What should not happen at a talk

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Victor Niederhoffer 3 years, 11 months ago.

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    Victor Niederhoffer

    Brink Lindsay’s presentation at the Junto on March 7 was a perfect example of what should not happen at a talk. It consisted of a sophistic proof that Krugman’s thesis that some post war years, were much more golden than some more recent years because of more government regulation and greater equality.

    There were so many things wrong with the talk. The audience was totally inappropriate for the talk. IT was a spread sheet, power point presentation where none of the audience could see it, understand the data points, or check the veracity. Even if the premises had been worth discussing, it would have been totally wasteful. NO wonder so many people fell asleep, left the talk, vowed never to come back to the Junto, and were completely silent.

    However, worse yet, the premises of the talk were completely off base. The basic idea rested on two premises.

    That some 25 year period after world war 2 had higher growth, and that it was caused by more intrusive government. How in the world could someone say that government was more intrusive in that period than now is ridiculous. There are hundreds of measures of government intervention that could be used, and almost all of them would show that government is more intrusive today. Take government as a share of the economy, or  the extent of the federal register, or the tax revenues taken as a share of income, or the extent of entitlements and unfunded debt, or the share of cronyism.

    Second, the talk was filled with selection bias and data bias. Of course you can take a measure like productivity or pre-tax income and find 4 points, a starting point, an ending point x year later, another starting point  a few years after that, and another ending point, where based on some opaque measure of income, there was a small differential in the growth rates. It has to be true with random numbers.

    Hopefully, I will never subject the valuable time and efforts of the Junto attendees to anther talk like this, and that Brink who is a reasonable scholar and has written many good books will not waste the time of audiences in the future with sophistic and inappropriate talks like this in the future.



    Victor Niederhoffer

    Of government intervention which it would have been useful to use as a foundation and base, and would have given the audience something useful to take home with them.


    I see tables on federal spending per capita, cabinet departments, human resources, a breakdown of federal expenditures by sector showing that physical resources shares has increased, state and local government expenditures, vote trading, bundling, and government size, and many other valuable topics.

    Its a model of what a talk to a general audience should have covered.


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