Links 7/17/11

Wild Parrots Give Their Chicks Names Wired Science; h/t John M. The video is just some cute parrots; no visible naming process going on there, in case you were hoping…

Atlanta Schools Created Culture Of Cheating, Fear, Intimidation Huffington Post. Parrots do better than this by their kids; h/t Carol B.

Rail transport should be treated as “The Commons” One Salient Oversight; H/t Neil and Anna C.

They’re Going to Cut Back The Bone and They’re Going to Keep The Fat George Washington’s Blog.

More American Exceptionalism Asymptosis on why cutting back to the bone may not be such a great idea for the US economy.

We’re Spent New York Times. Have they given up on their pay wall? They let me look at this one.

Looking at Greece in the Argentinean mirror VoxEU; an, ahem, unorthodox take on Greece, by one of the leading players in the Argentinian crisis.

Once Greece Goes London Review of Books. Upmarket Anglo-Saxon orthodoxy on Greece. H/t David Murphy.

The Democratic Deficit in Europe and the Crisis in the Periphery Macroresilience. A couple of weeks old, but since we’re on the subject of democratic deficits…

Italy MPs struggle to hold back eurozone debt crisis BBC: various Italians freaking out as contagion strikes Italy.

Behind the downgrades and the doubt: A crisis of growth Paul Mason has a go at folding the US and Euro dramas into one big story.

Al Jazeera interview on Rating Agencies Steve Keen talking straight, via a media outlet that likes that kind of thing.

Tissue paper over a mountain range London Banker. A succinct summary of Basel’s mythmaking about default risk and ratings and how it locks banks, regulators and politicians on a dangerous path. Complements Yves on Felix on Triple “A” issuance.

In the land of risk myopia, the one-eyed King is blind. The Credit Plumber on risk management fallacies and internal controls.

News Corp.’s Tangled Web Bloomberg via @Ian_Fraser. Diagram of the hacking scandal’s ramifications (so far).

Special Report – Inside Rebekah Brooks’ News of the World Reuters. There’s no way the lid will stay on this…

Stain From Tabloids Rubs Off on a Cozy Scotland Yard This NYT Murdoch story was heavily trailed yesterday on Twitter and elsewhere, but it seems to just be a roundup of the blowback to the UK police (which is considerable).

Fox News UK!! Or not.

Iowa Pays London Firm $450,000 to Ditch Movies NY Times. Admittedly the demise of this particular production may not be an irreparable cultural loss, but here’s a reminder of how risky the US film business is (especially for foreigners). H/t Buzz Potamkin.

Male Organ and Economic Growth: does size matter? The University of Helsinki utterly annihilates contenders for the next Ig Nobel prize in Economics.

Antidote du jour: I wanted to put this up for cat owners who need to take their cat to the vet, but Youtube embeds and WordPress still don’t coexist happily. So here’s a link instead.

Disclaimer: this doesn’t necessarily work on all cats. If you are the proud host of a Maine Coon, for instance, watch out: there is a fair chance that he will still shred the vet’s forearm, or yours.

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  1. attempter

    Re Atlanta schools:

    Why not cheat on these corporatist tests? NCLB is nothing but a federal/corporate power grab* at the expense of both local control and actual education. Standardized testing is already an abdication in favor of corporate functionality. So where’s the virtue in being against “cheating” on them? The whole system is one big cheat. Sorry, I don’t see any heroism here.

    A truly heroic teacher would just flout the teach-to-the-test curriculum completely and simply teach, enlisting the students as participants in their own learning. I imagine such a teacher would be fired soon enough, but would at least have accomplished something good in the meantime.

    [*I’ll take this opportunity to tweak the “conservatives” and tea partiers, who have been conspicuously silent on Bush’s NCLB even though it’s exactly the kind of radical social engineering and federal power grab at the expense of localities they claim to oppose.

    But of course we know conservatives are just a big a bunch of phonies as “progressives” when they claim to have any principles. Both hordes are merely partisan authoritarian followers, who just obey, obey, obey.]

