Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The Cult Test
Questions 1 to 10
by A. Orange
• 1. The Guru is always right.
• 2. You are always wrong.
• 3. No Exit.
• 4. No Graduates.
• 5. Cult-speak.
• 6. Group-think, Suppression of Dissent, and Enforced Conformity in Thinking
• 7. Irrationality.
• 8. Suspension of disbelief.
• 9. Denigration of competing sects, cults, religions...
• 10. Personal attacks on critics.
• 11. Insistence that the cult is THE ONLY WAY.
• 12. The cult and its members are special.
• 13. Induction of guilt, and the use of guilt to manipulate cult members.
• 14. Unquestionable Dogma, Sacred Science, and Infallible Ideology.
• 15. Indoctrination of members.
• 16. Appeals to "holy" or "wise" authorities.
• 17. Instant Community.
• 18. Instant Intimacy.
• 19. Surrender To The Cult.
• 20. Giggly wonderfulness and starry-eyed faith.
• 21. Personal testimonies of earlier converts.
• 22. The cult is self-absorbed.
• 23. Dual Purposes, Hidden Agendas, and Ulterior Motives.
• 24. Aggressive Recruiting.
• 25. Deceptive Recruiting.
• 26. No Humor.
• 27. You Can't Tell The Truth.
• 28. Cloning — You become a clone of the cult leader or other elder cult members.
• 29. You must change your beliefs to conform to the group's beliefs.
• 30. The End Justifies The Means.
• 31. Dishonesty, Deceit, Denial, Falsification, and Rewriting History.
• 32. Different Levels of Truth.
• 33. Newcomers can't think right.
• 34. The Cult Implants Phobias.
• 35. The Cult is Money-Grubbing.
• 36. Confession Sessions.
• 37. A System of Punishments and Rewards.
• 38. An Impossible Superhuman Model of Perfection.
• 39. Mentoring.
• 40. Intrusiveness.
• 41. Disturbed Guru, Mentally Ill Leader.
• 42. Disturbed Members, Mentally Ill Followers.
• 43. Create a sense of powerlessness, covert fear, guilt, and dependency.
• 44. Dispensed existence
• 45. Ideology Over Experience, Observation, and Logic
• 46. Keep them unaware that there is an agenda to change them
• 47. Thought-Stopping Language. Thought-terminating clich├ęs and slogans.
• 48. Mystical Manipulation
• 49. The guru or the group demands ultra-loyalty and total committment.
• 50. Demands for Total Faith and Total Trust
• 51. Members Get No Respect. They Get Abused.
• 52. Inconsistency. Contradictory Messages
• 53. Hierarchical, Authoritarian Power Structure, and Social Castes
• 54. Front groups, masquerading recruiters, hidden promoters, and disguised propagandists
• 55. Belief equals truth
• 56. Use of double-binds
• 57. The cult leader is not held accountable for his actions.
• 58. Everybody else needs the guru to boss him around, but nobody bosses the guru around.
• 59. The guru criticizes everybody else, but nobody criticizes the guru.
• 60. Dispensed truth and social definition of reality
• 61. The Guru Is Extra-Special.
• 62. Flexible, shifting morality
• 63. Separatism
• 64. Inability to tolerate criticism
• 65. A Charismatic Leader
• 66. Calls to Obliterate Self
• 67. Don't Trust Your Own Mind.
• 68. Don't Feel Your Own Feelings.
• 69. The cult takes over the individual's decision-making process.
• 70. You Owe The Group.
• 71. We Have The Panacea.
• 72. Progressive Indoctrination and Progressive Commitments
• 73. Magical, Mystical, Unexplainable Workings
• 74. Trance-Inducing Practices
• 75. New Identity — Redefinition of Self — Revision of Personal History
• 76. Membership Rivalry
• 77. True Believers
• 78. Scapegoating and Excommunication
• 79. Promised Powers or Knowledge
• 80. It's a con. You don't get the promised goodies.
• 81. Hypocrisy
• 82. Denial of the truth. Reversal of reality. Rationalization and Denial.
• 83. Seeing Through Tinted Lenses
• 84. You can't make it without the cult.
• 85. Enemy-making and Devaluing the Outsider
• 86. The cult wants to own you.
• 87. Channelling or other occult, unchallengeable, sources of information.
• 88. They Make You Dependent On The Group.
• 89. Demands For Compliance With The Group
• 90. Newcomers Need Fixing.
• 91. Use of the Cognitive Dissonance Technique.
• 92. Grandiose existence. Bombastic, Grandiose Claims.
• 93. Black And White Thinking
• 94. The use of heavy-duty mind control and rapid conversion techniques.
• 95. Threats of bodily harm or death to someone who leaves the cult.
• 96. Threats of bodily harm or death to someone who criticizes the cult.
• 97. Appropriation of all of the members' worldly wealth.
• 98. Making cult members work long hours for free.
• 99. Total immersion and total isolation.
• 100. Mass suicide.

