28 Apr 2011

Soros on Hayek

Big Brother, Conspiracy 13 Comments

In the other thread, a molecular biologist is pulling his hair out in the comments when I discuss his field. I have sympathy, and I really hope I don’t sound like Soros talking about Hayek (HT2 LRC). If I were paid to pretend to know a little bit about free market economics, but not much, I don’t think I could have come up with a better essay than this. Holy cow.

(BTW if you don’t know much about Hayek, don’t bother clicking. It’s not an intrinisically interesting piece, unless you want to get to know the guy who will be on the currency you use in 20 years.)

13 Responses to “Soros on Hayek”

  1. Brandon says:

    That was a profoundly bad piece of writing.

  2. Daniel Kuehn says:

    Hey! Don’t bash my benefactor… errrr… George Soros.

    Soros is funny – he’s actually put a lot of thought into his “reflexivity” ideas, despite the fact that he’s reinvented the wheel in a lot of ways. To a certain extent that’s admirable. But he doesn’t approach it in a very scholarly way, and so you get him on the one hand being more thoughtful in a social sciency way than most financiers, but on the other hand he sounds like he’s cobbling together recollections of LSE a few decades ago when he tries to place his ideas in the context of modern social science. It’s not pretty, but perhaps he gets an A for effort???

    • Jon O. says:

      Reflexivity is a very useful concept in finance, especially in trading. It’s one of the reasons why most people fail at it (besides spreads, commissions, knowledge / technological assymetries etc.). You tend to get this infinitely complex system of feedback loops that.

      Also useful for understanding the effects of certain monetary policies, wealth-effects, boom-bust cycles, the parabolic nature of market phenomena, tail-risk etc.

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        Oh I definitely agree. The problem with Soros is not his ideas – in many cases those are quite good. I just sympathize with Bob because in a lot of cases his bibliographical work amounts to some vague recollections of his LSE days. That doesn’t siminish his ideas, of course – but it does lead to guys like Bob or Greg Ransom pulling their hair out.

        • RG says:

          Which ideas are those, the one where other human beings are his property or how genocide is good for GDP?

        • crossofcrimson says:

          “That doesn’t siminish his ideas, of course – but it does lead to guys like Bob or Greg Ransom pulling their hair out.”

          I don’t think Bob would appreciate you bringing attention to his baldness.

  3. Blackadder says:

    Just read the first two paragraphs. Didn’t realize that Hayek founded the Chicago school.

  4. RG says:

    Misinformation or intellectual disability?

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      Neither, I think. He’s just a financier that wants to play scholar and does badly at it.

  5. Bob Roddis says:

    This gives Soros invaluable cover as a billionaire with the hysterical, anti-intellectual brain-dead left (excuse the redundancy).

  6. hawk30 says:

    This notion doesn’t originate with Soros.

    Here’s Caldwell responding to Mirowksi and Van Horn: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1356899

  7. RS says:

    “The two functions connect reality and the participants’ perception of reality in opposite directions. As long as the two functions work independently of each other they produce determinate results. When they operate simultaneously they interfere with each other. That is the case not only in the financial markets but also in many other social situations.

    I call the interference reflexivity. Reflexivity introduces an element of unquantifiable uncertainty into both the participants’ understanding and the actual course of events.”

    This is utter nonsense and just a rehash of the old hat mind body dichotomy mixed with determinism. The above statements literally legislate that a persons actions and a persons thougths are diametrically opposed to each other and explicitly states that only thoughtless actions can generate “postive” outcomes, whatever that is supposed to mean.

    Apparently Soros is an epistemological determinist and our cognitive faculty gets in the way of our zombie instincts which knows truth but are distored by our choices causing “reflexivity”. I have absolutely zero sympathy for anyone who would entertain even the remotest possibility of such nonsense.

    It hurts my brain just to read it.