Friday, July 31, 2009


Here's the link to a comment I made on the "anti-Becker-Posner blog" not knowing I was comenting on something from 2005!

hope that works. Here

is the blog's address itself:

My comment comes there on June 15

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The idea of "economics"


The basic idea coming out of Washington says there is this thing called "the economy," you see. But what Bernanke and so forth are talking about is not the economy. What those persons deal with is a set of ideas -- these have been developed in academia over the years -- they are false ones -- they have been developed over a certain number of years by various persons including the set of persons called "economists."

Welcome to "Economics." But where is the real "Economics"?


Thursday, July 16, 2009

What We Need To Do Is...

What we need to do is ...(trumpet flourish; pause)...

...Turn the economy over to the people.
Now don't get too excited, OK? This is just normal, grammatical English. It's no big deal, so don't start saying I'm a radical. Who is supposed to control or run an economy? The "market," I suppose. Right? In capitalism, the market is more or less equal in extent to the people. Yes it is: because when and if the market expands it is only because more persons got included. More persons obtained money to use in the market. That is the secret of economics. Then the business so-called "community" tries to steal it back. But no capitalistic economy grows without widening what Braudel called "the home market." That is what really happens -- what happened, historically, in the first event, when capitalism was able to actually grow up and come and come to exist.

Once we see our way through the swamp of conceptual thought we can get back to the basic idea that what you need to do to save the system is turn the economy over to the people. I do not think there is anything that radical about it. That's how capitalism works.


Here's my buddy Martin Wolfe, Financial Times, on F.T. com.

“economic growth during 2009-10 is now projected to be about half a percentage point higher than forecast by the IMF in April, reaching 2.5 per cent in 2010”.

Such a turning point in forecasts is an indicator of pending recovery.

Hope ta hell I did that linkie thingie properly inskie-winskie. (I doubt it)

Let's just continue, before I hurt myself. Wolfe's column, I thought, sounded like he was saying "the worst is over" and so forth. At lease it sounded that way to me at the time I read it. But then he says,

"Yet we must put this news, welcome though it is, in context. The worst of the financial crisis may be behind us..." Whoopie-Poopie. Know what I mean? So Martin is feeling perhaps unbound joy? Well, I don't know much about "straight" reporting (he's a columnist for international newspaper Financial Times, from England), but here's my reaction:

There is something pathetic here. The egoist aquires the idea that he truly knows something. But what does he know, really? After all, the experts and pundits had no very clear idea of the situation and nor did the university folks, when this the last crisis was on the way. They didn't predict it, did they? No. They stood behind Bush when he said "the economy is fundamentally sound." Why should they know better now? Why should they be any wiser today?
Gee, I don't know, but I do know that Mr. Wolfe subscribes to naive notions about money supply. He still thinks that there is a definite amount. His own contacts should know that this is not correct. Trying to keep his conaoe inside the same river, he seems to veer all over the place in his opinions. I have been following him, and emailing with him. I have been getting a bit of insight, I reckon, in how these persons think. And this is educative, I reckon.

Wolfe is the "economist" type columnist for the FT. What he could never believe is that this whole academic economics empire he is stuck on/stuck to is suspect in itself. The basic truths about economics may not lay with the economists. (Oh! Scandal of scandals! Did I really say that?) I used to believe that no one would believe me if I said this. Now I am seeing that some other persons too say it like this. I can see how slowly the real picture could be framed and we could start to get the idea. We had better, and Martin would agree with me there, I feel.

In the end he seems to believe that he himself must be one of the experts too. But who is kidding who?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Obama and the Presidential Economics Policy

Dear President Obama:

Try to understand this guy Summers: he is a phony. I'm talking about Larry Summers. He is not open-minded; he has mastered the language of economics only after pre-emptively deciding to side with the establishment every time. Which he will always do. We give economists too much credence. What you've got to realize is that economic study or economics itself is contestable. Once you establish that economics itself is up for contention, you can unmask Mr. Summers. You fell for him, because you have a weak spot for compromising and backing established systems. You shouldn’t do that in economics, though, where new thinking is necessary. You do not understand, Mr. Obama. You do not know about this. What works for law doesn’t work with economists. I feel so frustrated. Who will unmask this guy? If you had the time, Mr. President, you could spend a few hours at to get a different feeling for economics.