I was really hoping for number 100 but alas unlike most of the others I doubt that one fits unless there's a fatwa.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Elite Power

America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution
By Angelo M. Codevilla from the July 2010 - August 2010 issue


Saturday, July 24, 2010

National Key smoke

BrookeOnline (brookeonline) wrote,
@ 2009-04-13 19:40:00

National disgraces itself: what constitution?

National disgraces itself. What about its own constitution?

Surely a new leader would not tamper with the National Party’s provisions and principles, rooted in grassroots’ expectations that the parliamentary wing of the party expresses the wish of its own members who put them there - and is not there to override them? This scenario has apparently been re-written by its new leader, discarding what doesn't suit him. Although, according to the National Party's own organisation rules, it is the specially-elected list ranking committees whose job it is to rank the list candidates, what actually happened pre-election was in direct contradiction of the party rules.

When the list-ranking process began, the sitting MPs were all exempted from being judged by the party members. That meant that all sitting MPs, by virtue of being MPs, were spared from being evaluated, compared to new candidates, no matter how lacklustre their performance in the House and in their electorates. While all the non-MP candidates were obliged to travel around at considerable personal expense, and in turn, focus on a damaging competition against one another, rather than against Labour, they did so believing that the rules would be adhered to.

However, when it came to ranking the candidates in each region, not only were the sitting MPs excused from justifying themselves - they were pre-emptively promised inclusion into the top 50 list placings. In fact, before regional voting took place, an instruction was read out advising that the regional MPs should be ranked in the order already provided by the National Party leader - a requirement completely against the rules of the party which stipulate that all candidates, inclusive of sitting MPs, are to be treated equally. It is understood that only one regional chair had the gumption to refuse to read out this directive to abandon the rules.

Apparently it got worse. The practice is for each region, depending upon the number of electorates, to choose the appropriate number of members who become part of the national list-ranking committee. Those numbers are agreed to by the members of the board, the leader and deputy leader. According to the rules, they then debate the merits of each candidate and then place them accordingly. However, a deal had apparently been done with the Auckland and Central North Island delegates with regard to the placing of the top 50 candidates to achieve not a democratic outcome but the “right” ethnic, gender and background mixture - which included placing the now Minister Stephen Joyce, doubling as campaign chair, into place number 16 - in what some might regard as a conflict of interest.

The beneficiaries of this list strategy were the Auckland contingent which was well-placed over all, followed by Central North Island. Both Wellington and Christchurch were the big losers. The result was a list largely owing its loyalty not to the National Party and the membership but, rather, surrounding John Key with those who owe him instead. None of this was seemingly achieved within party rules, which don't seem to have been even an inconvenience. One assessment is that the worst aspect of all is how the party president, the board and the list ranking committee just let it happen. Nobody seems to have stood up to defend the party's own rules, and by corollary, the party membership, for whom the rules are meant to be in place to protect their interests.

In effect, the list ranking process was utterly hijacked - with candidates told that leader John Key, reportedly strongly supported by deputy leader Bill English, was insisting on control over the first 50 rankings. The list ranking committee, in caving in, in essence then showed an equal disregard for the National Party constitution. What became obvious was that individuals were not being sought on the basis of their capabilities. Rather, the choice was to be along the politically correct lines of more women, and more from particular ethnic backgrounds - including one candidate who made a generous personal donation to the party; more youth: no-one, one suspects, who might challenge the particular philosophy or worldview of the present leadership. Even a very short time of involvement as a party member was no barrier to being selected against an equally, if not more capable candidate who’d worked a long time for the party.

Noteworthy was the fact that those electorates who were unable to select their own candidate (due to lack of membership) mostly did well in the list rankings. In other words, people who had the least involvement were the most highly rewarded. It was almost as if the leadership did not trust their own people, their own membership. And, most notably, leader John Key protected his MPs by exempting them from list scrutiny in direct contradiction to his own nomination and candidacy where he pitted himself against a sitting MP. There is a rich irony in Key himself having used these rules to his advantage to challenge and displace sitting member Brian Neeson, MP, to get into parliament - but then choosing to flout this party principle in order to shield his “loyal” parliamentary colleagues from the scrutiny of the wider party membership - once he became leader.

