Sumner on Stiglitz

by Don Boudreaux on December 15, 2011

in Great Depression, Growth, Innovation, State of Macro

Here’s Scott Sumner on Joe Stiglitz’s strange argument that the prime culprit in sparking the Great Depression was rising farm productivity.  And Nick Rowe on the same.  And Ryan Avent.  (HT Arnold Kling)

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kyle8 December 15, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Well then the answer to our current problems is right in front of our eyes. All we have to do is pass a law requiring that all agricultural work be done with hand implements. (and of course non of those icky imports).

Voila’, problem solved! we are headed for full employment and then the economy really ought to take off! There is nothing like lower productivity to spur the economy.

J Cortez December 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm

“Joe Stiglitz’s strange argument that the prime culprit in sparking the Great Depression was rising farm productivity.”

What?

That is. . . Senseless.

Invisible Backhand December 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm

It’s better to go to the article than to trust Don rely on the opinions of others:

Massive job creation in the urban sector—in manufacturing—succeeded in moving people out of farming. The supply of food and the demand for it came into balance again: farm prices started to rise. The new migrants to the cities got training in urban life and factory skills, and after the war the G.I. Bill ensured that returning veterans would be equipped to thrive in a modern industrial society. Meanwhile, the vast pool of labor trapped on farms had all but disappeared. The process had been long and very painful, but the source of economic distress was gone.

The parallels between the story of the origin of the Great Depression and that of our Long Slump are strong. Back then we were moving from agriculture to manufacturing. Today we are moving from manufacturing to a service economy.

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/01/stiglitz-depression-201201

I don’t have a clue as to the substance of the argument, but I do have a clue that you shouldn’t trust people with a track record of lying to you.

Invisible Backhand December 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Well, text without the close strike tag is quite distinctive, if I may say.

Greg Webb December 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Yep, all of your comments deserve the distinctive strike through symbol.

Chris Bowyer December 18, 2011 at 11:36 am

I dub this “Freudian styling.”

khodge December 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I’d love to see Stiglitz put his hypothesis into a theory of business cycles. It would make for some very interesting reading.

muirge0 December 15, 2011 at 6:58 pm

He does. You can listen to his presentation at CERGE-EI’s ( The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education – Economics Institute) 20th anniversary on Monday, 10 October 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic.

http://www.demandsideeconomics.net/search?updated-max=2011-12-09T21:57:00-08:00&max-results=1

muirge0 December 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Stiglitz article makes plenty of sense. Especially this, “The parallels between the story of the origin of the Great Depression and that of our Long Slump are strong. Back then we were moving from agriculture to manufacturing. Today we are moving from manufacturing to a service economy.” Of course I pointed it out here a while back having heard it reading Ravi Batras book; The New Golden Age April 2008.

The Rising Wage Gap

Four main causes of poverty in the United States
The rising price of oil
Low minimum wage
Regressive taxation
Globalization

All four relate to government policy and reflect official corruption because they all impoverish the general public while making the rich richer. Furthermore, they add to the global economic imbalances and threaten to unleash global chaos in the near future.

Official corruption threatens economic stability around the world because it raises what may be called the wage gap which simply is a measure of the chasm between labor productivity and the real wage. For the sake of precision, the wage gap may be defined as worker productivity divided by the average real compensation of employees. An economy functions smoothly and efficiently only if this gap remains constant and small. It morphs into a myriad of imbalances if the gap grows as it has since 1980. An economy is efficient if it maintains full employment with out resorting to excessive debt. Excessive debt itself is linked to the rising wage gap. Anything that lowers domestic labor demand tends to raise the wage gap because when labor demand declines the real wage falls relative to worker productivity. The rising price of oil, low minimum wage, regressive taxation and globalization all tend to trim domestic demand for workers. So they all increase the wage gap over time.

How is all this relevant to our economy? Wages are the main source of demand and productivity is the main source of supply. Overtime, business investment and new technology lead to a rise in productivity and hence supply. If real wages keep up with productivity consumer demand matches the growth in supply so that the demand supply balance is maintained in a natural way. Here the economy tends to function smoothly and efficiently. However, if real wages trail productivity growth and the wage gap rises, supply grows faster than demand. Many distortions then arise and if they are allowed to fester the end result is growing poverty and possibly economic collapse.

