A Conversation Between Econophile and Martin Wolf

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JR's picture

Wolf may be “fascinated that so many Americans believe global history started in 1941 (with the second world war),” but I am fascinated that Wolf thinks “the Great Depression, which, of course, began in the US led directly to Hitler's arrival in power.”

Hitler’s rise to power began at Versailles.

To give British economist John Maynard Keynes credit where credit is due, it was he who stormed out of the Versailles Peace talks in the spring of 1918, disgusted by the extent to which Western nations sought to milk a vanquished Germany to pay for their own distress at the end of the First World War, impoverishing the German people and setting the stage for World War II. 

Keynes recognized that the bill ultimately would be paid, even if the due date were pushed far down the road.

Ironic, isn’t it that Wolf puzzles over why the Germans now don’t want their tax money used to encourage the sort of reckless fiscal behavior – reckless lending, careless borrowing and over-consumption – that precipitated this financial crisis.

Perhaps the Germans have a memory.  Perhaps they remember how the Allied Powers scorned their principles of sound government and destroyed the German economy with the Treaty of Versailles, September 10, 1919, under the dominating thumb of President Woodrow Wilson.

Compare what happened to Germany with the “chains of Versailles”* with what’s happening now in the United States of America.  In Germany, our leaders:

Deprived the German people of territory, including vital mineral areas

Deprived her of her merchant fleet

Saddled her with impossible payments in reparations

Gave the new Czechoslovak state 3.5 million people of German ancestry and speech.

Reduced the mark’s purchasing power to zero bringing on the German economic crash of 1923.

Samuel B. Pettengill wrote in Reader’s Digest, October 1951, that a widow’s receipts in 1923 from her husband’s life insurance were “just enough to buy a meal.”  Drew Pearson on March 22, 1951, said that a cup of coffee “cost one million marks one day, a million and a half the next and two million the day following.”

And so were sewn the seeds for WWII.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said later to his Secretary of State James F. Byrnes that the German survivors of WWII “for a long time should have only soup for breakfast, soup for lunch and soup for dinner (p. 182 of Byrnes’s book,  Speaking Frankly 1947).

Germany’s final crowning blow came after WWII when her conquerors dismantled her industrial plants, and actually trucked out the machinery to re-assemble the plants on Soviet communist soil.

Today, America’s ruling billionaire plutocracy is maneuvering the following:

Displacing America’s blue-collar workers with lower-pay illegal immigrants to profit international corporations, and substituting her professional workers with cheaper H-1b’s and L1 visa workers

Relocating her manufacturing base on Third World soil

Saddling her mid-to-upper middle classes with the sustenance payments of housing, schooling and providing health care for the corporatists’ new low-pay work force

Devaluing the currency earned and saved by the American people as the store of value from their labors

Providing offshore tax havens for the plutocracy to avoid taxes

Replacing representative government with corporatist-lobby government.

To top it all off, the plutocracy maneuvered mortgage lending to make trillions in money off subprime loans to people who couldn’t pay and/or on houses that allegedly didn’t exist and, then, in a blind canyon, threw up their hands and said the taxpayers would have to pay.

The investment banker plutocracy not only bankrupted Germany and now Greece, but it is now in the process of bankrupting America.

*   http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Versailles

Win, lose or draw, Econophile?  You won. Hands down.

Anonymous's picture

Why are journalists so arrogant? Wolf seems to be really full of himself.

It's not like he's a $1M per year hedge fund manager or a Fed governor. He's just a guy who writes well.

Anonymous's picture

This is an interesting exchange that says a lot about europe. If you talk to these people, particularly Germans they have a very strange view of history. They think they're not racist but the Americans are and they'll actually claim the US started ww2. The British can be almost as bad. Plus, they think Americans are all idiots, so they won't even bother explaining. It's like they fixed the global warming statistics. I'll be glad once their union collapses and their economy turns to shit. There's no doubt that Europe is done as to having any type of world influence. The worst thing is they have lots of influence in our university system, which loves people with foreign accents. The US has some good points and I'm not convinced we can't compete with the Chinese, but if we listen to the Europeans forget it. The asian countries pick up some of this eurologic too. Indians in particular tend to follow British thinking towards America. The Chinese use German logic to justify snuffing out various groups. Gosh, I'm actually thinking of quitting Christianity here cause europe is such a shit hole.

