Blogs in spaaaaace

28/03/2012 § 2 Comments

Offsetting Behaviour sends us to an article in The Economist that makes the distinction between having a bunch of blogs and having a blogosphere. The US is more successful with the economics bloggy thing because they all link up to each other — they have a network.

And so, first, a thank you and acknowledgement to the local econobloggers for their on-line and off-line support. Thanks for the links and comments, thanks for the encouragement. Who knows? Maybe one day the discount rate/youth unemployment/interpretation of quarterly statistics/stadium financing problem will be sorted out, and we will smile quietly to ourselves. Or write a post about it.

Secondly, this is a network theory issue. It’s the classic contention that the value of a network is based on the number of connections, as opposed to the number of nodes. There’s a reasonably good lay treatment of this in Beinhocker’s The origin of wealth. The impact of connections was also part of Potts’s The new evolutionary microeconomics. It is interesting seeing the theory working out in practice on the Web. Just to be cantankerous — the theory isn’t totally worked out, yet. It’s the problem of Deleuzian philosophy I discussed earlier.

Finally, it’s helpful to think of it in Lacanian terms of individuals looking to be recognised (in both senses of the word) by other individuals. This is along the lines of Schroeder’s discussion of law and economics. My blog becomes a blog when other blogs link to/recognise it.

As if to prove the blogosphere point, Antidismal offers his take on Eric Crampton’s post. And that’s how you build a network.

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§ 2 Responses to Blogs in spaaaaace

  • I did indeed throw it out there to try to push us all a bit closer together.

    One problem in the thinner markets is there wind up being fewer areas of overlapping competence. Marginal Revolution does exceptionally well in the US mostly because Tyler is a superb generalist. He knows everything about everything, and when he doesn’t, he can pick it up in about 5 minutes. And, he can feed on a set of specialist feeder blogs lower down where health policy economists have hashed out, in the blogs, whatever’s going on with health insurance mandates; macro-money specialists have argued NGDP, and so on.

    Here, you and Nolan could argue about proper data series; Paul, Sam and I can hit stadium financing; me and Nolan sometimes hit appropriate Central Bank policy (viz independence); but there aren’t really rich conversations on more specialized bits of policy because few of the folks who blog wind up working in the same areas. Where those conversations do show up is in the comments sections of the different blogs when Wellington wonks show up, often anonymously, to contribute.

  • Paul Walker says:

    I really hate to say this, but Eric is right! There are just too few economists blogging in NZ to really have a “blogsphere”. The overlap between what we all do is just too thin to have ongoing conversations.So encourage all other economists you know to start blogging!

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