Bill Black: Rajan Calls Krugman “Paranoid” for Criticizing Reinhart’s and Rogoff’s Research

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cross posed from New Economic Perspectives

This article discusses a simmering feud among five of the most prominent economists in the world (two of them Nobel Laureates). It was prompted by the August 8, 2013 article by Raghuram Rajan, who has just been selected to run India’s Central Bank, entitled: “The Paranoid Style in Economics.” (Note: I have deliberately “buried the lead” in my last section.)

The personalities involved have a great deal to do with the feud, but as Paul Krugman wrote on May 23, 2013, “It’s Not About You.”

I will ignore the personalities and discuss what it is about – economic policies that continue to cause devastating harm to the public all over the globe. Krugman and Joe Stiglitz are critics of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) imposition of austerity as a cure for severe recessions. Ken Rogoff, Carmen Reinhart, and Rajan were the leading economists at the IMF who championed the imposition of austerity.

Round One: Rogoff v. Stiglitz

The original feud was most famously between Stiglitz and Rogoff. Stiglitz, who led the movement at the World Bank to throw off its support for austerity, memorably claimed that IMF was staffed with “third rate” economists. Rogoff famously blasted Stiglitz in a July 2, 2002, “open letter” (only months after Stiglitz was made a Laureate) that, inter alia, referred to him as a “loose cannon” who had “slandered” the IMF staff, slammed him for refusing to “admit to having been even slightly wrong about a major real world problem,” suggested he was so arrogant that he doubted that Paul Volcker was “really smart,” admitted that Stiglitz had a few ideas with which the IMF would “generally agree” because most of them were “old hat,” described Stiglitz’s most recent book as “long on innuendo and short on footnotes,” derided him as pretending to see himself “as a heroic whistleblower” when he was actually peddling “snake oil,” described Stiglitz views as being most analogous to Arthur Laffer’s “voodoo economics” (cleverly and deeply insulting on multiple levels), accused Stiglitz of lacking faith in markets and having faith in increasingly democratic governments (“you betray an unrelenting belief in the pervasiveness of market failures, and a staunch conviction that governments can and will make things better”), and ended with a wonderfully nasty “compliment” that compared Stiglitz to a famous scholar who suffers from often disabling mental illness (“Like your fellow Nobel Prize winner, John Nash, you have a ‘beautiful mind.’ As a policymaker, however, you were just a bit less impressive.”) To top off this list, Rogoff told Stiglitz that he should pull his book from publication because it “slandered” a senior IMF official.

But those are only the gratuitous insults that Rogoff launched at Stiglitz. His real attack was that Stiglitz had done incalculable damage to the developing world by criticizing the IMF and by opposing austerity as “battlefield medicine” for nations thrown into severe recessions.

In your role as chief economist at the World Bank, you decided to become what you see as a heroic whistleblower, speaking out against macroeconomic policies adopted during the 1990s Asian crisis that you believed to be misguided. You were 100% sure of yourself, 100% sure that your policies were absolutely the right ones. In the middle of a global wave of speculative attacks, that you yourself labeled a crisis of confidence, you fueled the panic by undermining confidence in the very institutions you were working for. Did it ever occur to you for a moment that your actions might have hurt the poor and indigent people in Asia that you care about so deeply? Do you ever lose a night’s sleep thinking that just maybe, Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, Bob Rubin, and Stan Fischer had it right—and that your impulsive actions might have deepened the downturn or delayed—even for a day—the recovery we now see in Asia?

Recall that this was written in 2002, so the hilarity of summoning the support of Greenspan, Summers, Rubin, and Fisher for one’s financial policies was not apparent to neoclassical economists. In any event, Rogoff’s claim is that the “impulsive” Stiglitz’s criticism of the IMF during the Asian crisis endangered the economic recovery essential to “indigent people in Asia” because it could have reduced “confidence” in the IMF’s policy of imposing austerity as “battlefield medicine” for Nations that were in sharp recessions.

Not content with claiming that Stiglitz had “fueled the panic” that endangered the poor; Rogoff extends his “battlefield medicine” metaphor by accusing Stiglitz of “sniping at the paramedics as they tended the wounded.” Having analogized Stiglitz to a murderous war criminal, Rogoff returns to his subthemes that Stiglitz is arrogant, a terrible economist, and personally responsible for the IMF’s failed austerity programs because Stiglitz “ignominiously sabotaged” those programs by criticizing them. Rogoff asserts that the key to economic recovery from a recession is the appearance of what many economists now refer to as the “confidence fairy” and that austerity is the sole elixir that can summon the confidence fairy. The confidence fairy only appears if one believes, really believes, in fairies so Stiglitz’s criticism of austerity was an act of sabotage that prevented the IMF from summoning the fairy. Rogoff then asks:

Do you ever think that just maybe, Joe Stiglitz might have screwed up? That, just maybe, you were part of the problem and not part of the solution?

Worse, the policies that Stiglitz urged the IMF to “prescri[be]” to reduce human distress and speed recovery from a severe recession rejected austerity. Stiglitz denies that the IMF was providing “battlefield medicine” to nations in severe recessions. Recessions represent sharply inadequate demand. Economists have known for at over 75 years that austerity reduces the already inadequate demand and exacerbates the recession, as we have seen in the eurozone. This gratuitously harms tens of millions of people. Real battlefield medicine consists of stopping the bleeding and giving the patient fluids and plasma. Forcing austerity on a nation in a recession is analogous to refusing to stop the bleeding (e.g., by opposing capital controls) and bleeding the patient (via austerity). The IMF does, of course, provide some liquidity, but only if the nation it lends to agrees to bleed its economy through austerity.

Attacking Stiglitz for having such a conventional view about economics that the IMF now generally concedes is correct (IMF publications are hopelessly contradictory on this subject) required Rogoff to rely on rhetorical flourishes that sought to mock Stiglitz for opposing austerity as “battlefield medicine” for a recession. Rogoff asserted that increasing demand through government spending led to inflation rising, “often uncontrollably.” Rogoff’s logic is that austerity aids the poor because it forces millions of them into unemployment and poverty. This reduces workers’ wages by forcing them to compete with huge numbers of unemployed workers for jobs. This prevents inflation, which Rogoff asserts is the great threat to the poor.
The irony of the IMF deliberately creating the “reserve army of the unemployed” that Marx asserted was the defining dynamic of capitalism in order to suppress wages is lost on IMF economists. Whatever their other qualities (a matter hotly disputed by Rogoff and Stiglitz) IMF economists have not demonstrated introspection about the irony of the IMF’s embrace of Marx’s most famous critique of capitalism as a means to purportedly achieve a “capitalist” recovery from financial crisis. The IMF’s deliberate adoption of austerity policies it knows produce severe unemployment while bailing out the financial sector leads to severe increases in inequality of income, wealth, and political power. This is one of the reasons that Stiglitz strongly criticizes austerity.

Round Two: Neoclassical Economics v. the World

Rogoff’s criticisms of Stiglitz and his (and the IMF’s) embrace of Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers’ assaults on financial regulation produced the criminogenic environments that led to the epidemics of control fraud that drove the global financial crisis and the Great Recession. Reinhart and Rogoff (R&R) published a book claiming that government stimulus programs were counterproductive and that austerity should be the response. They asserted in policy recommendations that there was a cliff when a nation’s debt reached 90% of its GDP that led to untenable interest expense burdens that served as a long-term brake on economic growth. Their book was widely and favorably cited by proponents of austerity. The proponents were able to restrict the size of the U.S. stimulus program, remove its vital “revenue sharing” component that could have prevented so much harm to states and communities and speeded the recovery, and force much of the stimulus to be in the form of relatively ineffective tax cuts for the wealthy. The impact of R&R in the Eurozone was far worse. It led to austerity programs that forced the Eurozone into a gratuitous recession and much of the periphery into a second Great Depression that continues.

Round Three: Heterodox Economists v. Reinhart and Rogoff’s Study

There were strong, immediate criticisms of R&R’s claims about austerity and the asserted debt cliff, including those of my colleague Randy Wray that proved correct. R&R failed to distinguish between nations with fully sovereign currencies and other nations and engaged in selective data that excluded nations and years that ran counter to their claimed findings. Graduate students from two of the Nation’s few remaining heterodox economics departments (University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the University of Missouri-Kansas City) devastated the R&R book by examining its data – and the data R&R excluded. The U. Mass graduate student won deserved fame for finding that R&R had made serious data entry errors that when corrected revealed that the purported 90% cliff was fictional and greatly reduced the relationship that R&R reported between increased debt and reduced growth. Our graduate students demonstrated that if one were to infer causality from the data the direction of causality ran the opposite of what R&R claimed in their policy arguments. Recessions led to high levels of debt, not the other way around.

R&R’s errors were embarrassing and their policy advice in favor of austerity proved disastrous, but Stiglitz did not rush to recycle Rogoff’s famous attack on him and explain that rather than providing “battlefield medicine,” the IMF, the ECB, and the EU infliction of austerity on wounded economies was equivalent to bayonetting the wounded. The whole thing would have ended there, but Reinhart and Rogoff’s response to the U. Mass article led to Round Four.

Round Four: Reinhart and Rogoff v. Reinhart and Rogoff

For reasons that pass all understanding, Reinhart and Rogoff decided to claim that the U. Mass study had confirmed the R&R study that higher debt was associated with lower growth and to claim that they had never argued that there was a cliff or that high debt led to lower growth. This was a strategy that had to fail in the modern era, which retained records of their statements and statements of policy makers about the cliff and about their claim that high debt led to low growth. (Note that Rogoff’s 2002 letter lambasting Stiglitz made that same claim.)