Anonymous's picture

"The UK went off gold because the US had trashed the gold-standard system."

In the words of Rahn Emanuel, that's F'n retarded.

The UK went off gold because they were broke-the nasty effect of imperialism.

In the 1920's they devalued the Sterling, which caused a bubble in the US stock market. Bubble burst and they were broke again.

They tried taking a bunch of money from Germany (because they were broke!!!), but then the Germans decided they wanted to kill them.

France did the same. The US was their ally, but I don't think we share equal responsibility, much less the blame.

Did anyone else notice how Wolfe is too busy to actually defend any of his ideas? What does he do except write about his ideas? Cowardly.

JR's picture

Martin Wolf is just a cleaned-up Randi Rhodes—they both rationalize squandering.

If the Keynesians are right, and we’re to spend, spend, spend, and Hazlitt is wrong and there’s no virtue in savings either for individuals or nations, then why is it that the U.S. government is having to take away savers’ money with negative interest rates to give it in the form of down-payment money to wannabe homeowners and car owners? Have they no savings of their own?

Henry Hazlitt explains that in the modern world, savings is only another form of spending. Hazlitt shows that a saving policy is both “in the best interests of the individual as well as in the best interests of the nation,” that a cheap-money policy is not. 

The true unadulterated fact is that if you don’t have money you can’t buy and if you don’t save then you don’t have money.  Thus your savings and taxes and devalued wages are being used by the Keynesians to provide the spending for the ever increasing appetite of their lending institutions—cash for clunkers, tax credits for first-time home buyers and home buyers who just wanna move on up, bailout for bankers, high pay for government employees, "free" healthcare and child credits for illegals...

Says Hazlitt: Keeping interest rates artificially low creates economic distortions.  “It tends to encourage highly speculative ventures that cannot continue except under the artificial conditions that gave them birth.  It discourages normal thrift, saving, and investment… It is obviously a process of cumulative danger.”  The truth is if the world does not save and add to its stock of capital, it cannot buy anything, Greece or no.

Progressive talk show hostess Randi Rhodes, alias Jewish Randi Buten who supported Obama over Hilliary Clinton and is best known while temporarily off-the-radio for her off-color characterization of Hilliary, explains economics in terms that everyone can understand: that’s one of the reasons she’s so popular with the lefties.  Yesterday’s program was all about how to fix unemployment, and tough-talking Randi first pointed out how the first stimulus was saving jobs—teachers were teaching, firemen were on the job, police were policing and all the rest, because Obama got in there with the money to save their jobs. 

What can be done now?  Why more money!  Says Randi: “Let’s give them all of it in order to get people back to work.”

Martin Wolf says it much, much better and uses far more complicated and interesting intrigue.   But the bottom line is the same:  It is paying people to work and consume, not paying for work. 

So if Greece is spending beyond its means, Martin and Randi and the Keynesians have the solution.  Guess what?  More money! Germany's money!  By the way, that “spending beyond your means” policy is just an under-the-table means to meet the means of...Guess who?…the international investment bankers.

Wondering's picture

I also think that the right response to Wolf's hypothesis about the US and the rise of Hitler was to ask him about the rise of the Junkers and their banks and their higher risk (taking stock as collateral for example, etc) banking practices (a la China's banks) behind the rise of the great German industrial giants from 1848 and why therefore the Treaty of Versailles was the revenge of the Bank of England on the Junker banks. Fascism as practiced under Bismarck was the target of the BOE and the Treaty and it paradoxically made a populist blend of Facism more likely a decade and a half later

Wondering's picture

Walked away very unimpressed by Wolf.

