Friday, December 22, 2006

Quality of Opinion Journalism

So Dave has been somewhat out of touch - I'm kind of hurt - but the show must go on.

So a big question, I think, is the quality of punditry. Why does Friedman have such a huge audience, if he thinks the world is flat (and more importantly, if he doesn't seem to know what flatness means)? Should we put more trust in "the experts," or is their advice just as flawed? What should we expect from our pundits?

I have my own opinion on these questions, but I'll confine it to the comments section to create the illusion that we're all on equaly footing here at the Society.

[UPDATE: for an example of why Friedman is, shall we say, frustrating, see this post on Friedman's analogies.]

[ANOTHER UPDATE: a cottage industry seems to have sprung up, the entire purpose of which is to mock Friedman. Every review of The World is Flat I've read mentions his weird extrapolation from level playing fields to a flat world. So maybe I'm giving Friedman too much credit, but these seem like cheap shots to me.]


Friday, December 15, 2006

Leamer All-Pupose Post

Use the comment area of this post for any general comments you want to make about the piece. We'll be following up with posts on specific topics, which you can also suggest by leaving a comment under the original Leamer post. We're trying to set up a separate post for each "thread," but we recognize that we're not going to think of every topic, hence this all-purpose post. Try to keep this structure in mind as you post comments.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Leamer "A Flat World..."

So our first reading will be Edward Leamer's review of The World Is Flat, by Tom Friedman. It might seem odd for us to read a review of a book without reading the actual book, but I think it makes sense in this case.

You should be able to get a copy here (right click and "save link as" to download), post a comment if you have any difficulty. Hold off on substantive comments, though. When it comes time to discuss the reading, I'll write a new post for each general topic of discussion (including an all-purpose residual category).

Now one question is whether we want to augment the review with some other readings on economic geography. I guess we can hold off and add them if it seems like a good idea.

So we'll probably start discussion sometime around December 20th, maybe a few days before. The review is quite long, give yourself a few hours to read it.


Welcome to the Tarun Menon Society!

While the Society is not to be confused with a book club, it will bear some similarity to one. Dave and I will pick readings and post them. We'll set up subsequent posts to serve as discussion areas.

We'll try to choose readings that are widely available. We'll probably choose lots of economics stuff, but our interests are pretty varied.

Anyone can participate by reading along and posting. Well, Dave and I will be the only ones writing actual posts, but you can always post a comment.

I don't anticipate any problems with maintaining a high level of discourse, but if there are problems we will deal with them ruthlessly. The driving concept is a guided discussion. We want creativity, but within limits. We want bounded creativity.

That's about it... please add any comments about the Society generally to this post so we can work on it.