21 Mar 2022

Jeff and Bob Discuss Economic Ignorance

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4 Responses to “Jeff and Bob Discuss Economic Ignorance”

  1. Tel says:

    A bunch of Keynesians got together to say that massive government spending, using freshly printed money, is not inflationary.


    Thus, proving that the economic law of scarcity does not apply to all commodities … ignorance being the obvious counterexample. Except it can’t be ignorance with these people, that would imply that after all these years they just never heard the ideas of money supply and dollar devaluation. It has to be they have convinced themselves that telling powerful people exactly what they want to hear is somehow a better truth than regular truth.

    • random person says:

      Sometimes, I read this things, and I wonder why people can’t be bothered to speak in plainer English so that more people could understand them.

      Then I take a second look, and I get the impression they are being deliberately vague. Like, maybe they don’t want people to understand.

      Like, for example,

      Because this agenda invests in long-term economic capacity and will enhance the ability of more Americans to participate productively in the economy, it will ease longer-term inflationary pressures.

      Which part of Biden’s plan are they talking about here? Like, sure, I could go through Biden’s plan and take a guess about what they meant here, but why should I have to guess? Why shouldn’t they just speak what they mean, plainly? Leaving it vague like that looks like a psychological trick where maybe they’ll hoping that I’ll just pick out the part of Biden’s plan I like the most and convince myself that they’re right.

      But something about the way they worded that reminds me, vaguely, of the Holodomor in 1930s Ukraine. Like, not in terms of the severity of the situation, just in terms of how you might compare a mountain to a molehill, and note that they are both someone raised, although the mountain is clearly much taller than the molehill. Anyway, the Ukranian Holodomor was similar to the Irish Holodomor, in so far as it was caused by mass theft of food by those in power, and in both cases, food was exported by force. In the case of the Ukrainian Holodomor, Stalin spent the ill-gotten profits from the stolen food on buying machinery for industrialization.

      There are plenty of right-wing (in the sense of pro-capitalist) articles that wax poetic about how great tools and machinery are, how they improve labor productivity, and how we owe such a great debt to capitalists for saving up to buy said machinery. And it is possible that there may be cases where people legitimately save up for things. But somehow, when I think of people legitimately saving up for labor-saving equipment, I think of a rural farming community building a mill together.

      But anyway, the problem I am getting at is that the machinery too often doesn’t come to be obtained by legitimate, ethical means. (And sometimes, it’s not used for ethical purposes once it is obtained, e.g. in the case of sugar processing equipment which employed forced labor.) In Stalin’s case, he committed mass theft, killing millions, in order to get that machinery. And that’s something that should be mentioned as at least a disclaimer when people are waxing poetic about the wonders of machinery. If a farming community chooses to build a mill together, that’s great, but robbing people to death in order to build factories is evil. Machinery in and of itself is neither inherently good or evil, but the people involved with the machinery may be good or evil or somewhere in between.

      E.g., this article, “Automating jobs is how society makes progress”, is terrible. It needs some massive massive disclaimers.
      qz [dot] com/work/1212722/automating-jobs-is-how-society-makes-progress/

      Anyway, you can read about the export of food from Ukraine during the Holodomor here:
      “Documents show massive export of products from Ukraine during Holodomor”

      And this article talks (among other things) about how Stalin used the ill-gotten profits to buy machinery for industrialization:
      “Studying Stalin”
      the-american-interest [dot] com/2017/11/08/studying-stalin/

      and if you don’t know about the Irish holodomor, see here:
      archive [dot] org/details/ireland18451850p0000foga

      Anyway, there is a lesson to be learned from the Ukrainian Holodomor, and other similar incidents of history: that people should never be forced to put other people’s ideas of “progress” ahead of their own basic needs for survival. And, while I don’t see anything as drastic and bloody as the Ukrainian Holodomor happening within the borders of the United States, I do think that rates of houselessness have increased since the lockdowns started, and could continue to increase the way things are going. And I realize that Biden’s supporters will point to the part of his plan that says, “Deliver $5 billion in emergency assistance to help secure housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness,” but I feel like this is just putting a little tiny bandaid on a huge gaping wound. There are some deep, deep structural issues here that can’t be solved just by throwing $5 billion around.

      • random person says:

        typo correction:
        “both someone raised” -> “both somewhat raised”

        • random person says:

          another typo correction:
          “this things” -> “these things”

          Maybe there are more typos, but I’m going to go fall asleep.

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