10 Apr 2013

Moderator Bask

All Posts 74 Comments

Hey kids,

In the comments please list some suggestions for who should moderate the MMT/Austrian debate between Warren Mosler and me. It’s going to be hosted online; i.e. we don’t have to be in the same physical place.

74 Responses to “Moderator Bask”

  1. Seymour says:

    How about Daniel Kuehn or Gene Callahan?

    If not, get someone who is completely unfamiliar with Austrian economics and MMT to moderate.

  2. matt says:

    Paul Krugman. isn’t that the answer to every question about who is in a debate with Murphy?

  3. Dan says:

    Isn’t John Carney sympathetic towards both Austrian Econ and MMT?

  4. noiselull says:

    Tyler Cowen or Alex Tabarrok. Think of the PR!
    Mark Thoma. Potentially interesting.
    Arnold Kling. Not a fan of Austrians, MMTers, or textbook stuff.
    SCOTT SUMNER. ‘Nuff said.

  5. Mark says:

    Perhaps Edward Harrison would be willing? He’s writing firmly out of the MMT camp but seems to have a good understanding and sympathy for the Austrian side.


  6. Ryan Murphy says:

    Yes, Scott Sumner.

    Or how about Barkley Rosser?

  7. John Nox says:

    Tom Woods

    • Z says:

      How about one of his cute little daughters?

      • guest says:

        I noticed that you saw this recent article by Tom Woods:

        If This Doesn’t Make You Smile, I’m Out of Ideas

        The Woods’s seem like cool people, huh?

        You know, I think Tom Woods would be really good, but I don’t know that the other side would be willing to accept him.

        Stephan Kinsella could do it, too, based on what he was saying to Wenzel, during their debate, to try to get him back on track.

  8. Jonathan Finegold says:

    David Graeber.

  9. Dean T. Sandin says:

    David Henderson

    • David R. Henderson says:

      Thanks, Dean.

  10. memefilter says:

    Penn Jillette

  11. konst says:

    John Carney would be a good choice. He appears to be sympathetic to both Austrains and MMT.

  12. steveZ says:


  13. ThomasL says:

    Arnold Kling. He isn’t exactly MMT or Austrian in his views and is a fair guy.

  14. Martin says:

    Sumner or Landsburg?

  15. Collin says:

    Ben Swann. The news guy.

  16. skylien says:

    Lauren Lyster.

    She already had people of both sides of the issue on her old show. (For the MMT side at least Mike Norman and Stephanie Kelton).

    Although I am not sure if the she’d drag some attention away from Bob and Warren..

  17. Seymour says:

    After second thought, I second skylien. Get Lauren Lyster to conduct the debate! Scott Sumner if she’s not available. Third, fourth, and fifth choices would be Scott Sumner, David Henderson, and Steve Horwitz.

    • skylien says:

      Are you talking about two different Scott Sumners?


      • Seymour says:

        It was a typo! 🙂

        A certain Bob Roddis seems to have enough interest in these topics, don’t you think?

        • skylien says:

          Yes, how about a double team? Bob Roddis and LK moderate in tandem. Then on average there is no bias.

          • Seymour says:

            Now that I would like to see! Mosler can’t possibly refuse if you have both an Austrian and a Post Keynesian double moderating the debate. I am not sure LK would want to give away his real name or face.

          • Bob Murphy says:

            You guys are funny, but little help.

            • skylien says:

              Lauren was a serious suggestion though I guess it is not very realistic..

              • Bob Murphy says:

                Some of these suggestions are very good. Others are not.

              • Seymour says:

                I was kinda playing around with the other comments, but my first comment was serious too. JP Koning would also be perfect,

  18. Daniel Kuehn says:

    I vote Major Freedom

    • Major_Freedom says:

      That would likely result in a loss of my anonymity.

      No dice.

      I vote for you, because you’re not anonymous, and you know a little of both Austrian econ and MMT.

  19. Ken B says:

    David R Henderson. No-one will doubt his fairness.

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      also +1

      David Glasner or JP Koning might be good at the subject matter.

    • joeftansey says:

      I don’t doubt his intentions, but I doubt his fairness. He’s used some cheap shot and straw man arguments in some of his past blog posts. He also frequently participates in “bully” politics, where you pick the lowest common denominator of the other side, and attack it for a “free win”.

