Monday, November 12, 2007

Feminism and economics

What do feminism and economics have in common?

They are both primarily faith-based disciplines -- with predetermined ideas about what "should be" rather than an intellectual interest in examining "what is".

People tend to react to things with a mixture of emotionally and rationally triggered responses. It's not always easy to predict whether emotional or rational triggers will be predominate in a given situation.

Feminists tend to often have emotional responses to events and they make the mistake of expecting others to also have emotional responses, and they'll then try to explain the observed behavior of others by attribution of emotions.

Economists tend to have rational responses to everything, and they make the mistake of expecting others to also have rational responses. I'd previously used the term hyper-rational to describe this when I talked about one of the premier nutcase economists, John Lott, in an earlier post. That's not really the right term. Delusionally rational is probably a better term.

What prompted this post was a comment by Major Bob, a sometimes commenter here who teaches ROTC and has a PhD in economics. He has the typical right wing delusionally rational (emotional) response to things that you frequently see in those trained in classical economics.

Like feminists, that kind of economists decided in advance what he thinks the truth should be then seeks out data to support that belief. There's nothing scientific or analytical about them, it's just all pretense.

The comment in question was about my post on lynching.

He quotes a bunch of statistics about things like black on black murder rates that causes him to claim leads to the conclusion
A contemporary black man would be safer walking into a KKK meeting and saying, "Is this where they be handin' out the welfare checks" than he would walking down Martin Luther King Boulevard after dark. A black man in a hoodie should be more frightening for them than seeing a noose hanging from a tree in a schoolyard.

Like feminists, the economist focus is on what his personal moral compass, whatever that is, tells him should be. There is no focus on what is.

Among the statistics he quotes is is that black on black murder rates are higher (by a lot) than white on black murder rates. But what he omits is that execution rates for blacks convicted of murder or a white a very much higher than the execution rates of whites convicted of murder of a black. Very much higher by a lot more than the difference in murder rates.

Lynching is part of that institutionalized killings of blacks that today is represented by the death penalty. Most lynchings would not have been included in murder rates simply because they weren't considered murder -- as I pointed out in my previous post, many of them were just after church picnics with the torture, hanging, and mutilation of a black man as part of the entertainment.

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Blogger Major Bob said...

Sorry sweet pea, you're wrong as usual. The statistics I presented from the Bureau of Justice Statistics state "what is", not what you'd like them to be. As a typical liberal, you respond with the childish, "I'm not but you are" response to every challenge.

Lynchings were an awful chapter in American history. And HISTORY is where they remain - a thing of the past and largely confined to specific regions of the country.

Whenever you or anyone else conjures up images of "lynchings", you are writing "There be monsters here" on the margins of a map. Lynchings have no import to contemporary social problems.

You comment frequently about economists yet know little to nothing about them. On the FIRST DAY of any Econ class, we teach about the difference between normative (what should be) and positive (what is) economics. Involving value judgments, normative economics has a natural place only when discussing societal welfare when a hypothetical decision maker places weights on the utility of individuals in the social welfare function. All other economic models proceed from POSITIVE analysis.

That minimum wages cause higher unemployment is a POSITIVE statement derived from both economic theory and empirical evidence. That we SHOULD have a minimum wage is a normative question left to policy makers and voters.

As I explained in another post on your so-called Math and Poker blog, NO economists believe in perfectly rational agents and markets. They are a simplifying assumption to make models tractable. The inferences drawn therefrom are still instructive, and the relaxation of assumptions is a natural extension of research.

It's your blog and you're entitled to your own opinions, no matter how much they are based in ignorance. Yet you are not entitled to your own facts.

And thanks for acknowledging I have a PhD in Economics - it's something you used to vehemently deny on years ago.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Major Bob said...

XXXXX. You fail again!

I did omit that black execution rates are higher than whites because IT'S NOT TRUE.

People are not executed by random chance. They are executed because they COMMITTED MURDER. Since blacks commit murder at TEN TIMES the rate that whites commit murder, all else equal you should EXPECT they would be executed more often. They should be executed TEN TIMES more often.

But THAT isn't even true. The MAJORITY of convicts who have been executed and are on death row are WHITE, even though they do not commit a majority of murder. You can find that fact on the same BJS website I linked to earlier.

So you not only persist in statistical innumeracy and logical fallacies, you feel free to make up your own facts as you go along.

WHITES are disproportionately executed and blacks are UNDER-executed.

For a man who purports to enlighten poker players on statistics, you have an extremely poor grasp of the topic.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

What I said was that blacks who kill whites have a higher execution rate than whites who kill blacks.

It's also higher than that for blacks who kill blacks.

See, for example, This paper

There's tons of research that supports this.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Major Bob said...

You can cherry pick data factoids all you want, your point is lost.

Blacks commit murder at a higher rate than non-hispanic whites - TEN TIMES HIGHER. And convicted black murderers are are executed at a LOWER rate than whites convicted of murder. That's all we need to know to reject the hypothesis that blacks are disproportionately executed.

You're saying that blacks who kill whites are more likely to be executed than whites who kill blacks? SO WHAT! The decision whether to execute someone is based on the CIRCUMSTANCES of a case, not the random roll of dice.

Your factoid suggests that blacks MIGHT be discriminated against ONLY when the victims are white. Here's where you display your ignorance of how statistics supports/refutes hypotheses. The paper you cite gives a NECESSARY condition for discrimination, not a SUFFICIENT one. If those juries had black members on them, would you relent from your conclusion? If the murders committed by blacks were more horrendous in nature or involved multiple victims, would you relent?

You have no sense in your analytical ability of when it is appropriate to look at aerial photos and when you should comb through the weeds.

11:38 PM  

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