Tuesday, December 27, 2011

David Brooks Claims To Be Better at Reasoning by Analogy

David Brooks claims that the Obama administration is not good at making historical analogies, They got it wrong when they compared the Great Depression to the Great Recession because he believes that government was respected in the 1930's and it is feared today. He cherry picked some polling data to make that point. They also got it wrong when they compared our situation to the progressive era because that too was different from today according to his reading of history. He then turns around and makes his own analogy. At least this is about something that he should understand. He compares our economy to a middle aged person. He then explains what government should do, or refrain from doing, to his middle aged patient.

Reasoning from analogy usually leads to bad results. The Obama administration, and the great majority of economists who looked for comparisons to the Great Depression, may have been wrong, given Brook's superior reading of history. I would not want to build an economy, however, on a comparison with middle aged pundits.

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