Thursday, August 12, 2004

Reader Update: New Series of Writing,

During the weekend and monday when there was an enforced silence I came to think about what I'd been trying to do with this blog. Over the last eight months it's evolved. It actually started in the fall of 2003 with me posting to Dan Drezner's comment section. Then a few readers there encouraged me to begin my own blog, and gradually I began to do so with greater familiarity over time (and update blogger interfaces). Originally the writing on this blog was mostly political commentary, such as you might find in any op-ed column.

Mostly it contained my own incensed and outraged rhetoric at what I perceived as the betrayal of the modern Republican leadership to classical conservative values. However again my commentary at Drezner's blog shifted my focus, because despite the fact that of all my interests economics was always sort of the neglected child it was my remarks on economics that brought the most interest from both those who liked me and those who criticized my prose. Over time the content of this blog therefore has shifted to economic analysis.

Recently my comments posting has shifted from Dan's site to Brad Delong's, Needlenose, and BOP-news. Comments posting is a different art than article writing so not all of those who liked my comments liked my articles. The key for me is usually when I start writing more than one comment in reply or the comments start becoming longish. It's the sign of a thought that wants to be an article rather than a comment.

Over the last two days as I've recovered net usage and worked out the bugs in my OS and wireless network provider, I've come to another turning point. I began reading some work of Stirling and Ian on BOP-news, with plenty of addendums from Ellen, Rodger, and other commentators there. I began writing longish comments again, and multiple ones to address certain points.

The subject of these comments was the answer to a question that I had begun asking myself. Where did I want my blog-writing to go? I like to lead the curve, and it had become apparent that all the things I had predicted economically (and now militarily) had begun to come to past. Plenty of people were talking about these issues, and being much more well paid or recognized for writing about them. Let's face it, even in terms of readership and growth this blog has been modest at best.

The only way I could continue to justify investing all this time and effort, is that if I felt that I was contributing something original and uncommon. The answer was a shift to critiquing the economic order as it is, to shift to discussing options - forward analysis rather than rearward analysis in other words. Throw in some synthesis and it'll be good to go.

Part of what spurred this contemplation is that Stirling Newberry, Ian, and some other collaborator commentators at BOP-news essentially wrote the article that I'd been wanting to write and had been building myself up to write about about the core of what is going on with offshoring. The oldman has never been a me-too-er. He salutes these people, and disdains to try to attempt incremental improvement on their already impressive achievement.

I'll be reviewing over the next few days. The point however is that it caused me to question, what did I truly want to write? So I took a few days off and continued to cogitate, and when the comments started leaping to the pages and becoming long and varied, I realized what I wanted to do.

I realize that this is all a bit vague, but over the next few days I'll shift once more the emphasis of this blog. The focus will still be on political economy, and I'll still be concerned with issues such as productivity, etc. The lens however that these subjects will be written through will change however, from an account of merely what is and what could have been to what could be and even what should be. I would like to begin adding some genuinely innovative thoughts to economic discourse, all of it still grounded in the practical considerations and earthy grittiness that you've come to expect from your friendly neighborhood oldman.

I don't wish to speculate on utopian fantasies however. Everything will still be grounded in practical applicability in the present moment. However it is the oldman's hope by shining a light on what could be, that it will be easier to see what is likely to be, and to formulate better responses to both.

Okay, I'll begin rolling out all of this stuff tonight and tomorrow after I attend a picnic outdoors. It is a nice August day afterall.


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