The True Story Of How One Economist Fraud Conned Other Economist Frauds... And Everyone Else

Tyler Durden's picture

We have long argued that when it comes to the deplorable and insolvent state of modern "developed" societies, the fault lies as much at the bottom, as at the top: the bottom, in this case, being the economic establishment in both academia and 'practice' that peddles a voodoo pseudoscience as a legitimate explanation for the unpredictable happenings in irrational world, meant to give people an illusory sense of control, and which works until it doesn't and fails spectacularly, at which point "the top", or the central banks conceived to smooth reality when it does not conform to economist models (and to facilitate wealth transfer from the poor to the rich of course), have to step in and fill gaping holes some $20+ trillion wide - see: 2008/2009 (all the while, the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy, by way of that invisible tax known as inflation continues). And while it has proven easy for the shamans of this voodoo class to fool the general population time and again (use big words, speak loudly and with confidence, mock any opposing voices as not having a Ph.D. or a Nobel prize in economics... "act as if") in their infallibility and superiority or that they have even the faintest clue what it is they are talking about, the reverse has also turned out to be true. And as the case of one Mr. Baptista da Silva from Portugal has shown, there is nothing easier than for an economist to con other economists. Or, rather, one fraud to con a whole lot of other frauds.

From The Independent:

As an ex-presidential consultant, a former adviser to the World Bank, a financial researcher for the United Nations and a professor in the US, Artur Baptista da Silva's outspoken attacks on Portugal's austerity cuts made the bespectacled 61-year-old one of the country's leading media pundits last year.


The only problem was that Mr Baptista da Silva is none of the above. He turned out to be a convicted forger with fake credentials and, following his spectacular hoodwinking of Portuguese society, he could soon face fraud charges.


Mr Baptista da Silva's conversion into the latest must-interview figure on the media circuit began when he turned up last April at Lisbon's main philanthropic institution, the Academia do Bacalhau, with a large supply of business cards – which, it later turned out, bore false credentials – and an impressive-sounding dissertation entitled Growth, Inequality and Poverty. Looking Beyond Averages which, it also transpired, was "borrowed" from its writer, a World Bank employee, via the internet.


At the time, Mr Baptista da Silva also claimed to be a social economics professor at Milton College – a private university in Wisconsin, US, which actually closed in 1982 – and to be masterminding a UN research project into the effects of the recession on southern European countries. He even, some reports say, tried to pass himself off as a former adviser to Portugal's President, Joaio Sampaio, and the World Bank.


Blessed with such an impressive CV, Mr Baptista's subsequent criticisms of the Lisbon government's far-reaching austerity cuts, as well as dire warnings that the UN planned to take action against it, struck a deep chord with its financially beleaguered population.


According to the Spanish newspaper El País, his powerfully delivered comments at a debate at the International Club, a prestigious Lisbon cultural and social organisation last month, were greeted with thunderous applause and a part-standing ovation.

Remember: never, ever, question what you are told, or what passes as economic dogma and canon. Only nut job conspiracy theorists do that. Yet perhaps others should give it a try - it is amazing what rabbit holes they uncover:

Then, in a double page interview in the weekly newspaper Expresso in mid-December, Mr Baptista da Silva continued to denounce the government's policies. That was followed by an interview for the radio station TSF, appearances in high-profile television debates and well-publicised meetings with trade union leaders to advise them on economic policies.


Yet in the country's jails, Mr Baptista da Silva's sudden appearance among the intellectual elite caused amazement among his former cellmates. A colleague from his old school, lawyer Ricardo Sa Fernandes, who had come across Mr Baptista da Silva behind bars by chance when visiting one of his clients, told Visao magazine that when he saw the convicted fraudster on TV he was "staggered by his ability to put his past life behind him".


Mr Baptista da Silva's comeuppance began when the UN confirmed to a Portuguese TV station last month that he did not work for the organisation, not even as a volunteer, as he later alleged. Further media investigations uncovered his prison record and fake university titles, though Mr Baptista da Silva's claims to have studied economics have not been categorically disproven.


After sending out a press release blasting his former journalist friends and colleagues for what he called a "witch-hunt", Mr Baptista da Silva has now disappeared completely from public life, and there are reports he is under investigation for fraud charges by the police.

Sad: the one things that was missing from da Silva's arsenal to fool everyone in his intellectual superiority, his totally fraudulent background notwithstanding which went unquestioned for eight months, would have been a Nobel prize in Economics. Then everyone would have surely been totally and utterly fooled that this particular economist fraud was legitimate.

As for what the above episode demonstrates about all other economists, we let readers decide for themselves.

