The Wizards

In the 1980’s, one of the great puzzles for conservatives was how left-wing economists could not bring themselves to acknowledge the obvious. The Soviet economic model was a failure in absolute terms, as well as relative terms. Even long after the Soviets collapsed, guys like Paul Krugman remained puzzled by the inability of the communist system to keep pace with the West. His answer was that the Soviets either lost their will or lacked the moral fiber to make revolutionary socialism work in the face of capitalist cynicism.

As Greg Cochran has pointed out, the failings of socialism were obvious to anyone willing to look at what was happening behind the Iron Curtain. Once the Soviet Empire fell, it was undeniable, but economics never paid a price for being so wrong. In fact, the status of the field went up in the years following the Cold War. Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz become something of a shaman to the ruling class, despite a miserable track record. He’s another guy who thinks the morality of socialism should make it work.

Now, part of this is something that John Derbyshire pointed out in his infamous review of Kevin McDonald’s book, The Culture of Critique. “Jews are awfully good at creating pseudosciences—elaborate, plausible, and intellectually very challenging systems that do not, in fact, have any truth content.” In fairness to John, he was summarizing what McDonald had written, but he largely agreed with the assertion. There’s a fair bit of this in economics, where smart Jews often play clever games arguing against observable reality.

That’s a fun point to make, but that’s not the reason for economists to be wildly wrong about so much, yet immune from criticism. By now, someone in the field should have pointed out that Joseph Stiglitz is a crank. Someone like Christine Romer, who was Obama’s top economist, was completely wrong about the effects of his stimulus plan, yet she was rewarded with a plum job in the academy. In most every field, even astrology, being that wrong is disqualifying. In the field of economics, it has no effect whatsoever.

Now, it is fun to mock economics, but it really should be a useful field and play a positive role in public policy debates. There are useful observations that come from the field, with regards to how people respond to various economic policies. In theory, the economics shop should provide objective analysis of government performance, policy proposals and basic data about the state of the economy. Government is about trade-offs and with regards to domestic policy, economics should provide the details of those trade-offs.

Of course, there are reasons for the field being a useless mess. One reason is that economics is not science. It is a basic set of immutable truths swimming in a sea of pointless analysis, clever models that mean nothing and wishful thinking. Then there is the fact that there is money to be made in putting your stamp on the polices of one party or the other. When Christine Romer was selected by Obama, it was the golden ticket to elite of the New Keynesian Economics cult. She and her husband are now senior clerics.

There’s something else that can be teased out of this phenomenon and that is the corrosive effect of democracy on objectivity. Democratic forms of government lack legitimacy, because they start with the assumption that anyone can hold any office within the system. No one is going to respect the office of legislator if the job can be won and held by anyone. Even in a republican form of government where you have to pass through a process to stand for office, the assumption is that anyone can enter the process.

Unlike other forms of government that can rely on the blessing of the religious authority, democracy inevitably obliterates any threat to itself. Christians like to believe that the decline in faith corresponds with the rise in public corruption, but it is the reverse. The spread of democracy is what drives the decline in faith. Everywhere democracy becomes ascendant, religion moves into decline. This is an observation Muslims have made, which is why they oppose democracy, and specifically American liberal democracy.

That need for moral authority is still there, so inevitably democratic system evolve a civic religion and before long a civic clerisy. This intellectual elite, supported by the political elite that control the democratic institutions give their blessing to the whims of the office holders. The role of economist is that of the court astrologer in Persia or Merlin in the court of King Arthur. They appear to be consulting hidden knowledge to find the correct policy answer, but they always end up endorsing whatever their patron desires.

The other side of this coin is there is no reason for the political class to attack their court magicians, even when they are completely wrong, because they will need them to bless the next set of polices. The worst thing that happens is what you see with Romer. Her and her husband have lifetime positions at an elite university. Stiglitz gets treated like the senior shaman by all sides of the political elite, because someone has to fill that role. It’s a lot like how the Catholic Church handles pedophile priests, when you think about it.

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Now that’s a punch line.

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James LePore

I like the analogy to the church and its pedophile priests. The Obama/Romer stimulus package was a way to allow their cronies to rape the U.S. taxpayer and be rewarded for it. It is for insights like this that people read Z.

El Eff
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El Eff

Exactly right, exactly right, and exactly right!

