27 May 2013


Climate Change, Economics, Krugman, Libertarianism, Potpourri, Shameless Self-Promotion 25 Comments

==> I realize this is childish, but these naughty K-Mart commercials (here and here) made me chuckle. (Thanks to Sam T.)

==> The CBO came out with a report last week, which many will think makes a slam-dunk case for a carbon tax. But using the very same CBO report, I can show how dubious the case is. David Kreutzer at Heritage does a similar feat, just using their Figure 1. (I wish I had seen the same implication from their figure as David did, ah well.)

==> Apparently the government only lets you kill endangered birds if you’re running wind turbines.

==> Since I’m on a roll, here’s a funny piece where Peter Gleick flips out over people accurately reporting temperature readings. (HT2 David R. Henderson.) Now Gleick’s main theme is that the statement “Global temperatures have remained steady for the last 10 years” is NOT the same thing as “Global warming has paused.” OK fine, if you want to make that distinction–even though that’s the very issue under dispute–but then Gleick himself slips up and returns to common sense, when he says at one point of a stronger “denier” claim: “What about the last 15 years? This claim, too, is false, in two important ways: First, it actually has warmed over the past 15 years…” You have to wade into Gleick’s article to see why that’s laugh out loud funny, but it is (if you have an odd sense of humor like me).

==> I was recently on Scott Horton’s show. Among other things, I discuss how free-market economists shouldn’t be naive when defending “capitalism” and think what we see in the US is it.

==> This Time Is Personal: Reinhart and Rogoff respond publicly to Krugman. An excerpt:

We admire your past scholarly work, which influences us to this day. So 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, in your New York Times
column and blog posts. Now you have doubled down in the New York Review of Books, adding
the accusation we didn’t share our data. Your characterization of our work and of our policy
impact is selective and shallow. It is deeply misleading about where we stand on the issues.
And we would respectfully submit, your logic and evidence on the policy substance is not nearly
as compelling as you imply.

==> I have a piece at The American Conservative documenting Krugman’s slipperiness on austerity. The stunning conclusion:

So there you have it folks: When European “austerity” leads to a rising unemployment, a double dip in GDP, and a collapsing budget situation, Krugman says he told us so; austerity is stupid. And when US “austerity” leads to falling unemployment, relatively strong GDP growth, and a vastly improved budget situation, Krugman says he told us so; austerity is stupid.

No wonder Krugman is so good with predictions.

25 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Major_Freedom says:

    Keynesianism is not, contrary to most of its proponents, an empirically falsifiable doctrine.

    Not saying this is good or bad, just saying what most of them do not seem to grasp.

  2. Lord Keynes says:

    “Among other things, I discuss how free-market economists shouldn’t be naive when defending “capitalism” and think what we see in the US is it.”

    In other words, your view of capitalism is Rothbardianism, which has never existed in the real world and remains as utopian as Marx’s perfect communist society?

    Did 19th century capitalism approximate it?

    • Bob Roddis says:

      In other words, your view of capitalism is Rothbardianism, which has never existed in the real world and remains as utopian as Marx’s perfect communist society?

      LK provides an important service with his limited set of anti-Austrian obscurantist themes and his approaches to those issues. Just as he attempts to change the subject and obscure the essence of economic calculation with his embarrassing and refuted “fixprice” example, he finds it necessary to do the same with the clear difference between crony capitalism and laissez faire. He does this incessantly and repeatedly. (99% of statists are merely oblivious to the essential differences although meticulous in their obliviousness.)

      Employing Rothbard’s categories of violent intervention, autistic, binary and triangular, it is quite a simple matter to analyze any particular transaction to determine if it was the result of free exchange or has been impacted by intervention. The fact that history is full of violent interventions does not change the analysis or make it more difficult. The fact that there has never been a period where transactions were completely free of such interventions per Rothbard does not change the analysis or make it more difficult. The statist case is based upon the alleged historical failure of laissez faire which they simply cannot locate or demonstrate. Therefore, like LK, they are desperate to change the subject and obscure the debate.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      “In other words, your view of capitalism is Rothbardianism, which has never existed in the real world and remains as utopian as Marx’s perfect communist society?”

      Slave emancipation never existed in the real world for many thousands of years, until it did.

      “Did 19th century capitalism approximate it?”

      Which time period? Not sure if Lincoln’s army invading the southern states and butchering 400,000 people counts as “approximately capitalism” for those massacred.

  3. Silas Barta says:

    Wait, what was laugh-out-loud funny in the Gleick article about the 15-year remark? The data do actually show warming *within* that period.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Silas, right, but his whole article up to that point had been to bite the heads off anybody who said, “There has been no warming for the last 10 years.” He is saying only a scoundrel or an idiot could possibly think that “no temperature increase in the last 10 years” is the same as “there has been a pause in warming in the last 10 years.”