It is apparently a very tricky thing. There are standard ways of discussing things. There is conventional language that has been developed. Summers appears to me a master of language. The grammar and language glistens like a jewel. Summers is like a diamond, but what we do not know, and what we need to know, is that the glittering diamond is in a false setting. The context is all misconstrued. If only the setting were changed he'd stop glittering. He is embedded in a certain kind of trickery with language. But this is fundamentally misconstrued. He does not even have the right motivations. He is a master of the language.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kiss Me

Well obviously it's time for another blog post. What is needed is an economics blog post from the magnificent fountain pen of Jack Jacob Silverman as nobody seems to know what is going on, or what to do about it, etc. Of course, all these answers to these problems are completely obvious, and I have noted them on here and there within this very blog (a.k.a.: the blog that no one reads).
Here then is another magnificent blog post to help you solve your problems. All of you. From a newspaper – "Some economists are pressing [the U. S. Executive, also rather poorly called] the White House to enact a second round of stimulus spending or find some other way to avert a prolonged job and wage slump. [As I read over this I am absolutely amazed at the poor sentence construction these people are involved with. Some economists --- pressing --- the White/Black House. As Obama says, "let's get real"] But the White House is in a tough spot. [So is the journalism profession, apparently] Officials [not some officials?] want to give the $787 billion stimulus [not to mention the various other programs that more than double this figure] package passed in February time to work----only 10% of the spending is out the door so far---- ...The unemployment rate is 9.5%...and many now expect it to stay high for a long time..."
Actually, we have never heard one constructive line of advice, not a word. The only idea any of 'em seem to ever have had is to use some kind of power they have to magically enter numbers into computers and create 800 billion and then another 800 billion, etc. --- as if the numbers even mean anything anymore. Obviously the industrial infrastructure can make most of the stuff we need to stay alive and perfectly healthy and comfortable. Our manufacturing infrastructure can make everything we need. That's easy. We just need to keep the "economy" working. What is an "economy"? What keeps us alive? Is it the infrastructure or agricultural know-how that keeps us alive? Not really, so what follows? Well, "the economy" seems to be a thing the bankers own. Well, hey --- maybe the bankers (Geithner's friends) do not deserve to own the economy. But that is not a thought we are allowed to have.
So, practically speaking and before I make a fat, oversuffed banker in a $600 suit angry or something, what do I suggest? I suggest we simply throw the big Geithner style bankers out of their jobs and Geithner and Summers with them (and get them therapists) and let some kind of “little” banks take up the slack. I mean banking: there's nothing to it. The money is fake. Another point: it is all the exact same money. How many freaking banks do you need to bundle mortgages and re-spindle securities and prioritize deprivations and derive securitizations and piddle about? The entire economy could probably operate on bets taken on checkers games at Washington Square Park. But they don't want you to know that.
But, seriously: psychiatrist professionals ought to be called in and all the American flake CEO's who are completely crazy ought to be put in accredited mental hospitals and someone else take over and America will be fine; we're a great country. I mean bank chiefs and corporate CEO's and the whole lot of them. They're entrenched. Let their banks fail, too. Then they leave their jobs, go under psychiatric care, and somebody else takes over and the whole game goes on another four years. That's how you do it. Capitalism is based on change, and will not be successful otherwise. The Pillsbury Dough Boy has to be changed once in awhile. He doesn't want to be. He complains. But he has to go. Why is it a Boy? Why isn't it a girl? We need change. The guys we've got as bankers: they're a culture; they're a cult. They have their own thing. And it's rancid. It isn't right. It's corrupt; it's a zero; it's rancid. The punk rock bands have been predicting this for a long time. Get rid of the bankers. Put them in subsidized housing. Confiscate their money. Give it to little old ladies. Spin the bottle; let the game go a new round. Stop being corrupt. Kiss me for God's sake!

p.s. OK. I just got it. I am talking about my bit above about the journalists now. The poor sentence construction there is considered allowable because they are considered to be dealing with truth. It does not matter that the sentence style is poor because we are serving truth here. Yeah. That must be it. Then let’s take that away. Away with the assumption that what persons say is true. Now it is fiction. Now, then, the poor sentence construction is no longer supportable. It is no longer supported because the "facts" it is connected to are no longer facts. No. Sorry. It is still supportable. The poor sentence construction however shows that these people are serious. It isn't their fault they are being boondoggled by business and government – and their own newspaper ownership, who I believe underpay them. They are sincere: hence poor sentence construction. OK. Now go back to your checkers game. Pay no attention to what the derivatives salesmen are doing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Producer and Consumer (as classes)