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One of the main themes of Democracy in America, by Tocqueville, was his wonderment at the flourishing of religion in a Democratic country, where he had seen in his own country active persecution of Christians and priests executed for rejection of the secular power after the rise of republican government. The most religious countries in the Christian world are republics that operate on democratic principles. In our recent history, those countries that have been most anti-Christian have been despotisms. Of course, the exceptions are Islamic countries, where religion is widely practiced and there is no freedom of conscience. The way… Read more »

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

TPD, what drew you to the French Revolution (and the encompassing era) so strongly?

Islam is a political ideology masquerading as a religion, that’s how it seems to be different.

Member

The FR had a huge influence on politics and philosophy in Europe. Both Kant and Hegel spent much of their time reconciling their thinking to what they thought they saw in it. And it is like Moses coming down from Sinai for the left going all the way back to Marx. The big lefties of today still consider themselves to be using the basic language (in the abstract, not French per se) of the French Revolutionary in how they organize and communicate, especially in mob actions. Watch how Bill Ayers talks to kids.

calsdad
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calsdad

At the time of Toqueville – the United States had not quite descended into the depths of “democracy” that has sunk to in the current age. The original form of the Republic was still largely there. Women did not have the vote. Blacks were still enslaved and did not vote. I am not 100% sure – but I believe there were voting restrictions on other classes of people too. Senators still were appointed by their respective states. The House had not been restricted to 435 members so it still ostensibly served it’s intended role…… etc. There’s a long list of… Read more »

Member

All true, but limiting representatives is less, not more democratic, and making senatorial selection by popular vote is less so in the following way: it makes state races into national ones. Out of state money never influenced the choice of senators when they were chosen by state legislatures. Now it is a prerequisite.

Of course women shouldn’t be voting. That goes without saying. But my wife is going to vote this fall if I have to drag her there.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

there are lots of movies, going all the way into the 1950’s (and a few even later than that) where a main character is a state senator and is seen as influential.

Member

>”The most religious countries in the Christian world are republics that operate on democratic principles. In our recent history, those countries that have been most anti-Christian have been despotisms.” LOL no WTF. Franco and Pinochet had to overthrow democratically elected governments and kill thousands of people to save Christianity in their countries. And “republics that operate on democratic principles” looks like Ireland – fucking Ireland! – voting in abortion and gay marriage. Today, religion rises from the ashes of secularism in autocratic Russia and Turkey. Your Boomer model of the world has no relevance anymore. Take these tired old warmed-over… Read more »

Member

Read this and tell me how it is a “Cold War trope” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_by_country.

Dirtnapninja
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Dirtnapninja

I have also noticed that Jews are very attracted to complex abstract intellectual structures. I think this is a deeply rooted cultural imperative drawn from the need to constantly interpret and reinterpret their holy books.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

Pace the Bible 🙂

Member

I know a lot of Protestants who have virtually turned themselves into Jews using this technique.

DeBeers Diamonds
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DeBeers Diamonds

Something I imagined I’d never see, apologism for Prohibition. Of course, it was a favorite cause of the O.G. Progressives.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/10/09/kavanaugh-metoo-temperance-suffragettes-221141

In some respects, this is an improvement for the Left, as they are coming to realize that indoctrination doesn’t work and brute force is needed. I doubt the efficacy of an anti-alcohol shaming via Hollywood. Tobacco is produced by the most despised group in America, rural white southerners. Alcohol has a diverse group of producers, but the largest producers are breweries in urban areas.

Saml Adams
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Saml Adams

Ah, the good old WCTU. Lived across an alleyway from their national HQ in college. An end of semester ritual was to go out on the fire escape and pitch beer bottles onto their roof. Guess we’re all DQ’d from the Supreme Court

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

Seems like a good move for Trump would be to create a new TV based state religion, to keep people from seeking out radical alternatives.

Tom From RFNJ
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Tom From RFNJ

There is (forgivable) gap in your thinking Z with regard to Economics. The best Economists don’t end up in Academia, they end up in the private sector. Every large Hedge Fund and Investment Bank has a slew of Economists who specialize in getting things ‘right’ in spite of their own political ideology. If they don’t, they don’t get paid. But if they’re working for a company that profits from investment, there is no incentive to tell anyone about the things they get right, ever. I had 25 years at the top tier of the Hedge Fund world, and I personally… Read more »

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

the people you are talking about aren’t economists, they are quants. Big big difference; a category error imo.

Member

There are two kinds of economists. There are those who rely on market data to make their forecasts; and there are those who rely on sociological/psychological data. Guess which ones are more accurate. And guess which ones end up in the Ivory Tower.

