Author Topic: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics  (Read 994 times)

misterhorsey

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The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« on: September 20, 2017, 07:20:22 AM »
Everyone here is pretty engaged with personal finances. But for those who may wish to explore larger questions about economics, I've come across this CORE Project that  looks like an interesting opportunity to learn about economic theory and history.

I do enjoy reading the occasional book on economics, particularly those of a more populist tone, addressing observations of recent behavioural economists. But the theoretical assumptions of this project, and the structured course, sound like an appealing way to go beyond the casual non-fiction read.

I'm going to put it on my list of things to do. And perhaps I'll actually do it as well!

I'm sharing here in case anyone else is interested.  Perhaps we can start a MMM group.

Blurb via New Yorker write up:
https://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/a-new-way-to-learn-economics

Project website:
http://www.core-econ.org

triangle

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2017, 01:06:21 AM »
Is this a course in economics or are they pushing a specific political point of view? The information provided might be very good or not, I did not look deep enough to judge. But I got skeptical when it labeled itself as CORE and then stated the "e-book begins with a discussion of inequality" and the project website tagline is "An open-access platform for anyone who wants to understand the economics of innovation, inequality, environmental sustainability, and more". It sounds like the course is less about economics and more about some other political aim or public policy debate. Whether you agree or disagree with their point-of-view this does not sound like a course on core/fundamental economics.

dcozad999

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 09:54:21 AM »
Depends on the discussion. Economic inequality is a fact so why shouldn't it be a topic in any economic course?

triangle

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2017, 12:55:24 AM »
IMO economic inequality should be _a_ topic but certainly not the first topic or core topic. Inequality is rooted in multiple factors, with economics only part of it. This makes the project appear to be more about public policy or some political aim than fundamental economics. (Though I am still curious to read more about this specific project, I have not done so thus far).

Economics is such a board topic that it defies strict boundaries; but I would expect a course on Core Economics to start with microeconomics, then look at macroeconomics, and then consider these larger societal issues which are influenced not just by economics but government (legal structures), culture, history, etc. 

There will always be some inequality since neither individuals or groups are equal, but public policy and laws around ways to prevent people from gaming the system or otherwise artificially increasing inequality are most welcome.  One current example that some may disagree with is how Federal Reserve policy since 2008/09 has served to increase the wealth gap - pumping up stocks held by the wealth class through its low interest rates and quantitative easing. 

dcozad999

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2017, 10:31:23 AM »
I think you've illustrated my point. In this day and age it is a major topic, and not just for political reasons.  As you said, there will always be economic inequality to a degree, but at what point does it become too much? And what can we do to prevent it from moving past that point? Though I expect it already has. So if it has, what policies can be put in place to return it to the that point?

PizzaSteve

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2017, 10:42:32 AM »
My interest is in applied economics, both micro and macro.  A good way to explore the topic is paying attention to the Nobel Prize winners and exploring why they won.

For example, the recent work on contracts is fascinating.  In many cases the data about what worked is counter idiology based assumptions.  For example, elements of both capitalism and communism can be more effective for certain circumstances, so having a model that supports both is actually the best theoretical governance model.  We should seek data about what is the most productive form of economic contract, whether to source labor, materials, licence IP, or fund govt, social or economic.

Discussions that are research and fact driven, not idiology based, are what matter most to me in terms of interest.  I had 35 years of practical work trying to apply theory with some fascinating, to me, outcomes.  The assumotions of older CEOs were often wrong due to dated educational constructs, which are slow to adapt to information age disruptions.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 07:44:39 PM by PizzaSteve »
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FIREySkyline

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2017, 06:19:52 PM »
There's no such thing as too much economic inequality, because as wealth grows the difference between the top and bottom can only grow even if the bottom is infinitely better off. The wealth that the top end of Americans and beyond have is created wealth that did not exist in the past. The more wealth is generated through growth, the bigger the inequality might be, but the better off everyone is -- any mustachian should understand these concepts as they are what make FIRE possible for anyone today when it was possible only for royalty in the past. Wealth does not grow when it is simply taken from others like in the case of a monarchs of the past... or modern charity taxation. Taxation is a necessary evil for certain functions of government, but not a means of economic stimulation and not a valid channel for charity (as proven by its ineffectiveness since inception at tackling that issue); economic redistributionism does not benefit society.

