Guest Post: Quite Possibly The Dumbest Thing I’ve Heard An Economist Say

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Simon Black, author of Sovereign Man

Quite Possibly The Dumbest Thing I’ve Heard An Economist Say

In the mid-1800s, a cousin of Charles Darwin by the name of Francis Galton wrote a series of works expanding on an old idea of selective breeding in human beings.

Galton’s theory became known as eugenics. At its core, eugenics was underpinned by an assumption that talent and genius were hereditary traits, and that deliberate breeding could improve the human race.

Within decades, intellectuals were spending their entire careers studying these ideas, quickly spawning a number of different fields dedicated to ‘racial sciences.’

Scholars began closely examining racial differences and building volumes of statistics on everything ranging from intelligence to reproduction to genetic effectiveness in combating disease.

‘Scientists’ would scurry about taking cranial measurements, sizing up jaw lines, calculating forehead slopes, and estimating nose angles… all of which became ‘evidence’ of racial superiority.

 Quite possibly the dumbest thing Ive heard an economist say

It became clear that one race was superior to another because the science of the day said that it was true. And they had the statistics and equations to prove it.

This faux-science became the moral justification for racial segregation and imperialistic expansion.

After all, one could hardly feel bad about conquering and enslaving an entire nation if the science proves that they’re an inferior race.

Nazi officials took these ideas and perverted them even further, wrapping horrific crimes in a blanket of science.

Today, it’s nice to know that human beings are a lot more enlightened. We know that the dimensions of someone’s skull or nose don’t matter much in the way of intelligence or integrity.

And we can wonder with absolute incredulity how anyone could have passed off such nonsense as science.

Here’s the irony, though. In the future, they’ll wonder the same thing about us. The difference is that our faux-science is economics.

In the future, they’ll wonder with utter incredulity how these ridiculous assertions about conjuring money out of thin air and borrowing your way out of debt could possibly pass as science.

They’ll be mystified at how political leaders listen to these modern day soothsayers, directing national policy and robbing wealth from hundreds of millions of people based on this faux-science.

And they’ll be completely floored when they see that we actually award our most esteemed prizes to these men who tell us that we can spend our way out of recession and tax our way into prosperity.

To give you an example, I’ve just finished Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz’s new book The Price of Inequality in which he writes something that may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard from an economist:

“[T]he success of [Apple and Google], and indeed the viability of our entire economy, depends heavily on a well-performing public sector. There are creative entrepreneurs all over the world. What makes a difference. . . is the government.”

Yes, in the eyes of our most decorated ‘scientists’, the brilliance and guile of Ingvar Kamprad, Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, Asa Candler, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, and millions of others are far less important than an effective government bureaucracy.

His entire book, in fact, is an impassioned argument for even more government control and redistribution of wealth. Right… because it’s been working so well.

These ideas are totally absurd. Yet this what passes as science today. And because it’s science, society simply believes it to be true.

No doubt, people in the future will look back, and they’ll wonder… but they won’t understand one bit.

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reader2010's picture

Fractional Reserve Banking  has become the new religion after 1913, and the prists work in the districts are those fucking economists. 

Max Fischer's picture

Why are the most "socialist" countries also the wealthiest ones?

Denmark
Finland
Norway
Sweden
Canada
New Zealand
Netherlands
Germany
Switzerland

Compared to the most infamous country with no central government - Somalia - it would appear that anarcho-capitalism, survival-the-fittest, sink or swim ideologies are totally ruinous to mankind.

You wanna live in Somalia or Sweden? If neither, you wanna live closer to one system or the other?

0z's picture

Ahahah! There is an embargo on Somalia! Dumbass!

0z's picture

Did Canad just come out of a military occupation ?? Go hide under your bed, kid, cause the Somali Evil man will eat you brains! Ahahahah!

0z's picture

"Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in December 2006 to crush the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a broad-based group that had ended warlord control in the capital, Mogadishu, and expanded its influence across south and central Somalia. Together with the US, which gave approval and logistical backing for the invasion, Meles accused the ICU of terror links, as well as irredentist motives that threatened Ethiopian sovereignty."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/26/ethiopia-ends-somalia-occupation

redpill's picture

Economics has never been, and will never be, science.  It is philosophy with an understanding of psychology.  The reason some have insisted on trying to turn it into a science is because they knew they would lose the philosophical argument.

