Cri­tiquing Sec­u­lar Stagnation–without the irony

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In the intro­duc­tion to last week’s post on my blog I appended the state­ment “Health warn­ing: con­tains sub­stan­tial por­tions of irony. May exceed your daily allowance”. Judg­ing from the com­ments onBusi­ness Spec­ta­tor, that was indeed the case for some read­ers. So I’ve eschewed irony in this week’s post.

Much of the irony last week was in this sen­tence – and the links gave the clue that my tongue was planted firmly in my cheek:

Now, as any well trained econ­o­mist knows, it’s a mat­ter of sim­ple logic that what hap­pens to pri­vate debt is irrel­e­vant to macro­eco­nom­ics most of the time, because “debt is one person’s lia­bil­ity, but another person’s asset.”

The last two links led to ear­lier Krug­man posts: no irony there. But the first two led respec­tively to the Wikipedia entry on irony and the won­der­ful scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where a logi­cian proves that if a woman weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood and is there­fore a witch:

Bede­vere: Exactly. So, log­i­cally…
Vil­lager #1: If… she… weighs… the same as a duck,… she’s made of wood.
Bede­vere: And there­fore?
Vil­lager #2: A witch!”

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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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  • Steve Hum­mel

    I loved Monty Python even more than Sat­ur­day Night Live, and their absurd logic was always per­fectly expressed.

    However,if it quacks,and wad­dles and looks like a duck it prob­a­bly is, and a pri­vate for profit bank­ing license has no true coun­ter­vail­ing credit cre­at­ing agency, no pur­poses for credit cre­ation other than profit and pro­duc­tion and most impor­tantly allows no form of credit issuance except a loan.…then it’s an actively restric­tive monop­oly and has no the­o­ret­i­cal right to exist in free mar­ket the­ory, and its monop­o­lis­tic asym­me­try is the source of our deep­est and most stub­bornly resis­tant eco­nomic prob­lems.