That one can con the general public, and other "academic peers" into believing one is sophisticated and educated, and most importantly, is an expert economist, and with such apparent facility, does more to denounce the shamanic bullshit that is economics, than we ever could.

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Tom_333's picture

That´s economics for you - folks (a currently much used word)

economics9698's picture

Obama got away with this shit, why not this guy?

HoofHearted's picture

So when is someone going tolook into Paulie-boy's past? He's been a shaman for a long time, has a Nobel prize, and even gets to write an op-ed now and then. Sure, those things line bird cages or wrap fish, but....

Manthong's picture

Testículos grandes..

or is that better put "bolas grandes" in Portuguese?

TruthInSunshine's picture

 Testículos grandes is a fantastic name for a new & exciting food-like item on Taco Bell's dollar menu.

Pinto Currency's picture


This is a "dog bites man" story in the world of politics and economics.

Pladizow's picture

I didn't think it was possible to be a "fake" Witch Doctor!

Pinto Currency's picture


Exactly.  Any integrity or balanced reasoning from these clowns would be the "man bites dog" story on the front page of the National Enquirer.

Acet's picture

All sorts of frauds in Portugal:

Just recently it was found out that the Portuguese PM's University Degree was actually given to him later in life by his buddies, and he only ever attended classes for about a year before dropping out. He got his degree given to him much later when he was in politics.

Then there's all sorts of Foundations in that place which were setup by politicians and receive money from the state. When austerity cuts started, those, along with gold plated pensions for members of parliement (who can retire after just 8 years) were not touched by the cuts.

And of course the fraud and corruption levels around large infrastructure projects (think cement with too much sand and too little cement and politicians that give projects out to a company and end up in a fat "consultancy" or "non-executive" position with that company a couple of years later) is legendary.

That my countrymen haven't rebelled yet and hanged a couple of people in poles in the middle of Cais do Sodre is only because the Portuguese are in general a friendly and peacefull people. In fact over there many are still seriously feeling that they should try and pay the debt out of a sense of responsibility and, to some extent, honor.

macholatte's picture



Mr Baptista da Silva is not a fraud, he's an entertainer; and as such is not accountable to anyone for anything and is allowed by society to have no standards of ethics whatsoever. In fact, to be completely amoral is a prerequisite for making those really big bucks.


An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.
Laurence J. Peter


I'm not an economist and we all know economists were created to make weather forecasters look good.
Rupert Murdoch


icanhasbailout's picture

He should just claim to be a performance satirist.

SafelyGraze's picture

the 2nd sentence in the article only has 76 words.

but the 1st sentence has 151 words.

Freddie's picture

Paul Krugman - liar, stooge, Mockingbird puppet, fraud, Democrat.

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

There are no Democrats or Republicans, there are only layers of criminals that are stealing and murdering from the rest of us.

Wake the fuck up.

All Risk No Reward's picture

Near the top of this system, that is pure Veritas.

Between us and the top, there is more complexity.

I've concluded, after much reflection, that the root problem is that people don't care about other people like they care about themselves.

This enables the wicked to rape, pillage and murder in "tranches," as it were, and the vast numbers in the world stand down because they don't care.

Eventually, the wicked show up to rape, pillage and murder the people who don't care and they can't fathom why others aren't protecting them.

At the end of the day, whoever set up this society destroying Debt Star is a master of human psychology.

If you want to see a classic example, Netflix Pink Ribbons, Inc.  The system makes people feel good about "fighting cancer" while serving them cancer causing ingredients and delivering essentially nothing after billions of dollars have been handed over to the wealthiest companies planet Earth has ever seen.  The very companies that would see their billion dollar markets destroyed if a method to prevent cancer was ever actually developed - and that's against their corporate mandate.

If you *really* want to take the red pill at the bottom of the rabbit hole, Netflix "A Film Unfinished" and then "Empire in Africa."

Now, try to explain what is different between Hitler's Jewish/Gypsy/Political Dissident Warsaw Ghetto and the bankster controlled United Nations treating of third world countries other than the UN doesn't need walls and murders far more people using their Debt Star and withholding resources from the people, just like Hitler did in the Warsaw Ghetto.

For those conditioned to believe that Africa is the way it is because the humans there are "backwards," I'd put forth that sub Saharan Africa would look like the pinnacle of civilization compared to America if the electricity was turned off in America and not turned back on.  We are only as good as the resources we have available to us.  Deny resources to a population and they are forked...

We are dealing with a very sophisticated level of Machiavellian evil here.

Be aware.

11b40's picture

Yeah. Him & Art Laffer.

resurger's picture

I bet his cell mates were not Jewish

Joe Davola's picture

There's one born every minute, and whole countries getting Te'o'd every day.

