What utter self-serv­ing dri­vel, Brad Delong!

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I can scarcely believe what Brad Delong has dared to pub­lish on Project Syn­di­cate today:

We econ­o­mists who are steeped in eco­nomic and finan­cial his­tory – and aware of the his­tory of eco­nomic thought con­cern­ing finan­cial crises and their effects – have rea­son to be proud of our analy­ses over the past five years. We under­stood where we were head­ing, because we knew where we had been.

In par­tic­u­lar, we under­stood that the rapid run-up of house prices, cou­pled with the exten­sion of lever­age, posed macro­eco­nomic dan­gers. We rec­og­nized that large bub­ble-dri­ven losses in assets held by lever­aged finan­cial insti­tu­tions would cause a pan­icked flight to safety, and that pre­vent­ing a deep depres­sion required active offi­cial inter­ven­tion as a lender of last resort.…

So the big les­son is sim­ple: trust those who work in the tra­di­tion of Wal­ter Bage­hot, Hyman Min­sky, and Charles Kindle­berger. That means trust­ing econ­o­mists like Paul Krug­man, Paul Romer, Gary Gor­ton, Car­men Rein­hart, Ken Rogoff, Raghu­ram Rajan, Larry Sum­mers, Barry Eichen­green, Olivier Blan­chard, and their peers. Just as they got the recent past right, so they are the ones most likely to get the dis­tri­b­u­tion of pos­si­ble futures right.

What utter hubris and dri­vel!

Where to begin? For starters, “the last five years” includes June 2007–just before the com­mence­ment of the finan­cial cri­sis. But this time, peo­ple like Wynne God­ley, Ann Pet­ti­fors, Ran­dall Wray, Nouriel Roubini, Dean Baker, Peter Schiff and I had spent years warn­ing that a huge cri­sis was com­ing, and had a vari­ety of debt-based expla­na­tions as to why it was inevitable. By then, God­ley, Wray and I and many other Post Key­ne­sian econ­o­mists had spent decades imbib­ing and devel­op­ing the work of Hyman Min­sky.

To my knowl­edge, of Delong’s mot­ley crew, only Raghu­ram Rajan was in print with any warn­ings of an immi­nent cri­sis before it began. Blan­chard deserves to win an award for one of the world’s worst-timed papers when in August 12, 2008–one year after the cri­sis began–he pub­lished a work­ing paper which crowed that “the state of macro is good”. Krug­man, who Delong crowns as first amongst equals in those work­ing “in the tra­di­tion of Wal­ter Bage­hot, Hyman Min­sky, and Charles Kindle­berger” first read Min­sky in May 2009–and noted that he didn’t really see what all the fuss was about:

So I’m actu­ally read­ing Hyman Minsky’s mag­num opus, here in Seoul. … I have to say that the Pla­tonic ideal of Min­sky is a lot bet­ter than the real­ity.

There’s a deep insight in there; both the con­cept of finan­cial fragility and his insight, way ahead of any­one else, that as the mem­ory of the Depres­sion faded the sys­tem was in fact becom­ing more frag­ile. But that insight takes up part of Chap­ter 9. The rest is a long slog through turgid writ­ing, Kaleck­ian income dis­tri­b­u­tion the­ory (which I don’t think has any­thing to do with the fun­da­men­tal point), and more.

To be fair, it took me sev­eral decades before I learned to appre­ci­ate Keynes in the orig­i­nal. Maybe a reread will make me see the depths of Minsky’s insight across the board. Or maybe not.

This was hardly amaz­ing to those of us who had started to read Min­sky a bit ear­lier than 2009–such as me for exam­ple (I first read Minsky’s real mag­num opus, John May­nard Keynes, in 1987). Those of us with a bit more expo­sure to Min­sky knew that Sta­bi­liz­ing an Unsta­ble Econ­omy was not Minsky’s best book–and I com­mented on Krugman’s blog that he should put it aside and read Can “It” Hap­pen Again? when he got back from Seoul.

The only excuse for the cant Delong has spewed forth today is that, as with Krug­man and oth­ers in the self-described “New Key­ne­sian” camp, he per­ceives him­self as being at the left end of the eco­nomic spec­trum, with the only com­pe­ti­tion being from the far right rep­re­sented by the purist Chicago ver­sion of Neo­clas­si­cal eco­nom­ics. Since the Neo­clas­si­cal left sup­ports deficit spend­ing dur­ing a Depres­sion, while the right sup­ports aus­ter­ity, to Delong it’s game over, and the Neo­clas­si­cal left is right.