Capitalism: a unique cooperative relationship between producer and consumer.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm Not Sure Where the Economics is in this one but it's in There Somewhere

Questions of basic moral decency matter. The survival of the many, many human lives -- rich and poor -- depends upon whether or not their rights are respected. Now we say “rights.” What we call "rights" should also be something “self-evident,” which is the way the famous U. S. Declaration puts it. If the rights are self-evident it doesn’t matter whether you call them “rights” or not. The fact is that they must be: they have got to be associated with a self-evident, intuitive immediacy. If they are not, the language itself confuses. My position is that the term "rights" is problematic (if it is a "right" then it does not seem to me that anyone could possibly lose it ---- ever), but for that matter our definition of "human being" is, perhaps, an unclear concept as well. So, we are talking in obviousnesses. For this reason, when talking about these matters everything has to be right there in its immediacy and self-evident.

Now wise, educated individuals know about this. You know. Not everyone can "see" human rights, but for those who can it is intuitive and obvious. You do not need to possess a concept, necessarily. There is an intuitive quality here. We can make a non-conceptual discernment of what these rights are, and, if I am to defend my human rights I do have to know what they are. I would even say that an oppressor has to know as well.

We need to have an order of things where we respect others; it’s very important. The world political order itself is a very fragile structure. Within this order of things, only a few wealthier capitalist nations have an actual history that has, many would agree, managed to integrate basic human decency into a modern type of political order. Primitive tribes we shall count as another story. Most of the world seems to have been colonized at some point, by a really small number of these modern states: Italy, France, Belgium, England, what not. We do not know why some states – the same ones that brutalized the inhabitants of their (own) colonies – have this history and others do not but at any rate they do; it is there. There exists the tradition of this kind of respect for basic rights, and it seems to me quite clear that this has been part of an extremely powerful thrust of Western civilization in history, which means in the world. Where Western nations like Russia or Germany tried to renounce the method, they fell.

And with no continued presence of these kinds of values, both of these societies, which is to say those that maintain political human rights and those that, as yet, do not - are threatened. The Western system really has to be defended and I would do it – but in a real sense, not the phony way Bush did.

Values, then, are intuitively understood. You are wise, and educated, and you have this capacity, as a person. It is no great feat. It is common - ordinary. We who are within the boundaries of the Western powers ought to have the education to respect human rights. We can - and do - understand a set of principles that say that other human beings should be able to congregate in public; they should possess their ethnicity - their own practices, habits and culture. They should be able to have their own political parties and all other social groupings - groupings of all sorts. What we say sometimes points to a concept of the freedom of speech. We should understand that human beings should be treated kindly, and respected, and given a place to live. They need to work, and if they have no work or nothing to do they should be able to find something. And I don't see you arguing. Are you? If you are not arguing it is because my having twisted your arm is not necessary - for you to know that these are the good, true, real, decent values for you to have.

Without these basic rights you are not going to get much of a world to live in.

Now we see human rights violated in Iran - and possibly in Honduras, depending on what the nature of what may be going on there is – I don't know - and, recently, a fundamental violation occurred. There was this anti-democratic action that Bush took that we just saw -- the man’s terrible lack of sense in invading a middle-Eastern country (Iraq), based on the pretext of American democratic superiority. With these two latest countries in the news, I mean Iran and Honduras now -- it might be that a whole new round of horrors is getting started. Where is Bush now? Does he still feel like he knows anything? He got his eight years but what was his gift? What did the Bushes bequeath? (I’m also adding Poppy in here a little.)

Of those few Western countries that do have a history of respecting human rights, the U. S. in particular seems to be confused and without an idea what to do. This idiotic intervention that occurred recently – of G. W. Bush – the idiotic intervention in the affairs of Iraq – has only made things worse. All we have is the record of what actually happened -- an idiotic, mismanaged, illegal intervention. The authors are the half dozen fools that leave the nation -- as opposed to the few, the individuals -- with no clue as to where to go, what to do or what we really stand for as a nation. Of course democracy is always a good excuse for things, but, if democracy is just an idea, it is no better than any other idea.

Human rights is an idea too. But human life is not an idea. Human life is no abstraction, and it takes a lot more than abstraction to protect it.

Should we have countries and individuals trampling all over the rights of others it does not look like life is going to get much protection. That does not occur by merely a show of words. And it also does not occur merely by a show of force.