Friday, February 08, 2013

Lest I Be Misunderstood

Your continued attacks on Abenomics is awful...

These attacks have been the worst part of following your blog.

I am grateful for readers willing to tell me that I am full of crap (and possibly full of myself).

As for Abenomics, I will keep hacking away until I get an explanation of the program that I, a layman in every sense of the word, can believe in.

One of the few benefits of being on the wrong side of life's great divide (where the number of sunrises ahead is fewer than those already seen) is that one has locked away a fine personal collection of flim-flams, frauds, gyps, rip offs, shafts and scams to consult whenever someone offers simple solutions to complex problems.

All collections are eclectic, though, which is why I ask readers to smack me down whenever I misapprehend.

As for Abe Shinzo, the man, I worry about him. I sincerely do.


Simon said...

I'd also agree that your attacks, such as they have been, on Abenomics have not been an edifying part of this blog. Your objection to Krugman's summary, in your previous post, was basically "Krugman's argument was a good one, but I don't accept it because..." - actually, on rereading it, you didn't even give a reason. Shame, shame.

If it's "I don't understand it so it must be wrong", then that is at least a reason, although I would suggest that if macroeconomic policy for a major world economy were able to be completely explained in layman's terms, that would strongly suggest it wouldn't be a great policy anyway. Complicated problems sometimes necessitate complicated solutions.

But you're sounding more like "I refuse to even try to understand this."

Which is a shame, because the politics posts are fantastic.

MTC said...

Simon -

My mistrust of Abenomics comes from its not being what Krugman thinks it is.

By extending a belatedly cautious vote of confidence in Abenomics, Krugman could be endangering his reputation and, more importantly (Dignity and an empty sack being, as the Ferengi say, worth the sack), the application of fiscal stimulus and unorthodox monetary easing to economies that really need them.

Douglas Triggs said...

Neither here nor there, I once heard macroeconomics compared to quantum physics -- it's often counter-intuitive, easy to get lost in the weeds, and most importantly, "common sense" will get you nowhere.

But to the point, applying morality to economics can be disastrous: when things are tough, you don't "tighten the governments belt" -- that way leads to austerity and double (and triple)-dip recessions like is happening in the UK and the Eurozone. Also, often it means holding your nose and helping the so-called "underserving" is the most effective economic plan there is.

I see plenty of reasons to distrust Abe's intentions or competence, but ultimately, like Noah Smith I have to ask: does it really matter if the results are beneficial, even if accidentally so? I suppose, ultimately, if we disagree, what we have here is the ages-old utilitarian/Kantian divide.

Anyway, Krugman's reputation will take care of itself. He's been wrong before and publicly admitted as much (which certainly doesn't hurt his reputation with me[1]), but mostly he's been right -- and on this one, he makes sense. Yes, there are some differences in the various world economies, but like with the physical world, they still basically follow the same economic laws.

[1] Most importantly to me, it's clear he's still open to learning as new evidence comes in.