The real­ity is that there is an entire other dimen­sion of econ­o­mists who have known for decades that both extremes of the Neo­clas­si­cal eco­nomic axis were nei­ther left nor right, but plain bloody wrong. We also knew that our crit­i­cisms of the Neo­clas­si­cals had no chance of being lis­tened to by the pub­lic until a major cri­sis hit, and we also expected that this cri­sis would do noth­ing to alter their own beliefs. Delong’s delu­sional mut­ter­ings today con­firm it.

I some­times get accused of being harsh when I argue that eco­nom­ics will only progress from the delu­sion of Neo­clas­si­cal eco­nom­ics into a more empir­i­cally based and real­is­tic dis­ci­pline the way that Max Planck observed that physics made the move from Maxwell to Ein­stein: “one funeral at a time”. I doubt that I’ll cop that crit­i­cism any more after Brad’s effort today.

About Steve Keen

I am Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London, and a long time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in Debunking Economics, I am also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling. The key issue I am tackling here is the prospect for a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.
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  • Alex Coven­try

    One funeral at a time” seems like a rather opti­mistic sce­nario. In the shift to Einstein’s the­o­ries, only ideas and egos were at stake and no one was mak­ing seri­ous money out the blind spots in the old the­ory.

  • Dra­gunov

    @Brad DeLong

    If I were going to stretch it to 20, I would add, in no par­tic­u­lar order: Simon John­son, Jamie Gal­braith, Dean Baker, Maury Obst­feld, Pierre-Olivier Gour­in­chas, Adam Posen, Nouriel Roubini, George Akerlof, Robert Shiller, Michael Wood­ford, and Gauti Eggerts­son.”

    Ok let’s see what Jamie Gal­braith has to say about all this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yOdicriZ4k&t=2m33s

    I sup­pose it’s eas­ier to list a bunch of names with cre­den­tials than engage in a qual­i­ta­tive debate about NK vs PK.

  • Steve Hum­mel

    @Mikkel Fish­man

    I’m not sure whether you are agree­ing or dis­agree­ing with my for­mer post, but I will sim­ply say what I have often said here (and cap­i­tal­ized for empha­sis).

    It is a BOTH/AND world. 

    In other words real­ity is actu­ally a com­pos­ite of appar­ent dual­i­ties which are really just oppo­site ends of a bar magnet/continuum. Its a physical/metaphysically expe­ri­enced world. Its a science/wisdom world. One is actu­ally incom­plete and non­sen­si­cal with­out the other.

    C. H. Dou­glas wrote the fol­low­ing at the begin­ning of his sem­i­nal work Social Credit:

    WE have in Eng­land, prob­a­bly to a greater extent than else­where, two dis­tinct sys­tems of edu­ca­tion flour­ish­ing side by side. The dis­tinc­tion is clearly marked in the pub­lic schools and uni­ver­si­ties; but it is trace­able through every grade of edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tion by the arrange­ments which are made to pre­pare can­di­dates for pub­lic and other exam­i­na­tions. These two sys­tems in the Pub­lic Schools are the Clas­si­cal and the Mod­ern sides, and have their equiv­a­lent Tri­poses and Hon­ours Schools in the uni­ver­si­ties. One of these sys­tems is Aris­tote­lean, the sec­ond is Bacon­ian.

    Now, it does not seem to be so clearly realised as it should be, that these two sys­tems of edu­ca­tion are, con­sid­ered sep­a­rately, incom­pat­i­ble. The clas­si­cal sys­tem is the embod­i­ment of an attrac­tive and artis­tic ideal or con­cep­tion of the nature of soci­ety, and the con­di­tions under which soci­ety lives, moves, and has its being. It is above, out­side, pos­si­bly in advance of, facts. The mod­ern school, of which induc­tive nat­ural sci­ence, based upon the exper­i­men­tal ascer­tain­ment of fact, is the back­bone, has not essen­tially to do with ideals at all. It is real­is­tic; its first pos­tu­late is that forces act in a sim­i­lar man­ner when placed in a sim­i­lar rela­tion to each other. It refuses to admit, as a fact, any­thing which can­not be demon­strated, and as a the­ory, any­thing which does not fit the facts.……

    It is prob­a­ble that, as in many con­tro­ver­sies, there is a good deal to be said for both points of view, but it is even more prob­a­ble that approx­i­mate truth lies in appre­ci­a­tion of the fact that nei­ther con­cep­tion is use­ful with­out the other. 

