My postgraduate Money and Banking class had to set up a blog on a topic of their choosing. There were many interesting blogs created by my students, but the top Blogger in the class was Berta Kruminaite, who blogged about the Dutch tulip mania. The Dutch tulip mania, which occurred in Amsterdam in 1536-7, saw a dramatic reversal in the price of tulip bulbs. This mania episode is traditionally regarded as the first famous 'bubble'. However, over the years, economists have taken different positions as to whether the Dutch tulip mania really was a ‘bubble’. Berta does a great job of presenting these different views. She even manages to include a video clip of Newt Gingrich discussing the tulip mania! You can access Berta’s blog here.
The Berkeley Earth Project , an independent study of global warming, has found that the earth has become a degree warmer over the past half century. However, the statistical uncertainty surrounding pre-1920 estimates makes it very hard to say much about long-term trends - click here for graph . This is one of my concerns with the global warming debate - we simply don't have trustworthy long-run data which looks at temperature changes over the last millennium (or two). My second concern with the global warming debate is that it is very hard to prove any sort of casual link between global warming and human activity. The scientists may be able to show correlation between global warming and our production of carbon dioxides etc., but correlation is not causation. My third concern with the debate is that those who are sceptical or agnostic are stereotyped as flat-earthers or intellectually-challenged crackpots. This only stifles debate and the progress of science itself.