DAILY BRIEFING  8:39 am October 12, 2009

How Excited Are You About Economics, The Nobel Dénouement?

by Juli Weiner

  • One of the winners of the Nobel Prize for Economics is some American gal, Elinor Ostrom, who is the first lady economist ever to win. Something about communities and resources, anyway it was uncontroversial! [CNN]
  • So our government is still working out the kinks in its system of telling when foreign people who visit here actually leave. [New York Times]
  • Bombings, bombings, bombings all weekend in Pakistan, all thanks to the Taliban. [WSJ]
  • There is a new song on the Internet from the dead, apparently self-referential pop star Michael Jackson called “This Is It.” [LA Times]
  • A gang of British Greenpeace people had a sleepover party on the roof of the Palace of Westminster to let everyone know how much they despise climate change, and also politics. [Guardian]
  • China is so excited to be able to sell Hummers soonish! There are some minor “regulatory emissions things” to figure out, but other than that, just pure excitement. [Reuters]
 
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Hola wonkerados.

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{ 47 comments }

PabaBritannica October 12, 2009 at 8:57 am

So this woman that won the Nobel proved that governments can manage things like fisheries, land, etc, basically went in the face of the “tragedy of the commons” which is one of those cards libertarians play to win arguments b/c noone ever knows what that even means. She says its BS in most cases, and I’m all for making libertarians get angry and not question their beliefs while looking for new quotes from Reason mag to post on a non-controversial topic (OMG THIS MEANS WE HAVE TO PRIVATIZE THE SEA NOW!).

Naked Bunny with a Whip October 12, 2009 at 8:57 am

I prefer Nobel prizes given for real things like science over those given for human-invented abstractions like economics and peace.

Naked Bunny with a Whip October 12, 2009 at 8:59 am

telling when foreign people who visit here actually leave.

Obviously, we should confiscate their hearthstones and scrolls of recall when they arrive.

hobospacejunkie October 12, 2009 at 8:59 am

Of course our all-seeing, all-knowing govt has no idea when, or if, visiting foreigners leave. Until they make their presence known. I know this from personal experience as a friend of mine is one & is now in jail. He was arrested with 34lbs. of cannabis in his car. Whoops. Being a brown foreign complicates his defense somewhat.

hobospacejunkie October 12, 2009 at 9:03 am

Uh-oh, lefty British history could lose one its cornerstones if the tragedy of the commons is declared null & void. Though it seems to me that the enclosing of the commons in England is one of those that did actually screw the people.

contentsunderpressure October 12, 2009 at 9:09 am

When will a virtual JibJab dancing MJ start selling cars and vacuum cleaners? La Toya, over to you!

PabaBritannica October 12, 2009 at 9:10 am

well, you see, if you have a field and you don’t give ron paul property rights to the ron paul field and the field belongs to the people and not the ron paul individual (freedom) then you just get fiat currency (ron paul freedom is the opposite).

DangerousLiberal October 12, 2009 at 9:14 am

Ha! Someone wins a Nobel in a field I know well. No comments here, no snark. I will just watch the rest of you try to extrapolate what her work is about from the third-rate summaries on CNN and the NYTimes, and from that time we all read the Tragedy of the Commons, drunk, also. Happy Monday!

PabaBritannica October 12, 2009 at 9:17 am

All I know is the real solution is Freedom. This goes for you, too, Pakistan. Get those taxes down and then maybe people will stop capturing your soldiers.

ManchuCandidate October 12, 2009 at 9:20 am

I used to pity the (small dicked) idiots who bought Hummers till I met the suckers, er, company that bought the Hummer division.

groove October 12, 2009 at 9:30 am

[re=431938]Naked Bunny with a Whip[/re]: lawl

Aflac Shrugged October 12, 2009 at 9:30 am

Michael Jackson wrote the posthumously released song as a tribute to huge, childhood-raping showbiz families everywhere who have seen their last nickel leeched out of a dead superstar relative.

Or if he didn’t, he should have.

WadISay October 12, 2009 at 9:30 am

Michael Jackson’s latest and last hit: This [fn. 1] is It [fn. 2].

1. Boys stabbing me with pitchforks.
2. Hell.

hobospacejunkie October 12, 2009 at 9:32 am

I have found my god. “He has come to seek your blessing! His symbol is television! Tee-vee! Tee-vee! Tee-vee!”

