The Importance of Mark Thoma

David Warsh has an article about economics blogging that is focused on Mark Thoma. Mark isn’t the most controversial blogger on the Internet, but he is one of the most invaluable, because he provides long excerpts of lots of economics material, from all different perspectives. (He also has his own points of view, but he is willing to entertain people who don’t agree with him. He is also gracious and welcoming to new bloggers (like we were not so long ago). If you have a general interest in economics and don’t subscribe to him, check him out.

By James Kwak

14 responses to “The Importance of Mark Thoma

  1. I am a big fan of Mark Thoma because of his great filtering. I feel that if he thinks it is worth mentioning, it is worth reading.

    And one look at his long blogroll indicates that he probably never declined a single blogroll request.

  2. Frank Carmelo

    Thoma’s blog is great and should be better known. I wish he or some of his regular commenters (“Anne” is notably good) would explain the basics, as this site does.

    They have the potential to contribute more if they could lower the, uh, intellectual barrier to entry.

  3. “(He also has his own points of view, but he is willing to entertain people who don’t agree with him. He is also gracious and welcoming to new bloggers (like we were not so long ago).”

    That’s weird because I had posts deleted. One time I reposted two(2). They got deleted. I asked why my posts were deleted. That got deleted.

    I stopped posting there.

  4. The problem with the internet anymore is not finding great economic bloggers like Mark Thoma, but filtering them. You can only intake so much information in a day.

    As much as they try to portray themselves as objective, 95% of the time you can see they are coming from the left or the right. The main way I judge them is you have 2 schools. The ones with an Economics degree who instead of teaching you something want to give you an exhibition of their “genius”. Like Alan Greenspan or those who do research at the Federal Reserve, that talk jargon and charts and get off when they see people get glazed eyes listening to them. And the journalists/bloggers with no degree in economics or finance who go “Don’t worry Joe six-pack, I’m gonna talk DOWN to you, and speak really slowly with little words and act like I’m 10 levels above you, even though I don’t know anymore than you. But you should be grateful to me, cause I’m pretending I’m making a lot of effort to talk baby talk for you (Paul Solman type)”. You have to find the ones in the middle. Usually those are the ones with a degree in Economics, but sincerely want to teach others the concepts. Alan Blinder is my favorite, but I don’t think he has a blog. So you have to search the editorials, Business shows, and free lectures online (youtube). Princeton and Chicago University have some good lectures you can download for free on I-tunes. My favorite bloggers are James Kwak and Simon Johnson (of course!!!). I used to like Lester Thurow’s books a lot, but seems he’s not as prolific and active as he used to be.

    Basically I visit 3 Econ sites a day: “Baseline”, “Economix”, and Brad Delong. Then just pick up whatever catches my eye after that.

    But Krugman is on the left, WSJ is on the right. Both of them are well respected, but there can be no doubt they are coming from a certain agenda. Sometimes they cherry-pick the facts that fit that agenda. You can learn a lot from them, but you always have to keep in mind what agenda they are coming from.

  5. Greg Ransom

    I also like Thoma’s blog as an information source.

    But I’m not a great fan of it as a “filter”.

    Let’s be honest. Thoma is not close to being even handed — he favors pieces which bash classic liberal economists like Hayek, Friedman, and Mankiw. And he favors folks like Krugman who are famous for unfairly and often dishonestly attacking folks like Hayek, Friedman, Mankiw and the point of view these important economists represent.

  6. Brock Sampson

    Geez, couldn’t you find a better example to link than a tortured car analogy? Talk about your Internet cliches…

  7. Ted K wrote, But Krugman is on the left…

    Hardly. Krugman is really a centrist. People thinking he’s on the left is just a function of the country having moved so far to the right.

  8. Greg Ransom wrote, And he favors folks like Krugman who are famous for unfairly and often dishonestly attacking folks like Hayek, Friedman, Mankiw and the point of view these important economists represent.

    Huh? It’s widely acknowledged that Mankiw is a hack.

  9. Greg Ransom wrote, Thoma is not close to being even handed — he favors pieces which bash classic liberal economists like Hayek, Friedman, and Mankiw.

    BTW, Hayek, Friedman, and Mankiw are not classical liberals. True classical liberals like Smith and John Stuart Mill understood that rent collection by the wealthy (like landowners) wasn’t a good thing. Most latter day economists, including the ones you listed, either don’t understand this, or happily support the crypto-feudalist agenda of most modern so-called libertarians.

    Friedman, interestingly enough, is something of an exception, since he did state that land value taxation is the least bad tax. However, his view is jaundiced, since “least bad” obfuscates the point that rent collection by private parties is a theft that the tax merely corrects.

  10. Agreed. Mankiw is no good. Complete partisan and ridiculously loose with his analysis.

  11. Here here. That is what people forget.

    Still Krugman is about as good as it gets within mainstream media…

  12. Dirk van Dijk

    I agree that Mark is a class act, one of my regular visits, along with Caclulated Risk, this place and Naked Capitalism. Mish sometimes has worthwhile posts as well, and occasionally the Big Picture is worth a visit.

  13. I read them all the time. I haven’t the slightest idea what they’re talking about, but they make me feel smarter. Depressed and anxious though, as well, as does this site.

  14. I don’t know a bloody thing, but I read Thoma, Baseline, Calc Risk, Naked Cap, Brad Setzer, Ritholz, Zero Hedge, DeLong, Krugman. I’m finally getting to where I can tell when some people don’t know what the hay they’re talking about, but, mostly, I still can’t.