Krugman and ideology once more

by Russ Roberts on October 31, 2011

in Truth-seeking & ideology

A comment on this post by Dan H reminds me that even though Krugman is offended to be lumped together with ideologues such as myself, Krugman’s blog is called The Conscience of a Liberal and not The Conscience of a Truth-Seeking Objective Bias-Free Scientist. We all have baggage. It’s not an insult. It’s reality.

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{ 99 comments }

Matt October 31, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I guess it would be his confirmation bias that leads him to believe he doesn’t have confirmation bias issus? But yes, its silly to pretend we can objectively evaluate anything without (subconsciously or consciously) having our preexisting world views shape perceptions. Its not just an economist problem, its an issue with researchers in the hard sciences too.

Nick October 31, 2011 at 8:07 pm
Keith November 2, 2011 at 9:17 am

Nick+1

Economic Freedom October 31, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Krugman lost me when he said that he wanted the Fed to create inflation as a means of stimulating the economy. My grandma worked too hard for what little money she saved over her lifetime just to have it go up in smoke. He should stick to his guns about redistributing the wealth from the top 1% to the rest of the population directly or indirectly. Instead, he advocates bulky and inefficient stimulus packages, inflation, and other devious meaning intended to create employment. I think he has lost his way. Glad to see that we agree on something.

P.S. The dude in the homely clown costume that is forever trying to pretend he stands for Economic Freedom needs to get a real job and a life. He’s a right-wing troll and a hack teabagger, as well as blog irritant. I have an ant colony in my backyard that is more industrious than he’ll ever be.

Economic Freedom October 31, 2011 at 8:25 pm

He should stick to his guns about redistributing the wealth from the top 1% to the rest of the population directly or indirectly.

By means of inflation, Krugman intends to redistribute wealth from the bottom 1% up to the rest of the population. Inflation is a stealth-tax on those with fixed incomes — usually the poor.

As for the rest of your post, I can’t read what you wrote, because it is repetitive, Revolutionary Communist Party USA foolishness,regurgitated by Lisa Fithian and Debra Sweet from the last demonstration. I’d consider sending you money to get you to stop trolling and spewing left-wing inanities on this classical-liberal blog. Please tell me how much you’d want and where to send the check.

Methinks1776 October 31, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Yes, I never understood how effing grandma squared with Krugman’s liberal conscious.

Chris O'Leary October 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Collateral damage.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Before I choose to respond — is “effing” being used as an adjective or a verb?

Methinks1776 October 31, 2011 at 9:04 pm

verb.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Liberals have no conscience in the sense that they actually value outcomes more than intentions — so I think there was no circle to square.

Happy to hear you like grandma ;)

Methinks1776 October 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm

The ends justifies the means, eh? What’s a few Gulags if the bridge gets built? Humans are interchangeable cogs. If one dies some female of the species will pop out another one.

But don’t dare call them statists. They’ll take offense.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm

“They’ll take offense.”

Our downfall is we refuse to declare that we actually don’t care. Instead, we allow our opponents to proceed with their plans as if we subscribed to them — implying we give a f-ck about what they take offense at, as you have observed.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I forgot noun.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 9:08 pm
Methinks1776 October 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm

HA HA HA!!! That’s an excellent tutorial. You know, in my line of work, if you eliminated that word from the English language, we’d all go mute.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm

So … you work in an environment where sexual harassment is graded rather than reported?

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I guess we’re the “other 99″

Methinks1776 October 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Often, our sentences consist mainly of variations of that word.

brotio November 1, 2011 at 4:14 am

Methinks,

I thought you were going to write, “If you eliminated that word from the English language, we’d all be f***ed.”

:D

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I understand. People tell me that I speak to my computer that way.

I don’t have to be careful in my selection of words when speaking to the computer, as over the years I’ve come to understand that it really doesn’t hear me — and will prompt me with the same inane and obtuse questions whether I speak kindly or not. The staff has adjusted to the way “we” communicate.

Methinks1776 October 31, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Well, sometimes, in our world, it’s a choice between cursing and homicide. we choose *%@#$*!

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Good choice — good choice.

Anotherphil October 31, 2011 at 8:54 pm

What is it with the left’s obsession with insulting people as practitioners of sexual perversity, when they constantly chide others to be “tolerant”?

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Liberals are impressed by rhythm, selection, and clever concatenation of words — as well as the number of disparate thoughts that can be compressed into a single sound bite — much more than what any of it means.