Silly, graceless and pompous. Thought the same of his last show off effort reprinted here a few days ago

Anonymous's picture

Econophile - I am disheartened with your rude and ill informed responses to Mr. Wolf, as they only serve to confirm the widely held belief that Americans and bloggers are intellectual pigmies. Martin Wolf writes the most highly researched articles at the FT is the only economist at the paper who will even speak to members of the 'REAL ECONOMY', much less acknowledge that it even exists. He is 100% right on Wall Street's destroying Europe in the 30's and on his view of mercantalists' use of debt servitude. You ought to examine your craving for debasement of world living standards that you worship at the altar of fiat debt enslavement as the U.S. and Europe are being 'IMF'ed' like an African colony.

dumpster's picture

hog wash  ,, a wolfs in sheeps clothing .. thanks for feeding us with food laced with poison ,, bow scrap..

give the guy the back of your hand these keynesians have done much to destroy the lives of people and bring poverty wars and suffering ,

 

 Silly , silly,, when do we tell it like it is .

 

the world is coming apart because of wolfs policys and his ilk now just pile it on. madness

definition

 of insanity .. doing the same things over and over again expectiong to get different results

Anonymous's picture

some questions you might want to throw at martin:

why does germany have a current account surplus? is it really because of "mercantilism"? has the german government been intentionally financing piigs borrowing, like china finances the u.s. treasury? or is it cultural ("protestant" savings habit)? or perhaps it is just because germany has a low rate of home ownership, so that (unlike piigs) it didn't experience a housing bubble and resulting debt-financed consumption boom?

is it true that higher inflation in piigs reflects a loss of competitiveness? what about the samuelson-balassa effect? what about the currency risk premium, which made the piigs currencies fundamentally undervalued versus d-mark when exchange rates were locked in 1999? when you disaggregate the inflation data, where has the higher piigs inflation actually be coming from? the price of haircuts maybe?

do current account imbalances drive the capital account or vice versa? is it really surprising that when households in the piigs suddenly got access to loads of cheap credit overnight for the first time in their living history, they went on a borrowing binge? maybe the value of "protestant" work and savings ethics is something that can only be learned the hard way, a lesson that can only be learned once the opportunity to overborrow and overconsume has actually presented itself? is the loss of piigs overconsumption really such a bad thing (albeit that the transition is of course painful)? perhaps germans just need to work less, produce less, earn less, and enjoy their leisure time a bit more?

does it make sense to talk about e.g. the "spanish" economy when total trade > 50% of gdp? how can the price of tradable goods in spain be any different than in germany (allowing for vat)? how is it possible for spanish labour in the tradable sector to become "uncompetitive" in the first place? are spanish trade unions really that powerful? if spain is experiencing a dreaded "asymmetric shock", doesn't that mean it will by definition be considerably offset by export demand from the rest of the eurozone? if not (i.e. if demand in the rest of the eurozone is also lacklustre), doesn't that mean that the shock is not "assymetric" and therefore the ecb will (eventually) need to cut rates for the whole eurozone?

bena gyerek

Anonymous's picture

some questions you might want to throw at martin:

why does germany have a current account surplus? is it really because of "mercantilism"? has the german government been intentionally financing piigs borrowing, like china finances the u.s. treasury? or is it cultural ("protestant" savings habit)? or perhaps it is just because germany has a low rate of home ownership, so that (unlike piigs) it didn't experience a housing bubble and resulting debt-financed consumption boom?

is it true that higher inflation in piigs reflects a loss of competitiveness? what about the samuelson-balassa effect? what about the currency risk premium, which made the piigs currencies fundamentally undervalued versus d-mark when exchange rates were locked in 1999? when you disaggregate the inflation data, where has the higher piigs inflation actually be coming from? the price of haircuts maybe?