Anonymoose
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Anonymoose

I would like to comment on this with this link https://voat.co/v/Identitarians/2779910 <- this answers why they do it and why it works for them “Jews are awfully good at creating pseudosciences—elaborate, plausible, and intellectually very challenging systems that do not, in fact, have any truth content.”

Member

The most arrogant professor I can recall was my economics teacher in college. The (((guy))) looked exactly like what you would expect someone in the politburo to look like. And act like. What a prick.

Brilliant insight into how democratic systems erode religion, Zman. I had never come across that concept. It hit me like a thunderclap.

Hoagie
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Hoagie

I never considered that concept either. I always assumed democracy ruined Christianity and not vice versa. Now I have a whole lot of contemplatin’ to do.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

Christianity didn’t do Rome any good, either.

Member

Rome was already on it’s way out. The policy decisions that ruined Rome were made long before even the Mithraists came on the scene. While we’re at it, why not blame Mithraism? It’s more closely related to the decline. Or was it a reaction to it?

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

read what i said again, it’s a short sentence. or are you arguing that christianity helped rome survive?

Member

It’s pretty simple really. When people get to think for themselves (democracy), instead of fearing moral authorities, they start to realize what a load religion is.

John Smith
Member

Or, like you – they don’t think at all. We need to make the same distinction between Christians and poseurs that Z makes with economists. Christians that walk the talk are not the same as the kiddie diddling priests, or the bible thumping holy roller evangelical grifters that atheists love to hate. You never see the real ones because they are out doing the heavy lifting that you won’t do yourself, Frip. They will handle the charities that help the homeless, they will adopt the broken children that have been thrown away by failed liberal social experiments, and do the… Read more »

Dutch
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Dutch

Matthew 6:1-6

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

So Glenn, you are saying literally that there are good christians, it’s just that they are invisible. In other words, real christianity hasn’t been tried yet. The people doing that good work — and they exist — do it because they are good people to begin with. christianity has nothing to do with it. Frip is right, even if it upsets the sheep…err, flock. Ask the Coptics how much help theyv’e gotten from your unicorn christians.

DLS
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DLS

Right, because Christians in authoritative regimes, who are actively persecuted and systemically massacred for their beliefs do not think for themselves. But liberal cupcakes like you, who repeat MSM/DNC talking points that have no actual bearing in reality, are the height of intellectual inquiry.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

They might, they might not. They might be christians just as a form of protest. Just stating something isn’t the same as proving it, or at least showing evidence. In fact, your example is self negating (I will let you figure out why).

Rod1963
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Rod1963

Considering the human misery inflicted by your atheistic buddies in Mao’s China and Communist Russia, you might really want to reconsider that simplistic non-sense.

LineInTheSand
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LineInTheSand

Rod, what do you suggest for those of us who can’t force ourselves to believe in a religion? I want to live in a traditionalist society that approximates old America, but i can’t pretend that I find Christianity convincing. (I don’t call myself an atheist because that implies that I know that religion is false.)

DLS
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DLS

Keep your heart and spirit open to the possibility of God. It is something that is tough to come to through the mind. Don’t hold God responsible for the imperfect way that humans use religion to worship Him.

LineInTheSand
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LineInTheSand

Thanks DLS, from the heart. I don’t receive what you do, but I appreciate your kind thoughts.

DLS
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DLS

A few thoughts to help you rationalize the existence of God: Ninety-nine percent of the human body is comprised of 6 simple elements (Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorous). How did these simple elements come together at random, in such a way as to create something so infinitely complex that it can split the atom, travel to other planets, and even contemplate its own existence? Yet we cannot take these same simple elements and create a single-celled organism in a lab. Approximately 80%+ of every society that has ever been studied believes in a deity. Why would the Darwinian… Read more »

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

nice non-sequitur you’ve got there mister, how much do you want for it? I’ll give you $0.01

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

” And then I realized, like I was shot — like I was shot with a diamond…a diamond bullet right through my forehead” — Colonel Kurtz

Tim
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Tim

I was lucky enough to have Malkiel as my freshman economics teacher. I didn’t know how good I had it. He was smart as hell, definitely not a socialist, but this was back in the sixties, when there still were sound teachers on staff. Tim

Lester Fewer
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Lester Fewer

I didn’t ever actually study economics formally (except tangentially), but for some weird reason when I was younger I moved in social circles that included a lot of academic economists, some of whom I got to know quite well. They were all bright, friendly people, but with the exception of one game theorist, most of what they said in a professional context sounded kind of, um, stupid. It wasn’t imbecilic gibberish so much as it seemed detached from reality; there was a kind of irrelevance to their manner of thought. They sounded like theoretical mathematics people who had never met… Read more »

Member

So plausible Lester. I feel like you just lead me through a poppy field on a dog leash.