The first distortion is that debt must rise exponentially to increased demand. Because this is then the only way to close the demand-supply gap arising from the growing wage gap. The borrowing may be incurred by consumers and the government but not by cash rich corporations. The quantum leap in budget deficits in the US economy since the early 1980’s is purely the result of this phenomenon. This is the first distortion because the demand-supply balance is maintained artificially by ever increasing debt creation and cannot be sustained forever.

The second distortion occurs from a quantum jump in corporate profits. Once the demand-supply balance is maintained through increased debt then profits must rise sharply because with wages growing sluggishly the fruit of increased productivity accrues mainly to the owners of capital. So CEO incomes jump. The profit leap is a distortion because it cannot be maintain without mushrooming debt. The artificial rise in profits triggers an artificial jump in share prices and leads to a stock market bubble which must burst one day because it is all supported by an exponential rise in borrowing.
The moment debt growth slows profits begin to fall and this can lead to a crash. As occurred in1929.

One distortion feeds another. As the market crashes the government must do something to contain its aftershocks. For instance, it slashes interest rates to lure more people into borrowing. If it does not a depression may result as in the 1930’s. But if it does, there will be a housing bubble because exceptionally low interest rates generate big declines in monthly mortgage payments and thus raise the demand for homes. So the government avoids a depression but only at the cost of future stability. This is why we now face a housing bubble around the world in the aftermath of the global stock market crash of 2000.

With the continued rise in the wage gap the rich keep getting richer at a record pace. But the stock market crash puts them in a quandary. What to do with all that money? With the share market losing its allure the rich look elsewhere. They maybe ultra rich but they want even more. So their cash ends up in exotic assets such as hedge funds, especially those that discover new avenues of speculation like investing in oil or mortgage backed securities.

These are all distortions that have results from the rising wage gap in the United States.

Greg Webb December 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm

George, there you go (wrongly) again.

muirge0 December 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Greg,

It makes sense to me. Wages drop…. the consumer is 60-70% of GDP. Why wouldn’t we expect an economic slow down when prolonged wage stagnation occurs? Farmers then and Manufacturers now.

Craig S December 15, 2011 at 8:51 pm

A wider gap doesn’t mean wages have dropped and that doesn’t take into account the fact that buying power has greatly increased. My iPad cost $600 in 2011 and has more than 25 times the computing power of an original Macintosh that cost $2500 in 1984.

SaulOhio December 16, 2011 at 5:31 am

The wage stagnation is the result of the economic slowdown, not the other way around.

Greg Webb December 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm

George, the question is why do wages drop. It is not due to productivity gains from labor-saving machines. Rather, aggregate wages drop from the artificially-high wages occurring during a government-induced boom period to unnecessarily-low wages resulting from the necessary bust.

Dan J December 15, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Bingo!!!! Wages can be lumped with pricing of products and services……… supply and demand……….. The idea that all wages should always rise is ridiculous. Not to mention, as GW stated, when there is a govt induced boom and the entire market has been distorted, why is it not practical to assume all facets of the market will feel the fallout?

Greg G December 16, 2011 at 7:30 am

Wait a minute. Was that the real GW or the GW impersonator?

The fact that it was all argument and no ad hominem suggests impersonator.

But the opposition to, and obsession with, MuirgeO says GW.

But the appeal to a macro aggregate says impersonator. As does the absence of the use of “disingenuous”, “conclusory”, “LOL” “swing and a miss” or “there you go again.”

— The Artist Formerly Known As “Disingenuous.”

( I tried changing my posting name but it was too many letters. Damn all these infringements on my liberties!)

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 1:00 am

Greg Government, keep working on those sleuthing skills. :)

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 1:10 am

. . . but now known as deceitful…

Craig December 15, 2011 at 7:27 pm

The weakness of Stiglitz’s theory is that manufacturing was booming in the twenties. It was quite capable of absorbing the farm boys and did.

The Great Depression was the result of the collapse of a Fed bubble. Nothing new at all. That it lasted so long can be chalked up to the relatively new-fangled aggregate spending theories that Keynes would soon appropriate as his own in his magnum opus.

