The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
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Et Tu, Brute ??

It is bad enough that the morally-challenged technology firms in Silicon Valley argue they have a right to know everywhere you go online, everything you buy in stores, every event you attend, and every lever you pull on election day.  But, those big tech firms are nothing more than apologists for advertising firms.  After all, who doesn’t want personally-targeted advertisements?

I’ve never viewed economists as morally-challenged but now have doubts.  Using deep data-mining and machine-learning, they are starting to use statistical techniques like gradient boosting and the random forest approach to predict recessions.  After all, who doesn’t want better economic forecasting?

A “self-fulfilling prophecy” is a prediction that actually happens because of the prediction.  In economic terms, if people believe a prediction that the economy will go into recession, then they will decrease their spending, which puts the economy into the predicted recession.

Believing “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” how do we prevent the inevitable?  Just because something can be done, it doesn’t mean it should be done.  The problem with waterfalls is that they are low on the horizon and hard to see . . . 

I expect better from economists!  Stooping to the level of Facebook or Google is disappointing.