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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machineh's picture

It sure worked for Barky O'Bummer!

Jo's picture

I was really hoping that this was going to be about David Blanchflower.

Keynesclown's picture

I'm Portuguese and this was too good to be true. This guy didnt steal anything, didnt want any money, he basically just wanted his 15 minutes of fame and since reality shows are probably becoming too crowded he decided to start a keynesian vocal dhiarrea praising unlimited government spending, deficits and welfare state, which in Portugal immediately gives him not 15 minutes of fame but hours and hours in mainstream media. The best part was that all mainstream keynesian economists and comentators were praising him as the voice of reason and for his technical views. The cherry on top of the cake was the front page editorial of Expresso (most credible newspaper in portugal) saying "Mr Prime Minister you should listen to this economist" (referring to baptista da silva).

Radical Marijuana's picture

"cherry on top of the cake"

Ah more macabre humour!

I repeat my view in this context, of the frauds being amusing, from a sublime point of view.

The oldest and best developed social science is militarism. Success in militarism was based on deceits. History gradually made Fraud King, as it had originally made War King. Economics is simply organized crime, on a larger scale. It is not possible for it to be anything else. Those who are the best at being dishonest, and backing that up with violence, become the most powerful people, who are able to continue to apply the methods of organized crime to control civilization.  Carrots and stick, rewards and punishments, are designed to keep an organized system of fraud and robbery going. Those who cooperate within that system get rewarded, and therefore, become "successful." Economists are hired guns, whose careers depend on serving the established systems. The better they do that, the better their careers, and vice versa.


organized systems of lies, operating systems of robbery.

Those are the only concepts which can make economics consistent with warfare. Those are the actual ways that human behaviours are connected to the real world. The money system coevolved with the military system. The debt controls depend on the death controls. ... IF we make a genuine science of economics, following the same ideas of general energy systems, as in all other sciences, we go through a series of profound paradigm shifts, which reveal that economics IS, and Must Be, based on organized crime.

The problem I see is that the biggest gangsters, the banksters, have already become the Fraud Kings, who control our civilization, and ALL of mainstream economics is paid to work for them. Economics is mostly professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, being paid to agree with each other. (Hence, the amusing anomaly in this little news story.) Moreover, the biggest bullies' bullshit social stories are SO TOTALLY DOMINANT, that almost all of the controlled opposition spouts the same sorts of impossible ideals, and false fundamental dichotomies, as the ruling classes do. Indeed, that controlled opposition is only allowed to be public entertainers because they continue to do that.

MONEY IS BACKED BY MURDER. That is the basic foundation of economics. Human ecology is inside political economy. The money system is inside the military system, and both coevolve to pay for and support each other. Furthermore, it is impossible for that to be truly different. The ONLY real solutions are different death controls. That is what one will surely NOT see presented by the education systems, and mass media! The awesome ironies are now runaways! We have progress in every other area of understanding energy systems, EXCEPT with regard to human systems, BECAUSE, the best developed social science is WARFARE, which then created ECONOMICS. That means we have no other alternatives but to continue to muddle through the madness of a society controlled by huge lies, backed up with lots of violence, which deliberately denies and suppresses more truth about itself!

From a sublime point of view, the absurdities of this situation always tickle one's macabre sense of humour, which is why news stories like this one delightfully illustrate what is actually happening ...

tickhound's picture

We're always SHOCKED!  Lol. 

Liestrong defames Lemons with TDF doping claims.  Notre Dame refuses to kill a fantasy story before their 'greatest' game in 20 yrs.  Everyone lies... it is systemic, and generally profitable.

Plus you get on Oprah and shit.  Remember, NO publicity is bad publicity.  The bigger the lie the better.  

Telling the truth comes with an opportunity cost.  That cost is becoming unaffordable.

Radical Marijuana's picture

The bigger the lie the better.  ...

That cost is becoming unaffordable.

Ah, Yes, tickhound, that summarizes our runaway dilemmas in a nutshell.

Being controlled by Huge Lies means that civilization becomes too insane.

The final cost of bigger lies being better is crazy collapse into social chaos!

Stud Duck's picture

Hey man, gimme some of that shit your smokin!

Smuckers's picture

I guess you're only considered legit if you have access to helicopters.

Waterfallsparkles's picture

There is very little difference from the Middle Class and the Slaves on the Plantation.

The only difference is that we get to chose where we live, what we eat and what we drive.  Other than that we give the fruits of our labors to our Master the Government, with just a little left over, sometimes.

TruthInSunshine's picture

 "Obama's gonna' put ya' all back up in chains!"

Joe 'flaming bullshitter' Biden.

SeattleBruce's picture

"There is very little difference from the Middle Class and the Slaves on the Plantation." - did ya forget about indiscriminate whippings?  I'm just sayin'...maybe those are coming...

Waterfallsparkles's picture

With NDAA what is the difference.  They can lock you up with no rights.  No ablitiy to have a Trial, no Due Process.  How are we different from the Slaves?  They did not have a right to a Trial and neither do we.

booboo's picture

Speaking of NDAA, I pondered this today. If President El Guapo points to my name on a "Kill List" and tells his thugs to take me out and I find out about it and defend my self to the last man, did I violate the law of not letting them kill me and can I be arrested for this crime against the state?