Stiglitz is right about the parallels to be drawn between then and now. He’s just wrong on where to draw those lines.

muirge0 December 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Nope Craig… he explains the manufacturers where hurt by decrease needs from the farm sector. There were NO urban jobs for the rural folks to get absorbed into. Stimulus was all but absent until 1932 and that’s when some turn around occurred And then the big increase in war manufacturing explains the rest. Makes more sense then your nebulous claims about Keynesianism making things last so long. . If that were the case things should have got worse not BETTER when the “new-fangled Keynesianism” kicked in. History and the facts do not support your version.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_dlpJ9dM6yfE/TMsyFbXiNrI/AAAAAAAAA3E/cf-WEwFdy3Y/s1600/Roosevelt+Recovery+Chart.jpg

Craig S December 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Ther was no stimulus in 1920-21 and the conomy recovered just fine. How do explain that is stimulus is necessry? Also how do explain Japan in the 90′s?

Dan J December 15, 2011 at 9:57 pm

“he explains the manufacturers where hurt by decrease needs from the farm sector. There were NO urban jobs for the rural folks to get absorbed into.” -Muirgeo
This is in what time frame? Because if you speak of the mid to late thirties, then it will be very easy to show how the FDR policies have responsibilities in creating such an atmosphere.

Murigeo, you share a similar quality with FDR ……… Shared belief in voodoo economics.

muirge0 December 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm

And this here goes against what you say Craig and supports Stiglitz claim;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Manufacturing_Employment_Graph_-_1920_to_1940.svg

Dan J December 15, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Rising price of oil may be the only one in which you have an argument. The others are simpleton arguments and incorrect. If Low minimum wage is a contributor to poverty, then why not raise it to $30 dollars and hour? There would be little if any poverty in all of the US.
The French Fry guy would make $30 an hour, along with others in the Fast Food joint and you surely could still get the Cheeseburger for 99 cents or $1.10? Right?

kyle8 December 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm

utter nonsense. all of it.

Randy December 16, 2011 at 2:18 am

Muirgeo,

Re; The four main causes of poverty in the US

As I see it (and I’ve been there), there are three, and they are;

Inability to do anything useful
Lack of desire to be useful or to become useful
Support systems that enable uselessness as a way of life

That said, I’m not a huge fan of employment for the sake of employment (which is my take on Keynes). I took the time at one point to discover for myself the difference between need and want. And I did. And I know that not much is really needed. So I believe that choice is good. But I don’t see how any system that supports uselessness at the expense of the useful can be sustainable. That is, the work ethic exists for a reason. It is the product of much experience.

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 10:12 am
Jon Murphy December 15, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I find Dr. Stiglitz’s essay interesting, but rather weak on evidence. On top of the various problems mentioned in Sumner’s, Rowe’s, and Avent’s analysis, I find another critical question that was hinted by the others: why was there a critical mass that caused this to happen?

I understand his logic about the bubbles disguising income, but I find that argument weak. The amount of stuff one can buy at the median income now is enormous compared to what it was even in my parent’s generation. So, that cannot be the issue.

I think he may be on to something with the structural employment argument. There is no doubt that, prior to the 30′s. the US was switching from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing one, but as mentioned, this process has been going on for over a century. Same with the current recession.

What bugs me the most is his conclusion. He states that the government needs to assist with the transition with the economy. I agree. But then he makes the confounding statement that the government should assist by directing funds into the industries that will lead the US economy in the 21st Century. I didn’t realize that Dr. Stiglitz knew the future. This is where I disagree. For all reasons that will be discussed and have been discussed, I say the government should assist by staying out of the way.

kyle8 December 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm

No Jon, he does not have a point at all on structural unemployment. So we were transforming from agriculture to industry, Wanna know why? Because we were becoming much more productive, and industrial jobs paid a lot better than agriculture jobs.

There was no problem with unemployment during the 1920′s. Why did it wait till the 1930′s to suddenly become a problem?

The great depression had several factors, primarily being failed monetary policy as Milton Friedman and his colleague proved.

This is just a strange brew.

Jon Murphy December 16, 2011 at 7:33 am

I agree with you Kyle. (comment extension to be coming…late for work)

Dan J December 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Does anyone know what year and what month Sowell was a guest on Econ talk….. I seem to not be able to locate the podcast.

muirge0 December 15, 2011 at 8:11 pm
Dan J December 15, 2011 at 8:23 pm

That is the only thing you have ever done that I can say, “nice job”.