    1. Externality

      There actually was considerable opposition on the part of the Republican base, especially the libertarian wing that now makes up the Tea Party. As the last link points out, NCLB actually passed the (Republican-controlled) House with more Democratic than Republican votes.

      Republican opposition was mostly ignored by the elite media. When it was covered, the media characterized opponents as paranoid conspiracy theorists, racists, secessionists, etc.

      “More Republican opposition to NCLB”

      “GOP Opposition to ‘No Child Left Behind’ Mounts”

      “Leaving No Child Left Behind”

    2. KnotRP

      Teachers cooking the books to get bonuses??!?!….where could they possibly have learned that from?

    3. gordon

      As if schools were the only variable affecting learning outcomes! You can put a half-starved, abused and neglected child into the best school in the world, and you will get only very moderate outcomes. The other variables will kill you. This is a social inequality issue as much as it is an educational one.

  2. Diego Méndez

    I read Cavallo’s piece yesterday and it changed my perception of things.

    Its argument is very persuasive: Argentina had an accident, and it only grew out of the hole because of exploding commodity prices. According to him, no one should take the Argentinian example as a successful model for Greece, etc.

    I’d like to ask wise NC commenters what they think about it. Is Argentina’s growth a bubble? Would it be in a better position today if it had not had a currency-de-linking accident?

      1. Diego Méndez

        You cannot brush aside a persuasive argument just because of a bio.

        That’s a bad practice that goes against democratic, rational debate. (Arguably, that’s why it has become so common in the West in the last 20 years).

        What do you people think about its argument? Why is he right/wrong?

        1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

          Euh, if you read his bio, you will see that he was one of those people who helped to bring about the situation in 2000. He has been around in Argentinian politics for a long time.
          So his claim that what Argentina had was an ‘accident’, is just laughable – what happened was the result of the policies he helped formulate and implement.
          The people who have had to clean up the mess he helped create deserve a bit more credit then he is prepared to give them, I’d think.

          BTW: I didn’t debate you or your arguments. I did, however, provide you with additional information that might or might have an influcence on your take of the validity of what he is saying. Whether you make use of that information is entirely up to you.

    1. Dan Duncan

      Re: Argentina had an Accident.

      Hey Diego, I see that Parvaneh has offered a Wikipedia link to Cavallo in his reply to you. I also see that you didn’t particularly care for said link.

      As a gesture of goodwill, please accept the following Wikipedia link in it’s stead. I honestly believe it provides the appropriate depth of analysis regarding Argentina’s Accident:!…_I_Did_It_Again

        1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

          There’s a good way to improve quality, if you find it lacking or identify factual errors: You can always contribute to it yourself. In general, this works fine with authors of the articles.

          But, of course, Wikipedia shouldn’t be your only source, thats what the little superscript numbers at the end of some words/sentences and the links at the bottom are for. They are called references and are for the most part very useful.

          Besides, if you speak several languages, you might want to check the corresponding article in other languages to see what they write. Hint: It’s not always the same.

    2. Dave of Maryland

      I sell fancy books, the sort you can’t find in your local Barnes & Noble. As a result I’ve never had much of a local base. I’ve been mail order, right from the start, with a healthy national trade.

      And an even more healthy international trade. Sell a lot to Brazil, for example, a bit to Chile, some to Venezuela (some via drops in Florida), etc.

      Before Argentina collapsed, I used to sell almost as much to Buenos Aires as I did to Rio. Not a lot overall, but it was consistent.

      Argentina collapsed & the sales disappeared. Vanished. Gone. Zero. Not a single one for maybe eight or ten years. A year ago a few sales came back, but they seem to have been one-offs.

      I sell esoteric stuff. You have to know what it is & know how to use it & only then will you be in the market. I don’t really know if the reason why sales are still zero is because Argentina is still a financial mess, or if the educational/cultural segment that I depend on simply disappeared in the convulsions & needs time to regenerate.

      But either way you look at it, in my experience, Argentina is still not back to where it was in the late 1990’s.