Round Five: Krugman v. Reinhart and Rogoff

Reinhart and Rogoff’s disingenuous response to the revelation of their many errors prompted Krugman to call them out on their claims. Note that Reinhart and Rogoff’s response (immediately above) did not complain of Krugman’s (quite mild) comments one week before they wrote their April 26, 2013 response.

Krugman cited Brad DeLong’s graphical demonstration of the disingenuous nature of R&R’s description of their findings.

Round Six: Reinhart and Rogoff v. Krugman: Reprising Rogoff’s 2002 Attack on Stiglitz

Reinhart and Rogoff reprised some of the tactics of Rogoff’s 2002 open letter attacking Stiglitz with an open letter (May 25, 2013) attacking Krugman for criticizing R&R. The famous line in this iteration was: “it has been with deep disappointment that we have experienced your spectacularly uncivil behavior the past few weeks. You have attacked us in very personal terms, virtually non-stop….”

Round Seven: The IMF Clan Closes Ranks to Attack Krugman

Just when one might have hoped that R&R’s flawed study, their disastrous support for austerity, and the feud would become a bit of arcane economic history, Rajan, on the way to India to lead its central bank, decided to rally around his IMF colleagues and to (by innuendo) accuse Krugman of being “paranoid.” The title of Rajan’s article is: “The Paranoid Style in Economics” and his first two sentences are:

Why do high-profile economic tussles turn so quickly to ad hominem attacks? Perhaps the most well-known recent example has been the Nobel laureate Paul Krugman’s campaign against the economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff….

There are three obvious things to say in response to Rajan’s title and claim. First, having read Rogoff’s open letter to Stiglitz, if Rajan wants to criticize a “paranoid,” “spectacularly uncivil” style of discourse containing myriad ad hominem attacks he has aimed his pen at the wrong economist.

Second, Krugman did not make ad hominem attacks on Rajan’s IMF colleagues. Krugman made substantive criticisms of Reinhart and Rogoff’s arguments and practices. One can debate the accuracy of his criticisms, but they were addressed to the merits of their research.

Third, Rajan makes an ad hominem attack on Krugman in this article. Worse, he does it by innuendo, implying that Krugman is “paranoid.” Rajan and Rogoff have reason to be personally upset with Krugman. Krugman wrote a June 9, 2011 column that explained that Rajan and Rogoff gave spectacularly bad advice not only in favor of fiscal austerity, but raising interest rates, at a time when doing so would have been disastrous and was unsupported by any economic model. Krugman quoted Keynes’ famous passage in which he noted that many economists viewed the willingness to inflict misery on others as the hallmark of a real economist.

Round Eight: We Must Focus on Rajan’s Admissions

Readers will likely ignore Rajan’s column because they will consider his attack on Krugman as an understandable, but disingenuous, payback for Krugman criticisms of the three former IMF economists. That would be a shame, for Rajan’s article contains two enormously important admissions that my colleagues who specialize in macroeconomics have long emphasized.

In the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, macroeconomists tended to assume away the financial sector in their models of advanced economies. With no significant financial crisis since the Great Depression, it was convenient to take for granted that the financial plumbing worked in the background….

As Krugman wrote, our focus needs to be on the economics rather than the personalities. Orthodox economics is broken, and Rajan’s admissions are what matters in his article.

Theoclassical economists did not simply assume away finance and money. By assuming finance and money away they implicitly assumed away fraud and the essential regulatory cops on the beat. Theoclassical economists pushed to eviscerate the institutional protections such as effective financial regulation and regulators that had helped ensure “that the financial plumbing worked in the background” and created the criminogenic environments that led to the epidemics of control fraud that drive our recurrent, intensifying crises. Economists ignored the warnings and the policies recommended by another Laureate, George Akerlof. Akerlof and Paul Romer wrote a classic article in 1993 entitled “Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit.” They made this passage the conclusion of their paper in order to give the message special emphasis.

The S&L crisis, however, was also caused by misunderstanding. Neither the public nor economists foresaw that the regulations of the 1980s were bound to produce looting. Nor, unaware of the concept, could they have known how serious it would be. Thus the regulators in the field who understood what was happening from the beginning found lukewarm support, at best, for their cause. Now we know better. If we learn from experience, history need not repeat itself (Akerlof & Romer 1993: 60).

Neoclassical economists overwhelmingly continue to ignore Akerlof, Romer, and their former colleague Jim Pierce’s findings about control fraud and the findings of criminologists. Rajan’s book about the crisis, for example, asserts that fraud played no material role in the crisis and describes a hypothetical scam that he says illustrates the (lawful) causes of the crisis. The scam, however, requires two felonies and would fail as a scam. Rajan does not understand the law or fraud. The accounting control fraud “recipe,” by contrast, works and has great explanatory power.

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    1. nonclassical

      “paranoid” is a parallel attempt to marginalize a Black man or woman as “ANGRY”..I don’t have to answer, because you’re ANGRY…or PARANOID…

      typical neocon-rightwing internet disinformation technique (obviously 2014 election cycle is gearing up):

      Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

      Note: The first rule and last five (or six, depending on situation) rules are generally not directly within the ability of the traditional disinfo artist to apply. These rules are generally used more directly by those at the leadership, key players, or planning level of the criminal conspiracy or conspiracy to cover up.

      1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don’t discuss it — especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it’s not reported, it didn’t happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.
      2. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the ‘How dare you!’ gambit.
      3. Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method which works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such ‘arguable rumors’. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a ‘wild rumor’ from a ‘bunch of kids on the Internet’ which can have no basis in fact.
      4. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent’s argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.
      5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary ‘attack the messenger’ ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as ‘kooks’, ‘right-wing’, ‘liberal’, ‘left-wing’, ‘terrorists’, ‘conspiracy buffs’, ‘radicals’, ‘militia’, ‘racists’, ‘religious fanatics’, ‘sexual deviates’, and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.
      6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism, reasoning — simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent’s viewpoint.
      7. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could be taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.
      8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough ‘jargon’ and ‘minutia’ to illustrate you are ‘one who knows’, and simply say it isn’t so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.
      9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.
      10. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man — usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with – a kind of investment for the future should the matter not be so easily contained.) Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually then be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues — so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.
      11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the ‘high road’ and ‘confess’ with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made — but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, ‘just isn’t so.’ Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later, and even publicly ‘call for an end to the nonsense’ because you have already ‘done the right thing.’ Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for ‘coming clean’ and ‘owning up’ to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.
      12. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to lose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.
      13. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards or with an apparent deductive logic
      which forbears any actual material fact.
      14. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best with issues qualifying for rule 10.
      15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.
      16. Vanish evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won’t have to address the issue.
      17. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can ‘argue’ with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.
      18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can’t do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how ‘sensitive they are to criticism.’
      19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the ‘play dumb’ rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon.) In order to completely avoid discussing issues, it may be required that you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.
      20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations — as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed
      with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.
      21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed and unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favorable verdict is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed. Usually, this technique is applied to find the guilty innocent, but it can also be used to obtain charges when seeking to frame a victim.
      22. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.
      23. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.
      24. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of theircharacter by release of blackmail information, or merely by destroying them financially, emotionally, or severely damaging their health.
      25. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen. .

      (time to return to CATO)

      1. neo-realist

        Usually another way of marginalizing a black male or female when that person brings up a hot button racial issue is to say that he or she is playing the “race card”. It tends to be a ploy to shut off any discussion on an issue which may cut too deep into white privilege and institutional racism.

  1. Hugh

    Orthodox economics is not broken. It serves its intended purpose of propaganda perfectly.

    None of these economists, including Bill Black (although he does come closest), deal with the issue of kleptocracy, wealth inequality, and class war in a thorough going fashion. Bill Black will talk about looting, but not the system as looting, or looting by class (the rich and elites). Stiglitz will talk about inequality. Krugman mentions it. None of them put it together into a complete analysis. None of them question the legitimacy of the Establishment to which they all belong or their place among the elites. I see no deep questioning of capitalism or our political structures.

    This is not to say I didn’t enjoy the article, but it is of the “get out the popcorn and watch the pie fight” kind.

    1. David Lentini

      Agreed. At best, orthodox (or neoclassical) economics suffers from the same problem as communism—in order for the system to work, everyone has to be an angel. If people are corrupt, or, better put, corrutpable, then markets can’t police themselves and we need governments (just like James Madison pointed out).

      And I loved the quote from Rogoff about how distasteful democracy is compared to the “market”. Apparently, the crowd that is too stupid to vote works just fine in the “market”. Or is Rogoff admitting that markets aren’t all that “free” after all, and instead are controlled by the right people?

    2. from Mexico

      @ Hugh

      I agree.

      These folks make the same mistake the prosecuting attorneys in their closing arguments in the Zimmerman case did.

      Prosecuting (or defending) a case entails two steps: 1) presenting the evidence and 2) making closing arguments.

      In their closing arguments, the Zimmerman defense presented a clear and consistent theory. The prosecution, on the other hand, didn’t even bother to present an alternate theory. The reason for this is rather clear: the theory articulated by the Zimmerman defense is America’s ruling doctrine, and the prosecuting attorneys — reactionary, right-wing ideolgues to a man (or woman) — were not inclined to challenge that. And without a theory, evidence is incomprehensible. It is meaningless.