What was the question?

Darren November 1, 2011 at 11:13 am

My grandma worked too hard for what little money she saved over her lifetime just to have it go up in smoke.

Liberals like Krugman don’t really care about individuals. Only about the ‘aggregates’.

rpl November 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm

What sort of “fixed” income is your grandmother on? If it’s social security, then that is indexed to cost of living, so inflation isn’t so bad for her. If she’s in CDs or short-term bonds, then she’s already getting hammered by low yields, so anything that improves the economic outlook is likely to improve her cash flow, even if it includes inflation. And in your next post you seem to equate people on “fixed income” (whatever you understand that term to mean) with the “bottom 1%” and “the poor.” To the extent that “fixed income” means retired seniors, that is definitely not true. Seniors are the wealthiest demographic in our society. “Grandmothers on fixed income” seems to be the “Won’t somebody please think of the children” of monetary policy debate. It tugs at everyone’s heart strings, but it doesn’t seem to have much basis in fact.

If you want to oppose looser monetary policy on the grounds that it won’t have the effect that its proponents hope it will, then I can respect that (though I think the market monetarists have some powerful arguments as to why it will work). But if you’re trying to argue that it’s better to have 0% inflation with 9% unemployment than to have 3-5% inflation with normal employment, then that’s a tough position to sell. It will take more than an appeal to Grandma’s pocketbook to convince anyone.

tkwelge November 2, 2011 at 3:15 am

Why were there several economic recoveries during the 1800′s while deflation was occurring? This claim that more inflation means more employment has even been debunked by events during this century. Maybe if there was less inflation, people’s incomes would go further and that would create more jobs too. If you create inflation, for the benefit of a small elite that will receive the new money first, you may get a job working for that elite, but everyone else’s paycheck and real spending will then decrease too, which will inevitably cause job loss to an extent. It isn’t the year over year increase in the CPI that screws grandma (although that is a factor) so much as it is the fact that grandma isn’t slated to receive the new money first. Focusing on the CPI is a mistake considering that it is a poor measure of the experience that people actually face. It doesn’t include energy or food, and it includes an assumption that everyone will use inferior goods that cost less.

rpl November 3, 2011 at 11:26 am

Was the deflation of the 1800s driven by monetary factors or by productivity increases? According to the people advocating more inflation, the two have very different effects on the economy. I don’t think it’s too controversial that monetary deflation is harmful. If you take a healthy economy and contract the money supply enough to produce, say, 5% deflation, then that’s almost sure to produce a severe recession, isn’t it?

Your claim that inflation primarily benefits the elite seems hard to square with the historical association of loose money with populism. I’m not saying that makes it wrong, but there must be more to the story.

I’m not sure why you think that measures of inflation should include food and energy. The intent here is not to measure “the experience that people actually face,” but rather to measure the effect of monetary policy on prices. If energy and food prices diverge wildly from prices of other goods and services, then that’s strong evidence that they are responding to real supply or demand shocks, which are precisely what you don’t want to base monetary policy on. (Note, however, that cost-of-living adjustments for retirees are based on headline CPI, which includes food and energy.)

Craig October 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm

” Krugman’s blog is called The Conscience of a Liberal and not The Conscience of a Truth-Seeking Objective Bias-Free Scientist”

That’s, as we apparently say these days, genius!

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Of course, Cafe Hayek is called that for a reason — I don’t think Cafe Keynes had an equal opportunity for selection. ;)

Paul Brinkley November 1, 2011 at 9:08 pm

They would’ve had to call the blog Department of Keynes.

W.E. Heasley October 31, 2011 at 8:41 pm

“No doubt one chief reason for the unclear and contradictory theories of class relations lies in the fact that our society, largely controlled in all its organization by one set of doctrines, still contains survivals of old social theories which are totally inconsistent with the former. In the Middle Ages men were united by custom and prescription into associations, ranks, guilds, and communities of various kinds. These ties [23]endured as long as life lasted. Consequently society was dependent, throughout all its details, on status, and the tie, or bond, was sentimental. In our modern state, and in the United States more than anywhere else, the social structure is based on contract, and status is of the least importance. Contract, however, is rationaleven rationalistic. It is also realistic, cold, and matter-of-fact. A contract relation is based on a sufficient reason, not on custom or prescription. It is not permanent. It endures only so long as the reason for it endures. In a state based on contract sentiment is out of place in any public or common affairs. It is relegated to the sphere of private and personal relations, where it depends not at all on class types, but on personal acquaintance and personal estimates. The sentimentalists among us always seize upon the survivals of the old order. They want to save them and restore them. Much of the loose thinking also which troubles us in our social discussions arises from the fact that men do not distinguish the elements of status and of contract which may be found in our society.