The result was highly intelligent. capable, hard-working candidates placed well below any hope of being elected - perhaps with their individual strengths seen as a handicap to a party whose leader is increasingly showing autocratic tendencies. Those who were regarded as more obedient and controllable, rather than those who represent a set of values no longer in vogue among the party hierarchy (and who might challenge its abandonment of its pledges to the country at large) seem to have won the day. Party president Judy Kirk also openly stated the party “was putting its money where its mouth was, by ensuring these candidates get into parliament.” However National is supposed to be a party of individual achievement and initiative. It talks of merit - yet panders to the ideology of so-called diversity and ethnic divisiveness. Its talk of change was never really questioned as it should have been - change to what? It is pertinent to ask how a corruption of values can lead to change worth having.

Having learned that the present Prime Minister apparently overrode the rules - as he wanted control over the top 50 selections - must have been extremely dispiriting for good candidates beginning to discover what was going on behind the scenes. Equally concerning is that they were told by party headquarters what they might or might not say in relation to the issues of the day; that their speeches were vetted; that they were expected to parrot poorly written handouts; and to pass everything they wished to say back to party headquarters to get it vetted. Candidates were also told that in terms of campaigning their hands were tied as to what collateral they were “allowed” and what type of hoardings they were permitted to use - i.e. once again, it was a question of the party versus the electorate. Furthermore, enormous constraints on personal publicity were imposed by head office stifling the opportunity for capable candidates to take advantage of issues.

In an August Morning Report item about the National Party list rankings, someone in the hierarchy said that the party was hopeful of getting as many as 60 into Parliament. How it expected those candidates who had been listed below 60 to be motivated was not explained. In effect, National Party headquarters was making it clear that they didn't want them. Moreover, the help and membership material that should have been provided for all candidates was apparently deliberately withheld from at least one candidate democratically chosen by the electorate membership - in an electorate which National would prefer one of their least performing, but oh-so-loyal MPs to hold in future.

How many New Zealanders at large know that party candidates were treated not as independent, intelligent adults able to argue for themselves on the issues of the day according to the party philosophy, but as simple or simpleminded yes-men and women expected to do as they were told? So much for democracy. It can be summed up that, unbeknownst to the public, their choice of government was between the corrupt and corrosive socialism of Labour - and the arguably also corrupt manipulations of a National Party hierarchy intent on getting its own way, not with the help, but disregarding the role, of its own membership.

It is not unreasonable to invoke this concept when not only were established constitutional party procedures simply overwritten, but when this in turn forced the next rung down of power to buckle under the pressure to look the other way - justified, presumably, for the sake of power at all costs. It may be little wonder that Prime Minister Key describes himself as a pragmatist, which he has well and truly recently demonstrated in what many of the public regard as his astonishing enthusiasm for the former leaders of the Labour Party. But it raises the question, too, of whether the National Party hierarchy shows as little respect for the electorate as did Labour itself.

Catch-22 as far the country is concerned, is that we may well have exchanged one self-willed autocratic Prime Minister for another. A democratic government is one which operates with the consent of the people. Prime Minister Key is rapidly establishing himself as prepared to operate against the will of the people - as, for example - with his high-handed refusal to take on board the fact that over 80% of the country rejected the Bradford-Clark arrogance of regarding their personal views on child raising - in their anti-smacking diktats - as superior to those of good conservative parents. Key’s stated intention to ignore majority opinion on this issue does not augur well for the politics of consensus.

National Party leaders have not traditionally been inclined to comment constantly on decisions individuals make, which are basically none of their business - as with the Prime Minister's intrusive comments in relation to the car hire firm owner who wanted to reclaim the towing costs for retrieving his firm’s car from the Tasman Glacier, after the tragedy which cost two young men in their lives. It was a very sad business, but the owner’s comment was fair - that by doing what they were asked not to do, and ignoring warnings - to some extent this tragedy was at least part of the individuals’ own making - they cost everybody involved. While the media worked themselves up to a near-hysterical self-righteous indictment of his position - and acknowledging it an appalling and tragic loss for the parents concerned - there was still no reason for the car hire owner to be expected to carry the costs for an accident he wasn't involved in. If John Key felt so strongly about this, then he could himself have paid the costs incurred - he was probably personally much better able to afford it than the business owner - times are very tough for small businesses. But why did he feel called upon to make an inappropriate pronouncement at all?

