I've been watching the economics debate between Nate and Vox with interest. I had been holding off on commenting on their project because I wanted to see how it would end. Apparently it has ended with Vox failing to show up in any meaningful way. I'm disappointed.
My disappointment has more to do with Vox's lack of effort than anything else. I expected the debate to pretty much go the way it has. Nate fired off a pretty good first couple of rounds and Vox used his normal method of dealing with a topic. Vox likes to keep a topic confined to narrow parameters with little room for interrogation. This tactic has worked well for him in the past and I fully expected him to use it to his full advantage this time.
For all I know Vox has some grand rebuttal all worked out and is waiting for proper planetary alignment to bring it forth and reshape the universal workings of economic theory, but somehow I doubt it. I'll withhold finial judgement for now, but it looks like Nate is winning, too bad its by forfeit.
Economics seems to have three basic functions in which it has some degree of success. The first is descriptive. Economics is useful in telling us what happened. For example: x quantity of an item was sold at y price. Secondly, economics is used as a predictive tool. Example we know x set of facts and we predict that given this information y will result. Third, economics is used as a policy tool. Central planners take a combination of descriptive and predictive economic information and attempt to create a set of (to them) desirable outcomes. Think of this as manipulative economics.
Nate and Vox's debate centers around the description of money and to a lessor extent the potential use of money as a predictive and manipulative tool. As far as I know neither of them advocates for economic manipulation. However, most economists in government policy positions are advocates for economic manipulation, and it is nearly impossible to talk about the money supply without touching on outcome based policy. Be that as it may, I never expected these two men to be very far apart on the topic. Too bad Vox wimped out.