Whether social philosophers think it desirable or not, it is out of the question to go back to status or to the sentimental relations which once united baron and retainer, master and servant, teacher and pupil, comrade and comrade. That we have lost some grace and elegance is undeniable. That life once held more poetry and romance is true enough. But it seems impossible that any one who has studied the matter should doubt that we have gained immeasurably, and that our farther gains lie in going forward, not in going backward. The feudal ties can never be restored. If they could be restored they would bring back personal caprice, favoritism, sycophancy, and intrigue. A society based on contract is a society of free and independent men, who form ties
without favor or obligation, and co-operate without cringing or intrigue. A society based on contract, therefore, gives the utmost room and chance for individual development, and for all the self-reliance and dignity of a free man. That a society of free men, co-operating under contract, is by far the strongest society which has ever yet existed; that no such society has ever yet developed the full measure of strength of which it
is capable; and that the only social improvements which are now conceivable lie in the direction of more complete realization of a society of free men united by contract, are points which cannot be controverted. It follows, however, that one man, in a free state, cannot claim help from, and cannot be charged to give help to, another. To understand the full meaning of this assertion it will be worth while to see what a free democracy is“. – W.G. Sumner, What Social Classes Owe to Each Other, 1883.

Randy November 1, 2011 at 4:27 am

Excellent! Thanks for posting.

Randy November 1, 2011 at 5:13 am

P.S. This ties in well with a conversation I was having contra GiT a few posts back, in which I was making a distinction between contract and justice. This is still percolating – and it seems the next step, prompted by the post above, is to declare the concept of justice to be an anachronism… an undefineable spiritual construct with it basis in a social order that no longer exists.

Matt October 31, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I think to Krugman, Liberal = Truth-Seeking Objective Bias-Free Scientist or Truth-Seeking Objective Bias-Free Scientist leads to a state of being a “liberal.”

Krishnan October 31, 2011 at 8:45 pm

The truly great ones are truly humble – and would not care if they are lumped with those that the world may see as “beneath” them – because the truly great do not see anyone “beneath” them

Krugman is the perfect example of a condescending liberal who thinks everyone is beneath him … That it is impertinent of anyone to suggest anything other than what he may be thinking

Rob McMillin October 31, 2011 at 8:45 pm

It’s hilarious to hear him whinge about how he’s miscast as an ideologue. He surrendered any pretense of being an economist interested in how economies actually work with his bogus metaphor for Solyndra, likening it to Pets.com. Krugman is just a dishonest hack who uses his Nobel like an umbrella against any criticism.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 10:27 pm

His Nobel is cover … there’s a very long list of unillustrious winners of this incestuous prize awarded by a group of very ignoble governors and founded by a guilt-ridden capitalist.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Correction, the Nobel Prize was not the child of a “guilt-ridden capitalist” — it was the child of a capitalist whose reputation had been tarnished by the survivors he had to endure. Politics vs. Markets.

Paul Brinkley November 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm

It’s worse. The Nobel Prize is unusable as an indicator, because it’s also awarded to some very good economists.

W.E. Heasley October 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm

An umbrella, used too many time is a very rainy environment, eventual leaks.

Fred October 31, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Krugman and others use the word ideologue as a character attack against someone.

Type “ideologue” into google and this is what you get:

i·de·o·logue/ˈīdēəˌlôg/
Noun:
An adherent of an ideology, esp. one who is uncompromising and dogmatic: “a Nazi ideologue”.

Ideologues are Nazis.

So of course Krugman takes offense when the term is used to describe him as he uses it to describe anyone who disagrees with him.

Typical liberal.

Darren November 1, 2011 at 11:23 am

Ideologues are Nazis.

No. That was just an example. An ideologue can believe in any ideology.

Fred November 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

The point was that when Krugnuts and his buddies use the word “ideologue”, it is meant to evoke an emotional reaction and set the audience up for manipulation.

This guy is a ideologue. Naxis were ideologues. This guy must be EVIL!

It is not used to describe, it is used to marginalize.