 

Big Slick's picture

I want to live wherever the tulip bulbs are prettiest

sitenine's picture

@Simon Black
That was seriously the dumbest thing you've ever heard an economist say? Dude - they virtually all say that. For a real treat, maybe you should check out some of what Krugman has to say, then get back to us with a real article. Thanks.

striving4simple's picture

just expanding on redpill's comment

modern Economics has a fatal flaw that prevents it from being a valid science

Science is based on Observation and Measurement

Useful Measurement requires a rigidly defined unit of measurement

Economics has no such unit

Thus modern economics is doomed to fail

And people wonder why economists are always wrong - duh!

Sean7k's picture

sci·ence

  http://static.sfdict.com/en/i/dictionary/newserp/Sprite_Serp.png); background-attachment: scroll; background-color: transparent; width: 20px; height: 19px; cursor: pointer; display: inline-block; padding-left: 3px; background-position: -619px -478px; background-repeat: repeat repeat;"> [sahy-uhns] http://static.sfdict.com/en/i/dictionary/newserp/Sprite_Serp.png); background-attachment: scroll; background-color: transparent; height: 16px; width: 16px; position: relative; top: 2px; display: inline-block; background-position: -622px -429px; background-repeat: repeat repeat;" href="http://dictionary.reference.com/help/luna/Spell_pron_key.html" target="_blank"> Show IPA noun
1.
a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of factsor truths systematically arranged and showing the operationof general laws: the mathematical sciences. 2.
systematic knowledge of the physical or material worldgained through observation and experimentation. 3.
any of the branches of natural or physical science. 4.
systematized knowledge in general. 5.
knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained bysystematic study. Economics more than meets this definition you moron.

Fox-Scully's picture

You are the moron.  Science tests hypotheses/theorems etc.  If it does not work (hence economics doing the same thing and expecting a different answer), the hypotheses/theorems are discarded and a new idea is formulated to be tested.  That is what science is--it is a discipline and a way of thinking!

Sean7k's picture

Obviously, you have never studied economics. Economics does the exact same thing. Read a real study for a change. Moron.

Cosimo de Medici's picture

Science begins with an hypothesis and then sets about testing in order to prove or disprove it. Economics start with assumptions that are posited as fact so that the argument always leads to the preconceived notion.

Economists gained undeserved recognition when the Nobel Committee, perhaps out of pity, added a prize for them decades after the establishment of prizes for real science.

Sean7k's picture

When did a hypothesis stop being an assumption? 

Morons everywhere.

Coke and Hookers's picture

"It is philosophy with no understanding of psychology."

I spotted an error in your post. Fixed it.

Sancho Ponzi's picture

'Why are the most "socialist" countries also the wealthiest ones?'

Maybe you'll understand a picture:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/36/Income_Taxes_By_Country.svg

67% of Norway's exports are energy related, so including them on the list is like including Qatar.

New Zealand? Canada? Switzerland? Where do they lie on the chart?

And you forgot to mention a few in the Top 10:

Luxembourg

Singapore

Hong Kong

 

 


Doña K's picture

{Why are the most "socialist" countries also the wealthiest ones?}

Irespective of government and/or despite of government, countries are wealthy from a combination of: natural resources, hard productive work, low wages, exports and low taxation. Not necessarily all of these or to any specific ratio.

Cosimo de Medici's picture

To be fair, Singapore is tiny, and it is a monarchy in every way except name. They also have one of the most intrusive governments in the world, though the sheeple accept their lord and master without question.

Hong Kong is the Mecca of crony capitalism, and is blessed with natural resources, which is why it can run the occasional budget surplus. The natural resource is land, and the government revenues come from "auctioning" it off to the same people, time and again. They let just enough newly rich mainlanders in to keep prices high and fill the coffers of the Li, Lee, and Kwok families.

Note that when land prices tumbled a few years ago, and a government auction had taken place right at the peak, the "winning" bidder (Li Ka Shing) was able to get a refund to cover the difference in what he paid freely and fairly at auction and what the post-crash market value of the land was. Sounds like TBTF, yes?

Also, the Hong Kong Government was one of the first governments to actively engage in stock market manipulation, pouring billions of government dollars into the market after the 1997 Asian Crisis.

Oracle of Kypseli's picture

<<<Economics has never been, and will never be, science.  It is philosophy with an understanding of psychology>>>

It is more of a religion than science. Science uses theory and learns from experiments and proves or disproves with experiments. Economists use experiments over and over again getting the same results, but still looking for the pony.

Keep trying you blind idiots.

Coke and Hookers's picture

They mainly use thought experiments because they are so darn good for dissociating themselves from reality.

