October 17, 2008

11, vs 300

What would you do, if your mother asked you?

Sorry, wrong question. What would you do, with your $10,000?


Chetan said...

There are major problems with that comparison. You might want to take a look at this.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that the old "correlation vs causation" fallacy?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Thanks Chetan. The doubts about such comparisons are plenty. For me, the first one was this: how do you isolate and compare S&P growth in non-contiguous periods anyway? i.e. what does it really mean to compare the growth in S&P 1960-68 and then 1976-80, on the one hand, to 1968-76 and then 1980-92? How do you treat those as independent, statistically or economically or anything?

So the reason I asked, what would you do with your $10k, is just this: could you conceivably invest it at the beginning of a Dem administration, remove it at the beginning of a Rep administration, then put it back when the next Dem came to power, etc?

Like a lot of these simplistic Dem vs Rep comparisons, this may give you something to chew on, but that's about all, and anyway it doesn't taste too good after a couple of chews. (Another simplistic one I love: it's only a Republican Prez who could have made overtures to China, as Nixon did, because Republicans are seen as more patriotic than Democrats. Yeah right, and that same president had to resign in disgrace. So much for patriotism).

The ScienceBlogs article spells out all the doubts, so thank you for pointing me to it.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Incidentally Chetan, as a larger theme, this NYT article is one more example of a fundamental innumeracy in the media that always gets my goat. Why is it so hard to understand and use statistics properly?

Here's a couple of earlier examples, from the Indian press: Number blues.

Anonymous said...

From the science blog:

"People who read this blog regularly know that I'm a very vocal liberal democrat."

Me glad, me very very glad.

Me wish Dilip would do something the same. Me slightly disappointed. He OK but could do a little better.


Dilip D'Souza said...

Oh, more hoops. Now I'm asked to proclaim that I am a "very vocal liberal democrat". As if a proclamation alone makes me one.

Sorry to continue to disappoint, but I don't make proclamations to assauge disappointment. For the rest, your own conclusions are fine with me.

Anonymous said...

re-previous: Oops sorry, i may have been misunderstood.

What i meant by that was, ive been noting that in the US 'conservative' and 'liberal' leaning guys *go after their own side* in the interest of fairness.

as a self-declared non-leftist, non-rightist, you do a pretty good job of going after whatever bugs you, and mostly i am in agreement with you.

coming to the disappointment: ---> its the realization that if there had been numbers ranged in that article that implied its lot better to invest in republican times, *you would most likely not have waited for Chetan's challenge to express your doubts on these numbers* they would have been there in the main post. <---

thats it, and yes i have no proof of it, since its something you have *NOT* done based on an article that's *NOT* written :-) its come with long years of dcubed and is my read of you.

and yes, i also know there is nothing you are going to do abt this disappointment, so the 'no hoops' is also well in place.

so lets continue in our disappointed and no-hoopy states, but with better realization of what its about, its not about you mounting some soapbox and declaring yourself to be, or not be, something.