The government-announced review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act also produced a collective groan from the country and has raised questions about the prices National is paying for its too-generous involvement with the electorally-unpopular Maori Party, particularly insofar as this noose could have been avoided, with National and ACT having the numbers to govern on their own. Key’s relationship with Fiji coup leader Voreque Bainimarama seems also to have been guided by previous Prime Minister Helen Clark’s particular animosity to Bainimarama, which entailed aggressive, rather than constructive policy decisions - a singularly unproductive approach, particularly given China's attempts to gain influence and a strategic position among our Pacific neighbours - and given her lack of any real commitment to target far more grievous human rights issues among other countries with whom New Zealand maintains trading relationships.

The question of consensus politics too, has been absent in the Prime Minister's decision to reinstate knighthoods, although the country has long been uncomfortable with the awarding of these to the richly undeserving. The concept of special recognition for individuals exhibiting extraordinary courage, or demonstrating particular worth, has long been exchanged for political cronyism, backscratching, and favours bestowed. Few would begrudge recognition for the former. But when wealthy businessmen, retired judges and politicians expect these as of right - heaven forbid that we should surmise for a moment that a Sir John Key is envisaged down the line - then the public has had enough of the whole dubious system. They are an anachronism in a democracy - as has long been recognised in America. Feedback that the one well-supported piece of legislation that Labour passed was to get rid of the corrupted practice of bestowing knighthoods does not augur well for National. The solution for those who believe in equal status in a democracy is simple - to simply ignore the title and to interact with every individual on an equal footing. Consent withheld is consent not given.

In his inaugural speech Prime Minister John Key invoked the need for a renewal of individual freedom and responsibility. “My government” (not our government) “will be guided by the principle of individual freedom and belief (sic) in the capacity and right of individuals to shape and improve their own lives. It will not seek to involve itself in decisions that are best made by New Zealanders within their own homes in their own communities. The new government's vision is not to dictate the way in which New Zealanders should live their lives” However, his government is not off to a good start when actions of the Prime Minister can already be seen to demonstrably contradict these principles.

As Spectator commentator Bryan Forbes reminds us - "as much as the threat of terrorism, we should all fear the collapse of morality in public life.” This includes the collapse of political morality and policies of principle in favour of the politics of pragmatism - of vote-buying, of autocratic leadership in a style of which we have already had far too much in this country.

Forbes reminds us of the erosion of what we could once justly boast was our determination to preserve individual freedom - threatened now not only by the creeping intrusion of political correctness and Green bullying, but by a kind of collective inertia. Our inability now to elect leaders who have knowledge of and respect for the politics of principle over those of pragmatism - and who are pledged to govern with the consent, rather then in spite of the lack of consent of the electorate, does not augur well for the for the future of the country. Any Prime Minister who begins to run the country like his or her private fiefdom, making decisions no one has asked for, arguably belongs in some other political system - one foreign to a democracy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stimulus = Deficits Green shoots?

So what happened to all those ‘green shoots,’ fellers? [update 3]
The recovery has stalled.

Obvious enough to anyone actually on the ground trying to do business, this news would be a surprise only to a mainstream economist, or to anyone who listens to one. Like NZIER’s Principal Economist Shamubeel Eaqub, for example, who is surprised to have to announce that, “The recovery may be stalling. The outlook is still fragile.”

No kidding.

But just imagine how all the mainstream economists must feel. Every economy in the world followed their advice and threw trillions of stimulus dollars against the wall, hoping that some of it would stick--and the result worldwide may be summarised in NZIER’s assessment of NZ’s last quarter: “The recovery may be stalling. The outlook is still fragile.”

So why are the mainstreamers (and those who take their advice) so surprised? Because, according to their lights, throwing out all those trillions to “increase aggregate demand” must have had some effect. And of course, they’re right, it did. It lit up some fireworks for a while, but at the cost of delaying any real recovery.

“The problems are not over [summarises Jim Rogers]. If you pump lots of money into an economy, it looks better but essentially it’s artificial. We are going to see more problems in the US over the next year or two.”

Nobel Prize winner and stimulus loon Paul Krugman reckons however that the problem is not too much stimulus, but too little. If we’re going to raise world demand properly, says this modern reincarnation of the Great Idiot Keynes, then Obama and The Fed (and, by extension, everyone else in the G-20 and beyond) needs to be thinking—not about austerity packages—but in terms of trillions of dollars more stimulus. If we’re going to successfully “raise demand,” then the world’s governments needs higher deficits, he says, not lower.