Lester Fewer
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Lester Fewer

?? If you’re being sarcastic, I can’t understand what about. I thought what I said was kind of boring and uninteresting.

Member

Your all too perfect portrayals made me feel manipulated.

CH*
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CH*

LOL. Who is this guy?

james wilson
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james wilson

The economic writers who impressed me most, Hayek and Mises, especially Hayek, made their understandings through man the social animal. Economics, positive and negative, was entirely due to human nature and could not be understood or predicted without it because at root there was nothing else to economics other than human nature. Like Fibonacci numbers, math may predict human nature, but math does not make human nature. The nature of Keynes was narcissistic, as was his opinion. Hayek’s inquisitive nature was ruled by modesty.

Chaotic Neutral
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Chaotic Neutral

Maybe the economist is more like the priest in the current order, bestowing a moral(translate scientific in a scientistic civilization) upon whatever the ruling administration wants to do fiscally. That fits with the pedophile analogy better too. Is religion incompatible with republican government? England has practiced the rough equivalent of representative democracy since 1688, and they were fairly religious until the 20th century. Poland and Italy remain religious and have not been authoritarian in a while. Dictatorships can support religion, like Franco, or quash it, like the communists. The US was quite religious until the mid 20th century. I feel… Read more »

Dutch
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Dutch

We Americans have been coached out of the need for civility, community, and looking out for each other. Between the politicians, the law, and the media, we have been taught to look out for ourselves, mind our own business, don’t get involved, and hate the person who disagrees with you. It is difficult for organized religion to take root in such an environment.

Joachim
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Joachim

The mechanics of democracy destroying religiosity are a little fuzzy for me, I’m open to explanations. To my mind, it is primarily democracy carrying the modern capitalist order in it’s train. This includes our consumerist/hedonist mono-culture. People are bombarded with advertising as businesses seek out more consumers of their mass-produced products, which has the effect of propaganda, and appeals to the base side of human nature which virtually all men share. Elites of the warrior, religious, and landowner variety are replaced by money-men (think 19th century industrialists funding the promotion of democracy/classical liberalism). Concentrated wealth is concentrated power, that makes… Read more »

Chaotic Neutral
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Chaotic Neutral

Democratic countries in South America remain very religious. I would say rather the rise of representative government has correlated with the decline of religion, not caused it.

Hoagie
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Hoagie

Today’s economist resembles today’s climate scientist. Both educated in left wing universities, both radically wrong about almost everything, both unable to see their glaring errors and both will march steadily up the ladder of success by telling leftists what they want to hear. In short both modern economics and modern climate science as they are taught and practiced are grifts.

Joshinca
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Joshinca

It seams to me that the fall in religousity corresponds more with the rise of mass media.

Chaotic Neutral
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Chaotic Neutral

This too. But that’s a byproduct of science

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

and human nature. mostly human nature.

Joachim
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Joachim

But a pro-religiosity message could be conveyed through mass media. It is not, and the question is why? Related questions would be who controls mass media, who is ultimately crafting the messages being conveyed, what incentives/interests do they have?
I read that after the ‘The Exorcist’ was released in the early 70’s, in the midst of the Vatican II collapse of the Catholic Church, there was a brief surge in people partaking in confession and mass. Aligning the entire mass media with this could have dramatic effect.

Member

“The science of explaining tomorrow why the predictions you made yesterday didn’t come true today.” – one of those Demotivator posters, defining economics Economics, specifically MACROeconomics is a subdivision of political science. Small-e economics, supply and demand, price elasticity, marginal product cost, and so forth are actually pretty well understood and can be modeled out accurately. It’s macroeconomics where the problems reside. All the textbooks the MBAs study are the same, and they’re all wrong. We just had our 10th anniversary of the start of the “Great Recession”. If economics were physics, and the theories had to be proven with… Read more »

Dutch
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Dutch

Having done work in business media, I can tell you that almost all of the “reporting” of the markets involves searching through the memes and tropes of business and markets, in order to throw up a plausible explanation after the fact. Those after-the-fact rationalizations become the bedrock from which the next explanation comes from at a later time. Turtles all the way down.

Member

The parallels with “climate change” are pretty entertaining.

