- Kevin O’Rourke: The Irish Economy: Three things all serious people know are true: "A holy trinity — or perhaps a troika? — of beliefs has guided policy since 2010. These are that austerity is expansionary; that the sky will fall in if ever the debt to GDP ratio exceeds 90%; and that the way to do austerity is to cut expenditure rather than raise taxes. All of which is very convenient if what you really want to do is shrink the state. We know how well the first two nostrums have performed when confronted with empirical evidence, so you might think that people would be just a wee bit cautious about stating the third as gospel truth. But no, here is Mario Draghi: 'First, fiscal consolidation should be based on reductions in current expenditure rather than increases in taxes. Unfortunately, many of the fiscal consolidation measures were implemented in an emergency situation, with most governments choosing the simplest route, which was to raise taxes. And here we are talking about raising taxes in an area of the world where taxes are already very high, so it is no wonder that this had a contractionary effect'…. The ECB is constantly telling us that it has a narrowly restricted mandate, with its primary concern being inflation. In that case, then surely the least that we are entitled to expect is that it keeps its views about the composition of fiscal adjustments to itself?"
Robert Skidelsky: Confessions of a Long-Distance Biographer | Julian Elson on Donald Kagan: "America's unique virtue makes it the target of evil outsiders, which necessitates an extraordinary focus on national unity? Read The Cleanest Race, by B. R. Myers. Or maybe look at the CSPAN library video: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/292562-1It seems like Imperial Japan/North Korea rhetoric. (B. R. Myer's view is that North Korean rhetoric is actually not very Marxist, but is pretty Imperial Japan-ish.)" |
aimai replying to Altoid on Niall Ferguson: "I think the real reason he is grovelling is that suddenly he can't be sure that the 'right people, behind closed doors' in Romney's 'Quiet rooms' aren't going to turn out to be gay men. Focus on the Family has just discovered that one wealthy former donor type is going all in promoting gay marriage now that the donors son turns out to be gay and married in some demon state where that sort of thing is allowed. I'm guessing that fewer and fewer of the kinds of people who pay Ferguson for these talks are going to be in the closet, or tolerant of this kind of overt homophobia. They may oppose Keynes and Keynsianism with their last breath but not because they are anti-gay (anymore) or wish to see gayness and effete bloomsburyness as synonymous. They oppose it because it is liberal economics and they want (or think they want) austerity. They will hire some speaker who can massage their egos, flatter their intellects, and promote their causes and their financial well being--without dragging messy sexuality into the picture. Ferguson is just behind the times and I think he may have just discovered that last year's insults are out of fashion and tacky." <-- Indeed. Five years ago--nay, one year ago--if I had been on stage next to Ferguson I would have taken him head-on on his claim that Keynes did not care about the long-run as a shocking misconstrual of the passage from Keynes's "Tract on Monetary Reform", but left Teh Gay to hang. Much kudos to Joe Biden for being very brave as a politician and so triggering our latter-day discovery that we collectively are who we wished we could publicly be…
Karl Smith: Childless Keynesians And The Future They Made: "Naturally there was pearl clutching all around after Henry Blodget posted that Nail Ferguson claimed Keynes was a short sighted spendthrift because he was gay and had no children. I can let other people deal with the bigotry-social impropriety connection. I want to address to issues of what I see as just blatant wrongness. The first is the suggestion that Keynes and Keynesians are short-sighted. This is so plainly false as to embarrass everyone involved. Keynes was intensely interested in the future and engaged in what we know term futurism. Trying to build and at least test for consistency rigorous scenarios about the future of humanity. His piece, The Economic Possibilities of Our Grandchildren is famous…. Henry Blodget writes: 'Second, Keynes’s policies did not suggest that he did not care about future generations. On the contrary… For the sake of both future generations and current generations, Keynes believed that governments should run deficits during recessions and then run surplusesduring economic booms. Politicians have never seemed to be able to follow the second part of Keynes’ prescription–they tend to run deficits at all times–but it seems unfair to blame this latter failing on Keynes.' Fair or not it is simply untrue. Governments can and do run absolute surpluses during booms."
Nouriel Roubini: The Trapdoors at the Fed’s Exit: "The ongoing weakness of America’s economy – where deleveraging in the private and public sectors continues apace – has led to stubbornly high unemployment and sub-par growth. The effects of fiscal austerity… are undermining economic performance even more…. The Fed’s liquidity injections are… boosting leverage and risk-taking in financial markets…. The weak real economy and job market, together with high debt ratios, suggest the need to exit monetary stimulus slowly. But a slow exit risks creating a credit and asset bubble as large as the previous one, if not larger…. If the Fed has only one effective instrument – interest rates – its two goals of economic and financial stability cannot be pursued simultaneously…. The exit from the Fed’s QE and zero-interest-rate policies will be treacherous: Exiting too fast will crash the real economy, while exiting too slowly will first create a huge bubble and then crash the financial system. If the exit cannot be navigated successfully, a dovish Fed is more likely to blow bubbles."