It is true that Krugnuts is an ideologue, but he will take the term as an insult because that is how he uses it.

david nh October 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm

The Left can never admit it’s reality because then they would have to give up sole claim to Unbiased Fact-based Scientific Truth, in which case it would be their reason against ours. Reason favours our side, hence their attachment to empiricism, aka scientism.

JBaldwin October 31, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Ideology. Reality. Truth.

kyle8 October 31, 2011 at 10:41 pm

We all hive bias, But Krugman has a hell of a lot more than most.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 11:12 pm

No. He’s just less willing to admit them — because they are uglier than most.

Daniel Kuehn October 31, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I’m genuinely confused by the argument here, Russ. Are you saying that one cannot have a political affiliation or a conscience and still do objective economic analysis?

Wouldn’t the assumption be that he is doing objective analysis and bringing that to bear on questions of normative values? That’s what I’ve always assumed. That’s what I assumed about you until you wrote that post.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 11:15 pm

“Are you saying that one cannot have a political affiliation or a conscience and still do objective economic analysis?”

It really depends upon which one you value more.

Daniel Kuehn October 31, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I would have thought you could value either one “more” as long as you don’t sacrifice one for the other.

We could have morally ambivalent objective scientists as well as activist/advocates who are silent on science, right? We don’t have to just have ideological liars or agnostic scientists, right?

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Your question draws me to Robert Oppenheimer, in the sense that scientists don’t need to be nonpolitical — but I doubt his political thought would have resulted in the intended outcome in the same way his scientific thought did.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

(formerly Anotherphil)

We could have morally ambivalent objective scientists as well as activist/advocates who are silent on science, right? We don’t have to just have ideological liars or agnostic scientists, right?

Ideology isn’t morality, morality may inform ideology, but they aren’t the same. Morality answers of propriety, science answers of capability. Science tell us what we can do, morality what we should do.

Amoral Scientist-Mengele
Unindormed Activist (Occupy, CH Trolls)

Both do damage.

Daniel Kuehn October 31, 2011 at 11:35 pm

I should clarify – obviously people stray from the straight and narrow path of objectivity. I’m speaking generally – not ascribing perfection on anyone’s part.

SheetWise November 1, 2011 at 12:23 am

“I should clarify – obviously people stray from the straight and narrow path of objectivity.”

OTOH — sticking to it is not a bad plan of action.

Miles Stevenson October 31, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Daniel,

The human mind is incapable of truly objective analysis. Modern psychology and neuroscience back this up to a degree. I would recommend the following for further reading on the subject (links to Amazon):

http://tinyurl.com/3v3btb7

Daniel Kuehn November 1, 2011 at 12:01 am

I agree.

But I think, knowing the foibles of the human mind, we can call certain behavior “objective” if it meets a certain standard of objectivity that reasonable people can acknowledge. You’ll probably be interested in my comment from 11:35, which makes essentially your point – nobody is perfect and nobody can do perfectly objective analysis.

There’s a giant gulf between that point and the point that Krugman comes to the conclusions he does for ideological reasons, and that’s my only point.

SheetWise November 1, 2011 at 12:37 am

“There’s a giant gulf between that point [comment from 11:35] and the point that Krugman comes to the conclusions he does for ideological reasons, and that’s my only point.”

There’s only a “gulf” if the reader subscribes to your 11:35 premise. I don’t subscribe.

If we move our conversation away from what we believe politically or philosophically — in the big picture, I don’t give a damn what Krugman thinks. Krugman, OTOH, seems to care a lot about what I think.

Apparently you choose to treat us, politically, as equals.

Daniel Kuehn November 1, 2011 at 12:41 am

What don’t you subscribe to? Do you think people are perfect? That was basically my only point.

SheetWise November 1, 2011 at 1:00 am

You present it like the law of gravity — yes, I can throw a ball up in the air — but it will eventually find an equilibrium.

A researcher, having lost the path of objectivity, is not going to naturally return to a “norm”. In fact — if they continue to plot their course using the data that got them lost in the first place — it’s more likely they’re never going to return.

Michael November 1, 2011 at 8:07 am

I think he means that Krugman’s blog is there to discuss his political affiliation and conscience, instead of doing economic analysis. I’m not sure he’s suggesting that political affiliation (or a predisposition thereof) and economic analysis are mutually exclusive.

Captain Profit November 1, 2011 at 9:26 am

Daniel, a large part of objectivity is recognizing the part that your own biases play in your analyses.

