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Forum posts for Review of Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

Posted by phduffy on Jan 08, 2004
I forgot to mention that this book also has a small chapter on personal finances. Ir pretty much confirms what I've been thinking, which is that anyone that claims to have a system that can beat the market doens't know what they're talking about. You beat the market by being lucky, and that's about it.
So, I am considering switching my investments.

Posted by mike on Jan 08, 2004
Ever wonder how much paper it takes to print all that money?
How much Nickel and other metals it takes to make those coins?
How much of our resources is tied up in useless crap?
How safe (not criminally) all that crazy ink and anti-couterfeit stuff is?
How much of peoples time and energy is spent thinking about and attaining money and economic prosperity?

I would like to read a book on that.

Actually I don't imagine that I want to know. I might be sick.

Posted by kris on Jan 08, 2004
Funny thing, I was just telling some friends of mine how much i'd love to learn more about economics. Thanks for the review. I think I might pick that up.

Posted by phduffy on Jan 08, 2004
Mike, I strongly suggest that you read this book.

Then you would realize that we don't actually produce all that much money (as compared to the amount of money that exists), and that people aren't about spending ways to increase their money.

Your use of the words economic prosperity is incorrect (althought quite frequent).

Posted by mike on Jan 09, 2004
Maybe I should read the book then. I don't have a clue what you are talking about.

If you are referring to the fact that if everyone tried to cash in all their bank accounts and so forth that there wouldn't be enough money to go areound. I think I already knew that.

In Iraq before the "liberation" when Saddam cashed in on his bank accounts I thought it was something like 17 full truck loads of money were taken away. Maybe that's not accurate, but I am curious what the weight of all of the AVAILABLE paper money in the world (or Canada or the US or whatever) would be if you brought it all to gether and weighed it. I think it would be in the thousands of tonnes. Just a guess of course. I can think of a lot of better stuff that could have been done with that wood (or pulp) and ink. That is what I am saying.

Please explain why my use of "economic prosperity" was incorrect. I am not a wordsmith, I try to put thoughts into words, but sometimes the words oren't there (or just escape me). What if I used the terms "pursuit of the happiness they view money to be". Would that be better? I don't get it.

Posted by phduffy on Jan 09, 2004
It appears as though you are equating economic prosperity with money. That's not the case. Money does not neccessarily equate to happiness, nor does economics make that claim.

U R Rite
Posted by mike on Jan 09, 2004
Money does not neccessarily equate to happiness. Good call. Just remove the word necessarily. In our world however, a lack of money could necessarily result in a lack of happiness (sadly).

If money doesn't equal happiness, then why is their such a drive to get and keep money? This is just a qeustion, I don't think money = happiness.

What is economics if it isn't money? I am totally misinformed I suppose. I thought economics was the study/understanding of the attainment and circulation of money and goods/services. Please fill me in on what economics is, in general, I don't want to wallow in ignorance any longer. Economincs is NOT money. Got it. What is economics?

Money goes to happiness
Posted by Nerhael on Jan 09, 2004
I think it's that a lot of people believe that having more money will open up new paths to happiness. Thus ensuring them a cake walk to said happiness.

There is no guarantee that the path's end in a true and quantifiable happiness though for that particular invidivual. Or that the invidual will take any of the right paths that money opens for them.

I think some people get so consume in the amasing of money to open all the paths that they never find the time to actually follow the paths. Some of those path's will close as they age, and as time passes in general, so then they're old and have missed out on a lot, and then they get to be bitter about their youth. :) Money stole their youth. Blarg.

I think I like that.
Posted by mike on Jan 09, 2004

Perhaps that is a contributing factor to the mid-life crisis thing that some people seem to get.

I'll try. :)
Posted by phduffy on Jan 09, 2004
Mike, you definitely need to leave the word neccesarily in there. For some people the things that money can bring do bring happiness. For some people money = happiness, and for some people it doens't.

I don't think you're totally misinformed on economics. Part of it is how money is introduced into the economy (ie, the Bank of Canada doens't just hand out dollar bills. err.. coins), how inflation and unemployment come around.

But really, the basic fundamentals of micro econ (which is econ on a personal level, as opposed to Macro, which is econ on the government level) is that people want to increase their utility. Utility is this theoretical thing that doens't exist that measures how happy you are. Like, maybe seeing a cute girl gives you 2 units of util, and making $20 an hour gives you 4 utils.
The problem is that it's damn hard to measure that stuff, so alot of the time when looking at something it gets reduced to money. Ie, the number one way to measure how a country is doing is to look at their GDP, which is all the stuff they've made and sold in dollar terms. That's not perfect, but it's measurable.

Anyways, I'm not an econ prof or anything, so I'd suggest that you read the book.

Note: Krystle - this seems like the perfect time for your post on whether or not money provides happiness.

Posted by mike on Jan 12, 2004
I don't necessarily have to do anything with necessarily. This is me trying to be amusing, not trying to be an asshole (before any offence is taken, I don't want a large debate on my personal feelings again).

I will argue that money itself doesn't bring happiness. If you sit areound on you big pile of ammassed money then I don't see how any happiness was found. I do suppose in a roundabout way the products money can buy could bring happiness. This however is not the money itself.

Also, I suppose the point that I should be trying to make is that money can't buy all the intangibles in life that, in my opinion, are the things that bring the most happiness. Natives living in South America or wherever have no money. Does this mean they can't be happy?

I definitely see what you are saying. Due to ingrained thoughts I understand the "money brings happiness" way of thinking. I just prefer to think about things not as they are, but how I think they should be.

Noone can be right here. This is all personal opinion, as was pointed out in previous post.

I did not know that is what economics was. Some of it makes sense, other parts do not. Your explanation is good, its the concepts I don't like. Who is some guy in an office somewhere to tell me how many utility's any given thing will give me? No sir, I don't like it.

Posted by phduffy on Jan 12, 2004
Well you might want to give the book a shot.
Even if you don't agree with some of it, or most of it, you'll at least have a better idea of where people are coming from.

Well no guy in an office can determine how much utility you'll get, cause everyone's different. The guy in the office is more interested in finding out how productive you can be, and in making you as productive as possible.

You have to make some attempt to measure utility though, cause otherwise you don't have much to use for comparisions.