Monday, October 13, 2008

Idiot of the Week

This week's prize is a collective one that naturally goes to the Nobel Prize Committee for awarding Paul Krugman the Nobel Prize for economics. This prize has been a long time coming due to their awarding the Nobel to Jimmy Carter, Yasir Arafat, and Al Gore. While Krugman in many ways pales in nefariousness to the senile anti-semite, the NMBLA lothario and the socialist bloviator, he does share a special place in socialist hell with them as the feckless court jester. He will be in good company with Ellsworth Toohey. 

Thank you for reading this blog. 


William said...


I realize you are not an Austrian economist, but thought you might like to take a look at this anyway, just to let you know you are not the only one who thinks Krugman deserves your "Idiot of the Week" award.


Jim Lagnese said...

I tend to be more on the side of John Lott, who is a free marketer in the style of Friedman. I recently read an article by a couple Austrian Economists and sent them an email, but I did not receive a reply. I believe they were professors at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute as well. I think anyone outside Keynesian economics is shaking their heads. The Nobel has become a reward to dilettantes as opposed to people that have been dedicating their lives to their work in a legitimate field.

Chris said...

Lott? Psh. Lott made up studies to back up his theories, and when pressed for proof claimed a bookshelf fell on his computer and he lost it. What really bothers me about Friedmanites is that they act as if he wrote the constitution. Just because "free markets" has the word "free" in it, doesn't mean it contributes to individual liberty. For God's sake, MILTON FRIEDMAN won a Nobel Prize for economics, doesn't that make him as crazy as that psycho Gore who wants to kill us all by warning us not to abuse the planet?

Jim Lagnese said...

At one time the Nobel meant something, particularly prior to the last ten years when politics started to mean more than science. While Friedman and his acolytes did not write the constitution, the people that did were for the most part free marketers by today's standards. You'll have to outline for me when and where the government gets involved and how I am better off in terms of liberty. As far as your accusations against John Lott, I will allow him the opportunity to respond if he wishes and if he does not, I do not find that to be a summary judgement.

John Lott said...

Dear Chris:

Made up theories? I did have a hard disk crash back in 1997, but David Mustard and I spent months to put the right-to-carry data back together and we have provided it to hundreds of researchers at over a hundred universities. A couple dozen research papers have since been published using our data and the vast majority have confirmed our conclusions.

By the way, the reason that David and I had to put the data back together even though copies had already been given to those who disagreed with our work was because they wouldn't give it back to us. Their refusal to give us back copies of that data forced David and I to spend a better part of six months putting it back together.

Chris said...

Well Mr.Lott, since you have blog yourself I look forward to reading the studies you have done that prove brandishing a gun is effective in stopping a crime.
And to Jim, simply claiming that the framers were Friedman-style free marketers doesn't make it true. In fact, Friedman style free market economics is fundamentally at odds with democratic government. An economic system that, at least in every case of historical implementation, only gives the wealthiest more and more of a nation's wealth, as an unfettered free market does, will ultimately be voted down by the poor and lower class as they increasingly become the majority.
It is the same thing that we see occurring today. There are calls from free market types against the "bail out" plan, because they want the free market to work itself out. The American people, on the other hand, overwhelmingly prefer action to ideology and are willing to see their government throw the tenants of free market capitalism aside in favor of protecting their jobs.

Jim Lagnese said...

It's funny how natural selection works in nature but not in economics or anything else to be controlled by man. If you look at communist countries where the government controls the economy, everyone except the exalted oligarchy eats manure sandwiches. Socialism raises the bar a bit, but at the price of freedoms, and the fact people end up working for the government up to 56% of the year. Not exactly what I want to do. What it comes down to is, who controls my time on this planet? Is it me, or the government? I have the belief that it is a natural right for man to have all the fruits of his labor and that taking my capital against my will is stealing, and since I have no choice, it is in a sense, indentured servitude from which I can never come out from under. So while you believe this or that system works or doesn't work, philosophically, I don't think the trade off is worth it with what you probably would propose, or either candidate. Lastly, I cannot speak for Dr. Lott, but brandishing a gun won't stop much, but using it properly will.

héctor said...