Darren November 1, 2011 at 11:27 am

objective economic analysis

No one can be %100 objective. Even a computer would contain the biases of its programmer. The more complex the subject, the more room there is for bias to creep in. I would suppose that’s one reason you have things like ‘peer review’.

carlsoane November 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Einstein believed that the universe was static. When his calculations pointed towards an expanding universe, he invented a cosmologicial constant to preserve the logic of his belief in stasis. Only years later and after evidence had piled up in favor of an expanding universe did he give up on his belief in stasis.

Does that make Einstein a subjective analyst?

Dan H October 31, 2011 at 11:16 pm

I think I’m on Krugy-monster’s shit-list. I’m pretty sure I caught him responding to one of my comments once. He was not a happy Krugy-monster.

Speaking of Krugy-monsters, we need an official nickname for the Krugster. Something villainous yet light-hearted.

Krugy-monster? Krugmanstein? Count Krugula? The Dark Lord Krugthulu? Beelzekrug? The last two might be a little harsh.

SheetWise October 31, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Since he has no sense of “Nobel Oblige” — why not “Noobman”?

Fred November 1, 2011 at 7:55 am

Krugnuts?

Mesa Econoguy November 1, 2011 at 12:28 am

Russ, apologies in advance, and arrears.

Krugman has no fucking conscience.

LowcountryJoe November 1, 2011 at 1:04 am

Krugman has no fucking conscience

That’s bullshit; he does too. The Conscience of a Anti-market Statist Who Happens to Supposedly Teach Economics.

You do agree, right?

SheetWise November 1, 2011 at 1:24 am

Not true. He has a conscience. Conscience governs future activity. Krugman’s conscience simply refuses to be governed by past experience, predictions, or empirical evidence.

It is a belief, I believe by design, that is unfalsifiable.

emerson November 1, 2011 at 1:21 am

So lefties don’t care about the size of government per se, just that the government is able to improve people’s lives. Market-oriented folks, on the other hand, care about small government only as an end in itself.

This is an argument I’ve heard countless times from folks on the left, so let’s try to set the record straight. I believe a smaller government is better not simply because our taxes are lower, but more importantly because small government leads to better outcomes for all kinds of people– minorities, students, the sick, the elderly, kids, all of us.

Now, we can argue which one of our political philosophies is better served to make all our lives better, but saying that those who believe in small government and a free market don’t care about improving people’s lives is insulting and just plain wrong.

SheetWise November 1, 2011 at 2:25 am

“Market-oriented folks, on the other hand, care about small government only as an end in itself. “

This is where you lost me. Small government is not an end — it is a result of self reliance.

“Now, we can argue which one of our political philosophies is better served to make all our lives better …”

A dangerous road to travel. Better to just pay the toll.

Fred November 1, 2011 at 8:02 am

Lefties feel that if something isn’t done by government, that is if something isn’t backed up with the threat of violence, that nobody will do it.

So if government doesn’t force people to help “minorities, students, the sick, the elderly, kids, all of us”, then like Barry O said, you’re on your own.

They are wrong of course, but since no one can give a specific answer to “Oh yeah? If government doesn’t do it then who will?” the response is along the lines of “Name names! I want names! If you can’t spell out who exactly will do it then that is proof that it will not be done! You can’t name names! You don’t want anyone to do it! You’re heartless! Hater! Hater!”

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 1, 2011 at 9:46 am

small government leads to better outcomes for all kinds of people

and where is there any evidence of this “Big Foot.”

the first rule of economics (size allows for efficiency, etc.) is to the opposite, with substantially increasing returns

nothing makes my life better, day to day, than our national transportation system (highways, airports, and the Internet). If these were “state and local,” we would still be Poland (Why did it take Hitler 3 days to conquer? The roads were muddy).

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 1, 2011 at 10:20 am

(formerly Anotherphil)

You need a big foot rectal impaction.

“the first rule of economics (size allows for efficiency, etc.) is to the opposite, with substantially increasing returns”

No, you dope, that’s not the first rule of economics. The first rule of economics is wants are unlimited, goods are scarce.

Size allows for gains in efficiency until diseconomies of scale or scope make diminishing marginal returns to scale or scope become negative returns.

Have you ever even cracked the cover of a econ book?