      “What rules the world is ideas,” is how the neocon ideologue Irving Kristol put it, “because ideas define the way reality is perceived.” And indeed, the right is masterful at formulating, articulating and proselytizing ideas and theories, and the New Left, in all its insipidness and ineptitude, fails miserably at this. Why do you believe that is?

      David Sloan Wilson, in his book Evolution for Everyone, makes a similar point:

      Since writing Darwin’s Cathedral I have traveled the world speaking about evolution and religion to audiences of all sorts. I end my talk with the following passage from Darwin’s autobiography about a field trip that he took as a young man with his professor Adam Sedgwick to a valley in Wales:

      We spent many hours in Cwm Idwal, examing all of the rocks with extreme care, as Sedgwick was anxious to find fossils in them; but neither of us saw a trace of the wonderful glacial phenomena all around us; we did not notice the plainly scored rocks, the perched boulders, the lateral and terminal moraines. Yet these phenomena are so conspicuous that…a house burnt down by fire did not tell its story more plainly than did this valley. If it had still been filled by a glacier, the phenomena would have been less distinct than they are now.

      This passage wonderfully illustrates the need for a theory to see what is in front of our faces . Darwin and Sedgwick could not see the evidence for glaciers because the theory of glaciation had not yet been proposed. With the theory in mind, the confirming evidence became so obvious that the glaciers might as well have still been present.

      1. Bapoy

        Is that why Europe and Asia are predominantly socialists while the US boasts the most socialist administration in it’s history.

        Let’s be honest here, who doesn’t want ‘something for nothing’? The right has been completely muted. If you think republicans constitutes ‘the right’, think again. The majority of Republicans are interchangeable with democrats, it’s all about spending.

        Zimmerman’s case was a loss for the prosecution from the beginning. It was not lack of trying, they tampered with evidence and even fired their IT director. They were thugs, period.

        1. charles fasola

          You sir have not the remotest idea of the actual definition of the term socialist. [ad hominem. –lambert]

        2. F. Beard

          The banks get “something for nothing” every time they make a loan because the Liabilities they create for themselves are mostly VIRTUAL* while the Liabilities the borrowers must assume are very REAL** and may, in fact, be IMPOSSIBLE to meet in aggregate because of the missing interest problem.

          * Because there is no risk-free fiat storage and transaction service outside the banking/credit union system which enjoys the priviledge of government deposit insurance.

          ** Such as the very home they live in!!!

        3. nonclassical

          Bapoy doesn’t like the “house negro” version of “bought and sold”, parallel to bush-cheney version…to him, it’s socialism…

          you’re missing Glenn Beck, Bopoy-and your logic is as faulty…

          Obama healthPROFIT=$ub$idie$ to in$urance co’s (banks),

          just as bushcheney Medicare part D $ub$idized pharmaceutical$…

          the idea is to sell your political party off to the highest bidders…bought and sold…

        4. from Mexico

          Bapoy says:

          Let’s be honest here, who doesn’t want ‘something for nothing’?

          There pops up that self-interest axiom again.

          The neoclassicists and their fellow travelers need to take a victory lap.

        5. Lambert Strether

          Why does collective ownership of the means of production imply “something for nothing”? Isn’t it really rentiers and userers who are getting something for nothing?

          1. from Mexico

            If all, or almost all, are guilty, nobody is.

            If unbridled greed and self-interest are merely universal human nature, then who can blame one for being that way?

          2. Bapoy

            Given that you are asking for collective ownership of stuff, how will you make sure everyone is collectively working too? You know, those darn goods and services take work to produce, so “owning” stuff is meaningless, unless you work to make it valuable.

            You can’t and will never be able to control people Lambert. So why try to pretend you can? Oh and by the way, unicorns don’t exist.

            1. Massinissa

              Yeah, thats the thing.

              If coop workers dont work, the business still fails.

              So youre straw manning REALLY HARD here.

              Coop workers can do the same things regular workers do, but without overpaid executives taking all the loot.

            2. Lambert Strether

              You’re asking me to “make sure” everyone is working, and then asserting “You can’t and will never be able to control people[,] Lambert.” How is this even coherent?

              1. nonclassical

                for the “beakers”, obama $80 billion per month=QE3 $ub$idie$ of Wall $treet banks is “$ociali$m”…

                ridiculous…as usual, from neocons=neofeudalist fundamentalists…

              2. nonclassical

                for the “beckers”, obama $80 billion per month=QE3 $ub$idie$ of Wall $treet banks is “$ociali$m”…

                ridiculous…as usual, from neocons=neofeudalist fundamentalists…

        6. EricT

          How has the right been muted?? If you think spending is the problem, did you even read the article? We are in the middle of right wing hell, right now. The Zimmerman case was simple, a person approached another person with a gun, one person died, the other didn’t. Racism settled the case even before the trial started. Stop trying to turn logic upside down to justify your pettiness.

          1. Bapoy

            I think you are talking to the wrong person. I’m not white I hope you know and I grew up around thugs. Are you suppose to let someone slam you in the floor to death before you defend yourself? Remember that thing about having the right to life in the bill of rights? One person had poor judgement in following the other, another jumped the follower like a thug slamming his head on the concrete – triggering a defense for life.

            Also, why don’t I hear about the black people murdering other black people around the country, including Obama’s city? There are hundreds dead daily, why isn’t that on your focus? There is your pettiness.

            1. Massinissa

              Yeah, thing is, there are hundreds dead on white on white violence too, but you never hear about that either, eh?

        7. allan

          “Something for nothing.” Something for nothing is what the capitalist gets when he or she makes a profit. The worker produces the full value of a product, but only gets paid his or her hourly wage; the rest of the value is taken by the capitalist who did no work at all. Something for nothing.

          1. Bapoy

            What happens when the business takes a multi-million loss, should the worker also assume those? No, and they should not. The worker does not take or assume any risks associated with the investment.

            As a famous economist once said, if a laborer wants the full fruit of his labor, than he should wait for the trees he planted to grow fully and NOT sell his labor for short term benefits.

            1. nonclassical

              …get freakin’ serious, Bopoy-Wall $treet banksters destroyed the U.S. economy for over 7 years already, and they GET BAILOUTS=QE3=$80 billion per month-THAT’s “what happens”…

      2. charles sereno

        With great respect to the previous three commenters, I have a disagreement. My remarks are colored by the fact that I have, so far, only worked through Bill Black’s “Round One.” The phrase “beside the point” probably derives from archery, with the implication that it is intentional. There are at least two possible motivations. The devilish one hopes to distract from the target and this is exemplified by our mainstream media. A second one fears that a subtle “trojan horse” tactic can undermine the truth by means of an “Obotomy.” This is the side I’m on, with this caveat, that listeners should not be spoken down to. In Round One, Black exhumes a parade of Rogoff’s venial quotes against Stiglitz. On this count alone, I don’t see how it’s useful to winge about Black while missing the “target.”

      3. neo-realist

        My slant is not so much that the right is effective in formulating ideas–they tend to be the laissez-faire boot strap nonsense from a century plus years ago–but that they have worked on and developed the craft of messaging obsolete ideas and purchasing massive amounts of media infrastructure, which the left failed to do, to hammer those ideas home day after day to massive numbers of intellectually lazy americans in order to manufacture their consent to those ideas.

        1. Bapoy


          The majority of media outlets are either pro democrats or pro republicans, both of which enjoy more “programs” and buying votes. Read any financial news site and you will see stock pumping, pro-fed, pro-Keynes, pro-Krugman (and other leftist economists), pro-spending, government pushing, pro-Obama-care, propaganda non-sense.

          As a tax payer, austerity is nothing more than a lower form of theft. Still theft, just at a lower rate. The government class is basically just crying because they are not stripping as much.

          1. nonclassical

            ..bopoy’s faux news is showing…where do you get your news when visiting Canada, bop boy? Oh, that’s right-Fox News is PROHIBITED from Canada, where they don’t allow LYING PROPAGANDA-documented here:


            “As America’s middle class battles for its survival on the Wisconsin barricades — against various Koch Oil surrogates and the corporate toadies at Fox News — fans of enlightenment, democracy and justice can take comfort from a significant victory north of Wisconsin border. Fox News will not be moving into Canada after all! The reason: Canada regulators announced last week they would reject efforts by Canada’s right wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news.

            Canada’s Radio Act requires that “a licenser may not broadcast….any false or misleading news.” The provision has kept Fox News and right wing talk radio out of Canada and helped make Canada a model for liberal democracy and freedom. As a result of that law, Canadians enjoy high quality news coverage including the kind of foreign affairs and investigative journalism that flourished in this country before Ronald Reagan abolished the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987. Political dialogue in Canada is marked by civility, modesty, honesty, collegiality, and idealism that have pretty much disappeared on the U.S. airwaves. When Stephen Harper moved to abolish anti-lying provision of the Radio Act, Canadians rose up to oppose him fearing that their tradition of honest non partisan news would be replaced by the toxic, overtly partisan, biased and dishonest news coverage familiar to American citizens who listen to Fox News and talk radio. Harper’s proposal was timed to facilitate the launch of a new right wing network, “Sun TV News” which Canadians call “Fox News North.”

            Harper, often referred to as “George W. Bush’s Mini Me,” is known for having mounted a Bush like war on government scientists, data collectors, transparency, and enlightenment in general. He is a wizard of all the familiar tools of demagoguery; false patriotism, bigotry, fear, selfishness and belligerent religiosity.

