Ritchie in The Guardian

debt is not nearly as high as the Tories claim and the need for debt reduction not nearly as pressing as the Tories say

Who in buggery is saying anything at all about debt reduction?

The current game is about stopping the national debt from spiralling ever upwards out of control. It\’s about slowing the rate of increase of it, not actually reducing the level of it.

He\’s got confused again between the level of debt, a stock, and the deficit, which is a flow.

And people who get confused between stocks and flows really shouldn\’t be writing about matters economic for the national press. They should instead be revising their GCSE economics methinks.

11 comments on “Ritchie in The Guardian

  1. To be fair, if he thinks the debt’s not so high, then he may see no problem in it increasing further.

  2. But didn’t Ritchie famously stop studying Economics because he found it boring?
    @Ian B. love him or loath him, John Redwood knows the difference.

  3. GOM-

    Aye. But I once asked Redwood on his site how many of his colleagues understand and discuss economics and economic theory, and his depressing, brief answer was “none of them”.

  4. I am deeply impressed by your constant assumption that this man believes what he says. It speaks volumes for your faith in human nature, but sadly may be a tad naive.

  5. I’d be interested what the readership thinks of my theory that there’s been an enormous growth in number of writers, & indeed politicians, who are practising what I would regard as political entertainment.
    OK there’s always been entertaining political writers. They’re entertaining because their writing strikes a chord with their audience & makes it feel better about itself. That’s not to imply that they make their audience happier. Quite the reverse. The emotions brought about by what is perceived as shared anger are just as, if not more, cathartic.
    But at least they wrote from personal conviction. They believed in what they wrote.
    I’m thinking that we have writers who write purely to encourage an emotional response. Who search for emotional buttons in their audience to push.
    I’d take Toynbee as the model for this. She writes with great power & you only have to look at the comments to her CiF articles to see how well she chimes with the readership. But read over a period of time & a pattern emerges. Most of her writing is aimed for an emotional response in the reader. She isn’t taking a collection of facts & assumptions & arguing towards a conclusion. She takes a position & assembles a scaffolding of carefully selected & often out of context data & statistics to support it. Hence, because the supposed end points of the arguments differ, the justifications she uses often contradict each other across articles. Hence she can both whine about the waste of youth unemployment & advocate more apprenticeships & work experience on one hand, yet in the next article lament the plight of youngsters on minimum wage. The idea that minimum wage & youth unemployment could be connected doesn’t fit the narrative & may not even occur to her.
    That’s why I’m so suspicious of Murphy.he takes an issue, in this case “Tory Cuts ” as his starting pint then works backwards, assembling an edifice of ill thought out pseudo economics & gobbledegook, which given the vast majority of his readers know little about the subject, produces in them a feeling of righteous anger. They’re not quite sure what they’re angry about but the erudite Mr Murphy does, so they’ll leave the thinking to him.

    Justification? Tuscan villas would seem to indicate it’s a remunerative career.

  6. But of course, in GuardianWorld, a reduction in the planned rate of increase counts as a cut, don’t you know?

  7. Bloke In Spain-

    My own model of our current society is that it is a secular form of evangelical religion. As such, the people you describe are basically writers of apologetics and tracts, depending on the perceived intelligence/education of their readership.

    It’s simplistic populist writing designed to bolster the faith of the already converted, and arm them with simplistic talking points to convert their acquaintances. Polly and Ritchie are our century’s Hannah More.

  8. @Andrew Duffin
    “But of course, in GuardianWorld, a reduction in the planned rate of increase counts as a cut”

    But George Osborne used that same trick over fuel du….

    Ah, I see. Carry on.

  9. @IanB
    I think your right about the quasi-religious nature of the movement although some of it’s attributes seem more reminiscent of the strands of Catholicism that produced the Inquisition. I’m sure many of it’s followers would heartily embrace conversion by torture & the burning of heretics.

    There are parallels with religious belief so let’s take religious debates as a model.

    If you start with a clean slate, somewhere in pre-history, it’s easy to see how you can argue up to the existence of a god/gods. A god’s influence & actions are a working hypothesis for all the facets of the world that are inexplicable. Occam’s Razor. If you don’t have meteorology, a rain god is the simplest explanation for floods & droughts.
    Once you get past the Renaissance it’s much harder to do so. There’s much more awareness of causalities. That good farming techniques are a better guarantee of plentiful crops than prayers to a god of fertility.
    Theological debate turns 180 degrees.
    Now the central issue is the belief in the presence of God. The arguments take that as the central certainty then try to rationalise everything in the world to fit the paradigm. Good farming techniques produce ample crops.. BUT…God’s got his ineffable hands in there somewhere so you farmers had better go to church & sing your hymns or He’ll cause the wheat to rot in the fields.
    In that atmosphere you can use anything to support the existence of a god because your god is non-logical. You can ignore causality because God’s got His Thumb on the scales.

    And there’s a damned good living to be made out of preaching. And there’s no necessity to believe in what you preach. Cardinals & Pope’s advocated chastity whilst enjoying their courtesans & catamites. The virtues of poverty whilst living in gold bedecked palaces. The gig is to be able to sell the faith to the gullible faithful. It’s why I’ve referred to Murphy as the L Ron Hubbard of our times. Like Scientology the whole thing’s a scam to line Murphy’s pockets.

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