Snakeeyes's picture

Sgt Obammer's Lonely Job Search Band.

Tons of spending and debt and the economy STILL sucks. Thanks Krugman, Stiglitz, Obama and Congress.

Freddie's picture

One of the best videos was Hugh Hendry telling Stiglitz and that Harvard guy Jeffrey Sachs that they were arseholes.  It is on youtube.  Hugh did not say those words but he made them look like the liars they are.

Hugh is a god.  These people are evil scum!

H E D G E H O G's picture

So what does this say about ALL of the shit-for-brains people that believed this used douche bag?  Jeeez, I'm sorry, somebody might mistake me for someone who gives a shit anymore.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Similarly, I have received evidence that Dr. Paul Krugman, Ph.D., and alleged alum of MIT & Yale, actually graduated from Education Connection with an online associates degree in home economics.


*Also, an interesting factoid of Krugman's narcissism:  Krugman's middle name is Robin, his 1st wife's first name is Robin, and his current wife's first names is also Robin. As an additional note, we all know that Robin was Bruce Wayne's "boy wonder."

michael_engineer's picture

Aren't there two bb's in "robbin"?

machineh's picture

Too bad he just bought the diploma without reading any of the textbooks.

NidStyles's picture

Sadly the textbooks do not say much different than what he says.

Totentänzerlied's picture

Krugman is the author of a widely used AP/college level econ textbook.

"When it comes to explaining current economic conditions, there is no economist readers trust more than New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman."

Yeah, we're doomed.

fuu's picture

I thought he was holding a jet at first.

<invisible joint>

HoofHearted's picture

I thought he was trying to explain how big it is to some prostitute.

Joe Davola's picture

Those euro-trash glasses don't make one look smart, just snooty.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

He looks like Gargamel from the Smurfs.

Cheesy Bastard's picture

+1 fuu.  Roaches check in but they never check out.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Caption contest:  "This is how far your will go once true, Neo-Keynesian monetary policy is fully implemented."

de3de8's picture

I thought he was picking his nose!

Silver Bully's picture

I thought he was saying 'I'm crushing your head! I'm crushing your head! Flathead.'

HoofHearted's picture

I thought he was trying to look like Steven Colbert and give us fake opinions to go with the fake news.

SeattleBruce's picture

Hasn't Stephen Colbert been elected as a US Senator yet?  Get on with it, and join the other clowns!!

A Lunatic's picture

He could always run for POTUS.

azengrcat's picture

My thesis "Print Moar Moneyz: We All Gettin' Honeyz" is under review by the Nobel committee.  Wish me luck.

Poor Grogman's picture

That should be fine just a couple of little exta complicated sounding words should do the trick.

sangell's picture

He looks like an economist. Have any other economists cited him in their writings?

Pairadimes's picture

Cargo cult economics for the win!

bjfish's picture

Bad conclusion.  That the public is 90% + economically illiterate is common knowledge (to economists). That the general public thinks whatever the media tells them to think is obvious (to any casual observer). That huckster's like Krugman spout nonsense and embarrass the econ profession is clear.

But econ has much to offer for those wishing to better understand how the world works.

That so many people fall for the credentials (fake or real) rather than focusing on the logic (or illogic) of an argument is a SAD REFLECTION OF SOCIETY, not of the econ profession.

SeattleBruce's picture

"the econ profession" - you've made a huge presupposition here...

Stud Duck's picture

I do agree with your idea that econ is something that should be treated as a science, unfortunately acedemia has remained silent (excluding Dr Black) I would suggest Dr William Black as an example to your opinion that economics is a "science" The many followers of Mises would also be an example for your side of the argument.

Just a reply to the insult to economics as a area of study/science, I would also ask, what else would one subsitute for it as a study to undertake.

Economcis without a knowledge of Political Science is the same as nursing w/o chemistry, both areas of study complement each other.

I actually believe the Zeit Geist movement is getting more traction/coverage with younger people. It may be the new Karl Marxs of this next century.

Just museing, late tonight, Funny story on the ability of the media inability to check out  the guy, as well as his peers. Especially with the internet!!

It goes to show how lazy Keyensian economist have become!  


Vlad Tepid's picture

Any relation to Simon Black?

hidingfromhelis's picture

So, the difference between Portugal and the US/EU is that Portugal's fraudulent peddlers of economic pseudo-science have convictions and prison records while ones in the US/EU have Nobel prizes?  

LongSoupLine's picture

Hmmm, a fake, crook and fraud?...

Well, I guess that seals his fate as the next Nobel winner.