            Harper’s attempts to make lying legal on Canadian television is a stark admission that right wing political ideology can only dominate national debate through dishonest propaganda. Since corporate profit-taking is not an attractive vessel for populism, a political party or broadcast network that makes itself the tool of corporate and financial elites must lie to make its agenda popular with the public. In the Unites States, Fox News and talk radio, the sock puppets of billionaires and corporate robber barons have become the masters of propaganda and distortion on the public airwaves. Fox News’s notoriously biased and dishonest coverage of the Wisconsin’s protests is a prime example of the brand of news coverage Canada has smartly avoided.”

    3. Walter Map

      None of these economists, including Bill Black (although he does come closest), deal with the issue of kleptocracy, wealth inequality, and class war in a thorough going fashion.

      That’s because they can’t.

      I’ve followed Krugman closely for years and have observed, as you do, that he does not directly address the culture of corruption. He deliberately holds back.

      Even so, the attacks on Krugman, Stiglitz, Black and others are virulent and grossly dishonest, but they cannot respond in kind by resorting to the nasty tactics used by Rajan and his ilk without leaving themselves open to being discredited. They cannot tell all they know. They have to be careful to be evenhanded and to protect a defensive position. They don’t want to be marginalized like Paul Craig Roberts and Paul Farrell.

      They don’t want the kleptocracy ramping up the invective, or worse. Much worse. The kleptocracy has the upper hand, and that is a mailed fist.

      1. from Mexico

        Walter Map says:

        The kleptocracy has the upper hand, and that is a mailed fist.

        Too bad Machiavelli didn’t have you around to clue him in as to how the world works:

        But the prince who comes to power through the support of the people will stand alone, and there will be few or none at all near him who will not be disposed to obey him. Besides, it is impossible to satisy the nobles fairly without injuring others, whereas it is indeed possible to do so with respect to the people, for thier wishes have more right, since they seek to avoid oppression while the nobles seek to oppress. It should also be noted that a prince can never be secure against a hostile populace because it is numerous, whereas he can be secure against the nobles because they are few.

        –NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, The Prince>/i>

        1. charles sereno

          Machiavelli, a realist (lower case), was eclipsed a century later by Shakespeare with his enormous literary gifts, yet they both deal with the human condition. Machiavelli is practical but Shakespeare is decidedly conservative (lower case) as well as practical. they are both worth reading.

    4. Martin Elsbach

      The system is working as intended. Austerity facilitates looting. Public property, pensions, education funds, and private wealth of the lower classes are all up for grabs at discounted prices. It’s a great boon the the elite until the pitchforks come out.

    5. Susan the other

      Hugh, I think Bill Black came close. He criticized Rajan for failing to talk about the crux of the problem – the financial sector. Which is also the capital sector as capitalism has been replaced by financialism. One factoid that stunned me was that these guys Rindheart and Rogaine were among the cabal that moved in to prevent any government intervention, pushed austerity with all their self-serving fabrications, and prevented revenue sharing when we needed it most. Isn’t that tantamount to treason? Bringing down the entire economy to suck money into the elite strata. A system that failed so miserably to prevent this looting is a system that needs to be changed.

      1. Walter Map

        Rajan evades the points made by his interlocutors, preferring instead to present a collection of mealy-mouthed obfuscations. His rants amount to invitations to chase red herrings in the hope that nobody will notice that he has conceded the debate on the actual issues.

        When arguing with neoconservatives it is usually necessary to prevent them from going off-topic, and to call them out when they try. It exposes their dishonesty for what it is.

    6. psychohistoriam

      If economics was more than the mythological whore it is these boys would be discussing the inheritance rules in Western Bloc countries and how to best coordinate the governments to reign in the plutocrats that run our world.

      Look at that bright shiny thing over there……..

  2. Hayek's Heelbiter

    Indeed it is. A Britishism usually spelled “whingeing.” Has undertones of pettiness.

  3. from Mexico

    Adam Curtis’s account of the southeast Asian crisis in the late 1990s and the devastating consequences its mishandling by the IMF had on the world economy during the naughties is great background material to flesh out what the 2002 debate between Stiglitz and Rogoff (and the criminal cabal whom Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, Bob Rubin, Stan Fischer and Rogoff were all members of) was all about.

    It can be seen here, beginning at minute 36:30

  4. craazyman

    faaaaak is there an economist anywhere in the world who really knows what money is? this maybe is why they dismiss financial plumbing in their models, as a method of holding their ignorance away from them like poo poo on a 10 foot stick.

    the only economist I’ve read who understands what money is is Dr. Professer Delerious Tremens of the Univeristy of Magonia Faculty of Economic Theory, but he is utterly ignored and dismissed as a crank and quack who lacks even a graduate degree. he wouldn’t even deny those accusations because he has the virtue of intellectual integrity.

    It is relatively hopeless to expect wisdom to flow from ignorance, and so we must entertain ourselves with hilarity.

  5. diptherio

    You know how ignorant and petty the average economist is, right? Well, half of ’em are more ignorant and petty than that!

    It’s a little amusing to me when economists get all huffy because someone has accused them of not being entirely on the up-and-up. Same thing with politicians.

    Surely, you can’t be implying that I, respected and upstanding politician/economist that I am, might have some ulterior motive. I am deeply offended, sir.

    Of course, at this point, having seen Inside Job and having lived through the bubble (er…Great Moderation) and the bust, there is no reason why any economist should expect to be taken at their word or given the benefit of the doubt. That they still expect to be just goes to show how out-of-touch with reality they are. They are apparently unaware that 90% of everything they’ve said about the economy for the last couple of decades has turned out to be complete hogwash. They don’t realize that their policies are being daily debunked in Greece and Spain and Ireland.

    The first rule of belonging to the corruption club is that you don’t talk about the corruption club. You deny that the corruption club exists (maybe even to yourself) if someone else brings it up.

    “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist” ~Kaiser Söze

    1. denim

      I would substitute authoritarian, diabolical, and cunning for their being called ignorant. John Dean and Robert Altmeyer have written much about that conscience-free personality type.

      But we shall begin with a second kind of authoritarian: someone who, because of his personality, submits by leaps and bows to his authorities.

      1. diptherio

        Altermayer’s text is a must read for anyone wanting to better understand social dynamics, imho.

        My experience of liberal economists (i.e. the ones I studied under) is that they are not authoritarian personality types so much as they are career-conscious. Anything that smacks of Marxism gets you ostracized, so if you want a job in the academy you toe the party-line (or resign yourself to just teaching economic history). That’s my take.

          1. BD MacIsaac

            Jiddu Krishnamurti put it more succinctly regarding “authority”:

            “There is no authority, but yourself.”

            It’s been my observations in the “professional” world (since the subject is “economists”), that many individuals (although “educated” by the system(s)/institutions) fail to grasp this and in general all other simple concepts related to human existence in relation to following a path in life; the latter implies confusion.

            Jiddu elaborates regarding conformity (which implies an authority) with:

            “Goodness is not the pursuit of conformity. If you conform to a belief, to a concept, to an idea, to a principle, that is not good, because it creates conflict. Goodness cannot flower through another, through a religious figure, through dogma, through belief; it can only flower in the soil of total attention in which there is no authority. The essence of goodness is a mind that is not in conflict. And goodness implies great responsibility. You can’t be good and allow wars to take place. So a person who is really good is totally responsible for his whole life.”

            Another quote that’s pertinent:

            “The world accepts and follows the traditional approach. The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another; we mechanically follow somebody who will assure us a comfortable spiritual life. It is a most extraordinary thing that although most of us are opposed to political tyranny and dictatorship, we inwardly accept the authority, the tyranny, of another to twist our minds and our way of life. So if we completely reject, not intellectually but actually, all so-called spiritual authority, all ceremonies, rituals and dogmas, it means that we stand alone and are already in conflict with society; we cease to be respectable human beings. A respectable human being cannot possibly come near to that infinite, immeasurable, reality.”


            I highly recommend his compilation of lectures in:


            He’s written or lectures of his have been recorded in a dozen other books, but the awakening covers the gamut of his thinking.

            He’s on you-tube too ( The latter is just one of many.

            Further interest I discovered with him is that he has a very unique biography to say the least. He had a lot of “responsibility” (read as “authority”) literally dumped upon him at the time of his birth by an organization; both a curse and a blessing it appears in hindsight, but he walked his own path regardless of the pressures. A true rebel of the mind.


            BTW, thanks to the poster of the Adam Curtis documentary. I hadn’t seen that one. I did get a little nauseous watching it, but thanks anyway. It’s all so hard to believe now, even though it’s all true. Life surely is stranger than fiction.

      2. from Mexico

        So are folks like Joseph Stiglitz and Adam Curtis ignorant, or are they authoritarian, diabolical, and cunning?

        There’s this wonderful section from Adam Curtis’s latest film, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, which begins with the title page:


        The subtext of the segment is this: that if Stiglitz had been able to get to the President, and put the bug in his ear, that the president would have made everything allright.

        Stiglitz and Curtis remind me of a young, ignorant and naive young Martin Luther when he wrote, in response to the fact that the papacy was spending fortunes on Vatican art even as famine stalked Europe, that if Leo could see the poverty of the German people “he would rather see St. Peter’s lying in ashes than that it should be built out of the blood and hide of his sheep.”