Dutch
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Dutch

The climate change discussion and the markets/economy discussion fill a human need for a story, a rationalization that places a narrative on a series of non-random but non-predictable events and outcomes. People can not grasp the amount of randomness and luck that infuses their lives, so they seek out stories and narratives to explain it. Religion can serve the purpose, so can the media, and most especially the subset of both that stirs up the conspiracy and doom narratives. Mandelbrot’s work on fractals is, paradoxically, a narrative that demonstrates the difficulty of placing meaningful narratives onto the non-random, non-predictable elements… Read more »

Al from da Nort
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Al from da Nort

Dutch;

Having supervised for a time the department that dealt with the business media (and also the local, general media), I can tell you that if a story dealt with us, my guys wrote it and faxed it over. Reporters were expected to act as though they understood our market in less than half a day. What else could they do but beg us for help_?

Dutch
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Dutch

Or just make up something on their own, by combing past reports they had given in similar situations.

I do enjoy it when they regurgitate information provided by the smart people, when it is obvious that they have no idea what it is that they just read off of the TelePrompTer.

lars hemmers
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lars hemmers

Much of modern economics, which is studied as one form or another of macroeconomics, depends on persistent inability to explain the Great Depression. There is nothing in Marshallian microeconomics that anticipates the possibility of economic collapse, i.e., equilibria below full output/full employment. Shibboleths of macro, originally promulgated by John Maynard Keynes, fill the void. In defense of the Jews, they were post-war latecomers to the party.

Dutch
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Dutch

Think for a moment about the end-of-the-day “mark to market” of the markets. A series of small transactions at the end of the trading session can set the “value” of trillions of dollars of assets. Combine that with the fact that the small transactions at the margins do not readily account for the volume of transactions that may soon be in play (the supply-demand balance or imbalance). Overlay that with the idea of traders “following the crowd” when the crowd begins trading. Melt-ups and meltdowns in the markets are a feature, not an anomaly. Trying to pretend they shouldn’t happen,… Read more »

lars hemmers
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lars hemmers

Dutch, my point is that the economics profession continues to be stumped by the Great Depression, which permits a lot of wishful thinking about the usefulness of government intervention to pose as a solution. Certain phenomena connected with financial markets may provide an explanation, but I’d much rather not go down that interminable rabbit hole.

Dutch
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Dutch

The government intervention angle is, in part, called for to avoid dealing with that pesky last 2% of market-based outcomes. Instead it takes us to Venezuela, which is not the lesser of evils here.

james wilson
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james wilson

My unlettered analysis of the Great Depression is that it was the consequence of one single even born in 1913. Before that time depressions were called recessions and panics. They really did wipe out capital and cause great distress. But they were as regular as human nature. After the panic of 1906 we came upon the idea of ending these inconveniences with the Federal Reserve Act and the first thing that happened was a European war was funded right into the Great War. America absolutely hummed. After the war nobody wanted the gravy train to stop, so it didn’t. We… Read more »

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

The stock market has *never* been ‘pure’. The fix has always been in. But now, with the algos, and incredibly fast trade analysis and response — by machines — it’s a completely rigged casino. In fact, I think you have a better chance in a casino, then going up against the machines on the NYSE.

TomA
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TomA

Unlike evolution, democracy is not a meritocracy. It is not the best of us that rise to the top in politics (or it’s handmaidens), but rather it is the most shrewd con men that garner 50 + 1 percent of the vote. And this degradation is compounded by the declining quality of the electorate, which are increasingly prone to being bribed for their votes with a dollop of temporary taxpayer gravy. As a recent example, Venezuelan citizens voted their way to collapse. it any wonder that we are now devolving as a species?

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

Everything involving humans is a meritocracy, it’s just that Mother Nature’s idea of merit, and yours, may be very different.

DLS
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DLS

Zman, I think you might be somewhat confusing correlation and causation. It’s true that everywhere democracy goes, faith declines and secular religions arise. But I believe this is largely due to the prosperity ushered in by democracy and capitalism that reduces the daily struggle for survival. The prosperous feel they no longer need God, and turn to materialism and pseudo-religions. The unskilled become dependent on the welfare made possible by ever higher taxes on success, which in turn makes the government their God.