    ****************************************************************

    In your first post you praise Keynes, and I can under­stand that and agree to a large extent. How­ever, every­one is sub­ject to flaws like intel­lec­tual dis­hon­esty or at best fail­ure to site the actual ref­er­ences for one’s opin­ions. When Keynes said: 

    Thus the prob­lem of pro­vid­ing that new cap­i­tal-invest­ment shall always out­run cap­i­tal-dis­in­vest­ment suf­fi­ciently to fill the GAP between net income and con­sump­tion, presents a prob­lem which is increas­ingly dif­fi­cult as cap­i­tal increases. New cap­i­tal-invest­ment can only take place in excess of cur­rent cap­i­tal-dis­in­vest­ment if future expen­di­ture on con­sump­tion is expected to increase. Each time we secure to-day’s equi­lib­rium by increased invest­ment we are aggra­vat­ing the dif­fi­culty of secur­ing equi­lib­rium to-mor­row.” .…… he was (con­sciously or uncon­sciously) pla­gia­riz­ing C. H. Dou­glas.

    Marx, Keynes, Min­sky all had prodi­gious intel­lect, and we all stand on the shoul­ders of giants. How­ever, it takes a truly open, per­cep­tive and coura­geous mind to dis­cover in the seem­ingly mun­dane sub­ject of account­ing the “lay­ing around in plain sight” but under­ly­ingly pow­er­ful force of its con­ven­tions to effect Humanity’s course.….and then declare to a pompous, self inter­ested and intel­lec­tu­ally arro­gant world.…that very fact.
    To enlighten and expose as truly sig­nif­i­cant the sup­pos­edly mun­dane is akin to enchant­ment itself. And that is what C. H. Dou­glas did. The world is still attempt­ing to catch up with his insight and deci­pher its mean­ing and power.

  • Steve Hum­mel

    @ Damien,

    Yes, even though Marx was smart his eco­nom­ics still did not free us. IMO cap­i­tal­ism and social­ism are alike cesarist, cen­tral­iz­ing the­o­ries. They have started with the abstrac­tion and ended up allow­ing the indi­vid­ual to whither on the vine. Social Credit builds up from the indi­vid­ual, and its intents are to give the indi­vid­ual max­i­mal free­dom and empow­er­ment. This is what moder­nity lacks, and what is needed if real bal­ance is to come to the world’s sys­tems.

  • Steve Hum­mel

    I think it is time to sign off: one can be told only so many times “for eco­nom­ics to progress, you must die”.

    Men­tal dou­ble entry book­keep­ing:

    Het­ero­dox truth
    Avoid­ance

    Still does not bal­ance or sum to zero.

    And never fear it is rarely the ortho­dox that are lit­er­ally or intel­lec­tu­ally “killed”, but rather mostly the heretics.…and their truths.

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  • mikkel fish­man

    Steve Hum­mel:

    The pri­mary point of my com­ment was to point out yours was too cut and dried in assign­ing value (phi­los­o­phy is “more” than) in order to goad an elo­quently on point response, which you ful­filled. I don’t know any­thing about CH Dou­glas other than see­ing his name pop up a bit when talk­ing about alter­na­tive forms of finance, so I’ll def­i­nitely need to check out more.

    Keynes of course had faults, but my admi­ra­tion comes from his skill in ana­lyz­ing more or less the exist­ing cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem and then sav­ing it from itself. It’s great work of schol­ar­ship and pos­i­tive phi­los­o­phy. I really like Min­sky for the same rea­son, espe­cially his focus on the pyra­mid scheme qual­i­ties of mal­in­vest­ment.

    It looks like CH Dou­glas is more of a rad­i­cal as he tar­gets scarcity itself. It is aston­ish­ing how much pain is caused because of the refusal to reeval­u­ate labor’s con­tri­bu­tion to pro­duc­tion, nearly 200 years after it became triv­ially obvi­ous. I of course greatly admire the Tech­noc­racy foun­da­tion regard­ing phys­i­cal lim­its guid­ing pro­duc­tion as well as Kropotkin’s empha­sis on gov­er­nance. So if you <3 Dou­glas I’d imag­ine you would them as well.

    I will def­i­nitely read Dou­glas although I am sus­pi­cious of the Chris­t­ian angle; not because there is any­thing wrong with that but many really great Chris­t­ian thinkers saw things clearly — includ­ing the role of sci­ence, the cycli­cal nature of things, etc. — and then insisted that Christ was the magic ingre­di­ent. If it is for them that’s great, but there’s no rea­son it needs to be a tenet for every­one.

