Willy Hutton\’s quite gorgeous argument

George Osborne\’s calculation was that the combination of dramatic early austerity, very low interest rates, subsequent recovery and pre-election tax cuts as rewards would do the trick. He genuinely believed the free market, sound housekeeping story. Now he is not so sure. He is discovering, as Bank of England chief economist, Spencer Dale, recently acknowledged, that the government knows a great deal less about how the economy works than it thought.

Given that we know less about how the economy works than we thought, Will therefore plods on to the thought that we should therefore plan the economy more than we do.

That is, we should do more of what requires us to know more about how the economy works as a reaction to our finding out that we know less about how it works than we need to to be able to plan said economy.

It\’s a remarkable feat of logic, isn\’t it? \”We\’re too ignorant to plan: therefore we must plan!\”

4 comments on “Willy Hutton\’s quite gorgeous argument

  1. I suspect his logic goes something like “But I am so much smarter than the BoE’s Chief Economist. *I* know how the economy really works and so with me in charge of everything, everything will work tickety boo.”

    Planning is the true love object of the meritocracy and other intellectuals because they see themselves as being put in charge. Suggest to Wee Willy that *I* will be put in charge and he will re-discover the joy of free markets in seconds.

  2. This is why they love the soothing narrative of macro-economics; “You don’t need to know the details, just these approximate aggregate statistics”. It reduces all the diversity and complexity to a few levers you can push this way and that. “We will raise OUTPUT. We will lower UNEMPLOYMENT. We will adjust INTEREST RATES”.

    All total cobblers of course. But that’s why it is so appealing.

  3. A functional MRI scan of these people could advance neurophysiology by decades.

  4. Neo-liberal fatalism.


    No wonder we’re in the crap. 30 years of this kind of witless argument.

    Imagine if Isaac Newton had the same attitude as neo-liberal economists? We don’t understand it so let’s leave it alone!

    We’d still be dumbstruck every time an apple fell off a tree.

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