do current account imbalances drive the capital account or vice versa? is it really surprising that when households in the piigs suddenly got access to loads of cheap credit overnight for the first time in their living history, they went on a borrowing binge? maybe the value of "protestant" work and savings ethics is something that can only be learned the hard way, a lesson that can only be learned once the opportunity to overborrow and overconsume has actually presented itself? is the loss of piigs overconsumption really such a bad thing (albeit that the transition is of course painful)? perhaps germans just need to work less, produce less, earn less, and enjoy their leisure time a bit more?

does it make sense to talk about e.g. the "spanish" economy when total trade > 50% of gdp? how can the price of tradable goods in spain be any different than in germany (allowing for vat)? how is it possible for spanish labour in the tradable sector to become "uncompetitive" in the first place? are spanish trade unions really that powerful? if spain is experiencing a dreaded "asymmetric shock", doesn't that mean it will by definition be considerably offset by export demand from the rest of the eurozone? if not (i.e. if demand in the rest of the eurozone is also lacklustre), doesn't that mean that the shock is not "assymetric" and therefore the ecb will (eventually) need to cut rates for the whole eurozone?

Madcow's picture

Great conversation.Thanks.

One thing i think is being under-estimated - There are a lot of people who are hoping that a wave of inflation can wash away their sins and their finger-prints.  Over time, deflationary contraction will expose more and more fraud and abuse within the banking system, regulatory system, ratings agencies, government agencies, corporations, etc. etc. 

 

No one wants to go to jail or be tried for high treason. 

 

WaterWings's picture

Or have their wages garnished for defaulting on credit cards used to buy gold and ammo.

Anonymous's picture

Let's not forget about England and Frances insistence on ludicrous reparations payments from Germany following WWI. That and other humiliating demilitarization and land transfer terms were the crux of Hitler's rise to power.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Econophiile: Sense and logic?

Martin Worlf: No.  Strawman.

Econ:  Strawman?

Wolf:  Strawman.  And lies.

Econ:  That is BS!  Let me tell you something with ernest....

Wolf:  Hitler, Great Depression, fear and more fear, strawman.

Econ:  I will politely end this conversation.

Wolf:  You are such an interesting phenomenon.  You would make a very promising sacrifice for the Bavarian Illuminati.  Have you ever considered a few years of stardom in exchange for your soul?  Also, economics is a science and philosophy is not.  Science is above philosophy because philosophy does not prove anything, and science proves that he who has the gold....

Econ:  Whatever you say, oh magical alchemist.

Wolf:  When I was young I used to question my sexuality, now I am comfortable with it.  Would you like to join me over mint julips?

Econ: I’ll respond eventually when I have more time. But you have the last word.

Econophile

WaterWings's picture

LOL

That last bit is true to Keynesian form:

Keynes obsessively counted and tabulated almost everything; it was a life-long habit. As a child, he counted the number of front steps of every house on his street. Later he kept a running record (not surprisingly) of his expenses and his golf scores. He also counted and tabulated his sex life.


The first diary is easy: Keynes lists his sexual partners, either by their initials (GLS for Lytton Strachey, DG for Duncan Grant) or their nicknames ("Tressider," for J. T. Sheppard, the King's College Provost). When he apparently had a quick, anonymous hook-up, he listed that sex partner generically: "16-year-old under Etna" and "Lift boy of Vauxhall" in 1911, for instance, and "Jew boy," in 1912.

 

http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/node/824

Anonymous's picture

Wolfe is a Keynesian thus by default a liberal. A famous man once said 'If you are young and not a liberal you have no heart, if you are old and not a conserative you have no brains' (paraphrase).
My outlook is that if you are a liberal of any age you by default are freakin nuts, it just keeps getting worse as you get older. And to WaterWings, you would do much better to vote for Coulter or Palin. They are both more intellegent than Obama and put country first (not to mention conserative so therefore completey sane).
So, while I must give Econophile much credit, Wolfe is nuts and so can't be reasoned with. Even when everything comes crashing down because of massive spending while the world suffers debt saturation, liberals will never admit any wrong doing. Again, crazy people have no concept of reason.