    Now if the Peren­nial phi­los­o­phy was the meta­physics that under­pinned it… 

    But yeah I think we agree about the main point. DeLong and Krug­man are not bad peo­ple in any sense of the term because they are obvi­ously not sociopaths (I’m not so sure about Sum­mers) but they aren’t being Just either because they haven’t used their author­ity to make a stand against the sociopaths. And they have obvi­ously made worth­while con­tri­bu­tions to intel­lect, but often actively inhibit the self actu­al­ized sup­port­ing mind­set that Keen and MMTers seem to value highly and Dou­glas, et al made a core con­cept.

    This cult of expe­di­ency and “seri­ous­ness” holds the Sci­ences in gen­eral and it pains me greatly, so I get what you’re sniff­ing at. I also know from per­sonal expe­ri­ence that many sci­en­tists live in quiet agony over this fact and feel they are fail­ing to stand up in the face of increas­ing envi­ron­men­tal and social dev­as­ta­tion. Their power needs to be unlocked, not through some­thing bet­ter than Sci­ence, but through Sci­ence as some­thing bet­ter.

  • Steve Hum­mel

    Mikkel,

    Thanks for “goad­ing” 🙂 and for the qual­ity post. I must say this forum has more well con­sid­ered posters than any other I have vis­ited. Its stim­u­lat­ing and refresh­ing.

    I love using Chris­t­ian and bib­li­cal ref­er­ences because they are so psy­cho­log­i­cally valid, wise and to me beau­ti­ful, not in any­way because they are super­nat­u­rally cor­rect or accu­rate. I’m actu­ally about as agnos­tic as you can get. I’m not sure what Douglas’s actual reli­gious con­vic­tions were, but this quote of his seems to indi­cate that he did not advo­cate any of Christianity’s ten­den­cies toward lit­er­al­ism and fun­da­men­tal­ism:

    Sys­tems were made for men, and not men for sys­tems, and the inter­est of man which is self-devel­op­ment, is above all sys­tems, whether the­o­log­i­cal, polit­i­cal or eco­nomic.”

    It IS coin­ci­dent that the very con­crete poli­cies of Social Credit are accu­rate reflec­tions of the ideas, val­ues and expe­ri­ences of PRACTICAL Chris­tian­ity, namely Faith as in con­fi­dence, Hope, Love and Grace. In other words they are a con­crete and accu­rate align­ment of wis­dom with tem­po­ral affairs. Some­thing unfor­tu­nately both stun­ningly absent and stun­ningly needed in the mod­ern world. And that is my pri­mary attrac­tion to it.

  • No you don’t under­stand Brad.

    It was not about egos. It was about your list con­tain­ing exclu­sively Neo­clas­si­cal econ­o­mists.

    But good­bye any­way.

  • Foppe

    Awe­some. Brad engages in revi­sion­ist his­tori­cism, inserts weasel words to be able to claim that some list of peo­ple whose the­o­ret­i­cal out­looks don’t chal­lenge him (although I’m curi­ous to know how Rajan got inthere.. can’t imag­ine him lik­ing brad and larry much, but maybe i’m miss­ing some­thing) got the “recent” past right; and then he mis­in­ter­prets Steve to be able to reclaim the moral high ground (with his trans­par­ently pater­nal­is­tic ‘chill’ etc.) and accuse steve of ego-trip­ping.
    Aren’t power plays great? And isn’t it great how some­one like him gets to be called an ‘aca­d­e­mic’? Though I sup­pose it’s par for the course in this field. So in that sense it’s nice to see it all hap­pen­ing out in the open.

  • Philip

    Well done Steve.

    Out of DeLong’s list of econ­o­mists, per­haps only Rajan, though Eichen­green has done some good analy­sis, should be even listed as hav­ing pro­vided some insight into the GFC.

    As the excelling doc­u­men­tary Inside Job notes, main­stream econ­o­mists are very self-serv­ing and are an exten­sion of the cor­po­rate state’s pub­lic rela­tions depart­ment.

    Instead of per­form­ing self-assess­ment of what went wrong with their the­ory and pol­icy, they engage in self-con­grat­u­la­tion for hav­ing made economies less worse-off. This is sim­i­lar to engi­neers con­grat­u­lat­ing each other for say­ing at least the sup­port struts of a fallen bridge are still stand­ing, despite the num­ber of motorists and pedes­tri­ans who have died or been severely injured.