        The thing which separates a Martin Luther from people like Stiglitz and Curtis is that with life experience Luther wised up, and later would see the Pope in a very different light:

        But thy See, which is called the Roman Curia, and of which neither thou nor any man can deny that it is more corrupt than any Babylon or Sodom ever was, and which is, as far as I can see, characterized by a totally depraved, hopeless, and notorious wickedness — that See I have truly despised…. The Roman Church has become the most licentious den of theives, the most shameless of all brothels, the kingdom of sin, death, and hell…. They err who ascribe to thee the right of interpreting Scripture, for under cover of thy name they seek to set up their own wickedness in the Church, and, alas, through them Satan has already made much headway under thy predecessors. In short, believe none who exalt thee, believe those who humble thee.

        The 16th-century equivalent of Stiglitz and Curtis can be found in Erasmus, who although he didn’t explicity rally to the Leo’s defense, neverthelss “disliked Luther’s vehemence” and in 1516

        had written his Education of a Christian Prince to train the prince destined to be the greatest emperor in Europe since Charlemagne. This moment was in a sense the culmination of his project for the transformation of Europe from above. A ruling class of Christian humanists gradually spreading the fruits of an education in the philosophy of Christ would, he believed, create a new European order.

        –MICHAEL ALLEN GILLESPIE, The Theological Origins of Modernity

        However, with the appearance of Luther, the schism in the church, and the outbreak of the Peasants’ Rebellion, Erasmus saw his hopes for a peaceful reformation of Christianity and Christendom as an elitist project from above dissolve before his eyes.

        “This tumult has arisen and is directed from above,” Luther charged, “and it will not cease till it makes all the adversaries of the World like the mud on the streets.” To insist on peace, as Erasmus did, was for Luther simply to confirm the triumph of Satan.

        As Gillespie goes on to note, Erasmus’s elitist project would lay dormant until the advent of Modernism in the first half of the 17th century:

        The humanist project in which Erasmus had placed such great hopes would be revived, but only in a world that had been radically transformed by the Wars of Religion, the exploration and colonization of the New World, the Copernican Revolution, and the development of a new mathematical natural science.

  6. Bapoy

    Aside from Greece, does anyone know by how much spending was cut in the countries on scope within this article.

    Hint: I would be embarrassed to call that “austerity”.

    Plus, using the word austerity to describe how much burden the population, tax payers, have is somewhat dubious. Maybe we can change the word to extortion instead.

    Anyone for austerity is anti extortionist, those for more spending are for extortion.

      1. denim

        You have before you an example of a conservative authoritarian. Notice the zombie ideas are standard talking points of his masters. And the stealth double speak. A governemt investing in bridges, roads, airports, standing military defense, and police are all bad bad “spending” to that cohort. Parasitic free loading off of society is their mantra.

    1. F. Beard

      You should be embarrassed, period.

      Were the banks “austere” in the counterfeit money (government-backed credit) they created to drive the population into debt with?

      And you object to any real money creation even though it will make paying that debt easier if not just plain POSSIBLE?!

      A poor man who oppresses the lowly Is like a driving rain which leaves no food. Proverbs 28:3

      1. Bapoy

        Germany paid war reparations by printing also. How did that end?

        You think it won’t happen here, but you are asking that we shut down the credit markets (which prevent hyperinflation to some degree). you think people are suffering now? You haven’t seen anything yet.

        How can I put this easy to understand, there is no money – the banks don’t have it, they are CLEARLY insolvent. It’s a ponzy scheme. You cannot have a credit market – while at the same time handing people money. Who in their right mind would lend money out at x% to get it back losing purchasing power?

        What makes you think people need reparations? Reparations for what? Why not just start with a clean sleight, forget about the theft from the past (we can’t even find documentation for homes purchased 5 years ago, mind finding who stole 5 million 20 years ago).

        What people need is the government out of people’s business and the ability to keep their purchasing power. That cannot be accomplished with a central bank manipulating the money supply. A real currency, gold, is also required. But, that will not happen until we have a major world crisis followed by a major world, only that will stop the socialists.

    2. nonclassical

      …faux news didn’t tell you the truth about Greece either, bop boy;

      “Bloomberg is out with a telling report on how Goldman Sachs helped Greece set up a secret loan swap deal in 2001 that helped the country hide its debt levels in order to meet requirements to join the European Union.
      The deal has been called a “very sexy story between two sinners” by former head of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency, Christoforos Sardelis, because of the intentions of the two parties involved—Greece was trying to cover up its high debt levels and Goldman Sachs was trying to make a profit.

      And what a profit Goldman made—according to Bloomberg, the Greek government already owed the bank $793 million on the day the deal was inked in 2001.

      Here’s a rundown of how the loan worked from Bloomberg:

      The Goldman Sachs transaction swapped debt issued by Greece in dollars and yen for euros using an historical exchange rate, a mechanism that implied a reduction in debt, Sardelis said. It also used an off-market interest-rate swap to repay the loan. Those swaps allow counterparties to exchange two forms of interest payment, such as fixed or floating rates, referenced to a notional amount of debt.

      The trading costs on the swap rose because the deal had a notional value of more than 15 billion euros, more than the amount of the loan itself, said a former Greek official with knowledge of the transaction who asked not to be identified because the pricing was private. The size and complexity of the deal meant that Goldman Sachs charged proportionately higher trading fees than for deals of a more standard size and structure, he said.

      The complexity of the deal helped Goldman reap a bigger payday—but in fact, the loan was so confusing that even the Greece government had trouble understanding it and thought it was much cheaper than it actually was. Officials admitted later it was a “very bad bet,” according to Bloomberg.

      Risk consultant Satyajit Das breaks down the situation pretty well with this quote to Bloomberg: “Like the municipalities, Greece is just another example of a poorly-governed client that got taken apart … These trades are structured not to be unwound, and Goldman is ruthless about ensuring that its interests aren’t compromised — it’s part of the DNA of that organization.”

      Read more:

  7. RepubAnon

    The astonishing thing is that the deregulation worshippers refuse to see the obvious.
    * S&L Crisis in the 1980s caused by removing regulatory safeguards
    * Asian “Tiger Economies” of the 1990s caused by lack of regulatory safeguards
    * Housing bubble of the “Naughties” caused by lack of regulatory safeguards

    One can only assume that the deregulation worshippers make their money by promoting fraudulent behavior.

    1. Walter Map

      Don’t be so diffident. Now that fraud has been legalized it has become by far the world’s leading industry. The pretence of ‘regulation’ and ‘law’ is maintained largely as a means for the parasitic predator class to continue to entice fresh victims.

      It is important to them to conceal the traps as much as possible. It is also important to try discredit those who expose them. That’s Rajan’s job.

    2. allan

      John Kenneth Galbreath called it “The Economics of Innocent Fraud.” Its not that they are fraudulent. They really believe their own fantasies about the free market.

  8. skippy

    Whats in a word… deregulation… methinks lootaway is a more granular and honest definition.

    No more profit could be extracted without this path being undertaken, the Status Quo was – is up against the proverbial ology – ism brick wall.

    In the past a veneer of respectability could be afforded by allowing enough semi honest enterprises operate, giving the system enough positive boxes ticked that a pass could be proclaimed. This condition has irrevocably transformed in to a permanent past tense.

    Oh… ology – ism brick wall thingy… watch out for the splatter, signaled by the POP one hears upon impact, nor is the facial expressions as they contort in trying to reestablish a functioning reality ~ they can deal with~

    skippy… its like watching the last stages of a Drug Cults reality melt away… whilst chasing that – perfect high – they thought… they had… once upon a time….

  9. allcoppedout

    Ad hominem is not well understood, partly because we are in denial of what argument is with an over-rational notion of man. Hugh’s kleptocracy is ad hom in the sense there is an apparent accusation of thieving, fraudulent intent (therefore ‘rotten people’). Yet I just see it as sense-making of a long list of actions and outcomes in finance and politics.

    In our criminal justice system it isn’t unusual to find defendants slurring cops (ad hom) and the usual result is that they go down. In attacking the establishment their own character can be brought in. Of course, our courts aren’t very good at spotting bent prosecution evidence. The problem with ad hom – which is held legitimate as a form of argument in some circumstances – is that the weaker proponents usually lose and the actual argument is lost, often a ploy of the establishment.

    Stiglitz is accused, essentially, of not singing from the Party hymn-sheet – this statement of mine carrying ad hom by the allusion to Party and hymn-singing. It’s almost as nasty, though not quite, as allusions to ‘beautiful mind’.

    To me, Lambert’s allusion to Yves’ ‘McKinsey quality’ articles could be ad hom as I regard McKinsey “research” as mostly dire and heavily biased! I expect Lambert has noticed she is much better than that!

    Ideally, we need a sophisticated form of peer review that still allows the unsophisticated claim the emperor is naked. I’ve mentioned Spenger’s ‘argumentative theory’ before – something that takes our biological predisposition to argue to win into account. There is more to this than admission we are still chattering apes. A key element is that we tend to argue on safe ground where the evidence to make and win argument is present, easy and so on. This is often easiest by confining oneself to the dominant ideology, but also within some other paradigm.

    In philosophy, critique is usually analytic or immanent – in the first you challenge the assumptions (perhaps episteme) of the opposition, in the latter you use the same assumptions and show logical or factual flaws. A classic case of analytic is the current neo-classical ‘private debt doesn’t matter’ versus heterodox ‘actually private debt is key’ – though it is possible to put the question marks in deeper than that. Generally, once you shift paradigm, critique is very easy.