That he says this in the face of the near bankruptcy of several European governments for running the very deficits he applauds should tell you one thing about his favourite nostrum: that it’s really the height of irresponsibility.

But what it won’t tell you is why he wants governments to be so irresponsible.

The answer to that, however, is very simple. At least, I’ll try to make it simple. The reason he wants to boost government spending is because he thinks that will boost demand; and by boosting demand he thinks we can all boost GDP. It’s a simple idea, but it’s wrong as hell. (“If you pump lots of money into an economy, it looks better but essentially it’s artificial.”)

Let me explain why.

Imagine a very simplified economy consisting of only you and your one-hundred closest friends. An economy based on beer. (I told you it would be simple.) Twenty of you grow the hops and barley. The next twenty brew it into beer. The next twenty package it and sell it. The next twenty are your partners, who like to stay home and drink. And the next twenty work for the government, and they like to use their parliamentary credit cards to buy your beer out of the mini-bar.

So there’s your basic economy. 80 people devoted to making and drinking beer, and 20 devoted to getting the hell in their way. (Oh, did I mention that the first sixty get the pleasure of paying the credit card bill for the annoying bastards consuming the mini-bar?)

Now in the way of conventional economics, the formula for GDP has been cunningly contrived to measure only what the drinkers do, and not what the other sixty get up to. Here’s the formula for GDP (which has here been given the title of ‘Baloney.’)

C is Consumption, i.e., all the drinking done by all your twenty drinking partners.

G is Government, i.e., all the drinking done by all the twenty grey ones from the mini-bar.

And I … now that’s “Investment.” And that’s a bit trickier, because it’s not total investment but only nett investment. Essentially this figure measures the difference between the six-packs of beer we sixty producers pay out to get things done, and the six-packs of beer we get back when we do things for others. So (to oversimplify a great deal) if our profit is ten percent, then only the work of six of us are measured in the GDP/Baloney figure.

If that sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is—yet that’s how ridiculous the GDP delusion is. It doesn’t measure production, it measures consumption. Rather than measure economic activity, what it does is bury the bulk of economic activity (i.e., the production of those other fifty-five folk) under this contrived figure of I, and then it contrives to ignore all fifty-five. (As a measure of just how much it ignores, US GDP in 2006 was $13.4 trillion, whereas total business spending was $31 trillion, meaning businesses were spending $4.30 for every $1 spent on personal consumption. Policy-makers take note.)

It’s by this utterly contrived means then that alleged economists like Mr Krugman can talk about “raising GDP” through the “stimulus” of shopping subsidies (or as his mentor Keynes did, by the “stimulus” of building pyramids)—it’s because all that GDP really measures is what gets spent in the shops, and not hardly at all what goes on in the mines, factories and warehouses that makes all that spending possible.

And it’s the homage paid to this ridiculous economic equation that allows him to get away with it, and is so economically destructive--as you’ll see when we take another look at our simplified economy in recovery mode.

Let’s imagine our simplified consumers have all just had a party. A big blow-out. A boom. And now it’s the morning after. (What a bust.) There’s still hops a’pickin’ and still beer a-brewin’ in the vats, but your packaging and production cycle has got a bit out of whack, and the livers of your drinking partners are all feeling a bit tender. Demand has gone down (and they’re starting to beg for the invention of some basic pain-killers), but in a short time production will be back on track and things ticking along again.

Then along comes Mr Krugman, and all he sees is calamity! “Look!” he cries. “Your “C” is way down. And your GDP/Baloney/Spending figure is flat! We’ve got to boost demand!” And of course, he’s right. It is. But it wouldn’t be right simply to print drinking vouchers so the twenty parliamentarians can raise “G” at the mini-bar, while ignoring the sixty producers who were trying to get things back on track, and whose production would have to pay for it (but whose total production has been “netted out,” i.e., minimised, in that figure for “I”.

Because their spending has to be paid for. That demand must come from production. And if you start “stimulating” the economy simply by overstocking the mini-bar, without ever getting anything back for it, then you’ll wake up one day soon and find you’ve got no more six-packs set aside to pay for more hops and more barley. Which means no more beer at all.

And just because that bogus GDP equation allows alleged economists like Paul Krugman to ignore that, it doesn’t mean that you should.

