Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Can Destabilizing Speculation Both Be Profitable and Help Obama Win the Election?

Paul Krugman treats us to a recent rightwing claim that a bunch of rich socialists have generated the recent financial crisis in order to assure that Obama wins the election. Paul reminds us that this same crowd back in 2004 claimed George Soros would do the same in order to help John Kerry.

OK but aren’t there a lot of rich people who want McCain to win? If the rich lefties are engaged in what amounts to be destabilizing activity – couldn’t the rich righties make money by engaging in stabilizing speculation? Interestingly, Marxist.com brings us the thoughts of Milton Friedman on this issue:

Milton Friedman asserted that destabilising speculation was impossible. This was supposed to be the case because speculators who ‘got it wrong’ would be buying dear and selling cheap. They would lose money and soon disappear.


So are these rightwingers saying that Friedman got this issue wrong?

4 comments:

Brenda Rosser said...

"Milton Friedman asserted that destabilising speculation was impossible. This was supposed to be the case because speculators who ‘got it wrong’ would be buying dear and selling cheap. They would lose money and soon disappear.

Friedman very conveniently pretends a totally different world from the one we live in. It's interesting that he was such a friend to governments around the world and deftly avoided the need to agitate against them in order to achieve his pretend world.

Ronald Rutherford said...

Yes I believe some libtards would be interested enough to do such things.

Walt French said...

ummm, an interesting live example at hand is a report that well-timed slugs of buying McCain futures on Intrade seem to have pushed up his sagging numbers.

There are a couple of potential motivations for speculative losses in this way. First, a person with strong interest in McCain success could bias the numbers so that McCain/Palin had an easier time fund-raising. A 12-13 point deficit could cause the faithful to throw in the towel, reduce interest in rallies, and lead the media to emphasize various negative aspects to the campaign.

That person could even have a direct financial stake in say, the proposed differences in tax legislation; a few grand to boost the numbers might encourage marginal voters and supporters that McCain represented a winning ticket, leading to boosted poll numbers and even actual electoral success.

That'd be a very cost-effective result. A couple of years back, the (Sam) Walton heirs were said to have been the biggest contributors to the effort to repeal the estate tax; their millions could have been repaid by the billions: the best government that money can buy.

I myself have only contributed to a campaign once -- when it was nearing the end and the race seemed close enough that what was, for me, a large amount seemed like a good "investment" in the outcome. I'm sure a similar calculus enters into a huge number of minds each election.

In any case, these real-world examples are mostly unlike the apocalyptic wild-ass claims that "Soros would take the economy down" in that the latter is totally for the tinfoil hat crowd of conspiracy nuts, lacking the first shred of evidence.

Jack said...

ronald,
This site does not too often have to deal with mindless ad hominem declarations (libtards??). The usual participants generally deal in ideas based on factual data, if not always presented in each posting. I noted an absence of any specific credentials noted in the profile at your linked to site.
That is unless you regard your astrological sign and having been born in the year of the rabbit as appropriate background for casting aspertions on the ideas of others.

Inane remarks like your own might be better suited to blogs such as AngryBear where the participants are more likely to spend some time, and delight in, duly savaging your ideational inadequacies.