    3. Diego Méndez

      No matter whether Argentina should have pegged to the dollar or not, should it have de-pegged in 2001 or should it rather have tried to resist and keep the dollar, no matter the cost?

      That’s what we are discussing today in relation to Greece. Not whether the euro was a good idea, but rather whether Greece will really be in a better shape if it leaves the eurozone.

      Here is an excerpt from Cavallo’s link:

      “Debtors were very happy because their debts in dollars were reduced to one fourth. But depositors lost three fourths of their financial wealth.

      ” * Inflation jumped up to 40 % in 2002 and is still around 25 % per annum in 2011, despite the peso’s real value being back to its 2001 level.
      ” * The devaluation reduced all wages and pensions in real terms to a third of their pre-crisis level.

      “The devaluation also aggravated the recession.

      ” * GDP fell an additional 5% in just one semester;
      ” * Unemployment jumped to 24% from 18% at the end of 2001.

      “Growth restarts due to external factors, not the devaluation

      “Growth restarted and unemployment begun to fall in 2003. But this was not due to the devaluation. The key factors were the depreciation of the dollar and good luck on the commodity prices. The price of soy – which is a price set in international markets – jumped from less than $120 a ton in 2001 to more than $500 a ton by the late 2000s. It is absolutely erroneous and misleading to attribute the rapid growth of Argentina during the last 8 years to the “pesofication” and devaluation of 2002.

      I ask again fellow commenters: what do you think about this? Was Argentina’s growth after de-pegging a real improvement, or rather a bubble? Was it worth the hyperinflation?

      What will happen when the commodity bubble goes bust and hyperinflation keeps on being there? Won’t they miss the dollar peg?

      1. Cedric Regula

        When they finally de-peg, it’s because they don’t have a choice. The central bank has to sell dollars to buy pesos in FX. so if they de-pegged that means the CB ran out of dollars.

        The way countries always get into this predicament is from running a trade deficit. So that means the economy was mismanaged long before 2001.

        How to recover is always difficult, and there really is no guarantee you can. But a strong global commodity market would help of course.

      2. Jim

        Diego, what choice did Argentina have? The US Treasury was not prepared to be the lender-of-last-resort which Argentina needed. It had no choice but to lose the peg.

        Similarly, with Greece, what are its choices? The German taxpayer refuses to continue financing Greece’s operating losses. Greece has no choice but to leave the EuroZone.

        That is, unless the overpaid bureaucrats in Brussels disregard the public opinion of northern Euorpean voters and unilaterally impose a fiscal union.

        But even then, how does Greece grow with the Euro?

        1. Diego Méndez

          You ask me: what choice did Argentina (and does Greece) have?

          If the country needs lower labour costs, slash labour costs: e.g. finance Social Security though VAT and taxes on capital instead of Social Security charges, slash salaries (including those in private contracts), etc. It’s an emergency, after all, so why not slash salaries up to 30% before a devaluation slashes them 60-70%???

          If the country needs more competitiveness, protect your industry in the short term with some kind of duties on imports. (VAT acts as one in the EU).

          If the country needs lower foreign debt, change the rules against foreign creditors: e.g. change rules so that people, companies, etc. can go bankrupt more easily, thus relieving aggregate debt.

          In order to make those three points politically feasible, you need to re-distribute, re-distribute and re-distribute.

          1. Jim

            Diego, I will agree that the key is to redistribute, redistribute, and redistribute, to make the necessary adjustments politically feasible. But even in Greece, there’s been little appetite for redistribution.

      3. Karen

        I’m no expert, I should say that up front.

        But IF the pesofication led Argentinians and non-Argentinians who did business with Argentina to feel the future wouold be stable and reasonably predictable, then I think it DOES deserve a lot of credit for any healthy economic activity that ensued.

        That said, it’s clear that it did a lot of harm. And there are certainly other ways they could have accomplished the same basic result (a predictable sustainable future) at lower social cost. Not at NO social cost, though. Whenever promises to pay aren’t kept, someone is inevitably cheated.