Interesting and revealing that you admire Hitler, over the peaceful Poles. Figures.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm

GAAP Rules

sorry, no, the mail, wire, and bank fraud statutes trump. United States v. Simon

You write, “The first rule of economics is wants are unlimited, goods are scarce.” That is no longer true. We no longer have an economy based on scarcity. We now have unlimited goods and services; what is lacking is income. Only a very few years ago there was a popular book on this exact point and its economic and social and cultural consequences.

cmprostreet November 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

There is no scarcity?

Do you ever think about things before you believe them?

House of Cards & Economic Freedom November 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm

We now have unlimited goods and services

You’re even stupider than I originally thought.

Only a very few years ago there was a popular book on this exact point

Well, then, that proves it! No further thought necessary: a pop book appeared making a stupid claim that stupid readers found appealing.

Darren November 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

size allows for efficiency

This is only up to a point. You run into other limiting factors. Technology mitigates to some extent which is why we are able to have larger governments as technology has advanced.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 1, 2011 at 6:49 am

Russ,

No one would use the word Conscience with Conservative.

Liberals have a Conscience

Randy November 1, 2011 at 7:40 am

Re; “No one…:
You mean no one that you know. Maybe you should get out more.

Re; “Conscience”
Question. Do you believe that a willingness to exploit human beings indicates the presence of a conscience? Because to me it seems to indicate the lack of one.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 1, 2011 at 9:49 am

Randy

Conservatives rationalize all current exploitation, wanting to defend the status quo, and by definition thus have no conscience.

The problem with Liberals is not their conscience, its their lack of common sense and their unwillingness to admit error.

Demosthenes November 1, 2011 at 11:17 am

What evidence do you have that “conservatives rationalize all current exploitation”? That’s a very large claim about a very broad class of people, and without considerably more evidence, I must consider your reasoning suspect.

Nor is a defense of the status quo indicative of a lack of conscience. Indeed, if someone believes that the only feasible alternative to the status quo is worse, defending the status quo becomes a necessity for being called conscientious.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Demosthenes

Take off the rest of the afternoon and give us a long list of the all things done by Conservatives to advance Modernity.

The list will be a short one—answer nothing.

Randy November 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I give free markets and free people credit for the prosperity of our times. I blame the socialists (all denomonations) for the massive bloodletting of the 20th century. I give the conservatives some credit for taming the socialists, but it seems that they may have been infected by too close contact. The 21st century could be a time of even greater prosperity, but it is unclear that there will not be a socialist resurgence and a new round of violence.

Demosthenes November 1, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Ah, I see, Nikolai. You’re just interested in saying things that make people you don’t like look bad, with no regard for their truth.

Okay, then. Carry on in my absence.

Randy November 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Re; “Conservatives rationalize all current exploitation”

It is the liberals (actually, they call themselves progressives) who are doing most of the exploiting these days. They collect something like $4 trillion every single year, and then they pay themselves to do things that they have decided to do. Not things that anyone would voluntarily pay for, just things that they have decided to do. They live in huge houses in the best neighborhoods, drive fancy cars and send their kids to the best schools. They are the bourgeoisie – not as they use the term, but as Marx meant it.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 1, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Randy

You need to go start reading a little history. Two liberals, FDR and Truman have to get all the credit for taming the [Nazi] socialists, the Japanese socialists, and the USSR (Truman and Marshall were the architects of a rebuilt Europe and containment.

In fact, your good ole conservatives fought FDR every step of the way.

Greg Webb November 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Nikki, you should actually read a history book, not statist propaganda. Then, you might be able to have an intelligent discussion. Randy is correct.

Randy November 1, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I do give credit to FDR for getting 300,000 common Americans killed during WWII, for getting nearly 3 times that number wounded, and for the killing of countless civilians in Italy, Germany and Japan during “strategic” bombing raids. Given his own propensity for Socialism, I guess it makes a certain amount of sense. Some sort of internal religious spat. Later, after awarding all the appropriate medals and honors to those who sacrificed for the good of the socialist state, they wrote it all off as stimulus.

Randy November 1, 2011 at 8:16 pm

P.S. I do give the conservatives of FDR’s time credit for trying to stop him, but let’s face it, they failed miserably. Socialism is powerful. Stupid and violent, but powerful. Thus my concern for the rest of this century should it return to its former level of virulence.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 1, 2011 at 10:23 am

Liberals have a Conscience

And chickens and penguins have wings, but they aren’t going to be confused with eagles.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 1, 2011 at 7:09 am

In the real World, Greece is apparently going to vote on austerity and the EU

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/01/greece-referendum-idUSL5E7M108720111101

UPDATE 3-Greek referendum ignites German anger, hammers markets

One would assume that Russ and Dan will oppose, for they oppose democracy. Truman said listen to the People. If there is an election, it could be a pivot point in history.