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

Heh.  For amusement, go out on dating site match.com some time and conduct a keyword search to see a listing of those who describe themselves as 'intellegent'...

WaterWings's picture

Make sure it is spelled incorrectly, with variations, to find the good stuff.

"entellijent"

dumpster's picture

a lot of great books

 

rhese keynesian gaints want  no new books

the walls are lined with books ,, we crash and burn while we read books . lol

 

capitalism by Reisman is a very comprehensive look at the problems..

 

books are written for the cheerleading section, to admire one self in the mirror , or to earn a great gold star on the fore head for tenure .. (and watch out from those who are denied as the news points out this day ,,

 

ThreeTrees's picture

I love how economics today thinks it's a hard science.

When it comes to Economics empiricism fails by it's own rubric.  If knowledge can only be inducted then intepretting economic statistics is impossible.  "Correlation is not causation," and all that.

You can't escape a priori.

percolator's picture

You should send Wolf a copy of Rothbard’s "America’s Great Depression" too.

A great book which I can only hope will enlighten his misinformed beliefs.

pak's picture

Excuse me for a second.

When someone describes China as an evil 17th-century-like mercantilist because of their currency manipulation, I have no problem with it.

But when Germany was able to maintain their surplus even while EUR climbed to 1.6, that shows one thing to me - Germany is the last remaining advanced industrial power, and they just make better stuff than anyne else.

I strongly believe that the US and China have been robbing the whole world for close to 30 years through their "vendor financing" scham, but they failed to bring Germany down. It seems mainstream American and British economists are just jealous with the Germans.

Ben Graham Redux's picture

Much of Germany's surplus is within the EU which means that the jump in the Euro had less impact on their trade than you'd normally think.  The Germans appear to have played the vendor financing game like other mercantilists.

pak's picture

Did you mean to say Eurozone, not EU?)

In the Eurozone, Germans have large surpluses with France, Italy, Belgium, Austria and Spain.

However, they have even larger surpluses with the US, UK, plus large surpluses vis-a-vis Sweden and Switzerland - none of which are in the Eurozone.

In the Eurozone, they have meaningful deficits with Netherlands, Ireland and Czech Rep.

Germans have had such nice trade balances because their deficits with China, Japan and Russia have not grown oversized - remarkably because they have managed to export a lot to these three currency manipulator countries.

Therefore, your argument is not correct unless you can outline which mechanism of "vendor financing" exists between Germany, on one hand, and France and Italy, on the other..

Ben Graham Redux's picture

I was referring to their trade with southern europe as well as the emerging european nations where they apparently do provide vendor financing.  In the case of Germany, it appears that they offer trade financing to allow these nations to purchase their capital equipment while running a total trade deficit with countries like Poland and the Czech Republic.  In essence, they sell high margin machinery while buying the cheaper output from that machinery.  They run a deficit while still providing capital.

pak's picture

So which of this puts Germany in the same league with China and the like who prevent their currency from natural appreciation, and use THUS acumulated reserves to vendor finance consumption of their own products?

Nothing, I guess.

German machinery is not "high margin", it is expensive because it's not made of silumin and plastic, and it's not made by Chinese, Indian or Mexican workers.

There's mercantilism and mercantilism. When a nation's only competetive advantage is its cheap currency - that's extremely unfair to anyone else.

It seems to me, a global neomercantilist resurgence is necessary to contain Chinese mercantilism. Yes, we will get a global depression, but with what we are doing now, we are just postponing and prolonging such a depression.

Free trade helped the US contain communism in Asia and win the Cold War. But it's also this WTO-type free trade combined with a fiat currency regime which has been at the core of the so-called "global imbalances" which are yet to cause a lot of pain.

Ben Graham Redux's picture

There seems to be some miscommunication here.  Here's what I initially wrote: "Much of Germany's surplus is within the EU which means that the jump in the Euro had less impact on their trade than you'd normally think."  All I did was temper the point that Germans are running a trade surplus despite the rising euro. 

