He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Friday, August 28, 2009

Charpentier's Prelude (Te Deum)

Arturo inspired this post.

The sound quality is muddled, but the tempo is appropriately snappy.

I've run across this more conventional rendition at Western weddings.

Multi-Tasking As A Divine Attribute

Do you ever become impatient with incompetent folks who swear that they can successfully multi-task? I do.

Let me go further by proposing that anyone who claims to be a successful multi-tasker is automatically incompetent. Scientists have concluded that we humans can focus only on one task at at time. Therefore, performing more than one task simultaneously consists in applying "continuous partial attention" to the tasks. (I got that phrase from today's Wall Street Journal.)

I'm going to add this to my list of interview questions: Can you successfully multi-task, and can you give me an example of your success at multi-tasking?

Just imagine how the interviewees, eager to make a good impression, would fall into my trap. Not only are they incapable of focusing, but also they're incapable of acquiring the introspective knowledge that would enable them to recognize what focusing entails and how they fall short.

Or, I could just dismiss them as blasphemers for claiming possession of what appears to be a divine attribute.

Empirical Economic Irony

Gabriel and I have been conversing about Austrian economics, and we've been particularly focused on the School's theoretical wertfreiheit as opposed to its identification with libertarian normative prescriptions. Gabriel noted that perhaps the Austrians have been so closely identified with libertarianism that any attempt to distinguish Austrianism from libertarianism would be futile.

That kind of concern has never favorably impressed me, and I remain convinced of the crucial distinctions between theory, application, and statecraft. For those who are new to the discussion, what I call application consists in applying economic theory to the empirical world of history, forecasting, and finance.

I spent a little time today listening to a presentation from a Chicago School economist about monetary policy. My takeaway was that he, Ben Bernanke, and I have roughly the same ideas about how the Fed should have conducted its business during Fall 2008's dire days and how the Fed should conduct its business presently.

Now, this correlation would be apostasy among the Austrian purists with whom I associate, and I'd have to defend my empirical applications as vehemently against those Austrians--and I know this from experience--as I'd have to defend Austrian theoretical apriorism and methodological individualism against the Chicagoans.

Let's just say that God's expansive sense of humor manifests itself by His throwing all sorts of cute ironies and paradoxes in my path.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Monetary Economics 101

The Russian Church Primate again called the crisis a consequence of 'sin that penetrated in modern economics,' and stated that today, 'people of honest labor pay for those who made millions and milliards [sic] out of air, pay for deception, for those who seeking easy profits lost human face in economic relations.' [Emphasis mine]

Alan Greenspan's easy monetary policy manufactured money out of thin air. The newly-created money stole value from previously-existing money. This is the shameful mechanism of monetary inflation. Patriarch Kyrill is right on the money.

Busybodies Want To Cheapen The Wedding Garments

Reporters criticized Patriarch Kyrill's expensive watch here. Maybe we're supposed to think that Christ stole from the poor by creating precious metals and other luxuries.

We Knew All Along That You Were Just A Pretty Face...

...and we wanted some real foreign policy expertise.

I can't stop laughing at this one.