    My arti­cle “Time to stop reward­ing econ­o­mists for bad behav­iour” https://theconversation.edu.au/time-to-stop-rewarding-economists-for-bad-behaviour-5836

  • Ed Beau­gard

    Hi Steve/Webmaster,

    Err…I can’t seem to find my com­ments, and I for­get which post I was com­ment­ing on. I tried to write some­thing yes­ter­day but have no idea where it went. 

    Cheers,
    Ed B.

  • Nixda

    I would go with Ein­stein instead of Planck.

    Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the the­ory which you use. It is the the­ory which decides what can be observed.”

  • imper­ma­nence

    In other words, they are a con­crete and accu­rate align­ment of wis­dom with tem­po­ral affairs. Some­thing unfor­tu­nately both stun­ningly absent and stun­ningly needed in the mod­ern world. And that is my pri­mary attrac­tion to it.”

    Steve H., although true Wis­dom lies out­side of any­thing you can con­struct as tem­po­ral, you might find that if your shift your own frame of ref­er­ence, every­thing is where its always been. 

    After all, the Uni­verse is a zero-sum game.

  • Steve Hum­mel

    There is truth in almost every book or the­ory ever pub­lished. The depth of it is mostly what sep­a­rates the deriv­a­tive from the insight­ful and the insight­ful from the truly great. 

    By depth I mean in this case does it fully take into con­sid­er­a­tion the most obvi­ously inex­orable (and yet over­looked) fac­tors of pro­duc­tion like tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion, and seem­ing mun­dane (and so also over­looked) but equally inex­orable things like Time and its rela­tion­ship to cost account­ing.

    Always the con­trar­ian here, my con­cern is that as more and more neo-clas­si­cal econ­o­mists latch onto Minsky.…the more merely incre­men­tal the ulti­mate amount of actual reform will result. In the end Min­sky, a cap­i­tal­ist, is still attempt­ing to rede­fine cap­i­tal­ism. This is such a dif­fi­cult thing to do because it still leaves cer­tain basic assump­tions intact, not the least of which is one’s own alle­giances to cap­i­tal­ism.

    I think that profit mak­ing sys­tems are bet­ter than non-profit mak­ing ones mostly because they at least HAVE an ele­ment of indi­vid­u­al­ism and at least an (alleged) con­cern for his/her free­dom. But the final hur­dle for capitalism/economics in gen­eral is will it con­sider the indi­vid­ual FIRST…instead of the sys­tem or the the­ory. The final bar­rier to nir­vana is sup­pos­edly one’s self, itself. This is just one more par­al­lel between the­ory of what­ever kind and wis­dom itself, and applies specif­i­cally to cap­i­tal­ists cri­tiquing cap­i­tal­ism.

    Dr. Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. in his great “I have a dream” speech exhorts lead­er­ship to under­stand that “to take the tran­quil­iz­ing drug of grad­u­al­ism” is not con­sis­tent with indi­vid­ual free­dom and hence “the fierce urgency of now”. 

    If a sys­tem is not con­sis­tent with or actu­ally based on the free­dom of the indi­vid­ual, OR even if it attempts to merely free the sys­tem itself.…IT MUST EVOLVE TO INCLUDE THE ACTUAL FREEDOM OF THE INDIVIDUAL OR IT WILL ULTIMATELY IF NOT QUICKLY FAIL.

  • shar­gash

    It bog­gles the mind that Larry Sum­mers is on that list. Most of the rest of the list (e.g. Krug­man) were just caught by sur­prise by the GFC. But Sum­mers was one of the archi­tects of the cri­sis. I can­not think of some­one in pub­lic life who has been more wrong and more destruc­tive than Sum­mers. To have him held up as some kind of exem­plar is just vile.

  • Steve Hum­mel

    Imper­ma­nence,

    .…if your shift your own frame of ref­er­ence, every­thing is where its always been.”

    Ah, but the view­point itself (not the ego) can­not be for­got­ten about.

    A noth­ing­ness is actu­ally a some­thing­ness even if all it is, is qual­i­ties or poten­tial qual­i­ties.

  • imper­ma­nence

    Steve H., view­points are like every­thing else, made up of sup­po­si­tions derived from con­di­tions that are con­stantly chang­ing.

    Although a view­point may have valid­ity in a non-tem­po­ral moment, it is sub­ject to the same fate as is all think­ing, mere illu­sions that come from nowhere and return as quickly.