    I think all economists make the mistake of believing economics of any kind really can work. Our assumptions in inheritance, private property, reward, constraint (e.g. population control, criminality), paying our own way, business and finance cycles and cost … the list goes on – lead me to conclude we need a global new deal. And the rub here is that this argument has an already waiting ad hominem – that I am a pointless idealist. Violence, as Derrida as apt to waffle, starts with nob scratching paper!

    1. Walter Map

      Ad hominem is not well understood, partly because we are in denial of what argument is with an over-rational notion of man.

      Absurd. Logical fallacies like the ad hominem are very well understood.

      If you cannot attack the argument, attack the arguer. While an insult itself is not fallacious, it is if made in a way calculated to undermine an opponent’s argument, and to encourage an audience to give it less weight than it merits. When this is done, the famous argumentum ad hominem (abusive) is committed.

      An entire literature on logical fallacies exists. I recommend Madsen Pirie. He uses them himself, and is quite shameless about it.

      I think all economists make the mistake of believing economics of any kind really can work.

      The practice of economics has been largely corrupted to serve the purposes of the rapacious, but it works perfectly well when approached as a proper science. The trick, of course, is to approach it as a proper science within its proper limits, and not merely denigrate it as the corrupt weapon of the terminally greedy and psychopath financial industrial complex.

      You need to learn to distinguish between the true and the false. Science can help you do that, but you must avoid logical fallacies.

      1. allcoppedout

        Wise words Walter. I would say something rather similar on Critical Theory’s insistence on technology as ideology. However, we over-simplify.

        Other approaches to informal arguments are critical of the fallacy approach, proposing a more sympathetic approach to ad hominem. As they point out, there are circumstances where criticisms of the person are legitimate grounds for doubting or rejecting their point of view. If we can demonstrate that a politican has millions of dollars to gain from the passage of a particular motion, this is a reason to be sceptical of their point of view. If an arguer has repeatedly shown poor judgment or lacks the requisite knowledge to make reasonable judgments about some issue, then this may be a good reason to dismiss their point of view. This is especially true in informal contexts, in which arguers may be inundated with many more arguments and positions than they can possibly investigate, forcing them to decide which arguments merit their attention. In such contexts, ad (or pro) hominem considerations may be the most reasonable way to make these decisions.

        1. jonboinAR

          Ah! So the ad hom argument is valid -to a certain point-. …great… I suppose all the other “logical fallacies” are too.

          1. BD MacIsaac

            “I suppose all the other “logical fallacies” are too.”

            Not tangled hierarchies. See Amit Goswami et al.

  10. David Lentini

    The most nasty admissions, and their implications for policy, from Rajan are the ones everyone continues to miss:

    Part of the answer is that economics is an inexact science, with exceptions to almost every pattern of behavior that economists take for granted. ….

    The point is that economic behavior is complex and can vary among individuals, over time, between goods, and across cultures. Physicists do not need to know the behavior of every molecule to predict how a gas will behave under pressure. Economists cannot be so sanguine. Under some conditions, individual behavioral aberrations cancel one another out, making crowds more predictable than individuals. But, under other conditions, individuals influence one another in such a way that the crowd becomes a herd, led by a few.

    The first admission, which is really nonsense or rank sophistry, comes in two parts from Rajan’s claim, “that economics is an inexact science”. First, what exactly is an “inexact science”? Exactitude refers to the level of accuracy and precision of detail in an object or its description. Rajan here wants our sympathy that, unlike physics (the discipline against which economists always compare their subject), economics can’t assume the sort of actor identities that enable physicists to make exact predictions and descriptions of bulk material properties from their constituent atoms and molecules. Of course, as anyone who’s read Yves’s Econned or Steve Keen’s Economics Debunked will see quickly, Rajan hides the fact that economics—especially macroeconomics&mdsash;is predicated on exactly the idea that all economic actors are identical, and that large-scale economic behaviors can be explained and predicted from the group behavior of individual actors! In fact, as described by Yves and Keen, the basic ideas of post-WWII economics come from Paul Samuelson’s adaptation of the ideas of ergodicity and statistical mechanics, concepts and subjects that were created by physicists and chemists to predict bulk properties from molecular characteristics! Thus, Rajan is either lying or is completely ignorant of the most basic concepts in his field when he makes these statements.

    The second part is that Rajan wants to continue to claim that economics is a science. The most fundamental character of science is its ability to produce robust statements about human sense-perceptions. In other words, any discipline claiming to be a “science” must be able to produce descriptions and predictions that are consistently verifiable by any observer. As many point out, this amounts to Popper’s famous definition that a science must make claims that can be falsified. On this point, which is critical, Rajan’s quotes above and further his statement that [s]o, why not let evidence, rather than theory, guide policy? Unfortunately, it is hard to get clear-cut evidence of causality are admissions that economics cannot be a science: If evidence, i.e., human sense-perception experience, cannot be used to falsify the claims of economists, or even consistently verify those claims, then economics is not a science.

    These subtle, but crucial, admissions lead Rajan to admit the truth: Economists rely on intellectually bullying, sophistry, and outright lies to justify their powerful positions in society:

    All of this implies that economic policymakers require an enormous dose of humility, openness to various alternatives (including the possibility that they might be wrong), and a willingness to experiment. This does not mean that our economic knowledge cannot guide us, only that what works in theory – or worked in the past or elsewhere – should be prescribed with an appropriate degree of self-doubt.

    But, for economists who actively engage the public, it is hard to influence hearts and minds by qualifying one’s analysis and hedging one’s prescriptions. Better to assert one’s knowledge unequivocally, especially if past academic honors certify one’s claims of expertise. This is not an entirely bad approach if it results in sharper public debate.

    In other words, instead of admitting the severe limitations of economic theories and the fact that economics is not a science; and by implication that economists should take a more humble role in policy making, Rajan admits that economists simply resort to the most base forms of intellectual dishonesty. The idea that somehow lying leads to “sharper public debate” is completely disproven by his entire article and Black’s commentary, which is about the degradation of the quality of debate among economists!

    As for the rest, having followed Krugman’s comments on R&R, I think Rajan’s characterization is simply wrong. Krugman’s point always was that R&R made understandable (albeit embarrassing) errors, and their failure was in not owning up to those failures. The fact that so many politicians and pundits sold austerity on R&R made that failure all the more egregious.

    Rajan’s article is just another example of the intellectual and moral failure of economists and economics.

  11. chas

    All of this will not end cleanly. The economic polices of the last 30-40-years are playing themselves all over the world now . The privatization and de-nationalization of economies has been a disaster.

    1. from Mexico

      As Martin Luther so clairvoyantly predicted in the wake of the Peasant’s Rebellion:

      I see other great troubles in time to come, by comparison with which these present seem no more than the whisper of a breeze or the murmur of a gentle stream.

  12. allcoppedout

    I’m struck (personally since I started research) that masses of literature are cut out of nearly all research. Just as Walter points to a whole literature above that in fact contains his own contradiction and allows me to show misguided assumptions on my knowledge, we should really be in argument for different reasons than little professor games (which I’m extending).

    Early work in informal logic favoured fallacies as a way of assessing informal arguments. Traditional accounts define a fallacy as a pattern of poor reasoning which appears to be (and in this sense mimics) a pattern of good reasoning (see Hansen 2002). Such accounts are a problematic basis for a general account of fallacies insofar as what appears to be good reasoning to one person may not appear so to another. In assessing ordinary arguments, these issues can be avoided by understanding fallacies more simply, as common patterns of faulty reasoning which can usefully be identified in the evaluation of informal arguments.

    Theoretical discussions of fallacies have not produced an agreed-upon taxonomy, but there is a common set of fallacies which are typically used in the analysis of informal arguments. They include formal fallacies like affirming the consequent and denying the antecedent; and informal fallacies like ad hominem (“against the person”), slippery slope, ad bacculum (“appeal to force”), ad misericordiam (“appeal to pity”), “hasty generalization,” and “two wrongs” (as in “two wrongs don’t make a right”). In textbooks, authors may devise their own nomenclature to highlight the properties of particular kinds of fallacious arguments (“misleading vividness” thus designates the misuse of vivid anecdotal evidence, and so on.)
    Groarke, Leo and Christopher Tindale, 2012. Good Reasoning Matters! (5th edition), Toronto: Oxford University Press.

    If there was ever a hasty generalisation is was surely that private debt didn’t matter because it was on both sides of a balance sheet!

  13. allcoppedout

    To pettifog my own partial argument above, I haven’t properly quoted direct material from and Hansen (2002)
    Hansen, Hans V. 2002. “The Straw Thing of Fallacy Theory: The Standard Definition of ‘Fallacy’,” Argumentation, 16(2): 133–155.

    All such said, what about literature (Labov springs to mind) on how dull we academics are in comparison with some voices found on the street?

    Economics as a science Walter? Well, in a way – I was good at slicing brain tissue!

    1. F. Beard

      With somebody like Rajan in charge, maximization of dismal suffering appears to be all but ensured. b2020

      Don’t you know that those who are water-boarded with their own stolen punch deserve any hangovers they might get?

      “Take away the punchbowl?” How about we smash it permanently and implement ethical money creation instead?