I think a better description than religion would be 'political ideology masked with math'.

Doña K's picture

By math, I bet you mean sum, divide and distribute.

AAA21's picture

@MARX FISHER - Hey Bird Brain: In case you haven't noticed Europe is IMPLODING - and that includes the countries that you mention.  Once the PIIGS collapse, Germany and all your other favorite Socialist countries will fall flat on their Asses too! 

To put it in perspective: The collapse of the USSR and the abandonment of Communism by China were the FIRST Collapse of Socialism.  The Second Collapse is the ongoing mess in Europe, and then it will the US and Japan's turn to demonstrate that SOCIALISM DOESN'T WORK!   2+2 doesn't equal 5, and it is impossible to have a functioning society when you have more than half of the population living off of Big Government "benefits"!

Bunga Bunga's picture

You forgot the US as the least efficient socialist country on this list.

THX 1178's picture

Goddam Socialist USA! Derivatives floggin' socialists. Federal reserve that opertaes for profit. Big Banks runnin' the show! Corporate socialism and individual capitalism? All of wall street's money straight to Wall St... Right? RIIIIGGHHHTTT....

CCanuck's picture

Can you elaborate on what makes Canada Wealthy? Debt?

MiguelitoRaton's picture

natural resources (oil, timber, gold) are a big part of it. they also provide a convenient "off shore" for US firms.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

There's "Gold IN THEM THAR HILLS".  BC has a lot of low-grade deposits, which, with gold at $2500 are VERY economical.

orangegeek's picture

Canada is wealthy because it's commodity base pays for its socialist system/entitlements.   When oil, gold, ags/the CRB fall, their tax base will disappear and a harsher reality will come to life.

 

Canada's economy will remain in depression long after the US is on the road to recovery.

57-71's picture

Not really. You don't know much about the CA tax system. Will a downturn hurt? Sure, but not to the extet of other countries.

Unlike the US where 50% of the population pays no tax, only people who have incomes of less than $6000 a year pay nothing here. Unlike Greece where taxes are voluntary, Revenue Canada is quite stingy and mean about taxes due.

And there are not many with that.

Collect Canada (Un) Employment Insurance? Pay tax on it.

Collect disability payments? Pay tax on it unless it is worker Compensation or your private plan prepaid the tax with the premiums.

The commodities markets may slip and slide from time to time, but there is a building program yet to be experienced in countries like India, Pakistan, much of Africa.

 

Central Bankster's picture

The problem is that you make a strawman argument. There are no capitalist countries which have strong private property protection. You are comparing one socialist country to another vs one socialist country to a lawless society with no private property protection.

stkboy's picture

Excuse me Max Fischer but Canada is not a socialist country. We do have a health care system that you lot think is a form of socialism but that is about it. What about the USA bailing out GM, banks? Is that not a form of socialism? It certainly isn't capitalism, that is for sure.

0z's picture

AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

I live here, and this is one of the most socialist countries in the world!

I can walk to the corner store and get a wellfare check, fresh money stolen from my (still) hard working fellow citizens! Queen's land as far as the eye can see. State-owned sub-soils. Public transportations, railsystems and roads as big as you can imagine them. And to top it all, engineered genocide of the native populations with subsidized abortion programs.

Why dont you shove a God damn cyanide pill up your ass you fucking clueless donkey!

Nothing To See Here's picture

Canada is socialist, whereas the US are more fascistic. In the end, both are not capitalistic, and both are collectivists, centrally-planned trainwrecks in the making.

Lucky Guesst's picture

The burning question is what are we going to do about it??? At some point its put up or shut up. We can no longer grade other countries on what they have become and ourselves as what we are SUPPOSED to be.

Crabshack's picture

You can't get a welfare cheque at a corner store.  It is fairly easy to get if you are starving.  

Yes, Queens land everywhere, but 30Million people on a land mass larger than the States with its 300Million citizens, doesn't cover a lot.

Public transport, rails and roads just making doing business easier.  No roads, no business.

What did the Gov do when its biggest and best company Nortel was headed for bankruptcy?  Did it toss money at it and bail it out or let it just die on its own?

0z's picture

What the hell are your arguments?

No roads, no business? Maybe, hard to tell since every damn dictactor in the world feels like he has to sunsidize roads, and so there is nothing to compare it to. The railway system was indeed destroyed in the US by State intervention, and since trains are both more fuel-efficient and less maintenance, I cant see why roads would do better. State roads actually incentivised suburbia, and the whole family home cult.