DLS
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DLS

“The other side of this coin is there is no reason for the political class to attack their court magicians, even when they are completely wrong, because they will need them to bless the next set of polices.” This describes the modern HR department. I once worked for a large public company where HR practically ran the place, with more VPs than any other department. They continually made major mistakes in programs and hiring. One example was a layoff plan. HR offered a generous severance package based on years of service to the entire company, figuring only those who were… Read more »

jaqship
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jaqship

Insofar as the role of economists is that of the court astrologer in Persia, or Merlin in the court of King Arthur, this owes largely to the pass they get from the MSM. Enlightenment thinkers wagered, that the John Peter Zengers would be able to keep the Adam Smiths, and thus the J.P. Morgans, honest. This sort of worked up into the Muckrakers’ day, but since then, the Krugmans and Russerts have become TV stars, and make enough $$ to have incentive to duck from keeping the Citigroups and Goldmans honest. There are various economists (say, from the Austrian School,… Read more »

jaqship
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jaqship

And, once the MSM became Big (high tech) Biz, a J. Edgar’s FBI could threaten to interdict the phone lines. etc., of these Big Media, to keep them touting the Keynesians and Krugmans, over the Feketes.
If Trump can (e.g. with FISA-gate disclosures) wound the Deep State’s power to threaten Big Media, various other problems (e.g. in Econ) may improve over time.

jaqship
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jaqship

Besides Fekete, others worth reading are Mish Shedlock (at https://moneymaven.io/Mishtalk/ ), Eric Janszen’s forums ( e.g. at http://www.Itulip.com/forums/activity.php ), and Gary Savage (at https://blog.SmartMoneyTrackerpremium.com/ ).

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

In the past, fear and uncertainty (about survival, etc) would create conditions where the masses would seek comfort and support from the church. The church acted as mother, to the state’s father. [hmm, can almost make the argument I have the roles reversed]

Now that life is swell for so many, they don’t feel that need any longer for the shelter of the church, hence empty pews. Widespread knowledge of the perfidy and malfeasance of virtually all organized religions hasn’t helped any.

Cerulean
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Cerulean

This didn’t make much sense to me between “There’s something else that can be teased out of this phenomenon …” and “The other side of this coin is there is no reason for the political class to attack…”

I don’t usually think of Republicanism and Democracy as being necessarily mutually exclusive. I usually think of Republicanism and monarchy being opposites, at least in their extreme forms.

Just a little abstruse for me today. Maybe it’s something I ate.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

It’s all on a continuum. Pure democracy lets everyone vote, so it is by definition an end point on that continuum. Republican government (which we no longer have) limits the number of voters (sometimes significantly) so it is closer to a monarchical system, which in theory (but not practice) limits the vote to one person — the king/emperor. The system that in practice (but not in theory) that truly limits the vote to one man, is communism. Am I the only one that sees the symmetry between a ‘religion’ with god at the top of the org chart, and communism,… Read more »

Member

Yes. You are the only one imagining that. Consider the implication.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

there is no implication, other than i may be wrong. wouldn’t be the first (or last) time. yours is a very fragile faith, consider the implications of *that*

Al from da Nort
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Al from da Nort

One of the problems with Econ. as a subject is that it deals poorly with predation. Oh sure, they *talk* about exploitation but never have I seen it addressed in a disinterested, systematic way. Likely this is because it would hit too close to home for the comfort of their patrons in TPTB. For example, the collapse of the USSR, has a simple alternative explanation: Their elite ran out of stuff they were able to steal and so collapsed because they could not ‘pay for’ the massive and ever growing parasitic overhead they literally spawned (i.e. their semi-useful progeny who… Read more »

Dutch
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Dutch

It is amazing to me how so many people who live an economic and social life of bounty and freedom from violence and crime, who live in a comfortable environment and with opportunities of all sorts undreamed of by most of humanity, see their lives as being lived in a vale of tears. If people in our culture are living in such a way, it is on them, not on the rest of us. But for some reason, the Krugmans of the world see fit to try to infect the rest of us with the consequences of their own sorrowful… Read more »

Cerulean
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Cerulean

“Krugman et. al. were so entranced with the Marxist mirage of smart people running the world and perfecting humanity…” Speaking of smart people running the world, this little video from a few years ago shows some smart people in training. (You get to be one of those smart people if your parents can pony up about $350,000 over four years.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_4-BqSIUD8 So if you’re wondering where the tech companies get their impulse to censor, this gives you part of the answer. The smart people they hire have had this kind of training. Political correctness is a disease. It’s like cancer,… Read more »

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

We certainly helped the soviets, but c’mon, they beat the Germans because they were willing to give up 25% of their overall population to do it. They paid back those loans with an ocean of blood. And I hate Russians, so am not an apologist for them.