My point is that the Germans are playing the mercantilist game, to some extent, within the eurozone.  I never claimed they were on par with China or Japan,  I simply pointed out what should have been obvious to everyone.

Now, getting back to your point about Chinese mercantilism - I agree emphatically - so much so that I've been writing about it since 2004.  I've even had a couple of pieces published in the msm pointing that out.

Anonymous's picture

Evidently, Mr.Wolfe has been busy replying:

More generally something, naturally, has to give here and according to the FT's Martin Wolf, Germany needs to return the favor as he puts it, or more specifically; the Eurozone needs German consumers.

(...) Germany was able to offset extreme domestic demand weakness with robust external demand, from both inside and outside the eurozone. Indeed, as much as 70 per cent of the increase in Germany’s GDP between 1999 and 2007 was accounted for by the increase in its net exports.

Germany needs to return the favour. More precisely, the only way for eurozone countries to slash huge fiscal deficits, without their economies collapsing, is to engineer another private-sector credit bubble or a huge expansion in net exports. The former is undesirable. The latter requires improved competitiveness and buoyant external demand. At present, none of this is available. It is difficult to regain competitiveness when the euro is strong, partly because Germany is so competitive, and eurozone inflation also so low.

This argument is similar to one Mr. Wolf made recently on Japan and in the context of which he and I had a tête-à-tête on just what the possibilities are for Japan's economy and its consumers to stage a recovery driven by domestic demand. My argument and beef with Mr Wolf is the same here. Thus, it is not because I think that Wolf is wrong and certainly not because I cannot see the fundamental need for Germany to attempt a rebalancing of its economy. However, the key question here is not what Germany needs to do, but whether it is feasible to expect Germany to pull forward the Eurozone through growth in domestic demand? I think it is not and I think you need to take a long hard look at the increasingly ageing German population and how this feeds into the ability of the economy to generate growth based on domestic demand.
http://eurowatch.blogspot.com/

Econophile's picture

Is that you, Martin? Just kidding.

What Keynesians don't get is that economies aren't national aggregates, they are, rather, the actions of individuals.

The only way for the eurozone to slash fiscal deficits is to spend less or tax more. You could have a country thriving with a balance of trade/payments deficit and still have healthy economic growth as in the U.S. since 1980. So what does export-imports have to do with it? In every case econometricians look at only one side of the balance sheet (exports) and fail to see the economic value of imports and its benefit to consumers (generally lower prices).

The Euro's and eurozone's problems are related to sovereign fiscal insanity and money supply shenanigans, not economic activity. Japan's problem is stagnation--which is where they've been for the past 20 years (avg. GDP growth of 0.6%) as a result of following the Keynesian playbook. Now they have the largest sovereign debt per GDP among the G-20. Taxes, debt, and the failure to liquidate bankrupt businesses have mired them in stagnation. They just won't learn.

If you and Wolf wish to cling to these long disproven beliefs, then you wish the world to catch the Japanese disease.

What the eurozone needs is more capitalism.

Ben Graham Redux's picture

Wolf argued a narrow point - that a mercantilist within a multinational exchange system destabilizes the rest.  He's correct on that point.  He's also correct that greater consumption by Germans would solve the problem in the short run.

The real problem is that common currencies destroy the self balancing mechanisms where success leads to strong relative currencies which ultimately creates parities in relative cost to produce between countries.  Historically, southern Europe embraced a declining relative standard of living as they periodically devalued.

The thing I don't understand is why you were so brash and rude towards Wolf in your first few missives?  What has the guy done to you other than have a different point of view?

Econophile's picture

Ben Graham:

1. I loved your book. Why does everyone read it, yet not follow it?

2. Wolf was talking about the eurozone and they are all on the Euro.

3. Why favor imports over exports? Who is going to decide that for the good Germans? The ECB? What about the Greek businesses built around imports--are they to be sacrificed to exporters? Whose ox gets gored by policies handed down on high from the State?