    4. BondsOfSteel

      I was in Buenos Aires a couple in 2009 and spent a lot of time talking with the locals there anout the 2001 financial crisis.

      The stories I heard were about how everyone lost their life savings in ~ a week. The wealthy became middle class, the middle class became poor, and the poor became street beggars. There were still a lot of familys (with kids) digging through trash cans for cardboard to recycle when I was there. (There was also a lot of anger that the politically connected super rich were not effected.)

      I also ran into a bunch of Brazilians vacationing there. They thought Argentina was a bargin compared to Brazil…

      1. Thomas Barton, JD

        and according to a July 11 article on the real, the Brazilian currency makes the Argentinian prices even more of a bargain. But now Brazil after the real has appreciated a staggering 47 percent against the dollar since 2008 then these heady times for Brazil may come crashing to the ground as the Chinese economy slows and the EU implodes at high speed or in agonizing slow motion. Brazilians with cash should buy foreign now as much as possible. This scenario will not repeat over the next 3 years. But perhaps the EU building in Brussels can send Sao Paulo a canister of EU dark energy finance quintessence and the real will appreciate until the cows come home. (the article is at dated 11 july 2011)

  3. Foppe

    Re: “Behind the downgrades and the doubt: A crisis of growth — Paul Mason has a go at folding the US and Euro dramas into one big story.”

    And what a frustratingly bad attempt it is. Yes, he notes that there are growth issues on both sides of the Atlantic, but all he does is compare symptoms. He doesn’t explain how the link between wage stagnation/credit bubble formation fits into this, nor does he explain the link between the growth crisis and the median wage stagnation the US (and Europe, if to a slightly lesser extent) have been seeing since the 1970s. As such, his suggestion that “the weak link is the Eurozone” is at best a partial explanation, while his suggestion that the ECB ‘rests on a fiction’ is a red herring. I don’t really feel like going into fileting the claims made in this article in detail, but it’s really frustrating to see that these journalist types still can’t (or more likely, won’t) consider unorthodox macro explanations of the crisis — as it seems to me that the work Paul is trying to do here has already been done, much more successfully, by Harvey.

    1. Jim

      Great comment. I’ll merely add the words of Roosevelt’s first Fed chief, Eccles: Mass consumption is required by mass production. But mass consumption requires a fair distribution of new wealth as it is currently produced (not accumulated wealth) to provide mass purchasing power. By denying the masses necessary purchasing power, capital denies itself of the very demand that would justify its investment in new production. Credit can extend purchasing power but only until the credit runs out, which would soon occur without the support of adequate income.

  4. Jim

    When they say “treated as “The Commons””, I hope they don’t mean “appropriated for their own private property by rich people who control government,” because that’s what the British government did to the original common land, and later to the publicly-owned rail transport network.

    That’s a continuing problem with successful public assets: the rich look at them and think “I could steal that!” The occasional mass hanging of rich people would be satisfying, but what we really need is a way to stop them stealing in the first place.

  5. joebhed

    The openness of Al Jazeera in the Steve Keen interview was refreshing – yes, make the ratings agencies consumer-based non-profits. The interview is from Keen’s Debtwatch site and a single Page Down stroke brings you to Keen’s interview with Max Keiser – also a worthwhile listen.

  6. ScottW

    Re: The NYT’s paywall: By not requiring readers to login prior to reading the articles, the NYT’s has decided not to fully commit to a real paywall. I find that if I switch browsers (Firefox to Safari), or delete the NYT cookie, the 20 article monthly limit goes away. My guess is they will abandon the paywall concept soon, as the people willing to pay for their content is too small to overcome the loss of free readers who do bring in advertising dollars.

    1. Mark Pontin

      Yup. All the above works. Also, if you paste the title of a NYT article you want to read in Google News, you’ll usually be able to get at it that way, too. The NYT has pretty much the most tenuous paywall in internet history.