Jon Murphy December 15, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Another thing that might be worth considering is that the confusion spans the spectrum: You have Prof. Boudreaux on the Austrian side, and Avent on Kyenesian side.

nailheadtom December 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm

He’s right about putting more effort into the education thing: I’ll teach you how to solder copper for $500 a week and pay you $300 a week to teach me how to carve jack o’ lanterns.

Josh S December 15, 2011 at 8:13 pm

The theory that mechanization causes the business cycle due to displaced, unemployed workers is not new. You can find it articulated rather clearly in Das Kapital. Maybe Stiglitz is trying to do for Marxism what Keynes did for mercantilism.

Everything old is new again, but that doesn’t make it any less dumb.

Dan J December 15, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Oh, the horrible technologies that make production faster, more efficient, and cheaper. What treachery against mankind. The only thing to come from technology and mechanization is elimination of a need for man. We Must stop mechanization and technological advancements.

Gil December 15, 2011 at 11:46 pm

You’re presuming there’s no unpleasant transition as is to say an newly unemployed farm worker could magically find a higher paying job in a factory? Maybe some did, maybe some didn’t. Then again it’s possitble that the rate at which unemployed workers went into the city caused factory wages to fall.

Dan J December 16, 2011 at 1:20 am

I am not presuming anything. In fact, I often attempt to explain that there is a transitionary phase…. It is always occurring…. Some transitions are more recognizable than others.
The US needs to recognize the transition of emerging markets competing for capital and cannot afford to push businesses and capital out by restricting use of capital in US, taxing it to the poor house, or enacting consistent costly rules and regulations (which favor long existing businesses who can more readily absorb these costs and guillotine competition).
The long running transition of a modernizing mature economy from labor intensive to sophisticated tool and tech operations, giving man more opportunities to focus resources and time on greater endeavors including more leisure and knowledge seeking.
We are very unlikely to revisit the need for “19 men working the fields to feed 20″…… Manufacturing in the US has finally, fully recognized this with the insolvency of GM and Chrysler amongst many other clues. It would be unwise for anyone to expect 40yrs of trudging to the same job, at the same place, doing the same
thing and paying little attention to the health of the company or industry they work in.

Dan J December 16, 2011 at 1:22 am

Often, to friends and family…… Not here……. I would get a resounding ‘DUH!’

Dan J December 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm

As for rebranding failed ‘isms’, look no further than the recent push in politics, aside from economists. Andy Stern’s op-ed to highlight the superiority of Chinese Marxism, aka the govt redirecting capital and organizing a market. Obama’s Kansas speech, talk of redistributing wealth, and how America’s lack of big projects (to hoist his name on like Hoover damn, etc.,…. pure narcissism).

kyle8 December 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Oh yes, the Tomas L Friedman idea. If only we could emulate the Chinese, enact laws the public hates, and make the public subsidize our production, then we would be rich like the Chinese!

W.E. Heasley December 15, 2011 at 8:20 pm

“…..Joe Stiglitz’s strange argument….”

-Or-

“Everybody loves to argue with Milton, particularly when he isn’t there“. – George Shultz

Lee Atwater December 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm

It has been Stiglitz’s position for quite sometime that the real economy was very sick, long before 2007/08. He is right on this score. My work dates the economy dying to 9/11, when Bush we lost the 15 minute war, destroying our spirt and soul.

It is deeply disturbing to see that no one pauses or reflects about what he says, but instead fires off that he is wrong, doesn’t have support, or what I really like, MFG. would have absorbed farmers (even though he points out that falling land prices and incomes trapped farmers, keeping them from moving).

Such is overwhelming evidence that this blog, most of its readers, and all those against Stiglitz are just making it up as they go along, engaged in political fronting rather than real economics.

Jon Murphy December 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I don’t know, Lee. All of us agree the economy was sick long before ’08. I’d say the problem goes back to 1992, my research shows.

If you read the comments here and other places, you’ll find it’s not that we think he’s necessarily wrong, but the thesis is weak and confusing.

Josh S December 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm

My research shows the problem goes back to 1913.

Falling prices have very clearly *not* trapped farmers, or else they all would have stayed on the farms. They did not.

