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4/18/08

how academics fight

These egghead dudes have a weird way of going about fighting. In Otto's world, you go outside, punch s___ outta each other then drink beer together afterwards. But enough about my intellectual level...let's see how the smart people do it.

This one started with smart person 1, Francisco Rodriguez, an economist at Wesleyan University (oh yeah). He was also the chief economist dude for the Venezuelan National Assembly. He started it all by writing a note about how Chávez's Venezuela wasn't helping the poor at all...AND HE'D GOT THE NUMBERS TO PROVE IT. After all, he's got no chip on his shoulder about anything Venezuelan...all he did was tell Chávez in 2002 that his policy of budget deficits would lead to big problems in the short term. Here we are, six years later, and it's unlikely that 6 years of a Venezuela economy proving Rodriguez totally wrong would get on his nerves.

That when smart dude 2 turns up, Mark Weisbrot of CEPR in Washington (no, not the London one). Now Weisbrot makes a living by going round telling US dudes "HEY!!! Ain't all that bad in VZ, ya knowz", and so he wrote a paper basically saying that Rodriguez's analysis sucked.

But this Rodriguez dude wasn't going to roll over and die that easily...he be big econ dude. Back he came with a rebuttal-of-the-rebuttal, which was full of scathing remarks about the figures Weisbrot uses, and the state of his crappy haircut*, and how he wasn't being like a real economist and "how-dare-you-question-me-anyway??" kinda stuff. Also lots of long calculations with weird looking symbols were used, I can tell you that much.

We thought it was all over. After all, the Rodriguez dude has a big chair in a big college and writes big papers with big log words. But NO!!! Weisbrot came back at him yesterday, and it's gotta be said, he whipped the Rodriguez dude's ass. Weisbrot totally like totally dismantled Roddy's argument (which was crap anyway, but numberz R numberz...gotta whack 'em around with other numbers before anyone academic listens).

So game, set and match to the Hugo-loving Weisbrot. Quite right too, as anyone who visited VZ in the mid 90s and then in 2005 (e.g. me) don't need no Casio to know that the moolah is getting spread around...schools, doctors, food, semi-automatic weapons...man, they got it all there.

*ok, I made that one up