My Saturday afternoons are productive. If I'm not dicking around on Facebook, I'm dicking around on Twitter. And, like any truly productive person, I bemoan constantly that I have but a few precious few seconds available to get any work done…
So it was this afternoon, when I came across a lovely little tweetstorm from Noah Smith illustrating why it is sometimes so hard for people to talk about economics or to understand what economists themselves are talking about. If you're like me, you have a passing interest in econ, and you may have even learned enough vocabulary to trick yourself into thinking you know a thing or two. Likewise, despite this familiarity, you may also secretly wrestle with the suspicion that, no, you do not understand in any substantive, non-abstract way what is being argued.
For my part, I remain relatively agnostic about most of the hot-button issues (e.g., minimum wage, free trade, etc.), as I feel unable to evaluate competing claims. Often, I feel quite lost.
At any rate, maybe I'm an econ nincompoop, but I get the sense that, if that's the case, so are most of the other layfolk yelling about this or that system, this or that intervention… you know how it goes: Bernie Sanders tweets out some labor statistics and now you've got a PhD.
Ultimately, it takes a significant investment—of time, of work, and of thought—to really understand the forces in play, and sometimes the bramble of jargon represents an impediment to entering the weeds, which is not necessarily unique to economics as a discipline.
Without further adieu, though, the tweetstorm:
Just thought I'd share since this gave me a chuckle.
Okay, back to "work".