank you.
Update: if you're curious why I'm taking a break from blogging, here's why.
Another great pub John took me to was run by ex-Everton winger Gary Jones called The Albert in Lark Lane. It was another place I spent time in when I should have been elsewhere but that’s another story.
The numbers of British students studying in America is at a record high, but with tuition fees set to rise in England and Wales, could even more travel across the Atlantic?
In the sea of American football shirts, and college-branded hoodies, the England top is hard to miss.
Its proud wearer is 27-year-old James Martin, from Sheffield, who is now very much at home on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia
Interesting story about UK students that travel to the US for higher education. I was glancing through and thought "that's the Johnson Center!", before realising that this students is indeed at GMU. With all these kids on the streets protesting about fees, don't forget that education is a global market.
Update: and here's an article about the trend for US students to find a cheaper education by coming to the UK!
The police detectives did what they could at the hotel, combing the woman’s room for evidence, interviewing hotel employees, obtaining images from all of the surveillance cameras for the morning of the crime, going over the guest lists. The hotel had 174 rooms, and so many people came and went that it would have taken months working full-time to run checks on every one of them, something beyond the resources of a police department in a high-crime area like Miami-Dade. The sex-crimes unit set aside the file with no clear leads, only more questions. After several weeks, “we were dried up,” recalled Allen Foote, the detective handling the case.
A few more examples of mainstream attention:
A one-paragraph explanation of the Austrian theory of business cycles would run as follows. Interest rates are held at too low a level, creating a credit boom. Low financing costs persuade entrepreneurs to fund too many projects. Capital is misallocated into wasteful areas. When the bust comes the economy is stuck with the burden of excess capacity, which then takes years to clear up.
The regulators are praying that the rest of us won’t notice. This is a high-wire act. As the economist Ludwig Von Mises noted, when the masses finally wake up, “a breakdown occurs”.
We propose a new policy framework for monetary policy, one that looks at monetary aggregates and factors in the connections between monetary policy and asset prices. Our proposed “Hayek rule” is a symmetrical approach that seeks to stabilize nominal income, in both good and bad times, through a system in which the annual flow of money—what we will refer to as the “circulatingmedium of exchange,” which is equal to nominal spending (MV)—remains at a constant level.
I wonder if this paper - “The Hayek Rule: A New Monetary Policy Framework for the 21st Century”, (pdf) (Marius Gustavson and Anthony Randazzo) - will help to establish "The Hayek Rule" as a key outcome of the second revival in Austrian economics (via Greg Ransom).
Today, you’re in charge of the nation’s finances. Some of your options have more short-term savings and some have more long-term savings. When you have closed the budget gaps for both 2015 and 2030, you are done. Make your own plan, then share it online.
I'm delighted to have received a hard copy of the "Handbook on Contemporary Austrian Economics". Here's the blurb:
This Handbook looks through the lens of the latest generation of scholars at the main propositions believed by so-called 'Austrians'. Each contributing author addresses key tenets of the school of thought, and outlines its ongoing contribution to economics and to the social sciences.
I contributed the opening chapter, titled "Only Individuals Choose".
When I first decided I wanted to pursue an academic career as an Austrian School economist, I had in mind writing this type of book. I think there is a a gap in the market for a series of relatively short articles that set the main propositions of the Austrian school within the contemporary economics and social science debate. In addition, the book demonstrates the productivty of the GMU econ program and Pete Boettke in particular. This book isn't so much edited by him, but inspired by and made possible because of him. It could be used as a text book, or as an introductory guide. It is written for academics and laymen alike. It's not cheap, but should become a cornerstone text of the second revival in Austrian economics.
The most important thing about this book is that it is written by people who for the most part weren't born during the first revival (1974). It is not an attempted ressusciation nor a history of thought. It sets out the main propositions of the *current* research agenda of the Austrian school, demonstrates and cites examples of *contemporary* work, and reflects a generation of scholars that are receiving widespread *mainstream* credibility. If Lin Ostrom winning the Nobel Prize enticed some Austrians to come out of the closet and lose a few inhibitions, so should this!
Indeed my recent talk on "Contemporary work Austrian Economics" intended to present a similar rallying cry. This is the seminal introduction to how Austrian economics is contributing to the top table of academic debate.
the libertarian right is having a hard time seeing the Fed as a relative ally over the last three years, which it has been. That admission implies an unappetizing shift in the goal posts for what is possible, and that sounds like a intellectual surrender to a lot of people I know. I think they are in denial. One alternative to acceptance is to view the Fed as sinister, which then leads you to fear anything they do, including QEII, their current major monetary policy initiative.
As econonomic documentaries go, this was one of the best I've seen in the UK. Once people recognise that it was deliberately polemic, serving to balance out existing biases in the mainstream media (as opposed to provide a grounded, impartial account), I think it should be added as a staple of economics courses up and down the country.
In terms of improving economic literacy through the use of metaphors I think it was highly effective - even The Guardian commentator conceded that "it brought the economic theory brilliantly to life". Using a running bath to show that there's still more public debt being added than is being removed through Osbourne's "cuts" was excellent. Showing an ailing patient and trying to remove blood from one arm only to pump it into another (spilling some on the way) was useful. I even thought the lobbying children - driving home the point that the debt burden is a future taxation and therefore deeply undemocratic, was effective. And indeed exposing politicians for not knowing the difference between the budget deficit and the public debt, was hilarious (and tragic).
Of course there were problems. The interviews with Brendan Barber and Alistair Darling came across more as Ali G style stich ups than revelations. I'm not convinced that public sector spending is now larger than the private sector, and I think a fair rejoinder would be to at least acknowledge that Labour's public spending record might make the debt burdon easier to pay. Debt isn't a problem in and of itself - it depends on what you are using it to fund. If it's comsumption (as much of it undoubtedly was) then indeed you have a problem. If it's investment, then that's part and parcel of economic growth. When Durkin showed how the salaries of front line services are a small fraction of overall spending, he might have pointed out that it is because so much of Labours's spending splurge went on salaries rather than capital investment that we will struggle to pay it off.
And of course it featured Kelvin McKenzie. And for that reason alone critics have a fair criticism.