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Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.
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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world
Economic Inequality: If the wealthiest 1% of Americans shouldn't own 40% of the country's financial wealth, what is a more appropriate breakdown? (Quora Discussion) There are many good graphics. Here are three of them:
The "Subpar" Recovery: A Longstanding Misunderstanding (Lakshman Achuthan, 24th Annual Hyman P. Minsky Conference) Another treasure trove of graphs. The following show that the GDP trends experienced by the U.S. have really been global, at least as far as the other two largest developed economies are concerned.
Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea
The Scholars And Lawyers Who Believe Gay Marriage Causes Abortion (The Daily Beast) An amicus brief filed by conservatives opposing gay marriage is ridiculous, but there is a link between same-sex nuptials and abortion. The brief says that where same-sex marriage is allowed traditional mariage has declined. Then the brief points out that abortions are inversely correlated to the number of traditional marriages. Ergo, same sex marriage should not be allowed because it will increase the number of abortions (by 900,000 over ten years, according to the brief). Econintersect: What could possibly be wrong with this "perfect" logic? See the next four items; all apply.
Pitfalls when trying to analyze economics (Stevens Point Journal) Repeated from yesterday and expanded with the three notes following. A discussion of three economic faux pas written in the language of the non-economist. Read about "the fallacy of composition, the fallacy of division, and the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy." These are problems that we find frequently in economic discussion and analysis, although the expression of these may be hidden without careful dissection by the reader (of those other works, not this article).
The fallacy of composition: This is the assumption that if something is true for one element of a group then it is true for the entire group. This fallacy is the basis of police profiling
The fallacy of division: This is the assumption that if something is true for the whole then it must be true for its parts. While this can be true in special situations (fractals, holograms) it is demonstrably not true for most situations. The absolutely worst abuse here involves inferring from an average that all elements are average.
The post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy: This is the assumption that correlation proves causation. This is related to the concept in law of circumstantial evidence. This is sometimes abbreviated to post hoc fallacy. A closely related fallacy is cum hoc ergo propter hoc (cum hoc fallacy)which refers to simultaneous correlations while post hoc refers to sequential correlations. Wikipedia gives the following example of the post hoc fallacy:
Some other examples (with persons we remember using them):
Wet streets cause rain. (cum hoc, John Mauldin)
Loss of income causes unemployment. (cum hoc)
Deciduous leaf loss causes winter. (post hoc)
Real World Economics: Surplus in funds, deficit in prudence (Twin Cities Pioneer Press) An argument is presented against spending projected state surpluses before they actually occur.
HAROLD SARE: Inequality: The politics of economics (Stillwater News Press) Good discussion: Does might make right?
I’ve Just Seen a (DNA-Generated) Face (The New York Times)
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