19 comments on “Well, that tells me then.

  1. I don’t know what point either of you was trying to make.

    The point is, surely, that free markets etc on the whole tend to improve people’s wealth and welfare. “Economics” does not prove that – and yes, they do go way over the top with these clever formulae* – it is merely a study of how and why.

    RM’s point seems to be that He Knows Better that the other six billion economic actors in the world as to What’s Good For Them.

    * Supply and demand curves, logic, intellectual honesty and O-level maths are quite sufficient for these purposes.

  2. “RM’s point seems to be that He Knows Better that the other six billion economic actors in the world as to What’s Good For Them.”

    The Road to Serfdom.. in cartoons:

    http://mises.org/books/TRTS/

    “Running a planned state from central headquarters is clumsy, unfair, inefficient.”

  3. Mark, more than that, Murphy knows exactly how much tax everyone and every corporation should be paying and if they are not then they are defrauding the State.

  4. Tim! You should know better than to argue with a socialist. It’s not possible to argue with a socialist as the mind is turned off but the mouth is still in gear.

  5. You have quite an interesting debate about land value tax going on lower down on this blog.How come Land value tax and its big proponent Henry George are considered economic heresy?
    I would say any academic discipline that includes the category of heresy does not cut it as an exact science. Having once studied American writers who had been influenced by Henry George (loads of ’em),I found the best approach to the economics was via literary theory: what makes it onto the canon. George influenced writers could make it onto the literary canon; George influenced economists could n’t make it in Economics.

  6. Cross-posted from over there

    Richard:

    In comment 16, you wrote: “Have you noticed how markets are entirely dependent upon the creation of artificial wants to promote unhappiness through advertising to promote the consumption of yet more of the earth’s limited resources in pursuit of that growth.”

    In comment 18, you wrote: “I do not suggest markets do not exist without advertising. They do.”

    Which is it to be?

    Also, Tim did not ask you to “compare the madness of present day consumerism with Somalisa is somewhat insulting to Somalia and the plight that exists there”. He was making an example as to why your statement in comment 16 (that you appear to have backtracked on) was so daft.

    This: “I prefer to deal with those who seem to at least relate their arguments to the real world.” is just silly, too. You don’t appear to handle disagreement with someone who does not share your worldview very well.

  7. QuestionThat: anyone who trots out the tired old line about advertising creating artificial wants is manifestly unfit to opine on anything more intellectually weighty than who deserves to win the final of Strictly Come Dancing.

    Murphy is an exemplar of that particularly aggravating species: the dunce who is too thick to know how thick he is.

  8. What’s the matter with many of the commenters here who seem satisfied with ridicule instead of engaging with the substance of the arguments Richard Murphy put forward? There is no requirement to agree but simply describing him as ‘unfit to opine’ without addressing the points seems undignified at best. At worst, doesn’t that expose such commenters as arrogant fools? Seems that way to me.

    As to David Gillies attempt to squish a ‘tired old line’ on advertising, I’d suggest asking that same question of Saatchi and Saatchi and check back with the answer. Or better still, review the history of influence kicked off by Bernays who as I recall worked for both the US government to fuel a political agenda and Ford.

    Tim adds: The problem with trying to engage with Murphy’s arguments is that he doesn’t really put any forward. “Neo-liberal economics bad” is about as coherent as it gets. If he were to offer, indeed, if anyone were to offer, a clear statement of what they actually oppose in the current state of economics I’d be delighted to argue those points. There are actually some valid points that can be made as well. But whoever is going to do it is going to need to be both rather better informed than Murphy and also rather more organised.For example, he states that it’s all built around profit maximisation. It isn’t. That economics does not take account of the constraints of nature: rubbish. That we assume that consumption possibilities are limitless: that’s insane, given that economics is about the constraints upon consumption and the choices that have to be made.

    Perhaps you want to have a go Dennis?

  9. Dennis Howlett – it is impossible to get into a reasoned debate with Murphy because he shifts his ground constantly in the way that Questionthat points out further up this thread.

    Murphy once made one of those orotund statement in his blog statement that a tax system based upon income and assets was inequitable. It ought to include a tax on wealth as well. I questioned him as to whether there was a distinction between assets and wealth as they seemed pretty much identical to me. He brushed me off with a very terse statement about there being a very real difference in his mind. Not being put off by his rudeness and refusal to enter into debate, I questioned him further. It then turned out that the difference was that he would allow people to deduct liabilities from assets in order to getto a definition of wealth – ie he was talking about net assets rather than just assets. He refused to admit that his pompous blog was in fact based on misrepresentation.

  10. Dennis Howlett: it’s a ‘tired old line’ because it’s old and, well, tired. It’s not economics, but more at the level of a folk tale. Most of Murphy’s arguments have been both generally and specifically debunked, on numerous occasions, but when you are dealing with what the Jesuits called ‘invincible ignorance’, after a while calm ratiocination palls and really all one is left with is brickbats.

    One could try to engage his arguments on their (nugatory) merits, but if n (n ≫ 1) attempts didn’t work, what’s the point of trying n + 1?

  11. Dennis H.-

    Some of us have taken the time to dissect Murphy’s “arguments” and point out the magnitude of his errors and his ignorance.

    We have therefore earned the right to express our distain in whatever terms we see fit.

  12. We must all be mistaken about Murphy. I (and most of you others, I’d bet) find it almost impossible to believe that he can make it across a city street alive. But he does. And keeps on.

    We’ve missed something, somewhere.

  13. “Fallacies of the Nobel Gods” on the Net is useful.Actually Long Term Capital Management with its algebraic formula for pricing option risks
    is very much a case in point.

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