House of Cards & Economic Freedom November 1, 2011 at 8:04 pm

One would assume that Russ and Dan will oppose, for they oppose democracy. Truman said listen to the People. If there is an election, it could be a pivot point in history.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20111101/D9QO6TEG1.html

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – The Greek government teetered and stock markets around the world plummeted Tuesday after a hard-won European plan to save the Greek economy was suddenly thrown into doubt by the prospect of a public vote.

One day after Prime Minister George Papandreou stunned Europe by calling for a referendum, the ripples reached from Athens, where some of his own lawmakers rebelled against him, to Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average plunged almost 300 points.

Papandreou’s decision upended a deal that was the product of months of work by European leaders who were trying, sometimes opposed by their own people, to agree the details of a second bailout for Greece and shore up their own economies in the name of saving the euro, the common currency.

The deal would require banks that hold Greek government bonds to accept 50 percent losses and provide Greece with about $140 billion in rescue loans from European nations and the International Monetary Fund.

But Greeks have been outraged by repeated rounds of tax increases and salary and pension cuts imposed as the government struggles to meet the conditions of a first, $153 billion bailout the country has been relying on since May 2010. With Greece facing a fourth year of recession next year, unions have held frequent strikes, and protests have often degenerated into riots.

A Greek rejection of the second rescue package could cause bank failures in Europe and perhaps a new recession in Europe, the market for 20 percent of American exports. It could also cause Greece to leave the alliance of 17 nations that use the euro.

European leaders made no secret of their displeasure.

“Talk about your all-time bonehead moves,” said Benjamin Reitzes, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.

A public vote would allow the party, vilified by an increasingly hostile public during months of strikes, sit-ins and violent protests over austerity measures, to shift responsibility for the country’s fate to the Greek people themselves.

One would assume that Russ and Dan will oppose, for they oppose democracy.

Nah. They just want everyone to have democracy, not just the Greeks. Let the people of France, Germany, and other European countries who hold Greek debt, vote on whether or not they would like to bail out the public-sector unions of Greece and take 50% losses

You’re not against that, are you?

paul November 1, 2011 at 9:34 am

we could all spend more time at: http://lesswrong.com

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 1, 2011 at 9:50 am

thanks for the link

Rick November 1, 2011 at 10:09 am

I agree that an ideologue will rarely admit they’re ideologically motivated. Of more interest to me are the specific arguments and how to come to some conclusion given the evidence (with all its flaws).

For example, Krugman in his October 12th entry (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/12/i-am-not-your-mirror-image/) states:

“Initially, a lot of credence was given to work like that of Alesina and Ardagna, which tried to identity changes in fiscal policy using mildly fancy time-series analysis — and seemed to find evidence of expansionary contraction. But everyone who looked at that work closely quickly noticed that their supposed episodes of both stimulus and austerity didn’t seem to correspond at all to known changes in policy. When economists started doing studies using the Milton Friedman/ Romer and Romer mthod –that is, using historical information to identify actual changes in policy — the results turned clearly Keynesian.”

So, is Krugman wrong or right that Alesina’s “supposed episodes of both stimulus and austerity didn’t seem to correspond at all to known changes in policy”? Does this matter or lead to the important last sentence in the above quote that suggests the evidence is in favor of Keynsian?

My bias leads me to believe Krugman is probably wrong, but I don’t have the background to judge the merits of his vs. Alesina’s (and other’s e.g., Ramey, Barro, etc) arguments. That said, when Krugman or any academic uses the word “clearly” to discuss empirical evidence, I see a red flag.

SaulOhio November 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Its not a question of whether or not we have biases. Its a question of whether we acknowledge that we have biases and work to overcome them, or pretend they don’t exist and use scientistic mathematical and statistical techniques to confirm them.

Paul Marks November 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

When Paul Krugman admits that cutting government spending by 25%, and allowing prices and wages to move freely so that markets could clear, worked in response to the credit bubble collapse of 1921 (i.e. led to a quick economic recovery from the bust of the World War One credit bubble economy) then he will be on the road to be an objective seeker of truth.

And not a moment before.

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