      1. charles sereno

        I don’t know why I think “F.” stands for Frank (maybe your manner), anyway, can I call you Frank? (joke) Here’s my little prediction — one day, the punch bowl will either boil over or freeze. Meanwhile, we’re held in suspense, suspension, whatever. That’s why I said “little prediction.” (covered all possibilities) I know you’d never claim to be a prophet, but you would have a few references. Seriously, I and some others wouldn’t mind hearing them.

          1. F. Beard

            “And I see losing love
            Is like a window in your heart
            And everybody sees you’re blown apart
            Everybody feels the wind blow.”
            Paul Simon “Graceland”

            Yep. That’s exactly how it was.


        1. F. Beard

          The only reference I have is the Old Testament (and occasionally the New).

          I like the Book of Jonah, because Jonah, who HATES the Ninevites, can only bring himself to preach “Yet 40 days and Nineveh is destroyed” and he hopes they’ll ignore even that terse message and get destroyed. But they don’t get destroyed, not for another 120 years, because the entire city from the king on down repents in literally sack-cloth and ashes AND THE LORD RELENTS. (Was it necessary for the entire city to repent? I doubt it seriously but the Lord was dealing with Jonah’s unforgiveness too, essentially saying “You’d let an entire city of repentant sinners be destroyed when you could stop it?”)

          In fact, the Lord relents so much He gets tired of it:

          “You who have forsaken Me,” declares the Lord,
          “You keep going backward.
          So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you;
          I am tired of relenting!
          Jeremiah 15:6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          That’s the God many ignore or reject; One who puts off judgement so many times He literally gets weary from it.

            1. F. Beard

              I think the Lord might relent if only a few repent. Remember Abraham talking the Lord down to just 10 righteous men in Sodom? So the Lord would have honored a general repentance in Judah and in fact did so temporarily when the Jews temporarily released their illegally held debt-slaves. See Jerimiah 34:6-22.

              But the existence of a some righteous men in the US is no guarantee of safety because of that Rapture thingy which will remove them first.

  14. Conscience of a Conservative

    Krugman going after Roghoff using his bully pulpit at the Times was not about an economic argument but about politics.
    Krugman believes in big-government and if truth be told thinks government should do more not less. The financing of that burden and the effect of increased expenditures and taxation is not his concern.It would be great if economists could settle the merits of papers at the Universities, but that’s not the world we live in.

    1. F. Beard

      It would nice if we had ethical money creation instead of fighting like idiots over who controls the present unethical system as we’ve been doing for the past century at least.

      1. skippy

        “fighting like idiots over who controls the present unethical system as we’ve been doing for the past century at least.” – beardo

        You have to be joking, right, as if it was ethical before?

        Hint… everything our species – does – is enabled by this orbs carrying capacity, so, any system that is in conflict with this – base observation – is unethical.

        skippy… it would seem the ultimate act of unethical behavior would be theft from the future, the yet to be born, those with out a voice, taken – stolen by those that fetishize objects of art aka monies. An object of art that supersedes life its self.

        PS. is any ology or ism that makes our species the centerpiece of the universe… the ultimate act of selfishness?

        1. F. Beard

          as if it was ethical before? skippy

          I never said it was though the English Tally Stick system may have been close. No gold worship there!

          is any ology or ism that makes our species the centerpiece of the universe… the ultimate act of selfishness? skippy

          As far as we know, Earth is the ONLY place in the Universe with ANY life, not just intelligent life, so the answer to your question is no. As far as we know, WE ARE IT, and therefor should think accordingly. And we should fund SETI generously so the unending silence will eventually silence those who despise mankind.

          1. skippy

            History is full of positions based on ignorance, the results are not pretty.

            “despise mankind” – berado

            Nice negative labeling strawman, same as the “you all want to throw us in the pit (seems you want to do the throwing imo) ” shtick. I guess that’s what reading a marketing manual based on ex nihilo ipso facto does to ones mental framing.

            FYI the world today is largely a projection of Abrahamic monotheism, with a few pockets of ethnic resistance. Your attitude on Hindus, Buddhists and a few others is indicative of its rapacious apatite and superiority complex. It will, can not be, satiated until it has conquered this orb… all based on false assumptions at best.

            skippy… as the quasi scientific web site you used to link here at NC stated, in the fine print, buried out of sight, in a deceptive manner states “the bible is a statement of fact” all discovery is translatable from this fact.

            Beardo… do you understand how screwed up that is?

            1. F. Beard

              Your attitude on Hindus, Buddhists and a few others is indicative skippy

              That’s a pretty good straw man – implying that my attitude is against people and not destructive and/or impotent belief systems.

              of its rapacious apatite skippy

              The Bible is against theft and usury from one’s fellow countrymen, the basis for our current money system, which requires exponential growth.

              and superiority complex. skippy

              As opposed to, for example, the attitude of the Brahmans toward the Untouchables in India? But the Bible exhorts humility, not pride or haughtiness. And the plight of the poor is to be remedied, not conveniently ignored as their “karma.”

              Oh, and the link for that “quasi scientific web site” is Dr. Ross has a Phd in Astrophysics, which isn’t the easiest field to get a Phd in.

              1. skippy

                I’m not not the one that has been called out for bigotry, on this blog. That’s not strawmaning, its an observation witnessed by many, you can almost see the salivation.

                Your usage of Countrymen is a false equivalency, what you really mean is Gawds people. Yet we are a species first and foremost empirically, ethnic divisions are tribal and hence the extenuation of ex nihilo foundational myths and not biological. Your religious position is at odds with this r.e. was Noah an African?

                Your link is a religious pysop practicing in starting investigations – inquire with a known answer from very start, that’s not scientific. His religious beliefs proceed his acquired knowledge, it would not matter what degree he acquired. He would still assign the same belief priority status no matter what the data indicated aka willful ignorance self inflicted.

                skippy… cherry picking of biblical cannons is not indicative of the actions carried out with in its pages, that’s not to say others are with out.

                This might help… or not~


                1. F. Beard

                  His religious beliefs proceed his acquired knowledge, it would not matter what degree he acquired. skippy

                  And you’re just dead wrong there. Dr. Hugh Ross, as a non-believer, systematically read the holy books of ALL the world’s major religions to see how they accorded with science. They all fared pretty poorly EXCEPT for the Bible.

                  I’d say Ross has done EXACTLY what you’d have us all do. But does that matter to you? Are you being the bigot?

                  1. skippy

                    “And you’re just dead wrong there. Dr. Hugh Ross, as a non-believer” – beardo

                    Your either completely mad or blatantly untruthful see:

                    Hugh Norman Ross (born July 24, 1945) is a Canadian-born astrophysicist, Christian apologist and prominent old earth creationist.

                    Hugh Ross
                    Born Hugh Norman Ross
                    July 24, 1945 (age 68)
                    Montreal, Canada
                    Occupation Astrophysicist & Christian apologist, writer
                    Religion Evangelical Christian
                    Spouse(s) Kathy
                    Reasons To Believe


                    Seems you neglected to view my offering:

                    5500 – 4500 BCE
                    The Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE) emerged, probably within the Pontic-Caspian steppe (though their exact urheimat is debated). The PIE peoples developed a religion focused on sacrificial ideology, which would influence the religions of the descendent Indo-European cultures throughout Europe, Anatolia, and the Indian sub-continent.

                    ~3750 BCE

                    The Proto-Semitic people emerged with a generally accepted urheimat in the Arabian peninsula. The Proto-Semitic people would migrate throughout the Near East into Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. Their religion would influence their descendant cultures and faiths, including the Abrahamic religions.

                    skip here so… ???

                    Anywho this is difficult work as the written words arrival complicates discovery, we are left with only archeological tidbits from around the globe but, were getting there. Hard yakka when folks just say stuff and turn a blind eye to anything that does not validate their preconceived (personal reasons) conception of the world.

                    And yet people wonder why humanity is having such a hard go of things ie fracking is not science, its engineering predicated by financial speculation, sort of like religion, gambling on the future… eh.

                    skippy… Your veracity is on display beardo, lies are the corruption that fracture societal trust, you and your mob are no better than the moron banksters…. whats the difference… really… revulsion comes to mind.

                    PS. I told you Susan.

                    1. F. Beard

                      Oh gee wiz, skip. I said Ross was a non-believer when he investigated the world’s major religions not that he STAYED a non-believer! Instead Ross, like a good scientist, BECAME a Christian based on the evidence.

                      That’s what we should do, isn’t? Go where the evidence leads us?

                      As for veracity, ALL liars will end in the Lake of Fire, so I tend to be careful wrt the truth.

                    2. skippy

                      Instead Ross, like a ****good scientist****, BECAME a Christian based on the evidence. – beardo

                      WTF!?!?!?!?! leading, projection, bias, screw job…

                      Egads man can you not read…

                      Ross holds that Noah’s Flood was local yet believes it killed all humans except for those on the ark, whereas YECs generally hold that Noah’s Flood was global.[citation needed]

                      Hugh Ross has been criticized by CSUF professor emeritus Mark Perakh for crude errors and misunderstanding of basic concepts of thermodynamics together with misinterpretations of Hebrew words.[15][16] Ross has drawn criticism for his views on God existing in hyperdimensions of time and space and interpreting Christian doctrines in that light from, among others, J.P. Moreland, Thomas C. Oden, and William Lane Craig,[17][18] who otherwise support him. Ross responded to these critiques near the end of the same issue of the journal. J.W. Browning of the Rocky Mountain Creation Fellowship, who agrees by and large with the YEC stance and with William Lane Craig to the extent of his critique on Ross, also disputed additional statements Ross had made on primary Trinitarian doctrine.[19

                      skip here… “crude errors and misunderstanding of basic concepts of thermodynamics together with misinterpretations of Hebrew words.” – excerpt from above.

