Dear God Paul Mason’s an ignorant cunt isn’t he?

If you wanted to radically alter the economy, making a country such as Britain as dynamic as China or Brazil, what would the state have to do? Intervene, obviously, but how?

Well, you’d have to stop everyone from using modern technology and modern methods wouldn’t you? Because we are at the technological boundary where economic development is quite difficult. Brazil and China are doing catch up growth, where we expect there to be that greater vibrancy because catch up growth is easier. Thus regress out technological level to theirs and we’ll have more vibrancy.

Damn, the idea that anyone needs to explain this to an economics editor is simply ridiculous, isn’t it?

41 comments on “Dear God Paul Mason’s an ignorant cunt isn’t he?

  1. ridiculous yes, surprising no – the man’s a (supposedly) former Trotskyite union organiser, with a degree in music and politics, and a work history of music lecturing before he got into journalism. Why in God’s name would he believe anything other than that State interference is in and of itself a good thing?

  2. Unbelievable! Concorde at the centre of his argument!
    Take a wealth of technological innovation & send up a blind alley.
    He advocates this?

  3. What’s even more ridiculous is why our public broadcasters BBC Newsnight and Ch 4 made him their economics editor.

    Smacks of graft. Cvnts.

  4. I’m suprised Labour are not trying to claim credit for UKs comparitvely strong growth rate at the present. After all they strongly helped get us to the low base we were at in 2007 from which we are now growing out of.

  5. I keep on saying that the law of diminishing returns is one of those things that most people just don’t understand

  6. Flat cap,

    Why does having a degree in music and politics, and a previous career in music, lead to belief in State interference? I would have thought it might lead to the reverse, if anything. State interference in the Soviet Union under Stalin forced composers such as Shostakovich and performers such as Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya to flee the country.

  7. There’s definitely an argument for people who work as economics commentators to do a first year uni level course in economics first. Paid for by their employer perhaps? That’s all you’d need to know to understand why the USA and Western Europe potter along at fairly similar growth rates and can’t compete on that metric with Brazil or China or the Philippines.

    It probably takes some far more advanced courses to get to grips with how the Japanese economy stalled, why some developing countries manage storming growth while others crawl along, or whether the USA has certain dynamic economic or political conditions that allow it to outgrow Europe, slowly but surely, in the long term (see eg the failure of the Lisbon Agenda).

    Those tough questions happen to be interesting and relevant. Why Western countries can’t just turn on Beijing-style 9% growth taps, is pretty trivial. If someone can’t see that then pretty much anything else they write or say is irrelevant.

    Also I think we can take it as read that a government spending just under half of a country’s GDP is already intervening in the economy… but actually Mason’s point that it’s how a state intervenes that matters is basically sound. Just not convinced by his solutions.

  8. Frances Coppola: logically probably nothing but empirically it would seem as if Flat Cap is correct.

  9. Intervene, obviously, but how?

    Well, China, Britain, and Brazil have all gone in for the taxpayer-funded multi-billion pound athletics jamboree. Wasn’t that supposed to catapult the nation and the economy into the next level?

  10. Emil,

    How many music graduates are now working in economics journalism, and of those, how many have publicly expressed support for State intervention? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you don’t have any empirical evidence.

  11. “Why does having a degree in music and politics, and a previous career in music, lead to belief in State interference? ”

    Why do people in the arts, in general, seem so enamoured of the State?

    I think it has to do with the arts themselves.
    If you wish to make a career in them it’s predatory capitalism, red in tooth & claw, all the way. When it comes to competitiveness, those in the arts will crawl over the bloody writhing bodies of their rivals to seize the prize. The arts have everything. Monopolies, cartels, nepotism, cronyism, exploitation, slavery, child labour…

    They’re looking for an escape.

  12. Unsurprisingly, the Murphmonster referenced this on Twitter. He has not acknowledged the two further examples of state courage I gave him, the R101 and the Bristol Brabazon.
    Would anyone like one of these delicious groundnuts?

  13. I think Mason’s not entirely wrong. Almost entirely, but not quite. It would be possible for the rich economies to achieve such high levels of growth again. All it would take would be some massive innovation which increased productivity.