      I remembered this example from a long time ago http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2012/09/the_bottom_one_1.html

      You can find many examples of him picking on “ridiculous” government laws that no one would ever defend. Score one for liberty, right bros?

      David is a good guy. He’s just (like all of us), a little trigger happy.

      • Ken B says:

        If the law is so ridiculous no one would defend it, why is it there and enfoced? I really don’t see pointing those out as bully politics Joe, they seem like pointing out the costs of trying to over legislate. People rflexively support all kinds of regulation because it has a feel-good vibe. Questioning that zeitgeist assumption seems useful.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          “If the law is so ridiculous no one would defend it, why is it there and enfoced?”

          Yeah that’s what I thought too. Really, I mean it is sensible to say there exists laws that NOBODY defends? It’s ridiculous.

          • Ken B says:

            Well there’s the 3rd Law of Thermodynamics I suppose. Nobody likes that one.

          • guest says:

            And this is why Hitler comparisons will always be relevant.

            Godwin’s Law is no reason to ignore history; When arguments are being distilled to their core principles as a matter of course, they need to be shown to be capable of surviving under such scenarios in order to be considered principled.

        • joeftansey says:

          First, just because no one would ever defend them intellectually doesn’t mean they won’t enforce them. So yes, it is plausible that there are laws that do get enforced that no one thinks are good ideas.

          Let’s take Henderson’s most recent article on prop 65. I don’t know anything about prop 65, and I suspect that I would come down on Henderson’s side of the issue if I did. 99.99% of everyone probably already agrees with Henderson and would reflexively oppose a ban on selling Licorice across state lines. So he’s pointing it out…. why?

          There are probably thousands of such laws. Maybe hundreds of thousands. So what if Henderson points out #42174? Does anyone really walk around thinking that NO legislation needs to be repealed? Do these people read econlog?

          It’s the libertarian kumbaya ritual.

          Don’t you all ever get tired of hearing about how stupid the stupidest people on the opposition are?

          • Ken B says:

            That’s mischaracterizing joe. Prop 65 does not say “thou shalt not sell red licorice.” It establishes some rather vague regulations. Those regulations have effects. People support the regulations because they can and do easily envision the hoped for good effects. They underestimate the bad effects. And the more “feel good” a regulation is the worse these effects. Banning some specific chemical in one specific way is one thing; vague dictats like “don’t put carcinogens in food” has all kinds of bad effects.

            It’s like what is seen and what is not seen. Pointing out the unseen is not a bad idea.
            So Henderson is not mocking people who got together and decided to mess with licrice recipes; his target is not the stupidest people on the other side. Maybe no-one would support the licorice ban explicitly, but many smart people do support the wider vaguer ban.

            • joeftansey says:

              Again, it comes back to the same question. Do you really think people don’t know that legislation has “unintended consequences”? That Henderson’s readers are this obtuse?

              It’s incredibly easy to get any lay person to admit that at least *some* of the government laws, or *some* of the government bureaucrats, are silly and bad for society.

              You’re not going to convince anyone, not even people who support the general idea of prop 65, with this logic. They’ll just say: “Oh it needs to be reformed. Government should only do good things, not bad things” and go on being socialists.

              Attacking the weakest parts of government policy (lol, they banned licorice by mistake!) doesn’t convince anyone. We all know governments make mistakes sometimes. So what? It’s nothing even an arch-statist can’t recognize.

            • joeftansey says:

              I googled “prop 65 red licorice”. Every single hit links to David’s article, except the last one. Its claim:

              When grown in soil with a relatively “low” lead content (500 ppm), spinach and radishes can have lead levels that exceed 3 ppm, while beets and carrots can exceed 6 ppm. [Note2] Also, herbs may contain over 90% water by weight, so lead levels in dried herbs can be up to 10 times higher than their fresh counterparts. In addition, it is difficult to get root crops (like radishes, beets or carrots) entirely free of the soil they are grown in, even with power washing. Good washing is critical, because at 500 ppm, even 1% of remaining soil, all by itself, would exceed the international lead standards for supplements. Under these circumstances, it is easy to see how it might be difficult to keep lead levels low in natural herbal products, and especially in root crops (which also include herbal root products like angelica, echinacea, licorice, or poria).

              So you can imagine what kind of case a statist might make.

              This doesn’t prove my point about Henderson picking on weak links, but it goes back to my earlier point about Henderson mis/under-representing his opponents. He just takes it as prima facie absurd that anyone would want to ban licorice, but there may be non-trivial reasons for doing so.