                      Yet believes!!! Flood was local but killed all humans, not on ark.

                      Stick sharps in eyes and flagellate self.

                      I’ve had the same problem with you ie spreading sky’s et al. Seems you only accept what is rubber stamped by dead people nailed to timber for evidence… so much for cognitive ability. Oops there’s that sacrificial thingy again, death equals love.

                      Evidence supports PIE not Abraham as the sacrificial ideology starting point, your belief is a derivative, extenuation – of – an earlier proto belief. There is physical evidence and not just dusty opines from ignorant believers born into a system which indoctrinates its children from birth… mom and dads love leverage.

                      Skippy… why is America going down the tubes??? Look what D.C. is filled with… In you own words… Bush and Obama agree where it counts… its a temple… your soaking in it.

                      In gawd we trust stuff… barf… the coup was before O8…. your right Psychohistorian… were back to fighting the turf wars of antiquity… We win because our gawd is the strongest stuff… retch~

                      PS. Look over there>>>> Gawdless socialists and communists… shezzzzzzz~ Planetary Meatgrinder..

                    3. F. Beard

                      Yet believes!!! Flood was local but killed all humans, not on ark. skippy

                      Well yeah. If everyone is in one local area then there’s no necessity to flood the entire world.

                    4. F. Beard

                      We win because our gawd is the strongest stuff… skippy

                      It’s not about winning since that is in the bag and has been since Calvary at the latest. It’s about us. This life is a test of us.

                    5. skippy

                      Its like watching dementia set in with a twice removed relative.

                      You follow, agree with, consort with a bloke that clumsily bastardizes thermodynamics and rewrites a language for personal reasons (validation of individual interpretation) regardless of actual evidence. To include internecine disagreement on Trinitarian doctrine with fellow devotes, what a shite show.

                      Nary a peep to refute any other point of order, just a complete dismissal, save an unfounded position on the human population and its global dispersion. You should check that out, there’s data on it.

                      Skippy… and from this example we are beckoned from above, as moved through mortal lips “Follow Me to Gawds (fools) Paradise”… USA ground zero imo.

                    6. F. Beard

                      Nary a peep to refute any other point of order, just a complete dismissal, save an unfounded position on the human population and its global dispersion. skippy [bold added]

                      The entire human race could have, at one time, been drowned in a small swimming pool, no?

                      As for the dementia: Tracy Chapman: Change and the lyrics – Tracy Chapman: Change lyrics

                    7. skippy

                      NO supported by physical evidence.

                      You are deceitful in a calculating manner aka a liar, also know as anti social behavior or pathologically prepossessed.

                      The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy on Oct 1978 by more that 200 evangelical biblical leaders see 3:15


                      A bit more depth for the uniformed see:


                      From the beginning of the church, the doctrine of biblical inerrancy has been affirmed by orthodox Christians but is frequently challenged by opponents.

                      Inerrancy can be defined as “the doctrine that the Bible is fully truthful in all of its teachings.”(Christian Theology). When all the relevant facts are known, and when properly interpreted, Scripture never contradicts itself, nor does it misrepresent the facts.

                      Historically, the doctrine of inerrancy has been held by the earliest theologians of the church. J.N.D. Kelly cites Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Origen, and Gregory of Nazianzus as holding to the inspiration and subsequent inerrancy of Holy Scripture down to the smallest detail of its content. About the early church fathers, Kelly writes, “Their general view was that Scripture was not only exempt from error but contained nothing that was superfluous” (Early Christian Doctrines).

                      The concept of inerrancy is not humanly constructed doctrine foisted upon the text of Scripture…

                      The most substantial challenge to inerrancy came from the Enlightenment, which rejected all the supernatural elements of Scripture. Enlightenment critics of Scripture claimed the miracles of Jesus and the resurrection could not be verified and must be taken as nonfactual and false—an assertion that directly undermined the truthfulness of Scripture.

                      The Enlightenment gave way to 19th and 20th century theological liberalism in which Jesus was viewed as only a good person and teacher, but not God. Also, miracles were understood to be mythological stories, not true historical events. Out of this theological milieu the fundamentalist/modernist controversy arose. Theological modernists were privy to higher criticism and thought inerrancy unfashionable, but the fundamentalists were concerned with maintaining the orthodox fundamental doctrines of the faith. Some extreme fundamentalists pushed the divine authorship of Scripture so much that the human element of the Biblical text was rendered irrelevant.

                      In response to the many 20th century challenges to inerrancy, a council of evangelical leaders met at an international Summit Conference in the fall of 1978 and drafted The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (CSBI).


                      Skippy… the mouth of gawd can not lie… right?


                      The CSBI is composed of a short statement consisting of 5 points, a section of affirmations and denials consisting of 19 articles, and an exposition of the doctrine of inerrancy in relation to the other teachings of Scripture.

                      The short summary statement posits the Scriptures as God’s self-revelation written by men and inspired by the Holy Spirit, who authenticates and illuminates its teachings. In addition, Scripture’s very words in entirety are inspired (verbal plenary inspiration) and therefore without error (inerrant). Finally, it asserts that to deny or limit inerrancy undermines the authority of Scripture.

                      The section of affirmations and denials include several other important points:

                      1. Scripture’s authority comes from its being the Word of God, not from the church or tradition, and is thereby authoritatively binding

                      2. The finitude of human language does not preclude it being used as a medium for divine revelation

                      3. While inspiration did not eliminate human authorship and literary style, it did guarantee that their utterances were true and trustworthy

                      4.Only the autographs of Scripture were inspired, but this does not render the doctrine irrelevant since an accurate representation of the autographs can be constructed from the manuscripts we have

                      5. While inerrancy and infallibility can be distinguished, they cannot be separated; that is, the Bible cannot be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions

                      6. Inerrancy is rooted in the doctrine of inspiration

                      7. While affirming inerrancy is not necessary for salvation, it is vital to the Christian faith, and its rejection leads to serious consequences in the individual and the church.

                      PS. Fun facts… “The Bible is the best selling book of all time”. True, but to put it in perspective, tied for 2nd are “The Communist Manifesto” & “The Teachings of Chairman Mao”. Just sayin.

                    8. skippy

                      @beardo… see above.

                      This is your position on – all – things and your not alone.

                      Skippy… remember the religious politicizing under Bush and fox news (it was happening well before but not as blatant), well as it has been noted here at NC… Obama is Bushes 3rd term.

                      The book of job… job creators… snicker…


            2. F. Beard

              Btw, Abraham was one heck of a man – any way you measure such things. And Abraham was the man who tried to talk God out of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah.

          2. nonclassical


            the concept “to BE” (intelligent) (as any buddhist-taoist might intone) is a derivative of “BEHAVIOR”…

            no behavior, no “being”…

            please elucidate human BEhavior BEing “intelligent”??

            Matter of fact, Fichtelius and Sjolander (Finnish behavioral scientists) note aptly, that, “Most “intelligence” resides outside the individual, and within the specific “knowledge” of the society….the society determines applicable buttons to push, then teaches the individual to push them..”

            consider, FB, how an asian pictorial written language describes ANYthing, without BEhavior…as opposed to a western, “abstract meaning” form of language…

              1. F. Beard

                I’m not attacking or judging anyone but if Western civilization is not grounded in revelation from the Creator then I don’t see what else can explain its unique dominance in the world.

                Right now, Christendom is embarrassing itself with its disobedient money system but nevertheless while other belief systems have tried to justify or ignore suffering, Christendom has been steadily ELIMINATING it. And since suffering is the ONLY real problem in the universe, I’d say that’s real accomplishment.

                1. nonclassical


                  I totally support your right to your own “gods” to the exact degree you support anyone else’s right to their “gods”…

                  which, being a blind believer, is impossible for you to do…

                  as it would defeat your own “god”‘s supremacy…

                  catche 22…

                  1. F. Beard

                    Of course I believe in freedom of or from religion.

                    But that won’t stop me from using the Bible to point out the wickedness of a government-backed credit cartel.

  15. allcoppedout

    Even physics reaches singularity at which the laws seem to collapse David. Chemistry is often about creating unusual conditions, perhaps with catalysts that produce what we otherwise would not be able to construct.

    Economics is not a science, but this argument goes further than Rajans’ that we should be less pretentious on its role in policy. Science policy itself is not science.

    Walter makes an assertion above that taking a certain attitude towards economics makes it scientific and I suspect this might be true. However, I see little in blogs and academic papers that take on the best of what we think science is, even from easily available sources such as: which begins to explain just how much what it is appropriate to treat as a biological individual and: that gets to some of the issues of continuity, theory formation, approximation and the spin of theory with facts.

  16. jayray

    R&R vs. R&R. That’s hilarious, but true. Their latest attack against Krugman basically sums up to, ‘What for you so mean to us?’ Straight out of Idiocracy.

    They were offended that Krugman dare criticize their work since they hadn’t attacked Krugman first (or at least recently). It’s all personal with these guys. Krugman’s response was basically, ‘It’s an academic work and anyone is welcome to criticize it.’ Pretty straightforward answer that is impossible to refute.

    I’m always shocked at how amateurish and crude many of the people in high positions seems. Hubris? Who knows, but crude nonetheless.

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