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View Diary: Senate Democrats' opposition to Larry Summers is a good sign (81 comments)

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  •  I've been watching Summers since he was at (12+ / 0-)

    The World Bank making crackpot suggestions like the Third World is under-polluted.

    If that is your idea of bright, it's no damn wonder the economics "profession" has become the laughingstock of human endeavor.

    The man as spent his adult life redefining the word fool.

    •  You realize that Summers is.. (0+ / 0-)

      considered a fairly liberal economist.

      And your dislike of the profession is noted, but the tenure requirements in most departments at Harvard (not the victim studies departments) are the strictest in the world.  Tenure at Harvard in most departments goes hand in hand with brilliance.

      I can find no published articles where Summers suggests the third world is under-polluted.

      I can also argue that without Keynes the New Deal would not exist.  So economists can have huge influence.  Of course, you may hate the new Deal too, but that is a different question.

      •  "victim studies departments" seriously? /nt (4+ / 0-)

        Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

        by annieli on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 06:37:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ted Cruz went to Harvard too. I'm told he is smart (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        techno, emobile, mad cat


        Tenure at Harvard in most departments goes hand in hand with brilliance.
        Painting Harvard with such a broad, generalized brush makes you sound like not such a good judge.

        Everyone that went to Harvard or teaches at Harvard or has tenure at Harvard is smart.  Yeah.  

        What was the focus your doctorate BTW?

        •  Ph.D. Econometrics and Game Theory (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          claude, JohnnySacks

          I am not saying that I agree with all the research results, but the peer review process followed by journals in most all professions insures that most people who get tenure at top schools are very smart.  In my field, there are 8 major journals which really count towards tenure.  They all have published 1 in 20 acceptance rates.  And all economics department discount joint publications.  So saying Harvard is full of really smart people in the Economics department is nothing special.  Most top 20 schools are this way, particularly if they are not in "soft" disciplines.

          Do the math.  The few at the top are brilliant.  John Taylor of Stanford is about as conservative as they come.   Type in the Taylor rule to see his influence.   Krugman at Princeton is about as liberal as they come.  He is the expert on currency crisis.  Both have insights that are difficult to master but are profound.

          And guess what, having understood the arguments, you are free to disagree!  But to call them stupid is either arrogant or ignorant or both.

          •  I appreciate your reply. However, perhaps there (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            techno, emobile, mad cat

            might just be other metrics that have relevance and significance in this particular case.    Publications in academic journals show a certain type of discipline, orthodoxy, and training, not necessarily the "smartness" needed to do the job.

            For example, IMO a "smart man" would not have said the things he did to get himself fired.  He messed up a good thing because he too thought he was too cool for school.  

            The baggage Summers brings with him embodies arrogance, privilege and elite access.  Just the same attitudes and shit we don't need.

            •  Many analytical people have no political sense (0+ / 0-)

              For instance, you can be criticized severely in academics for saying that more men are interested in math and engineering than women (they are) as he stated.   "Uncomfortable' or non gender symmetric  facts are prima facie evidence of sexism in this hypersensitive 1960's born academic world.   Larry is living in a world where he thinks there are differences between women and men (his neurology department tells him this but the rest of the school doesn't want to recognize this).  Tsk, tsk, Larry, learn the PC playbook!

              Your right, Larry does not get that higher education is about ism's-capitalism, socialism, racism, classicism, etc.  Nerdy economists like him just don't get it.  You don't simply model and analyze data, you have to have an agenda.

          •  This is a picture perfect example (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mad cat, Sunspots, smartalek, basquebob

            of why living in academia frees one from the concerns of the real world. People who are really smart can be blithering idiots on other subject matter , even subject matter that heavily influences their field of study if looked at within the framework of when untested theory becomes real world policy.

            But just in case you forgot:  Elizabeth Warren was also a professor at Harvard.

            Economics is one of the only so called sciences where economic theory is never tested until it becomes policy that influences large parts of the population. Look at problems that we now have in the economy and trace them back to causality and usually you'll will likely  find some junk economics at the other end who's rigid followers will claim no blame because most economic theory is formulated in the sterile environment of ones brain , which never accounts for the compromises that are part and parcel of any theory that becomes policy.

            That's good for a people who specialize in in a science that is really not a science. Because then they can always get get called back to the big table whenever believers of that basic economic theory are running the show.

            "Well it would have worked if it wasn't for those damned, er, democrats that voted against it. "

            If one can't prove a theory on a small scale like say an experiment, that one can't claim to be a brilliant scientist.

            When Summers tried to participate in the real world of derivatives, his so call brilliance blinded him to the realities of a  real world loss of a billion dollars. That it effected Harvard in a negative way , with the size endowment that they have, is simply a show of astounding stupidity.  

            The fact that the Tenure track is so rigid at Harvard has absolutely no bearing except for those that are buried with head firmly in the sand  in a elite world so far removed from reality. One so rigid that they never account for the realities of when theory becomes policy and applied to millions of people.

            “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

            by Dburn on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 07:10:35 AM PDT

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        •  Which reveals that there's more to it than IQ (0+ / 0-)

          It's possible to have IQ, and be very capable in certain ways, and yet make incredibly foolish decisions, or have outright incorrect worldviews.

          Summers may have high IQ, and yet when it comes down to it, he has been flat out wrong about too many things.  

      •  I used to admire economists (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dburn, smartalek, basquebob

        But that was before all the sane ones were run off.  I mean, name me one school in USA where Keynes, or Gardiner Means, or Adolf Berle, or Thorstein Veblen or Ken Galbraith could get tenure in the econ department. ONE

        If Summers is a "liberal" I am an airplane.  (Sheesh)  This is one of the guys responsible for the repeal of Glass-Steagal, after all.  I would call him a reactionary clown.

        I have the Summers pollution memo but I cannot lay my hand on it tonight.  But it was a global scandal.

      •  Intelligence is poorly understood (0+ / 0-)

        The measure of it is devised by academics who not surprisingly value exactly the kind of intelligence they exhibit, which is the kind which enables one to excel in an academic environment, but which can lead one to miss the forest for the trees. This type of intelligence could be defined as linear, narrowly focused, reductionist.

        Which is why academics thought the young Einstein, who is now thought to have been on the autistic spectrum, or with ADHD, or both, was not very bright, and why people like Summers are thought to be brilliant.

        Einstein would never have found a place in the academic world, if he had not later pushed his ignored writings into the public arena. It certainly wasn't academics who first recognized his brilliance. He had to go out and push his ideas into the minds of the peers of his respective field.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 11:12:42 AM PDT

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