    • David R. Henderson says:

      Thanks so much, Ken B. If the timing works, I would do it. I also think Scott Sumner would be a good choice.

  20. RPLong says:

    Should be someone who is equally hostile to both MMT and Austrianism, but level-headed enough to be fair to both sides. Sounds like a job for Nick Rowe to me, but I only know the relevant players from reading their blogs…

  21. K.P. says:

    Karl Smith

  22. Andrew says:

    Russ Roberts

    • Bob Roddis says:

      I agree with Russ Roberts. He understands Austrian concepts but never challenged Sumner on his money printing obsession. That makes him at least polite.

      I would not want the task of debating an MMTer in a polite formal debate because how do you remain polite when you are claiming your opponent’s entire view of the human race and human interaction is wacky and unrelated to reality?? And that yours is based upon reality. And that the problems of the world are caused by his “solutions”. How do you say that in a nice way?

      • guest says:

        Only in writing. That way, you can’t be interrupted, and you have the opportunity to qualify anything you think you need to without worrying how much you can fit in to a debate.

        • Bob Roddis says:

          I would propose a few rounds of written questions and answers by and to each side prior to the oral debate.

  23. Major_Freedom says:

    Pee Wee Herman.

  24. Seymour says:

    Bozo the Clown!

  25. Keshav Srinivasan says:

    Steve Landsburg, because he has the ability to try to rationally evaluate even ideas that most people find counterintuitive. So I think he’d have a fairly open mind to things like printing truckloads of money.

  26. Kevin L says:

    I also vote for Arnold Kling. He’s skeptical of Austrian and MMT dogma, but is very fair, rational, and smart.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      The settled philosophical tenet that philosophical tenets unquestionably exist, is by definition a philosophical tenet.

    • Matt Tanous says:

      I’m skeptical of dogma too. Good thing the point of debate is discussing ideas and rational, logical basis for holding them instead of spouting off dogma.

      In fact, it seems far more often that “dogma” is what you call someone else’s argument if you can’t find a rational response to their claims and logic.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        “In fact, it seems far more often that “dogma” is what you call someone else’s argument if you can’t find a rational response to their claims and logic.”

        The Marxist tactic.

  27. konst says:

    Get “Team Brittany” as moderators.

    • guest says:

      They would be a nice distraction from the debate.

      Yap, yap, yap; Give me some of that gigglin’.

  28. Bob Roddis says:

    Yesterday, Mosler seemed to be saying that the higher price of oil caused inflation in the 70s. How is that possible? If you have to pay more for oil, you have less money to spend on everything else. The price level should stay approximately the same absent injections of new funny money.

    • Lord Keynes says:

      “Yesterday, Mosler seemed to be saying that the higher price of oil caused inflation in the 70s. How is that possible? I”

      Because you’re ignorant of real world endogenous money systems and how private businesses simply obtain extra credit for factor inputs when the price of those inputs rises.

      Price administration/setting then causes businesses to raise prices of finished products so that their profit margin is not squeezed out.

      Money supply growth is then a function of credit demand, which is itself caused by factor input costs.

      All elementary if you knew about fixprices and price administration, which you do not.

      • K.P. says:

        Friendly guy

      • Bob Roddis says:

        I said:

        The price level should stay approximately the same absent injections of new funny money.

        And, as I implied, and you confirmed, THERE WERE INJECTIONS OF NEW FUNNY MONEY:

        Money supply growth is then a function of credit demand, which is itself caused by factor input costs.

        And no. Money supply growth is not caused by factor input costs. It is caused by money supply growth.

        • Lord Keynes says:

          “Money supply growth is not caused by factor input costs. It is caused by money supply growth.”

          lol.. That’s like saying unemployment is caused by unemployment.

          Behold the awesome power of your mind, bob roddis!

          Broad money supply is mostly bank credit money. When new money is created, its ultimate cause and driver is credit demand.

          Elementary, but not for those ignorant of the real world.

  29. MamMoTh says:

    Kim Jong Un

    • Bob Murphy says:

      He’s too busy MamMoTh.

      • MamMoTh says:

        I thought it could be nice to distract him for a while, and to show him what a real war is

        • Bob Murphy says:

          I just think we should send Hans Blix.

          • MamMoTh says:

            Don’t be cruel, I think he’s had his fair share of dealing with lunatics.

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