Thursday, August 15, 2013

On the Value of Econometric Training

I received the following piece from Angelo Melino today. I hadn't seen it before, and I just loved it! 

Angelo posts this for the students in his M.A. econometrics course, and I think it deserves to be brought to the attention of all of our students. You just never know!

The rest is from Angelo:

"In 'The Future of Economic Convergence' (August 2011), a paper written for the central bankers' meeting at Jackson's Hole, Dani Rodrick writes

"Novelists have a better track record than economists at foretelling the future. Consider
then Gary Shteyngart’s timely comic novel Super Sad True Love Story (Random House,
2010), which provides a rather graphic vision of what lies in store for the world economy. The
novel takes place in the near future and is set against the backdrop of a United States that lies
in economic and political ruin. The country’s bankrupt economy is ruled with a firm hand by the
IMF from its new Parthenon-shaped headquarters in Singapore. China and sovereign wealth
funds have parceled America’s most desirable real estate among themselves. Poor people are
designated as LNWI (“low net worth individuals”) and are being pushed into ghettoes. Even
skilled Americans are desperate to acquire residency status in foreign lands."

Here's an excerpt from the novel:

Grace and I drank watermelon juice and ate freshly sliced kimbap from 32nd Street, the pickled daikon radish crunching smartly between our teeth, rice and seaweed coating our mouths with sea and starch. Normalcy, that’s what we were going for. After some jokey preliminaries, she put on her serious face. “Lenny,” she said, “there’s something a little sad I have to tell you.”
“Oh, no,” I said.
“Vishnu and I got permanent residency in Stability. We’re moving to Vancouver in three weeks.”
I felt the rice expanding in my throat and coughed into my hand. I beheld the terms I was given. Grace. The woman who had loved me the most. Had listened to me for the past fifteen years, me with all that melancholy and dysthymia........
“So how did you guys get Canadian residency?” I asked her, not even bothering to modulate the acidity of my tone. “I thought it was impossible. The waiting list is over twenty-three million.”
“We got lucky,” she said. “And I have a degree in econometrics. That helps.”  "

© 2013, David E. Giles