Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No Taxation Without Representation


Remind me again, Brad, which of the panelists is currently unemployed?

13 comments:

Walker said...

What do economists know about unemployment? About as much as the Pope does about birth control.

Anonymous said...

Agreed!

It is just pitiful that these 4 men (all white, all male, all American, and none having ever held a real job) should pretend to discuss the employment problems of 6 billion mainly brown people mostly residing in nations having little or no means of running massive deficits to generate the illusion of full employment under the false prosperity of the growth model.

What could they possibly say of relevance to anyone who would give a damn?

Anonymous said...

Kinda reminds me of that Sunday talking head show: "Four white guys discuss everybody else's problems"

rppe.wordpress.com said...

now now. It is because all four have no material interest in unemployment policy that they can be scientific about it. In fact lack of direct experience is a precondition to practising objective economic analyses.

Walker said...

"What could they possibly say of relevance to anyone who would give a damn?"

The economists would argue that they "study unemployment" and therefore, presumably know more about it in the aggregate than do the unemployed, whose experience is strictly anecdotal. That's simply not true. Economists, with few exceptions do not study unemployment. At best, they study unemployment statistics and more often they simply use (I refuse to use the word "utilize") those statistics as data points in their models without a great deal of understanding of their limitations. So we get truisms about such mythological beasts as "Okun's Law" and so on. Bong! If these panel discussions were run like a bong show, as they should be, with contestants getting the hook as soon as they spouted the first piece of officially-approved conventional wisdom nonsense, the show wouldn't last five minutes.

Walker said...

"all four have no material interest in unemployment policy"

You mean aside from publishing articles about it and textbooks and giving lectures and flying to conferences and climbing the unemployment policy expert career ladder? Looked at this way, the average unemployment expert collects far greater "unemployment benefits" per annum than do the unemployed.

But as you say lack of experience is a precondition for objectivity. It's like priests giving advice on marriage. Or would it be more like pedophile priests giving sermons against sin?

(Note to Rosser: the analogy in my question is not to imply that any one of these fine upstanding gentlemen has ever conducted himself improperly in the presence of a minor. I apologize in advance to anyone who would jump to such a ridiculous conclusion.)

Min said...

"What do economists know about unemployment? About as much as the Pope does about birth control."

Oh, Popes have learned something about birth control. How many "nephews" does the current Pope have? ;)

Min said...

"But as you say lack of experience is a precondition for objectivity. It's like priests giving advice on marriage. Or would it be more like pedophile priests giving sermons against sin?"

Hey! Pedophile priests have both knowledge of and experience about sin.

Walker said...

Hey! Pedophile priests have both knowledge of and experience about sin.

Thanks for pointing that out, Min. I stand corrected. ;-)

TheTrucker said...

I just stumbled across this article in Wikipedia about Innovation Economics and was quite taken by it. I got there by way of the article on macroeconomics. I am very much heartened by this "innovation" article. yet the article in no way addresses the question of what will happen to all the people. What will happen to all the people when artificial intelligence and robotics creates a world in which there are no more manufacturing jobs at all. There will only be totally academic pursuits and distribution. And within the distribution system there will not be enough graduation in skill sets to allow a meritocracy among the proletariat as there has been in the past.

It seems that one of the reasons health care accounts for more and more of the GDP is that everything else has been made more efficient. Health care isn't supposed to be productive and the "success" of the health care factory is not gaged by the number of repaired humans (or new ones) per man hour. And consider that we no longer repair toasters. We simply get a new one.

There would seem to be a need for a great shift of employment from manufacturing to medical services. Yet there is no model based on "trickle down" profitability that would serve and we do not really want to increase demand either. Imagine a stimulus package designed to increase the demand for health care. Then think about the "supply side" profitability approach and how much the cost of health care will rise or the level of care will fall.

Walker said...

Trucker,

I might be more heartened if one of the "leading theorists" listed on the wikipedia article could manage to keep his platitudes straight.

Walker said...

That's platitudes.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Trucker,

Better be careful. If you do not toe the line sufficiently, Sandwichman and Milkshakeman will make a meal out of you and serve you up in some greasy spoon truck stop somewhere...