Because as the great economist Ludwig Von Mises used to say, it’s not just the next generation who pays for deficits, it’s this one. And the way we pay is by having our resources diverted today from all the good productive activity that the GDP equation ignores, into all the unproductive consumption that it picks up.

Which helps explain why the Paul Krugmans of this world (and their sophistic, simplistic equations) have helped make the recovery less likely, rather than more.

So to end this wee post, here’s economist Bob Murphy’s tribute to his favourite Keynesian moron, Paul Krugman (sung very badly to the tune of The Buckinghams’s Susan).

UPDATE 1: More good, related reading at The Cobden Centre: “Short sharp shock –'the Irish Route' or Keynesian Malaise?”

UPDATE 2: I’ve rewritten an old Q&A (from January ‘09) to help explain the point:

Stimulus: Because all economies have performance issues

Q: What is the point of running deficits?
A: Because it’s demand that drives an economy, and we have to keep demand up to keep the economy going. So when consumer demand drops, the government has to pick up the slack. That’s it’s job.

Q: By borrowing?
A: By borrowing, by printing money, by any way you can do it.

Q: But aren’t most business-to-business payments paid for out of real savings, not faked up demand?
A: Well, yes…but we can try to fool them for a while.

Q: For how long?
A: Long enough. Another three years if we need to.

Q: Until we turn into Greece?
A: Um…

Q: So does borrowing or printing money bring any new resources into existence?
A: Well, no. In the first case it transfers existing resources, and in the second it just dilutes existing savings. But it does create new demand.

Q: But doesn’t your demand have to be paid for with real resources?
A: Well …

Q: So what you’re relying on is using your new bits of paper to redistribute existing resources in ways the original owners wouldn’t have otherwise agreed to.
A: They need to spend!!

Q: And at the same time you’re denuding the existing pool of real savings.
A: They need to stop saving and start spending!! We need to run deficits to make up for the money that savers have withdrawn from the economy by their hoarding.

Q: But how can you say savings are being hoarded when most business-to-business payments are paid for out of real savings?
A: Well…

Q: How is running deficits going to rebuild that shattered pool of real savings?
A: Um…

Q. Okay, let’s move on. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money the government distributes to some taxpayers to boost demand, and stimulate economic activity.

Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a High definition TV set or a new computer, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Um.

Q: Well, how on earth does it stimulate the one whose taxpayers are paying to be stimulated?
A: It's all about the "multiplier."

Q: The "multiplier"?
A: Yes, the "multiplier." Every dollar the government "injects" into the economy creates an even larger increase in national output -- a multiple up to one-and-a-half times the original spend-up. The money the government is giving away goes to retailers, which then goes to producers, which then goes to other producers and so on. The net result of the spend-up, as the theory goes, will be new jobs and an overall increase in the nation's income.

Q: So the government is giving me back a smidgen of my own money, and this smidgen is multiplied several times to create a "stimulus?
A. You've got it.

Q: And it keeps prices up?
A: We hope so.

Q: But don't the prices that producers pay need to fall in a recession to get real production going again?
A: Well, yes.

Q: And it's not even backed by real demand, is it?
A: Well, no.

Q: So how long can such an artificial stimulus last, then?
A: Um, the theory is that it's only temporary at best.

Q: But you’ve been advocating running deficits and printing shopping subsidies to fix the economy now for nearly three years!
A: They haven’t been over-spending enough!!

Q: Well, what sort of stimulus would it have created if you hadn’t taken it off me, abd I'd been able to keep that money myself, and either spend it or save it?
A: Well . . .

Q: Or if producers had been able to keep their own money?
A: Um . . .

Q: So it would be fair to argue that "not only does the increase in government outlays not raise overall output by a positive multiple; but, on the contrary, [it actually] leads to the weakening in the process of wealth generation in general.”
A: But . . .

Q: And this is the whole theory? This is all you economists can come up with?
A: Well, that's about it, yes.

Q: So it's a bit like when "a carnival magician produces a quarter from behind a child's ear," isn't it. "The 'magic' of the multiplier is mere illusion."
A: Hush your mouth. People are listening.

Q: No answer?
A: Sorry, we're a bit busy right now shovelling money out the door.

* * * * Stimulus: Because all economies have performance issues * * * *

UPDATE 3: Economic historian Niall Ferguson talks “austerity” vs “stimulus” (and Paul Krugman)—making an important point about what so-called austerity really has to mean…

Labels: Economics, GDP Delusion, John Maynard Keynes, Paul Krugman, Stimulus