    It is hard to argue against the notion that sys­tems work only in the inter­ests of few, that indi­vid­u­als man­i­fest their true nature through dis­solv­ing the ego, there­fore break­ing the only link that may bind him/her-self to the group.

    Although indi­vid­u­als, des­per­ately need each other, eas­ily fall prey to the trick­sters with their sys­tems, solu­tions, economies of scale, and all the rest, sim­ply the begin­nings of another chap­ter in the ongo­ing Greek tragedy called human soci­ety.

  • Steve Hum­mel

    There will never be an end to his­tory. How­ever, sys­tems ACTUALLY based on wisdom.….AND POLICIES THAT ACTUALLY REFLECT THAT WISDOM.…cannot pos­si­bly be any­thing but an improve­ment over past his­tory.

  • Steve Hum­mel

    And that is rea­son for Hope, not pes­simism.

  • no com­ment

  • imper­ma­nence

    It’s not hope v. pes­simism. Leave that and all other dual­ity for Madi­son Avenue to pack­age, re-pack­age, and sell again.

    It would seem that accept­ing the human con­di­tion for what it is, is not such a poor choice. The notion that things are “improv­ing” sug­gest that things are not good enough for our species, a intel­lec­tual snare that cre­ates unlim­ited dis­tress and suf­fer­ing.

    Being humans, as we find our­selves, is just fine until we accept our supe­ri­or­ity as real, and think it is oth­er­wise.

    Steve H., what you are look­ing for is right before you eyes. Hope is sim­ply one of the infi­nite dis­trac­tions we con­jure-up to avoid liv­ing our lives.

  • You com­mented on the Wel­come page Ed:

    Dear Prof. Keen,

    Thank you for writ­ing this, although I wish you were much less harsh in your crit­i­cisms.
    While DeLong is rather insuf­fer­able, at least he admits that something’s dread­fully wrong with eco­nom­ics. Maybe DeLong and Krug­man will become post-Key­ne­sians with more encour­ag­ment rather than always being told what idiots they are. Polit­i­cally they’re with the good guys as you’ve said your­self a few times, so shouldn’t that count for some­thing? For me, it means a lot, espe­cially here in the US.
    Although, I have to admit that the pres­ence of Olivier “the state of macro is good” Blan­chard on DeLong’s list was a bit of a head-scratcher.
    May I share?
    Your mod­el­ling work on Min­sky? It’s great, keep at it, but please ask your­self, what does it really prove? In my opin­ion, attempts to use maths or physics to val­i­date eco­nomic ideas are very mis­guided.
    I believe, I cer­tainly could be wrong, that there is no “deci­sion pro­ce­dure” out­side of eco­nom­ics that will tell us whether we’re doing bad eco­nom­ics or not. That means that all attempts to apply meth­ods from com­plex­ity the­ory, sys­tems engi­neer­ing, or non-lin­ear dif­fer­en­tial equa­tions to eco­nom­ics are fruit­less.
    Maths can ILLUSTRATE or CLARIFY eco­nomic ideas, it can­not tell us what’s a good the­ory or bad the­ory.
    Wasn’t this one of Keynes’ fun­da­men­tal insights? That eco­nom­ics is a moral and not a nat­ural sci­ence?

    Sin­cerely,
    Ed Beau­gard

  • Mary-Ellen Large

    I read Brad Delong’s peice 2or 3 days ago and meant to post a link. As soon as I read the para­graphs you quoted above, I imme­di­ately thought of you. Espe­cially when he men­tioned Min­sky. They (ie econ­o­mists Delong lists above) also have a Man­i­festo for mem­bers of the pub­lic to sign. It seems very strange to me that they don’t see the links between politi­cians behav­iour and neoclassical/new keyn­sian eco­nomic mod­els. They must be tak­ing some very very strong drugs.

  • Steve Hum­mel

    Imper­ma­nence,

    It’s not hope v. pes­simism. Leave that and all other dual­ity for Madi­son Avenue to pack­age, re-pack­age, and sell again.”

    Exactly. I’m not ped­dling any such thing here. 

    Hope is sim­ply one of the infi­nite dis­trac­tions we con­jure-up to avoid liv­ing our lives.”

    You DO live up to your moniker. Your pes­simism and “skin of your teeth” min­i­mal­ist skep­ti­cism is really just the other end of my affir­ma­tion. I sug­gest you con­nect your end up with mine to close the cir­cle and give your­self a breather from hell.