Sunday, 14 January 2007


A handshake. The proverbial introductory gesture for a friendship or partnership. The crucial first impression in which future engagements are built upon.


Consider this post as a virtual handshake from me :). A gesture to introduce myself and the nature of this blog, the way I intend it to be.

Titular Quirkiness

Firstly, allow me to briefly explain the choice of the name Arrested Development. Inspired by the critically acclaimed (but mostly under-appreciated) Fox tv series of the same name, arrested development alludes to the state of mind in which how most of my opinions are formulated. The now-ended Fox series centered on the character of Michael Bluth, a relatively normal protagonist, struggling to keep his habitually dysfunctional family from falling apart. He usually ends up in frustration, being exasperated by the antics of a despotic patriarch, alcoholic mother, nymphomanical sister etc.

Empathetic towards Michael is the way I opine in the things that I believe in. Mostly misunderstood, often dismissed, seldom satisfied but never giving-up. Too many ideas, too few channels; too much passion, too little capacity to make things happen. The agony of an impassioned man trapped at the bottom of the organisational hierarchy.

Anyway, there is a crucial qualification that needs to be conveyed. When Michael attempts to lead his family to what he believes is ideal, that is what it is - his perception of what is ideal. Besides Michael, the rest of the Bluth family appears decidedly happy in their own ways. Most of the time, the dysfunctionality of the family is only in the eyes of Michael (and the viewers). Similarly, my opinions are what I personally believe to be right and important, but it does not necessarily translate to be universally right or important. That said, my conviction to my own opinions is strong (and I believe that is the way it should be for anyone).

Weltanschauung Matters

Have you ever been told that a degree is just a degree, a paper qualification that provides you with nothing more than a job interview opportunity? That your real work and career would have very little to do with what you learned in university?

I say rubbish.

Yes, the literal contents of your lecture series might have very little relevance to your work, but you learn much more than just your academic syllabus in university. The time spent then is arguably the most important formative time of your life in which you hone your perspective of the world, developing your worldview (ie, weltanschauung) crucial for your intellectual integrity. You need to have a focused worldview to have solid opinions. Be it leaning towards Economics, Neo-liberalism, History, Natural Science or Theology; weltanschauung matters.

This brings us to the second introductory point. My posts will be heavily influenced by my worldview. And the way I see the world is through the lens of Economics.

My Worldview: Yawn?

Before you go "oh gosh, what a bore", allow me to explain more. Economics is not just about inflation, GDP, exchange rates and all those jazz. Striped to its most fundamental, Economics is about the study of human behaviour. It examines at its core how human, individually or collectively (ie, as an organisation, nations etc), make decisions and the repercussions of the decisions. And the most basic building block to understand this is the relationship between incentives and decisions. To appreciate Economics is to understand the cruciality of how incentives, in their multitude of forms, shape most of what happen in the world.

Why did Soros decide to speculate against the ringgit in 1997? Why was US such a pain in the Kyoto Summit? Why are the stock markets in emerging economies 'correcting' themselves by over 20-30%? Why have US wages stagnated for over a decade?

Why Starbucks coffee size starts from Tall on the menu? Why did Michael Corleone kill his own brother-in-law in the Godfather? Why are all the good tv shows shown at the same time slot in different channels? Why did you decide to end your previous romantic relationship?

If you truly examine all these questions, they all boil down to incentives and decisions. And this is the basis of my weltanschauung.

The root of this worldview was formed and formalised in my university years, especially through my interest in game theory. However, my perception has not been static. Working as an economist for the last two years allowed me to learn much and developed my understanding of Economics further. Particularly:
1) I'm now learning to look the bigger picture (read holistic) and the interlinkages,
2) I often consider heterodoxical explanations, away from standard textbooks approaches,
3) I'm more empathetic towards market behaviours.

And hopefully all these will show in my posts. Dum dee dum.

I hope this introductory post serves its purpose of introducing myself and my blog. I am definitely looking forward to conveying my thoughts and opinions soon. Comments are more than welcome :)


Doc said...

Wow! I'm starting to like ur writing straightaway. Keep it up & i'll be reading it from my clinic. Cheers :)

Sophie said...

but why are u disillusioned?

Elanor said...

Hope this would not be too late -

Doc: Thank you for you compliment :) I was worried that no one was going to read my blog, and what I had to write about.

Sophie (the doggie?): If you are a true economist, concerned citizen, and a Malaysian, it is very very hard NOT to be disillusioned.

rational thinker said...

This is the first time i came about to your blog. Very interesting indeed. i guess I will be reading each post with an open mind, and try to give my comments regularly. :)

While i don't eat, sleep, walk, talk economics, i did my degree in economics, mostly macro, at the Uni. of Canterbury. :) Keep posting.

__earth said...

Hey Elanor,

I'm unsure how to reach you through to email and hence, this comment.

I at the moment am helping out Open Dialogue Center (ODC) to organize a few forum/talks in August. If you are wondering what ODC is about, you may visit it on the web at

The topics are undecided at the moment but most likely, it would concern economic issues.

Cutting down to the chase, would you like to join the team? I apologize if this is a bit sudden but I'm just curious if you would be interested in helping out.

BTW, I've invited a few other ppl already and currently waiting for their response.

I know its late but I myself got the news late. I profusely apologize for it.

I could be reached at hafiz [at] maddruid [dot] com if you would like to reach me.

I look forward for you reply.