Al from da Nort
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Al from da Nort

Karl; Right you are about the high rates of Russian military participation being very important to their winning WWII. They put enormous numbers of men (and women) under arms. But *how* were they able to do this without starving to death (from taking all the farm workers into the Red Army) in their difficult climate with the Germans suddenly holding their best farm land (Ukraine & Belarus)_? Answer: Shiploads of spam, flour, fuel, jeeps, trucks, radios, etc. picked up from US West Coast ports in Russian ships (which the Japanese studiously avoided attacking because they were not at war with… Read more »

Karl McHungus
Guest
Karl McHungus

Thanks for the additional information 🙂 I knew about all the trucks we sent, but not the food stuffs.

Drake
Guest
Drake

“elaborate, plausible, and intellectually very challenging systems that do not, in fact, have any truth content”

I was half-expecting the rest of the essay to be about our legal system.

c matt
Guest
c matt

yet she was rewarded with a plum job in the academy.

What she deserves is a plumb job – cleaning toilets.

Member

Royal courts usually had a jester or fool, whose job it was to tell the truth, even if it made the monarch look bad. Democratic governments could do well to copy that model.

Member

We call them Nazis.

Bruno the Arrogant
Guest
Bruno the Arrogant

I gave up on economics after economics when it quit being a science that explained how we get the things we want, and went into the business of telling us what we ought to want.

Joachim
Guest
Joachim

I was a full believer in the Austro-Libertarian cult (the Mises-Hazlitt rules-utilitarian miniarchist variety) through college. I developed massive cynicism for the economics end of it, and indeed of virtually all economists, after losing my faith in free trade. I read that economists are virtually all advocates for it, that as a group they virtually define themselves by it (anti-free trade=abolished from the “fellow economist” club, it might have been Leland Yeager who wrote this, I’m not sure).

UKer
Guest
UKer

When 2+2 clearly equals 5, then we continue to bathe in the pleasures of socialist economics.

LineInTheSand
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LineInTheSand

Socialism worked great in the homogeneous Scandinavian countries before the immigration invasion. Whites and Asians can have prosperous socialist countries. That socialism failed in Cuba or Venezuela has no bearing on whether a White/Asian country can prosper with a generous safety net.

As long as private property for individuals is respected and the individual who builds a better mouse trap gets rewarded, a national economy that is directed at the macro level is fine.

When Rush says that, “Every time socialism has been tried, it has failed,” he shows himself to be an idiot.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

I’ll take the other side of that argument. Low level bottom-up socialism can work very well. It may have worked in Scandinavia, once upon a time, because the cities and countries were small and thinly populated, everyone knew everyone else, and there was a sort of social contract to do right by the others, along with accountability. Top-down large scale Bernie Sanders style socialism will never work, because the opportunity for mega-sized graft at the top is too big, along with little or no accountability for those at the top. It is a non-preventable structural problem when you give the… Read more »

LineInTheSand
Guest
LineInTheSand

Thanks Dutch. All government endeavors are subject to some corruption, even when administrated by whites/Asians. However, the alternative is that vulnerable people, old or incompetent, die in the streets. Which is worse?

Conservatives claim that private charities can handle the indigent but I don’t know of any example where this has succeeded on a large scale. Caring for the indigent requires government, which may entail some graft.

I’m sanguine with the incompetent dying in the streets, but most people are not. Further, almost no one can continence the old dying in the street. Hence, socialism.

karl Mchungus
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karl Mchungus

There are no Scandinavian countries that are socialist. They all allow private property and non-govt owned means of production. what they do have is a comprehensive social benefits program. now whose the idiot? Unless you have your own private definition of the word…

LineInTheSand
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LineInTheSand

Karl, you’re being solipsistic. Everybody agrees that the Scandinavian countries are socialist. Let’s not descend into autistic definitions of socialism. Almost everybody agrees that the Scandinavian countries are socialist.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus
Member

Are Nazis left wing or right wing? Surely “everybody” agrees on this point, too.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

I just noticed that the last sentence in your statement, directly contradicts the first sentence! Good work Aristotle 😛

Dr. Cooperman
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Dr. Cooperman

You got me to finally read Derb’s Culture of Critique review. It’s the first piece by him I’ve read that was stupid. Derb fundamentally misunderstood the concept of evolutionary strategy in a way that rendered his opinion on the book worthless. He was really hung up on a strategy necessarily being a conscious choice. Nobody will mistake a rose bush for Clausewitz, but thorns and bright flowers are still an evolutionary strategy. Furthermore, he falls back on the schmaltzy sentimentalism we mock the Left for all the time. “The first American song whose words I knew was ‘White Christmas'” is… Read more »

Chaotic Neutral
Guest
Chaotic Neutral

Well, he is smart for not making the wrong enemies, of course! He tells you why he is guarded in the first paragraph, when he talks about the journalist who got the “Jew thing.” A journalist who was formerly feted, a star of top journals, but became ostracized and unable to publish, supposedly for having vexed the Jews. I’ve always found that part tantalizing! Does anyone know who that journalist was? Sobran, perhaps, I conjecture?