4. Southern European states are highly socialized and that is their problem--lackluster economies and corruption.

5. It's not my first conversation with Wolf, and he tends to be condescending, firing both barrels as his opening. I think he enjoys it, as do I.

Ben Graham Redux's picture

Econophile,

Don't get me wrong - I agree with your position as I favor the Austrians.  Also, I like Wolf but in a very narrow way as I view him as a mouthpiece for the European salons but with a smattering of common sense. 

In regards to your style, I'll assume that you know his demeanor better than I do and that your approach is built on your reading of the situation.

dumpster's picture

sure define common sense

 

as food mixed with poison .

 

how long would you allow some one to 

urinate

 into your food with out saying stop.

 

what is this common sense business,,

last time i looked the common sense of the world is heaving its last breath,, on this alter of if it kills us slowly .. and takes 100 years then go with the flow..

 

it is all just common sense .. you know lets level the playing field . with keynesian myth ,, feel good policys , and once again food laced with poison

 

Dirtt's picture

Because we have had enough of Mermaid and Unicorn solutions for a flawed species.  Humans are flawed.  Get over it.

 

The only time you can get REAL CHANGE from a human is usually in the form of a sledgehammer.  When Hope&Change is spoon fed with condescending whipcream "brash and rude" is only the opening chapter of When The Pendulum Swings.

 

Brash and rude?  You haven't seen anything yet.  We Americans have a crappy reputation to uphold.  And with all of our flaws I'll take it over people who think "greater consumption" will "solve the problem."  All songs have an ending. Fibonacci was one truly epic human.

WaterWings's picture

How else to you deal with ego?

Ben Graham Redux's picture

I deal with egos by politely showing them the inconsistencies of their positions while asking probing questions.  People with big egos will generally recognize intellectual peers by the quality of their questions.  A rude and brash stance suggests that you want to be considered in their league, yet don't really see yourself at that level.  Besides, in this instance, Martin Wolf did nothing to warrant rude behavior

WaterWings's picture

You make a very, very good point. That level of diplomacy and tact is truly for higher intellects than my own. 

Now, in the view of current circumstances, with our collective fate uncertain, I feel that hard answers are in order. Pleasantries are not to be wasted on those that would rob and murder you. Mr. Wolf certainly is not to be considered in this category, but he thoroughly sustains the infernal machine by looking down his nose at anyone that does not know his version of history.

When Joe Wilson interrupted a presidential address with, "You lie!", it was a breath of fresh air in this suffocating climate of open corruption, misery, smug politics, and no chance of societal improvement on the horizon. Partisan thought aside we need fewer speeches and more action.

But that is the point. The jackals maintain the status quo, placating and deceiving their victims with promises of safety and prosperity.  

The time for politeness is over.

Anonymous's picture

Is that really your view of the British contribution to the world? It is shockingly ignorant, and extremely fucking rude. The fact that Wolf is a pompous pinko twat who delights in slagging off the US does not justify your cock-eyed Braveheart ramblings. I assume this:

"I thought it was the Brits and their desire for world colonial domination who destroyed civilizations. Your mercantilist greed from the All Red Route, to India, the Levant, and North America did a hell of a job. You left them with railroads and socialism and look how well your former minions did."

is a fucking joke? World fucking domination? Put the star wars DVD down you wanking teenager. Why don't we enumerate the former British colonies and compare them to their neighbours and competitors? I think we all know a pattern would emerge, don't we?

Anonymous's picture

Wall Street banks, including those run by the Bush and Dulles families, funded over $30 billion in bonds to the Nazis to rebuild industrial Germany and fund the Nazi rise to power. Samuel Bush was a partner with Fritz Theissen in Silesian mining and steel production, giving him several of the steel patents from his own American steel production, and Prescott Bush was the president of the Holland Amerika Line which ran the Nazi spy network in and out of North America and of the Nazi's bank in New York.

America doesn't like to look at its role in the rise of the Nazis, but this is remembered in Europe. As Mr Wolf says, it is not considered controversial in Europe as it is very well documented there. It is only in America that it is left out of the history books.

