New Year's Resolutions
- Be able to reproduce the econometrics in this study and test Smith's ideas on pre-modern growth in Japan (i.e. Does plugging zero population growth and zero international trade into the model postdict growth as seen in Japan in the late Tokugawa?). Mostly I want to know if this question even makes sense for the type of study that Allen did. To what extent are econometric models sensitive to the data sets used? For example, what connection is there between a variable he called "international trade" and the general concept of international trade? Does the fact that Allen used a specific, European dataset mean that I should read "international trade" as "trade across certain political boundaries in Europe in a certain time period" or how much more broadly can that variable be interpreted? How can I squeeze Japanese data, for example, into his European model?
- Find counter-narratives to the standard economic trope as seen in Ben Friedman's Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, Seabright's Company of Strangers, and Professor Clark's forthcoming Conquest of Nature. Why might economic growth be unimportant? What are the trade-offs for growth? What are other ways to organize large groups of people that doesn't involve the quest for greater material wealth and yet still provides results as good as economic prosperity (respect for human life, stability, happiness, equality, etc)?
- Get closer to understanding why the Malthusian Trap does not continue to be the status quo. Are we experiencing a 200+ year bubble and once 'everything has been invented', will we return to a Malthusian equilibrium? It's hard for me to see why the rules that governed human material well-being for all but most recent history somehow stopped being in force when the the textile industry took off in northwest England two and half centuries ago... Ok. Even if the industrial revolution wasn't a revolution and the process moving us out the the Trap took centuries, who's to say we couldn't just as easily slip (or fall) back into the Trap? Why isn't Jarad Diamond right? (It's impossible that he is!)
- Run all through the year. I have this nasty habit of giving up running for large chunks of the year (especially the winter months). It makes it really hard to get back into it when the weather warms up.
To be continued... I'm done now (bumped the post into the new year).