Member

It’s funny how often people who claim to believe in evolution fall back on teleological thinking. That is what Derb did when he thought stategy was something that had to be conscious and planned. As if drone bees or working ants understand their place in the big scheme of things.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

I am not certain Mr Derbyshire does fully believe in evolution, from reading some of his posts way back when at NRO.

Who does know their place in the big scheme of things?

Sam L.
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Sam L.

This also explains why Paullie “The Beard” Krugman is still with the NYT,

Rod1963
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Rod1963

Good article. I think economists were always two bit front men used to sell damaging political and corporate decisions to the public. “See this man has a ph.d and says it is good”. NAFTA, WTO and PNTR for China to name a few horribly damaging things that economists embraced. I can’t think of but one or two economists who opposed these insane and crooked agreements/pacts. Anyone with a brain knew damn well they were destructive to the economy and society of the U.S. Evidently that excluded people who went to college and thought these were great. They were the first… Read more »

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Add the World Bank and the IMF to your list. Different angle, same result.

TBoone
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TBoone

A common theme of ProgComms riding the ‘crazy train’ of that NewTime religion. Over anyone who stands in their way. No Trax required. The Train always runs on time. Towards the Past they’ve always wanted. Only in the Future.

Wizards. Shamans. Dramas. Oh My!! Outrage as a way of life. Or death. Depends. The ‘Feelings’ is Strong in this One. Rings UnTrue. As in One Un True Ring to RuleZ them all… Hell Yeah! Hell is almost here…

You can’t eat clever little mind games… Reality doesn’t care.

karl Mchungus
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karl Mchungus

OT: read once where olde timey sailing ships would dump barrels of oil onto the water, when hurricanes were spinning up. and that it actually would inhibit their formation. calling the Exxon Valdez, all is forgiven!

Anonymous Reactionary
Guest
Anonymous Reactionary

“Democratic forms of government lack legitimacy, because they start with the assumption that anyone can hold any office within the system.” ADVERSE SELECTION. The solution to this is random selection, which is the fundamental appeal of monarchy. A king is a random guy who happened to be born king, rather than someone hungry for power who seized it, by hard work and fair playing by all the rules I am certain. *spits* Democracy was only a temporary benefit in the early modern era of technological revolutions, when meritorious selection carried far greater utility than adverse selection carried negative utility. That’s… Read more »

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

So Alexander the Great was just some random guy? You could take any Macedonian at random and out him in AtG’s place and get the same results?

William Middleton
Guest
William Middleton

I always bring this up regarding the legacy of Obama: the stimulus package of $830 billion (in today’s dollars) was the biggest crock of guano that I have ever seen and should have resulted in dozens of senior officials to lose their jobs. Can anyone seriously tell me where any of that money went? Compare that to the Interstate Highway System, which cost less in today’s dollars.

Karl McHungus
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Karl McHungus

Where did the full $22T of national debt go? Who knows.

Saml Adams
Guest
Saml Adams

I recall that Obama admin published an iPad app back 2010 that allowed the user to see “stimulus” spending on a map. Just looking around my area of operations, there were a handful of “infrastructure” projects. Vast majority seemed to go to various “social service” groups whose local government funding went in the crapper when the economy crashed. Or as a friend of mine put it “cotton candy” spending.

Karl McHungus
Guest
Karl McHungus

OT: what’s the over/under that either Hillary or Bill croaks during this money grubbing tour they have going on now?

Member

” It’s a nice reminder that to most people, these events are not all that important or emotional…” Yes and no. Sane people don’t wear pussy hats and scream at the sky. Flip side: most people want to be left alone which makes them easy prey in the longterm for people who want to control everything. While that crowd was watching the game, others were plotting ways to destroy their way of life. “The funny thing that I learned is that the rank and file liberal male really does think Kavanaugh is a serial rapist.” The various things you found… Read more »

Karl McHungus
Guest
Karl McHungus

Just remembered that “Brave New World” had a state sanctioned religion int: The Church of Ford.