So, yes, a CORE on economics that starts by talking about inequality is, indeed, missing what makes the economy churn in favor of pushing a political agenda.

You know where they don't have inequality? In places where everyone is dirt poor and worked to the bone and gets to keep none of their personally generated wealth. Equality can only be enforced at zero. You cannot expect to pull up the poor by tearing down the rich. There is no example of this working in history. I do not know why people act like it can succeed "if only" after over 100 years of tyrannical failure.

PizzaSteve

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2017, 07:53:58 PM »
I have no interest in an economic debate formed by assertions largely formed by idiology, not solid academic style peer reviewed data.  Too often people assert their views, whether right or wrong, by cherry picking data to make a point based on an idiology.

This is not good thinking.  Various economic systems of organization can create and distribute wealth.  Rome, ancient china, communist china, the early egyptian monarchs, American capitalism and Ghengis Khan were all highly successful wealth creators.  Wealth disparities are high in both poor and successful economies, and under many governance models. Some of the poorest countries on earth practice almost pure capitalism, with huge gaps between wealthy warlords and impoverished, starving displaced people.

Drawing economic conclusions from the narrow experience of a few decades is not good science IMHO.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 07:56:08 PM by PizzaSteve »
All posts are opinions of the author subject to independent verification by the reader.  No representations of fact are asserted regarding commercial products or services.

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FIREySkyline

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2017, 06:49:39 PM »
I have no interest in an economic debate formed by assertions largely formed by idiology, not solid academic style peer reviewed data.  Too often people assert their views, whether right or wrong, by cherry picking data to make a point based on an idiology.

...

Drawing economic conclusions from the narrow experience of a few decades is not good science IMHO.
*Ideology ;-)

Two things on the science side of things:
1. I agree that drawing broad conclusions from a single scenario is fallacious logic
2. Economics is not a pure science because it is based on the decisions of individuals which cannot be accurately modeled or predicted to an exacting level of fidelity, so "good science" is a bit presumptive


This is not good thinking.  Various economic systems of organization can create and distribute wealth.  Rome, ancient china, communist china, the early egyptian monarchs, American capitalism and Ghengis Khan were all highly successful wealth creators.  Wealth disparities are high in both poor and successful economies, and under many governance models. Some of the poorest countries on earth practice almost pure capitalism, with huge gaps between wealthy warlords and impoverished, starving displaced people.
This is where you're foregoing good science, or even actually looking at the factors involved when both looking at the relative benefits of capitalism or what it represents.

1. Ancient societies, while they may have created wealth (some more than others), did not provide opportunity for climbing the economic ladder the way capitalism has in the US. Many relied on extensive uses of slaves and permanently working class to build institutions from which they never benefited. The US, on the other hand, did not experience its significant economic growth until after the abolition of slavery, which never played a significant role in its industry (concentrated in the North) at all.
2. Capitalism is merely a system of economics, not of morality, ethics or politics. Saying that a country that is essentially anarchic in form is an example of what can go wrong with capitalism is a red herring. Capitalism works because it is the default method humans use for conducting transactions, to complain that it doesn't prevent tyranny in an inherently tyrannical country where there is little to no rule of law is erroneous in its implication. The beauty of capitalism is that it is a natural economic framework upon which law can be established.
3. Socialism or any system of government that is focused on the allocation of resources rather than, as the US was founded, on the protection of the rights of the individual (though it is straying from this today in favor of collectivism's failed ideals), inherently implements and asserts a moral code as part of its economic model which is in fact not moral at all. While the establishment of laws preventing gross exploitation, fraud, etc. under capitalism is legitimate and crucial to a just society, the theft and re-allocation of wealth is inherently immoral and degrades the productivity and overall health of a society. This has, indeed, been born out in the course of history. The focus on "the collective" results in disregard and dehumanization of each individual. Only with the elevation of the rights of the individual does the group as a whole inherently see more benefit and freedom. These individuals include the wealthy, regardless of wealth disparity.