Mr Blifil October 12, 2009 at 9:43 am

What the hell has Elinor Ostrom ever done, except for presumably slobbing the knobs of the entire Nobel Moneez Panel.

Monsieur Grumpe October 12, 2009 at 9:44 am

A Chinese Hummer?

(Insert dirty joke here)

Sorry, I’m sick today and my snark seems to be broken.
What does the Pig Aids feel like?

DoctorCulturae October 12, 2009 at 9:48 am

Tragedy of the Commons. That’s a show on the CW, right?

Naked Bunny with a Whip October 12, 2009 at 9:50 am

What does the Pig Aids feel like?

Like bacon bits up your nose.

Zadig October 12, 2009 at 9:53 am

[re=431937]Naked Bunny with a Whip[/re]: Okay, I feel vaguely ashamed for laughing, but high five for bringing the nerd lulz to the table.

supremecourtjester October 12, 2009 at 10:25 am

I thought Obama was getting the Nobel in economics for the Cash for Clunkers Program.

DangerousLiberal October 12, 2009 at 10:50 am

[re=431957]Mr Blifil[/re]: Keepin’ it classy since….

gurukalehuru October 12, 2009 at 10:55 am

The tragedy of the commons is, tragically, all too common.
If this lady found a loophole, more power to her.

octupletsmom October 12, 2009 at 11:25 am

[re=431985]supremecourtjester[/re]: Oh, if only. If Obama got TWOnobels, (talking)heads would explode, literally, amen, the end. Sweet.

ShiningMathPath October 12, 2009 at 11:31 am

[re=432001]DangerousLiberal[/re]: A friend is currently at the International Astronautical Congress in Korea to present a paper on game theoretic models of collective action in managing the space debris problem. Hooray for Ostrom and 21st C economics.

proudgrampa October 12, 2009 at 11:33 am

[re=432001]DangerousLiberal[/re]: “slobbing the nobs???” Jesus.

ifthethunderdontgetya" October 12, 2009 at 11:42 am

[re=431939]hobospacejunkie[/re]: Personal Use! Wookie on Endor!
~

steverino247 October 12, 2009 at 11:56 am

At a discussion about the legal consequences for the doctor who may have given Michael Jackson the “fatal dose” of drugs he apparently paid for:

Attorney friend: “My guess is that he might not go to jail at all. He’ll lose his license to practice medicine, sure. Get a fine and community service.”

Me: “Some might argue that he’s already performed a community service by killing a known pedophile.”

proudgrampa October 12, 2009 at 11:56 am

[re=431945]DangerousLiberal[/re]: So help me out here. Her research suggests that local control of local resources is probably better than big government? I know that’s really simplistic, but am I close??

ShiningMathPath October 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm

[re=432037]proudgrampa[/re]: (non-economist’s view of Ostrom) People have historically worked out ways to manage shared resources when they are 1. reasonably concerned about the future consequences (for themselves and their progeny), 2. understand what behavior is causing the problem, 3. can reach an agreement on what is responsible behavior, 4. monitor compliance and enforce consequences, which might be something like shunning. The classical economic position has been that there are only two ways to solve over-exploitation of common resources: centralized dictatorship or privatization — hence the enthusiasm by libertarians for the Tragedy of Commons story (even thought it was originally intended as a cautionary tale about overpopulation).

ShiningMathPath October 12, 2009 at 12:22 pm

(we now return the discussion to snark and immaturity, already in progress)

proudgrampa October 12, 2009 at 12:23 pm

[re=432055]ShiningMathPath[/re]: Got it! Thanks. I guess for me, in the real world, it all breaks down in the first assumption: I think most people don’t give a damn about future consequences.

lochnessmonster October 12, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Last time I saw MJs good Doc was on TMZ and he was close to crying or was he just starting to sing “This is it” bcuz it is for him?

The common good in these United States are the National Parks…

ShiningMathPath October 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm

[re=432062]proudgrampa[/re]: Her research has found cases where a fishing village, for example, would agree on everyone reducing their take with an eye to the future benefits. Agreed that it’s rare, but if the economic theory doesn’t even allow for the possibility of enlightened self interest, there won’t be any efforts to develop it — just a push for privatization to cure all ills.