The Federal Reserve in the 1920s was as irresponsible as the Greenspan/Bernanke Federal Reserve in the last two decades. They expanded money supply, allowed massive expansion of debt by Wall Street, promoted securitisation of assets, and basically set the world up for a global great depression.

dumpster's picture

as martin watches the imploding mass under the watch of keynesian principles he doth protest to much .

as far as who was that Econophile,, tonto .. hi ho silver and gold from the distance comes the sound of horses hooves  ,, the lone ranger rides again .

 

impressed  on a scale of ! to 10   a 12  .. lol

mchawe's picture

He wants to see Government pushing for the transfer of wealth from those who produce goods and services that others are willing to pay for, to those who don't.

Fundamentally what is what he is proposing is ultimate destruction of wealth.

An idiot but unfortunately a dangerous one. He is yet another proponent of parasitism.

Anonymous's picture

at the beginning of this crisis, I wrote my 3 cents to Martin Wolf having read his article. So this is my 3 cents contribution to this exchange.

Dear Martin,
I read your article about the elephant with great interest. I believe that everyone who is involved in economic writing, and thinking, should go back to basics and study Karl Marx all over again. I mean it, without irony.

I was born and raised in Poland. I lived through the martial law, printed some leaflets, got into a modest trouble, ended up in the US. I have no illusions about Socialism. Neither do I have illusions about invisible hands, and the self-regulation of a "free market" society. Back then in Poland, in my youth, we all laughed at Socialism, thinking that western societies found *the* alternative, a system which balanced interests of labor and capital through the intervention of the state. As Marx wisely observed (paraphrasing), the "free market" economy requires a reasonable balance of power between capital and labor, which balance of power is (most unfortunately) not intrinsic to the mechanism itself. Quite to the contrary, left in its wild state the free market economy collapses, as it inevitably crushes labor, thus crushing the consumer of the goods. We thought that it was the tripartite solution of labor, capital, and a democratically elected government, government which is biased towards the interests of labor, that solved the Marxist dilemma, spared the West from the socialist experience, and made the free market economy workable. Little that I knew, I was destined to live through the experience of the "West" apparently unlearning the lessons of having been nearly overthrown by the socialist virus.

The "West" is living through a Henry Ford moment. Labor has been crushed, by union busting, and by outsourcing. I do not mean just industrial workers, as outsourcing goes way up the food chain. Ordinarily this would cause a major recession, which would be bad for profits. To keep profits up, the "West" erected for itself a debt pyramid scheme, which worked for a couple of decades, and is hereby unwinding.

It gets even more interesting in places like China. They will soon face a true Marxist moment. Their comparative advantage has been: turning themselves into a really big labor camp. In the process, for the first time in Chinese history, they got themselves some proletariat in large numbers. Trouble is, you can not really lift this proletariat out of working for food, because the western technological civilization can not be simply cut and pasted on China and India. There are too many people living there. These countries have to develop organically, learning how to deliver what feels like prosperity at a much lower cost to the environment. The "West" needs to participate in this undertaking because it can not monopolize resources without a really big war. Turning China into a labor camp, with a connivance of the communist party and a thin layer of emerging "middle class", will not really accomplish the objective of organic, sustainable economic prosperity..

The upshot: get ready for the new cycle of "isms". What was the preamble to the communist manifesto? Something is circling around Europe? More like the Globe today, but otherwise it seems like deja vu all over again ...

And this time, with nukes on day one.

WaterWings's picture

If Palin and Coulter ran a ticket together I could see us burning books by 2011.

masterinchancery's picture

Where did this asinine attack come from? Give us 1 piece of evidence to support your statement.

WaterWings's picture

What, you would actually vote for them?

Anonymous's picture

I hope it doesn't come to that, but it depends:

versus Obama - yes
versus Reid - yes
versus Pelosi - yes
versus Dodd - yes
versus Schumer - yes
versus Franken - hell, yes

you get the idea. And Coulter IS hilarious.