"One with the law is a majority" -Calvin Coolidge
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 06:51:26 PM by FIREySkyline »

PizzaSteve

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2017, 11:25:55 AM »
...Only with the elevation of the rights of the individual does the group as a whole inherently see more benefit and freedom....

"One with the law is a majority" -Calvin Coolidge

While i neither agree not disagree with this statement, I think it is an idiology based assertion, not a fact based conclusion.  Sure, we all want freedom, individual choice and support this view on this forum, but is this proven to be the most efficient form of wealth creation and distribution through data?  I dont think so. 

In the animal kingdom we have species like ants that are very efficient, but purely hierarchical in organization.  Choice creates risk, and one person with planet destroying tech would disprove that assertion pretty fast, if not constrained by collective interests.  Again, no interest in a debate, but feel free to post links to sources or interesting research.  Thanks.
All posts are opinions of the author subject to independent verification by the reader.  No representations of fact are asserted regarding commercial products or services.

Pizzasteve prefers to avoid excessive critical debates.  In the event of a post, no need to reply or quote if you disagree. I am posting information meant to stand on its own and hope to avoid back and forth debating.

FIREySkyline

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2017, 11:40:37 AM »
...Only with the elevation of the rights of the individual does the group as a whole inherently see more benefit and freedom....

"One with the law is a majority" -Calvin Coolidge

While i neither agree not disagree with this statement, I think it is an idiology based assertion, not a fact based conclusion.  Sure, we all want freedom, individual choice and support this view on this forum, but is this proven to be the most efficient form of wealth creation and distribution through data?  I dont think so. 

In the animal kingdom we have species like ants that are very efficient, but purely hierarchical in organization.  Choice creates risk, and one person with planet destroying tech would disprove that assertion pretty fast, if not constrained by collective interests.  Again, no interest in a debate, but feel free to post links to sources or interesting research.  Thanks.
The animal kingdom is not self aware like humans, ants don't even know they can be selfish. Such comparisons are not valid because they ignore the unique traits of humans. Throwing out a red herring precedentless hypothetical like human destroying tech in the hands of an individual is also not an argument. That's where laws come in that do not supersede nor diminish the rights of the individual. Self defense against all threats to liberty is a human right. Human extermination is not. And in no way is the huamn extermination case relevant to present day.

While the ideology upon which the US was founded does foster economic exceptionalism, that is not its purpose and we'd do well to remember that. Comparisons of economic growth, while great, do not affect the rights with which each man should be granted in the US responsibility for his own destiny and not coddled by a we-know-best collective. If that is your ideal, there are places you can go, but that is antithetical to US founding principles.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 11:58:20 AM by FIREySkyline »

PizzaSteve

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2017, 08:33:51 AM »
...[stuff]
Please read my sig.  You are deliberately trying to provoke arguement or debate on political or idiological topics.  I wont bite. Didnt even carefully read beyond the first few lines, as it was clearly heading that direction.   Economics, religion, whether we have free will or are just social programming, freedom of thought...not the subjects for an early retirment forum.

Best of luck with your FIRE. Feel free to have the last word.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2017, 08:39:01 AM by PizzaSteve »
All posts are opinions of the author subject to independent verification by the reader.  No representations of fact are asserted regarding commercial products or services.

Pizzasteve prefers to avoid excessive critical debates.  In the event of a post, no need to reply or quote if you disagree. I am posting information meant to stand on its own and hope to avoid back and forth debating.

FIREySkyline

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Re: The CORE Project - Ebook course on economics
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2017, 09:27:42 AM »
...[stuff]
Please read my sig.  You are deliberately trying to provoke arguement or debate on political or idiological topics.  I wont bite. Didnt even carefully read beyond the first few lines, as it was clearly heading that direction.   Economics, religion, whether we have free will or are just social programming, freedom of thought...not the subjects for an early retirment forum.

Best of luck with your FIRE. Feel free to have the last word.
You presented no facts, suggested absurd analogies and hypotheticals, and then complained about the lack of facts involved. I don't care if you prefer to stick to pure fact discussion and avoid anything intangible, but you can't talk out both sides of your mouth.