      So one way to paraphrase his 15 year line is to say, “And for these people, I mean, I don’t even have to resort to Orwellian hair splitting. They are actually saying something false, which is a big strike against them, as opposed to the other people, who are saying something true but which pisses me off.”

      • Matthew M. says:

        Maybe it’s ignorance on my part but I thought the funny thing about Peter Gleick’s article was him cherry-picking the last 130 years.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          We must crush the middle age warm period.

        • ABT says:

          Trends are always “cherry picking”.

          Clearly, Gleick does not try to understand what the counter-argument actually is. Here is how I understand the counterpoint of “honest skeptics” who have a background in climate science:

          Option 1:
          We must rethink CO2 as the main driver of global temperature trends because CO2 is at an all time high (in modern times) and yet warming trends have slowed.. clearly there is something else at work.

          I thought the funny/pathetic part was this ignorant quote:
          “The climate drives the weather”

          Climate = average weather conditions over a sufficiently long time period to become statistically robust

          so let me translate Gleick:
          “It is cold today because it is usually hot here in Maryland”

          • Major_Freedom says:

            You forgot to include an attack on the skeptic’s moral or intellectual characters.

  4. Bitter Clinger says:

    I don’t believe global warming will be bad. Svante Arrhenius over a hundred years ago proposed global warming to feed the teeming millions in the coming century. The IPCC predicts extreme weather, tornado, hurricanes, and typhoons, but it is all lies. Weather, on a minute by minute basis, is analyzed by mechanical engineers not Paleoclimatologists. Weather is a power cycle. If global warming is caused by the reduction of the heat flux due to CO2 in the atmosphere, (CO2 is considered a ‘buffer’) that reduction of the heat flux HAS to mean milder weather (at least on average). If the present warming trend (if there is one) is cause by Natural causes (increased output of the sun or the nuclear reactions in the Earth’s core) then the IPCC predictions may be correct because we will be seeing an increased heat flux. In this case, irrespective and regardless of what you may believe; natural is bad and “man made” is good. PBS had a special, which looked at the temperature variation during the week after 9/11 when planes weren’t flying. showed that the temperature variation increased significantly when there was no buffering layer of jet contrails. Large temperature variations cause large storms, small temperature variations cause mild weather. I pray that any temperature rise we are seeing is man made global warming. Think of the millions of acres in North America and Russia that will be able to be used to grow corn and soybeans where only oats and wheat can be grown now. Millions of acres of permafrost where nothing grows but moss and lichen that will grow oats and wheat. The opening of inexpensive transportation routes across the arctic pole to ship oil and grain from the Ural Mountains of Russia and Siberia, a time of mild weather and universal prosperity. What’s not to love?

  5. Major_Freedom says:

    Oh how the NYT has changed over the years:


  6. Ken Pruitt says:

    For anyone who’s had the pleasure of reading Robert Murphy’s brilliant article on The American Conservative, I’ve written a defense for him against some of the detractors that the article in question has brought.


    • Bob Murphy says:

      Thanks Ken, I’ll take a look. I was surprised by how many conservatives rushed to Krugman’s defense.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        “I was surprised by how many conservatives rushed to Krugman’s defense.”

        In NAP foxholes, conservatives and progressives join together.

      • Matthew M. says:

        Every time I read the comments there at The American Conservative I’m usually appalled at their ignorance, statism, and opposition to Austrian economics. That is why I rarely go there except when libertarians link to/or write an article for them.

        • Oztrian says:

          You’ll find all that on mises.org, under “Intellectual Property”. They were so trenchant and numerous that they actually won the debate.

          It’s now mainstream libertarianism to support sending troops into geeky 15-year-old kids’ bedrooms in case they’re “stealing” “intellectual” “property”.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      And doesn’t the moaning about the US having its own currency which it is inflating mean that there really isn’t “austerity” in the US?

      • Ken Pruitt says:

        If there is austerity in the US, I’m not the author of the book, “The Little Book of Economic Myths and Fallacies.”

  7. Joseph Fetz says:

    The Scott Horton link won’t open, neither will the page open when going there from google. So I figured that I’d go to youtube to see if I could listen to the interview there. I typed in “Scott Horton Robert Murphy” with no result. Then when I added a filter (past week/past month) I get nothing but videos from *The Young and the Restless* and *The Bold and the Beautiful*. Just thought that was kind of funny.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      Scott’s site is often down for maintenance and it appears to be that way now. I subscribe to his podcasts on iTunes so they all just magically flow into my computer even when I’m at the Podunk, Texas airport.

      • Joseph Fetz says:

        I tried iTunes, as well. No go. I even tried a third podcasting site mentioned on Scott’s twitter feed, nothing doing. Maybe in another day or so it’ll be good to go.

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