  7. Maju

    Re. Greece/Argentine. Domingo Cavallo was (and probably still is) the most hated person in Argentina after the Junta. He was the “father” of pegging the peso to the US dollar in the 1991-2001 decade (so no wonder he is against “depegging” the Greek economy from the German one too). Interestingly enough he was also the organizer of the infamous “corralito” (2001) by which your bank accounts were frozen (except for a limited amount) and all accounts denominated in dollars were frozen indefinitely.

    It was a total disaster for the Argentinean middle classes, which never truly recovered. According to Wikipedia:

    “Cavallo’s policies are viewed by opponents as major causes of the de-industrialization and the rise of unemployment, poverty and crime endured by Argentina in the late 1990s, as well as the collapse of 2001, the ensuing default of the Argentine public debt”.

    I am sure he also has some “good” recipes for Greece, recipes that will be loved by the banksters and hated by the people. But wait! For that neither Greece nor the EU need Cavallo: they are doing horribly bad on their own with more or less the same cretin IMF policies.

    1. Diego Méndez

      Thanks for your answer. As I said before, you cannot brush aside a persuasive argument just because of a bio.

      As I see it, there is no way you can fight hyperinflation without ortodox measures, like austerity and market liberalization. Pegging the peso to the dollar had its own share of problems, but hyperinflation stopped for a decade.

      And definitely, you cannot have manufacturing industry in a country with hyperinflation. Argentina’s exports are basically commodities, whose price has grown exponentially; this certainly may have something to do with the alleged Argentinian boom after de-pegging. Argentina today has hyperinflation, so it won’t really industrialize (despite appearances) until it goes back to the Washington consensus.

      I feel I have been deceived by many economists on the advantages and unavoidability of leaving the eurozone.

  8. Max424

    My two Maine Coons each handle different.

    Giselle (aka Gisella DeVille), my 15 pound female, has been known to rake and slash. On those traumatic days, when I have to place her gently in her carrier (giggle), her inner-psycho feline almost always takes over, and as a result, she does have the blood of a couple of unwary vets on her claws.

    Of course, Giselle knows better than to rake and slash her Master, although, she does stick me on occasion (always when I’m checking her for lumps). In a fraction of a split second, I’ll feel anywhere from 5 to 20 sharp needles instantaneously impacting my skin, and my green-eyed Coon girl will give me a look that says, “Massssstrrr, unless you want these needles to turn into fishhooks an eighth inch deep inside your forearm, that’ll be enough probing for today. Understood?”

    Fabius Maximus Cunctator (aka Maxi Baer), Giselle’s brother, is 22 pounds of lean and muscled cat; but unlike his sister, he would never slash anyone. Max is in fact a gentle boy, a friendly boy, and he is naturally the apple of every vet’s eye.

    And there is no physical trouble with Max on the days he goes to the vets, I only have to pick up him up, and whisper, “Remember, my brave Maine Coon, that which does not kill us makes us stronger,” and he’s in his carrier.

    But once my little lad in his carrier, and all the time he is in it, he lets out a low, rumbling, bassoon-like mow so forlorn, so prolonged and grief stricken, it is as if Max is mourning all the Maine Coon and Norwegian cats that ever proceeded him, dating back to a time, long before the Vikings.

    And always, when I listen to Max in his carrier, I think; my remarkable cat is producing … the saddest notes ever struck.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am thinking about legally changning my cats’ name to Mr. Les and Ms. Moore.

        Either that or Mr. Rong and Ms. Right.

      2. Max424

        Good one.

        I don’t know about Dr. Spock, but Giselle, aka Cheezer (she loves cheese, does Cheezer, especially the Parmesan on the top of my pasta), could definitely use a few sessions with Dr. Freud.

        She is, down deep, a crazed psychopath. But then again, so his her brother. After all, both my little killers snuff out innocent life forms, simply for sport and pleasure.

        Note: Max has another aka, Dahmer, as in, “Good boy, Dahmer! Now, why don’t we release Mr. Rabbit from your jaws, and will see if we can’t revive him.

        “That’s it … let me have Mr. Rabbit … watch those claws … watch those claws, Jeffrey!”