DangerousLiberal October 12, 2009 at 12:42 pm

[re=432037]proudgrampa[/re]: I think you’re right. She’s arguing that if we follow the tragedy of the commons (TC) to its extreme, we buy into the most basic, and yet most erroneous, assumptions of economics: that individual actors are always trying to maximize their utility, whether or not it comes at someone else’s expense. If the TC problem gets too far, people have two choices: government “command and control” regulation (to curb their “natural” tendencies), or more local, negotiated ways of allocating the resource, such as mutually agreed upon times to graze, fish catch limits, etc. Ostrom notes that the latter–in which people cooperate as a community–works better than many people think. In other words, Ostrom, to me, means that politics *matter* and that political systems are as important as economic assumptions in the allocation of scarce resources.

/eggheadedness

This may help explain why a cap and trade system might be superior to regulation–but, hey cap and trade is a commie plot from the deeper pits of hell.

[re=432055]ShiningMathPath[/re]: I agree. But it’s not just libertarians that teach TC. Liberals do too, to justify government regulation (Oh, christ, I am in lecture mode again.) And proudgrampa, you’re absolutely right: people don’t properly account for future consequences when they get something of value right now. Now excuse me as I eat this Sonic Double Cheeseburger and plan my new exercise plan and diet for, ohh, sometime next month.

user-of-owls October 12, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Dame Peggy’s got a somewhat different understanding of the Tragedy of the Commons. For her, the Tragedy is that ‘The Commons’ exist and that she’s periodically forced to mingle with them.

user-of-owls October 12, 2009 at 12:48 pm

[re=432072]DangerousLiberal[/re]: In other words, Ostrom, to me, means that politics *matter* and that political systems are as important as economic assumptions in the allocation of scarce resources.

And this is precisely why Political Science must be burned at the stake, as per the wishes of the good senator from Oklahoma.

http://gawker.com/5378021/tom-coburn-hates-political-science

proudgrampa October 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm

[re=432072]DangerousLiberal[/re]: Thanks! Wow. We can really be intelekshual here when we try, huh?

ShiningMathPath October 12, 2009 at 12:56 pm

[re=432072]DangerousLiberal[/re]: you’re right — for some reason I’d suppressed the memories of TC being trotted out to argue for central control. A pox on both their houses!

[re=432076]user-of-owls[/re]: thanks for deftly clearing the air and lowering the tone

proudgrampa October 12, 2009 at 1:20 pm

[re=432076]user-of-owls[/re]: Tom Coburn is a DICK.

DangerousLiberal October 12, 2009 at 1:46 pm

[re=432076]user-of-owls[/re]: Heh heh, political “science.” Whatta joke. Everyone knows there’s no lab coats or telescopes or shit that blows up in political science. Unless, of course, the political scientist is Condi Rice.

[re=432077]proudgrampa[/re]: Inteleckshuls? Where? You git the pitchforks, I’ll git the torches, and we’ll storm the castle, I mean, that ugly ass 1960s buildin’ where the po-litikal scientists live.

user-of-owls October 12, 2009 at 1:59 pm

[re=432158]DangerousLiberal[/re]: I don’t know, some of the department meetings get pretty heated. And I will have you know that our building is widely recognized as one of the better examples of Neo-Stalinist Architecture to be found outside of Bulgaria.

Links October 12, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Hehe. Ostrom is uncontroversial to some. You should see the people in some departments who will avoid each other because of their theoretical disagreement on the management of the commons. It’s serious business people.

proudgrampa October 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm

[re=432253]Links[/re]: God, I love academia and academics! They DO take themselves a little too seriously, no?

DangerousLiberal October 12, 2009 at 3:01 pm

[re=432264]proudgrampa[/re]: Old saying: Academic arguments are so vicious because the stakes are so low.

Attributed to H. Kissinger, and he’d know about the stakes, what with his having to not travel to the Netherlands, for fear of extradition to, um, the Netherlands, also.

ShiningMathPath October 12, 2009 at 3:48 pm

[re=432281]DangerousLiberal[/re]: Darn -”extradition to the Netherlands” is a fine straight line, but no takers …

DangerousLiberal October 12, 2009 at 6:38 pm

[re=432366]ShiningMathPath[/re]: At least some one noticed. *sniff*

user-of-owls October 12, 2009 at 6:40 pm

[re=432662]DangerousLiberal[/re]: O, stop thy whinging and get thee to the Haguery!

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