A)Neo-classical economics can't be matched with libertarianism or classical liberalism, nor can Keynesian economics. Economic models are UTILITARIAN models, that could and would end liberties if they saw it useful (as in increasing social surplus). In a utilitarian ethic, something is good because it's useful. On the other hand, Liberalism is a kantian theory, what is good is good, not because it is useful but because it is good by itself. In such philosophycal approach, Keynes and Friedman are closer to each other than to those Founding Fathers that supported the Bill of Rights.
B)Even neo-classical economics supports government intervention when the market fails. Most important market failures are (1)Information Assymetry, (2)Natural Monopoly –or Olygopoly, or imperfect competition–, (3)Externalities and (4)Public Good. Of course, almost no market at all is in perfect competition (few producers are price-acceptant and the price is equal to their Marginal Costs. Anyway, when such a market failure occurs, even Friedman would support government intervetion to ensure that the equilibrium is as in perfect competition. Most markets have imformation assymetries, specially financial markets.
Of course, if you can have it, free-market is WAY better than an intervened one. But it's not something that you will always be able to get. Sometimes, government has to mess around so the social costs are reduced or eliminated.

Jim Lagnese said...

I will admit that I am not an economist. My background is American History and Biology, and as far as work goes, I work in IT with networks. BTW, how do you like your Mac? Now, from my own utilititarian point of view, which is what is best for me, what is the best in my rational self-interest? I do not like Rousseau, and ascribe to a mix of Jeffersonian, Randian, some Kant, Paine and Locke philosophies. I've tried to mix in christianity, but it doesn't always work either. What does? Anyway, I believe in a society that is based on liberties and freedoms so as to not encroach on others freedoms and not to add unwanted obligations. Life should have willing participation, not compulsory participation, and that is the problem with socialism and utilitarianism (Bentham, the original utilitarian did not believe in natural rights). The collective's' interests are put above the individuals. At some point, individuals have to submit to some authority. My contention is that, while on this earth, so long as you live in a way that does not infringe on the nature rights of others, no submission should be necessary. It's not that I think I am better than anyone else, but rather I am not any worse too. Thanks for responding Hector, as usual.
PS, some day I should like to meet you.

Héctor said...

Have you read Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia? I think you'd like it very much, it presents a defense of the mimimal state to uphold individual's rights and liberties. it was written as a response to John Rawls' A Theory Of Justice (I don't think you'd like that one, but you sure ought to read it).
Anyway, I agree with what you've said. No individual should be forced to submit more rights and liberties than those absolutely necesary for his survival. That vaguely covers taxes for national defense and law enforcement. And then, you also pay taxes to get those public goods that are a natural monopoly in the hands of the state (public services, highways, etc.).
Anyway, the really interesting thing is what happens when individuals decide to be ruled by majorities (i. e. democracy) and a majority decides to expand taxes to protect and help a minorty (affirmative action, welfare, etc.)? That's the philosophycal debate that's been the center of Political Theory from Plato until now.
Anyway, I do believe that, at some point, the state should help it's citizens to get those basic needs that they are unable to get in a free market (health care, job opportunities, public services...).
Anyway, my point is that it all depends on how do you define security. If you take it to mean only protection from physical violent harm, then the state should have military and policemen, and that's it. If you take security to mean that the state must ensure everyone of it citizens a minimum standard of life, then you can have some kind of welfare state (not as radical as a nordic country, but not as inexistent as some would like the USA to be). However "security" is defined, one must be careful not to stretch the term as to allow genocide, torture, ignoration of habeas corpus, etc.
But, again, how shoud one decide where to stop? That's when liberals agree in protecting individual rights and liberties. Still, the dilemma remains: what rights? what liberties?.
Anyway, I'm now digressing (I think). Anyway, check out Nozick's book, you'll love it. And also check out Rawls', you won't love it, but it's a good non-socialist (but rather liberal, in the classical sense) defense of some kinds of welfare state.
Thanks, as usual, for answering.
PS: I LOVE my Mac... but one day, I'll get LINUX and be, at last, free ;o). I would also like to meet you. Maybe someday in the future, if I go to the US (hopefully as a graduate student).

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