  9. BDBlue

    Rebekah Brooks has been arrested in London (kind of makes me wonder about the timing of Hinton’s resignation as well). It’s interesting to watch all of the various parts of the elite scramble to protect themselves from their own roles in the corruption. The police now appear to be doing their jobs and conducting a real investigation to show that they aren’t all bought off. The Parliament is threatening to put the Murdochs under oath when they testify. Etc. Etc. When, in fact, all of these folks have known about this for years and simply permitted it to continue. Don’t get me wrong, the ass covering is working in the public’s favor – taking News Corp down is a public good – but they’re hardly lone actors in all of this.

    Also, I think it’s fair to say that you’ve lost your ability to “spin” an issue when this is the response to the news your PR client has been arrested:

    “Rebekah is assisting the police with their enquiries. She attended a London police station voluntarily. “It was a pre-arranged appointment. We are unable to comment further as it is an ongoing police investigation.”

    So how many US politicians are kept in line by News Corp’s ugly ways. Somehow I doubt our system is cleaner than the Brits.

    1. scraping_by

      Call it paranoid, but I do remember that then-pres Clinton didn’t need to give the deposition that led to the great distraction of his impeachment. He’d avoided them for six years. Legally, a public official is immune from civil suits while in office for official actions, and traditionally the President was immune from civil suits entirely (New Orleans Batteaux case, Jefferson). He was a willing participant in wasting his second term in smut circus, or at least, passive.

      Rupert is going along with this way too easily. The apparent dismantling of his propaganda empire is happening far too quickly. The anti-government terrorists who support him and are supported by him could do much better than this is protecting their mainstay.

      Is this whole thing theatre? Only time will tell.

  10. Susan the other

    Paul Mason’s stuff about the crisis of growth: It was a brief overview. The crisis of growth is a worldwide event. It is not just about the EU and the US. It is about world population. It is going down. That basket of goods and services? It is going to get considerably smaller because there will be fewer feet to shoe, mouths to feed, roofs to patch. Manufacturing and trade is not the answer. Debt or “credit” is based on the expectation of gain from growth and it is clearly not the answer. It has now become illogical.

    We modern humans have institutionalized the concept of debt instinctively without much doubt about it. Our instincts are basically those of a hungry carnivore. We have taken our immediate gut reactions and tried to extend them into eternity by debt for growth.

    What we need now is reverse debt: Create a national/international savings and conservation “bank” (we have to find a new word for the repository because bank has become such a dirty word). We will reclaim the planet, clean it up, conserve resources, aka commodities, and for each gain we can make an entry in the books showing this new wealth. It will be the new gold standard. (Yes, it is all an illusion, but we need a new one that is useful.)

    This new wealth not only eradicates the old “debt,” it pays us.

    Everyone benefits on an equal basis because this wealth is the commonwealth. Everyone receives a dividend, enough to supplement living expenses. This could eliminate war as well. Dream of new definitions.

  11. rd

    The bone vs fat is very simple.

    The bone votes. But…the fat provides the funds to “inform” the bone what to vote for.

    As a result, the pork process provides the campaign funding to inform the masses that they should vote against their own interests.

    Currently, the fat thinks that their system is stable. The Arab leadership thought the same. The process by which the fat is building “stability” is creating its own instability. I don’t know what will come out of the next decade or so, but it may not be pretty. I think the big question is whether or not the Constituion will survive, shich it did after other major periods of instability such as the Civil War and the Great Depression.

    1. ambrit

      Dear rd;
      The Constitution was lucky earlier because America had exceptional Presidents during those crises. Lincoln and Roosevelt each rose to the occasion and steered America through the times of troubles into stability again. Can we be so lucky a third time? Perhaps. But we need real working politicians, not ‘slumming’ business executives, at the helm. Who will be Americas “Great Helmsman?” Only time will tell.