Booboo the Kid

mkhs's picture

You haven't been paying attention.  There is no law.

Might makes right. Take as many with you as you can.

moonstears's picture

"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."

As an "armchair economist" myself, I attest, +1 to this "Tyler"

(p.s. My credentials? "Hedonics PROVES it ain't so bad!" See, armchair economist,  and, A+ Econ 102 at community college!)

michael_engineer's picture

Most Economists attempts at economics has been somewhat akin to an engineering metaphor that goes "Measure with micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with fire axe"

machineh's picture

Economists should get a clue from engineers, and measure GDP growth in furlongs per fortnight.

NidStyles's picture

Most intelligent Economists don't use the GDP for anything, because the figure is complete BS.

IamtheREALmario's picture

Maybe the problem for Baptista de Silva was that his lie was not big enough. He should take some lessons from Obama, who has hoodwinked, not a single small country, but the entire world.

WyMi's picture

"Economic and political systems cultivate their own versions of truth to gain economic and political power. What is convenient to believe is greatly preferred. Those who propogate and promote these frauds are not deliberate nor entirely innocent. They are conveniently unaware of how their views are shaped. There is no sense of guilt rather a sense of self-approval. These frauds are simply identified self-serving beliefs and contrived nonsense." J.K.Galbraith RIP

The only economist with uncommon sense - the rest suffer the common sense of their own lot.

Lost Wages's picture

Seems like I should be able to bullshit my way to wealth if only I can get rid of this pesky conscience.

PrinceDraxx's picture

Quite simple, really, just say it's for the good of the common man and then bullshitting your way to wealth is a benevolent action. lol

If all else fails, say it is for the good of the children. Unfortunately, when you have to drop to that level you will have to give a small portion to the children. Greedy little beggars watch you like a hawk.

Hedge Fund of One's picture

But ... he meant well! ... isn't that all that matters?

Winston of Oceania's picture

He just knows that with government largess also comes corruption and profit from corrupt politicians...

Vegetius's picture

Its that kind of get up and we need right now, here's a man who having served his time as a criminal saw that if one wears a suit and talks bullshit loudly that everyone gives you money.

Indeed a cunning plan and it goes to prove that the rest of these people are chancers and sharps, lucky the rest of the elite are the same

“There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy, hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.”

- Frederick W Robertson

NidStyles's picture

This is the same guy that was debating with the guy that was previously embarrassing Krugman in Spain about a year ago. Interesting that Krugman had to be backed up by a thief and a fraud. We should dig into Krugman's past next.

GernB's picture

Bravo, you win the award for for the worlds longest opening sentance

misnomer's picture

In the picture, he's explaining the theory of how many economists can dance on the head of a pin.

Or, how many economists are pinheads.


optionsman's picture

this time you had a clear fraud. what do you do with all those "experts" that despite having real academic credentials and long professional careers still dont understand dont even try to understand what is going on and why. of course under the freedom of speech they are protected to say anything and everything. for a variety of reasons it is rare when these hacks get called out one of those reasons being lack of qualified people who care. but this goes well beyond just the profession of economics. many portfolio managers, strategists, credit and country analysts are guilty of same to various degrees. it is insane. but this can last i am sure. why? changing the "system" is not lucrative and it is really hard work. then of course there is the question of changing into what?

Totentänzerlied's picture

This wretched scoundrel committed two cardinal sins against the Progressive religion: First, he didn't complete a full and rigorous program of state indoctrination, second, he did not toe the party economic line.

Freewheelin Franklin's picture

Economics: You  buy something at one price, and sell it for more.


- Father Guido Sarducci

dexter_morgan's picture

This would actually be quite hilarious, were it not so sad.

MedicalQuack's picture

There's no expert economists left, they are all guessing like we are with the complexities we live wiht.  We do need some regulation on Wall Street with some clean math and models.  Paul Wilmott says it best in the documentary "Quants, the Alchemists of Wall Street"...they have no laws, they are just guessing.

dexter_morgan's picture

This guy is a piker, he was only able to fool people for 8 months about his background - we have a president now sworn in a second time that the media has an amzing lack of curiosity about and doesn't blink an eye at all the records that have been locked up concerning his life.

Cardinal Fang's picture

You mean, like David X. Li and Gaussian Copulas?

Miles Kendig's picture

No reason to alter the plan

- Sir Thomas Moreland  July 1, 1916

lunaticfringe's picture

A one hundred and fifty three word opening sentence. Perhaps the greatest run on sentence I have read in a couple of years. Bravo!


PrinceDraxx's picture

151 according to Microsoft, all properly written, spelled and punctuated. I'm impressed Tylers, really, I am.

piliage's picture

Who knew that MDB was Portuguese?

Lord Of Finance's picture

I believe this guy is the re-incarnation of John Maynard Keynes.

dunce's picture

If he could have lasted 6 more months he would have gotten a real nobel prize.