Greg Webb December 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I think 1913 is correct. That is when the Federal Reserve Act became law.

kyle8 December 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm

And the income tax, and direct election of senators. All noxious ideas.

Gil December 15, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Or back to the U.S. Civil War? Or back to when the Founders created a government instead of a Kritarchy?

ChrisN December 16, 2011 at 8:14 am

I’d say back even further. Garden of Eden….man is greatly flawed, frequently does not see it that way. The great ones understand as such and are humbled. Markets are inclined to help this problem and progressives tend to be blinded by this phenomenon.

Darren December 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Falling prices have very clearly *not* trapped farmers, or else they all would have stayed on the farms.

Unless they lost those farms because they couldn’t afford to keep them.

Lee Atwater December 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I’d say the problem goes back to 1992, my research shows—

Yea, we started hiring people, paying better wages, higher taxes, balancing the budget.

1992—1999 were just terrible years.

Methinks1776 December 16, 2011 at 7:02 am

….and we spent the latter part of the 90′s in a tech bubble – which, as it happens, burst in 2000.

You left that part out. Don’t you remember that life during a bubble seems great? Also, I seem to remember 1994 wasn’t so great.

Jon Murphy December 16, 2011 at 7:37 am

Actually, Lee, I say 1992 because that’s when Solomon Brothers because securitized. They were the first of the big investment banks to become publicly owned and opened the door for others (JP Morgan, AIG, Lehman, etc). That would, of course, lead to the issues we would face in ’08.

It’s foolish to think a crisis of this magnitude could develop over something as trivial as the September 11th terrorist attacks (I say “trivial” in an economic sense. There is no evidence to suggest, as Lee does, that the terrorist attacks had any significant lasting impact on our economy).

Methinks1776 December 16, 2011 at 7:45 am

I don’t think the investment banking model or the prop trading model is particularly well suited for the public company model. However, going public by itself would not have lead to 2008.

These banks were protected from meaningful competition by regulation. Going public just gave them access to the fuel that grew them from very large institutions to “systemically important” behemoths.

Jon Murphy December 16, 2011 at 8:47 am

Precisely, Methinks. It would be highly erroneous of me to suggest Solomon Brothers is the leading cause, or even a major cause, of the current crisis. But it does, in my professional opinion, mark the beginning.

Methinks1776 December 16, 2011 at 9:06 am

You missed the point, Jon. Investment banks going public was not the reason all hell broke loose in 2008 any more than Stalin’s rise to power was the cause of the Soviet system’s failure.

Westie December 17, 2011 at 4:37 am

As an avid fan of History and especially Economic History, I tend to think the beginning of the end of our mostly “free” market system was the takeover of the mercantilist allowing Lincoln’s destruction of the Republic. Note what evolved from that point until the final corruption of the entire economy in 1913 by the monopolistic FRS installed under our 2nd Progressive POTUS. Thomas Woods is extremely valuable in his works on this history. Every thing follows from this to our current system of NeoMercantilism…Wiki actually does a good job in detailing this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercantilism.

Dan J December 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I am in no position, education or research wise, to fully argue a position or look to contradict, but tracing economic turmoil must include governmental interverention in housing dating into the 90′s. I do not not mean ‘deregulation’ of financial institutions, as that was merely to eliminate excuses from financial institutions for not complying with govt orders on lending. Elected officials tend to think of themselves as having the authority to manipulate the market, often for some grandiose ideological scheme. Crazy ideas that ALL people should be open to recieving loans regardless of their ability to pay it back (the French Fry guy at Mcdonalds getting a loan for a $100,000 mortgage). The meddling of govt into the market is where the problems lie.
Were lenders less than stellar in their practice? Sure. Were borrowers being irresponsible? Yep. Was govt riding the backs of financial institutions to begin making these loans and alluring them with security of bailouts and GSE’s buying up these loans? Yep.
The problem started with govt meddling. Elected officials do not KNOW what is best. They do not KNOW what is best for me.

kyle8 December 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm

What an annoying disposition for a person who has commandeered the name of a real conservative leader.

Lee Atwater December 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm

jumper cables!!!!

muirge0 December 16, 2011 at 2:46 am

Nope… bottom line is that this IS mostly all about wages.