Roads, if you ask any intelligent and sensible economist, are a complete fucking waste of energy. Why, when we have high speed trains?

The State always grabs on to yesterday's novel idea; and so it will never compete with real entrepeneurship.

Ohh and the Queen should then own anything above and beyond the 2 square meters everyone needs to sleep.

Ridiculous. Im impressed you know how to read.

deez nutz's picture

What about the USA bailing out GM, banks? Is that not a form of socialism? It certainly isn't capitalism, that is for sure.

If the USA didn't bail out the auto industry Canada wouldn't have any jobs left? 

What gave Canada it's wealth the last 30 years was a cheap Canadian dollar which attracted investment looking for cheaper labor as well as bolstering exports to it's southern "friend".  It has been a "beggar they neighbor" policy for 30 years! and nobody noticed, eh?

57-71's picture

You can forget the cheaper labour, I defy you to find anywhere in the US that pays blue collar jobs more than Canada.

And most white collar too for that matter, with the exception of executive pay

Piranha's picture

I would consider telling your centralbanker on live tv to "GO PRINT" being kind of a socialist thing.

DeadBeat's picture

There is an interesting article from Bloomberg on Canada being wealthier than the US. The journalist's opinion is that they have resisted de-regulation and preserved benefits to individuals while simultaneously cutting corporate tax rate and cutting the benefits to lower levels. He left out the fact that they have boatloads of commodities and few people... but it's still almost like someone there bothered to try to provide a safety net AND do the math on what is practical. US government is neither smart enough nor willing to do that.

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-15/hardheaded-socialism-makes-canada-richer-than-u-s-.html

Catch-22's picture

Here is why:

Most of your wealth is in your house… they are at the very peak of their housing bubble and we are at the very bottom.  In 5 years they wont look so smug…

BTW Vancouver is down 11% year over year… it’s starting

same old story's picture

Interesting point you raise.  You think the fact they are socialist countries is why they are wealthy?  care to explain?

wee-weed up's picture

Max Fischer said: You wanna live in Somalia or Sweden?

Uh... some folks who live in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark might inform you that due to the idiotic immigration policies of their leaders, there's not much difference. Have you read about the drastic increase in crime in these countries, especially rapes?

akak's picture

 

Why are the most "socialist" countries also the wealthiest ones?

Maxine,

You forgot to mention a few more in that cute little list of yours:

the USSR (with their chronic "weather related" poor harvests and famines)
Maoist China (with their centrally-planned "Great Leap Forward" into mass starvation)
Hoxha's Albania
Cuba
Belarus
Burma
Khmer Rouge Cambodia
North Korea

 

Thanks for playing anyway.

 

PS: Why are the most socialistic statists also the most idiotic ones?

 

PPS:  Who the FUCK has already given ten "up" arrows to Maxine Fischer's disingenuous bullshit comment, and on ZeroHedge no less?  Can you say "sockpuppet"?

idea_hamster's picture

Those countries aren't socialist -- they're totalitarian, Stalinist.

Totally different animal.

Nothing To See Here's picture

And where do you think socialism leads exactly?

pcrs's picture

Indeed in all his socialist countries the few rule the many. The elites dabble with the hard earned money of their tax slaves. You can already see the elites put up camera's everywhere, demand biometric passports, their police dressed up as soldiers of an empire. Their EU rulers are not even elected anymore and can with the ESM grab whatever they want.

This can only lead to where socialism has always led:death and totalitarianism

democide:governments are based on violence and killed over 200 million people worldwide in the past 100 years. Most of them by socialist/national socialist governments. There is no pretty exit to selling your population off as debt slaves.

Totentänzerlied's picture

Yes but their ideologies are merely separated by degree of brutality - on a sliding scale of tyranny. It's no coincidence that the nordic and european socialist countries have access to credit and debt markets, or that they developed as (nominally) capitalist economies, or that they are not nearly as far down the socialist road as the others (non-european). It's like comparing the RSFSR under Lenin or Stalin to the RSFSR under Yeltsin, or China under Mao to China today. As with all productivist-statis ideologies, more wealth means less need for overt mass brutality.

AAA21's picture

Right Hamster Brain - So Socialism works if you implement it half-way, but not if you implement all the way, like Stalin?  What a bunch of crap!  That's like saying that a little bit of Libor Fraud is Good, but a lot of Libor Fraud is Bad.  Fraud is fraud - and Socialism is Socialism, whether it is practiced by Stalin, Obama, or Hugo Chavez.  It is immoral and it simply DOESN'T WORK!