Introducing the Obvious

What’s your blog about?

In theory, this blog is about interesting topics from the world of economics.  I’m planning to write about a combination of new economic research and old economic topics.  Hopefully this will all be useful/interesting to someone other than myself.

In practice, this blog is about whatever crosses my mind at the time, up to and including cat videos.  You have been warned.

Why “Creating the Obvious”?

Well, “The Blog With No Name” was taken.  (Repeatedly.)

More seriously…  Economics as a discipline is stuffed full of more counter-intuitive results than a topologist’s winter wardrobe.  A lot of people choose not to accept those results.  Instead, they develop their own quasi-mystical understanding of how the economy works – always to the rallying cry of “well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?”

As with quantum mechanics, as with evolutionary biology, as with fractal geometry, the answer is: no, and we shouldn’t expect it to be.  Obviousness has nothing to do with truth, and everything to do with quirks of human thinking.  Something is obvious to us if (and only if) we can fit it easily into our personal roster of anecdotes and metaphors, most of which are borrowed from family and friends.

Economics, on the other hand, isn’t – or at least it shouldn’t be.  As with any science, it reflects what we see, not how we think.  Of course, as humans, we then need to translate it into metaphors to grasp and discuss it.  In doing so, we don’t state the obvious; we create it.

I will happily stipulate that this is cheesy as all hell.

Why are you qualified to write about this stuff?

Short answer: I’m not.

My background is not in economics.  I studied maths at university, and I’m self-taught to a reasonably high level in various sciences.  I barely knew economics existed until a couple years back, when I got a job in a related area.

Since then, all sorts of economic research is passing through my inbox and browser on a daily basis.  And, to my utter horror, I’m finding it really interesting.  I hope to share that with you, and ideally to learn something in the process.

The downside here is that, as a total frickin’ amateur, I may not recognise when I’m being bamboozled by bullshit.  So if you see anything that’s blatantly wrong, please call me on it.

So what’s your job?

We’re not talking about my job.  I will never knowingly write about anything that involves my employer.  If you know who I am, or who my employer is, please don’t talk about it here.  Okay, pumpkin?

What’s with the bloody stupid user name?

It’s a throwaway account that I set up yonks ago.  I was going through a Tennyson phase.  Don’t judge me.

What are the comment rules?

At the moment?  “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”  I reserve the right to be an autocratic bastard, but will try not to overdo it.  On the off-chance I actually get lots of commenters, I’ll come up with a proper policy.

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