When we see wages improving that is when you will know we are recovering. It will not happen if wages do not recover. Further wages will not recover without some major policy changes. Libertarians who claim nothing should be done by the government will be proved wrong as they are now. Government is in a star of constant gridlock and the problems are no where near being addressed.

Watching the Republican Presidential Nominee debates it was made clear just how clueless they are. Mostly they want to ban abortions and start a war in Iran. They are hopelessly completely ignorant and corporately owned.

Anyway if we live long enough I will be proved right. This will not improve with out a major policy change which hopefully will come democratically and not revolutionarily.

muirge0 December 16, 2011 at 3:15 am

From the Financial Times; ” If wages were at their postwar average share of 63 per cent, (instead of the current 58 per cent) workers would earn an extra $740bn this year, about $5,000 per worker, according to FT calculations.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/1bf8e7ba-2578-11e1-9cb0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1ggOmUf7E

Tor Munkov December 16, 2011 at 7:49 am

To you sir, I reply only: Seditionis Viget Donec Quisque Agitur.

On this -3rd anniversary of D. Boudreaux’s bestselling book: A Lesson to Learn From Muirgeo published on 12.16.2014. We should again revisit this Punters guide to effective false-dichotomy-spotting and fallacy-bashing with this excerpt.

“It has been shown that lessons for combating pseudoscience still remain to be learned from the Muirgeo controversy. In retrospect, Muirgeo is a pathological case wherein scientists (and other experts) easily perceive how wrong Muirgeo is, but are ineffective in setting forth a valid refutation that is convincing to informed readers.

Much of the early criticism, when not dogmatic rejection, was fallacious, erroneous, or irrelevant. Scientists attempted to confront Muirgeo, yet their analysis of his work Freemarkets Suck and other writings were themselves seriously flawed. Correcting the mistakes of critics is a necessary diversion when examining emerging ideas.

Many well-educated sympathizers understood that the Muirgeoans are wrong on certain issues; but, in the belief that there was some underlying truth to Muirgeoan scenarios, they take consolation from any core assertions and unrefuted articles that survive.

To be effective in public controversies, scientific critics must deal skillfully with the issues as they are perceived by the public. Failure to do so diminishes the credibility of the critics, gives consolation to supporters, and prolongs the controversy among informed observers.”

NYT December 16, 2011 at 4:02 am

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/opinion/gop-monetary-madness.html?_r=1
“Mr. Paul identifies himself as a believer in “Austrian” economics — a doctrine that it goes without saying rejects John Maynard Keynes but is almost equally vehement in rejecting the ideas of Milton Friedman. For Austrians see “fiat money,” money that is just printed without being backed by gold, as the root of all economic evil, which means that they fiercely oppose the kind of monetary expansion Friedman claimed could have prevented the Great Depression — and which was actually carried out by Ben Bernanke this time around.” – P Krugman

Tor Munkov December 16, 2011 at 6:53 am

Stiglitz is dead wrong of course.

I would argue periodic industrial collapse being a feature, not a bug.

There is no real culprit to great depressions, they are inherent to natures long term goals being achieved at the expense of human short term goals.
Same as there is no culprit to the void blackhole in the center of the Milky Way.

A laissez-faire-minded individual can find a lot of things that are great about the Great Depressions,

The hives of collectivists, unable to earn a living using their own minds, are permanently suspected once a great depression occurs.

The ancients referred to the poverty stricken by the honorific – philosopher. Diogenes, founder of the Stoic school, lived in an open tub in the agora.

Poverty is not fatal, but rather a vital impetus to human action.

While awake, we must blink. At all times we must respirate, we must metabolize, we must replenish countless bodily processes that default into impoverished conditions.
All matter revolves around great depressions. There are 2 new black holes being observed every week in our galactic neighborhood.
What defines a person is what they are lacking, not what they possess.
I welcome the growing world depression, may we further voluntarily combine and divide our efforts to reach the forecasted 10 billion population pinnacle arriving shortly.

Randy December 16, 2011 at 9:07 am

I like the way you think.

Westie December 17, 2011 at 4:41 am

Great line Tor; “Poverty is not fatal, but rather a vital impetus to human action”. Poverty of the mind and/or spirit is much, much more damaging than any lack of convenience.

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