04 Jul 2014

Krugman: Belgium Outperforms Economically Because It Lacked Government

Krugman, Shameless Self-Promotion 9 Comments

Really, that was his recent argument. Details here.

9 Responses to “Krugman: Belgium Outperforms Economically Because It Lacked Government”

  1. Tel says:

    Krugman makes a show of numbers based on “Potential GDP” and “Structural Budget Balance” which are made up numbers, and can literally mean anything at all.

    Murphy’s charts are based on actual GDP, and actual deficit, i.e. what really happened. That’s why they are completely different. Belgium went into the 2008 crisis in a lot better position than France, they cut government spending earlier and they cam out in a lot better position as well. Note that in both cases the overall proportion of government spending to GDP has trended upwards, so there has been no “austerity” at all, and government continues to grow regardless.

    Yeah that’s right. Even when you (nominally) don’t have a government, it still grows and takes over your economy.

    • Cosmo Kramer says:

      I knew literally nothing about Belgium before clicking that link. When I saw the gov’t spending/GDP chart, I was shocked.

      “can literally mean anything at all.”

      It is hindsight economics. There is no theory BEFORE-HAND, that says how big government should be to prevent crises or cure them. It is just excuse making. Krugman can point to ANY federal spending chart and proclaim that it is/was too low, or the rate of change was too low.

      There is nothing in the data that can tell Krugman that xyz spending is insufficient.

      He is a pull string talking toy. The string is labeled, “If economy is bad, pull here.” The Krugman doll says only one thing. “Spend more.”

      • Tel says:

        He is a pull string talking toy. The string is labeled, “If economy is bad, pull here.” The Krugman doll says only one thing. “Spend more.”

        Sounds like a kickstarter project. Call it “Generic Talking Keynesian Doll” and be sure to put a beard on it.

  2. Major-Freedom says:

    No Murphy, you’re wrong. When we adjust for flippertygibbet and coocaracha, then Belgium can be seen as doing better because of lack of Austro-sadist crushing decline in unearned consumption to bring us to prosperity.

    • Z says:

      Whatever dude. Life is meaningless anyway. I don’t give a %&!# about Belgium or the Belgians or their damn waffles.

  3. AB says:

    I’m confused. Belgium doesn’t have a government?

    • Bob Roddis says:

      Belgium is half French and half Dutch Catholic (Flemish). As in all multi-ethnic social democracies, they don’t get along that well. For several years, they were unable to “form a government” pursuant to their parliamentary system.

      In 2010-2011, Belgium set a world record for the longest time to form a government.

      The electoral system – effectively two elections with separate French-speaking and Dutch-speaking parties appealing to different voters – means at least four parties will be needed to form a governing coalition.

      Governments need to comprise parties from the richer Dutch-language north, with more centre-right or separatist views, and those from French-speaking Wallonia in the south, where the Socialists are the dominant force.


    • Bob Roddis says:

      The Belgian Federal Parliament is a bicameral parliament. It consists of the Chamber of Representatives (Dutch: Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers French: Chambre des Représentants).

      Sounds like fun to me.


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