  12. rj sigmund

    yves, re: NYT: Have they given up on their pay wall? They let me look at this one.

    you can access any NYT story you want to if someone else links to it or if you receive it in the mail…

  13. Philip Pilkington

    Good video summary of the Murdoch thing from The Guardian:

    Wouldn’t have usually posted this. But I love the dodgy rich guy on the boat. He’s so sexist and he hides it so badly. What’s more, he looks like a bloody Bond villain!

    1. Max424

      Thanks for the link.

      After I have taken over the Beltway, and have forced the treasonously insane there into hiding (basically, everybody), the first thing I’m going to do is set up a Council of the Sane, to advise me, and Randall Wray will certainly be an honored member of it.

      I’ll probably have Yves chair the group. Hell, I’ll probably have Yves to run the whole shebang in Washington, the first couple of years, as I should be busy for a spell, rooting out the — too-many-to-count — cowering Beltway rats that formerly governed us, for just appointments, with the People’s Gallows.

    1. Valissa

      “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

      Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.”

      Generally attributed to Alexander Tytler. Here’s some informative research on the question of attribution and MORE… including other related quotes… like this one…

      “At the stage between apathy and dependency, men always turn in fear to economic and political panaceas. New conditions, it is claimed, require new remedies. Under such circumstances, the competent citizen is certainly not a fool if he insists upon using the compass of history when forced to sail uncharted seas. Usually so-called new remedies are not new at all. Compulsory planned economy, for example, was tried by the Chinese some three milleniums ago, and by the Romans in the early centuries of the Christian era. It was applied in Germany, Italy and Russia long before the present war broke out. Yet it is being seriously advocated today as a solution of our economic problems in the United States. Its proponents confidently assert that government can successfully plan and control all major business activity in the nation, and still not interfere with our political freedom and our hard-won civil and religious liberties. The lessons of history all point in exactly the reverse direction.” – Henning W. Prentis, Industrial Management in a Republic, p. 22

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I have always like that quote from Tytler.

        As usual, not-so-smart people have to be on the look out for smart people coming up with a new name to get everyone to move from the private sector to the public sector.

        1. Valissa

          Everything flows and nothing abides; everything gives way and nothing stays fixed. — Heraclitus

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s the flag moving.

            No, it’s the wind.

            Actually, it’s the mind that is moving.

  14. Riks Banker

    Ironically, the ignoble prize winners in economics do better research and have more integrity than the winners of the Swedish Riskybank’s prize a.k.a the economics nobel.

  15. Thomas Barton, JD

    I hope you will send this link on the cat sedation trick to the writer of Frontal Cortex at I wonder if this mimics some neural pathway that still exists from infancy when a momma cat picks up her kittens for transport, often under perceived danger when stillness and silence are supremely important.

  16. Hugh

    That Paul Mason is the economics editor at the BBC should tell you you are going to get rehashed Conventional Wisdom. Here we are in an advanced stage of kleptocracy. It has looted the world economy and already caused one meltdown. It has corrupted virtually all political systems on the planet. Analysts, experts, etc., like Mason, aren’t stupid. They are propagandists. The problem is not that we have been and are being robbed blind by looting elites. No, no, no, it’s growth, or credit, or that workers don’t have the requisite skills, or a lack of solidarity.

    The closest he comes to reality is in his last line speaking of a “crisis of consent,” a nice way of saying that the rubes are getting reckless.

    And what’s up with his glaringly wrong reference to Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine?

    1. Foppe

      Yeah, I didn’t understand what part of Klein’s work he was referring to either. Perhaps he only read the last few pages, and decided that ‘all’s fair in love and war’, appealing to some kind of bullshit status quo argument like “democracies rise and fall” that are intended to make people thing that cyclicality is a necessary component of government, and that nothing therefore need be done. But realistically, I have no idea what he was trying to suggest.

    2. attempter

      The only thing I can think of is that he hopes this crisis (which is, of course, nothing but a purely artificial political crisis) can be used to shock the people of Europe into surrendering what little national sovereignty they have left. After all, the kleptocrats don’t want to have to keep going through discrete austerity votes in individual parliaments, facing ever-escalating country-specific protests every time. Sooner or later, they’re going to provoke a real revolution in one of these countries.

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