Dave Allen

Experts exposed by blogging

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The Web as great leveler.

As it goes for modern economists, showing their weak thinking in blogs, so it goes for the “social media experts..” From Paul Krugman today:

December 27, 2011, 9:11 AM

Shallow Be Thy Name

Karl Smith says something true:

“One thing that can easily pass you by is the dearth of analytical ability in the world. When you talk to experts you can be confused into thinking that they are sharper than they are because they have been thinking and talking about the same things for a long time.

However, in the fast and furious world of the blogosphere it quickly becomes apparent how shallow much of that understanding is and how widespread the inability to transfer insights between domains is as well.”

Indeed. The real-time conversation about economics that blogging makes possible has been deeply revealing, as we see that famous economists have a remarkably hard time thinking straight about what should be simple issues, like the relevance or lack thereof of Ricardian equivalence to the effects of government spending.

It has also been striking how, when caught doing something foolish — say. forgetting that there was rationing during World War II — many of these people try to pull rank. It doesn’t work: in cyberspace, everyone can see that the emperor is naked.

And that’s a very good thing.

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