    Computers (for example) weren’t enough, fast enough, clearly. Arguably, though, a more efficient application of management science and economics to government could remove dead-weight of the necessary magnitude to produce the kind of growth Mason claims to desire.

    It doesn’t seem particularly implausible to me that we lose 50% of our growth to government inefficiency and mismanagement.

  14. Frances – ” Does a first-year undergrad course really cover the Solow growth model?”

    I did, in less detail than second year macro course, and it can’t be that unusual as it is in some first year textbooks eg Begg/Vernasca/Fischer/Dornbusch. Though to be fair it isn’t in the very popular Mankiw one.

    But to understand (simpler than actually modelling it) why it’s easier for China to grow quickly compared to Europe, you basically need concepts of catch-up and the PPF – probably not ideas alien to an A level student.

  15. I’m not sure he rises to the level of “cunt”: ‘pathetically inadequate with delusions of competence’ might be nearer the mark.

  16. B(n)iS:

    I’d add logrolling to your list but the broader point is that the arts are so largely funded by the state that it’s not unreasonable for people making a living from the arts to see the state as the universal provider.

    Frances C:

    I’m not convinced by the parallel you draw between Paul Mason and Shostakovich. Mason as a musician seems always to have been an employee of the state rather than a creative performer or composer but perhaps we can agree that economics is the strong suit of neither of them?

    By contrast, membership of the Supreme Soviet was only achieved by one probably to the disappointment of the other.

  17. Has he been to Brazil? A nice country but apart from not having Islamic terrorism (can’t be foreign policy Poland doesn’t have it either) not a country we really want to be like.

  18. The only thing required for the UK to become an economic dynamo again would be to get the fucking state out of the way.

    *Senior Civil service sacked without compensation–pensions confiscated+ Top 50000 civil service managers same. No public sector wage over 40000 pa and no pension over 25000. (Most of those left are already below that so not even a vote loser).

    *All local councils gone

    *VAT abolished along with corp tax, stamp and death duties and income tax down to 15% for now. Ultimately 2 pence in the pound for a number of years and then abolished entirely.

    *All subsidies stopped. All quangos and fake charities gone.

    *All govt activities apart from welfare/NHS/ pensions/army etc to cease. To be made clear that these activities will be run down over time to zero–still needed for now because of all those who have believed the states lying promises.

    *200 year moritorium on all new laws
    .New “dustbin” act that enables laws to be repealed to be “thrown in” and become instantly inactive/invalid until formal repeal can be enacted. Vast numbers of laws thrown in. No more automatic right of arrest for bluebottles–ind rights reset to 1960 to begin with until a new and even better set of liberties can be devised. Acpo shut down and CCs sacked ditto CS.

    * Leave EU at once–2 year period while renegotiation of treatys–all directives–esp economic ones- in the bin now and no payments in or out.

    *Most homegrown regs in the bin along with employment and minimum wage laws. The best chance is lots more jobs not tribunals.

    *All humanities divisions of Unis shut–all their teachers same “deal” as senior CS. Stop socialism in its tracks.

    *Businesses that fail–fail. No bailouts.

    *Prob a UK gov default and sale of 90+ % of govt “assets”–ie stolen property.

    To begin with there would be some quite bleak times. But that can’t be avoided. The UK state is headed for economic meltdown anyway–just a question of when. But as things begin to pick up the economy would take off in a way not seen for more than a century.

  19. Yes, darn those fake charities known as hospices, should be run totally with private funding and no state funding of services.
    May be reduced to a half dozen hospices in the country and a 3 month waiting list for a bed but hey, at least no state payments.

  20. >How many music graduates are now working in economics journalism, and of those, how many have publicly expressed support for State intervention? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you don’t have any empirical evidence.

    I work in academia, and also did Music as an undergrad. Most people in those areas are left-wing. That was the entirely correct point that was being made.

    >State interference in the Soviet Union under Stalin forced composers such as Shostakovich and performers such as Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya to flee the country.

    Most music students would agree that there shouldn’t be
    state interference in music, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like state interference in general.

  21. Is it completely beyond his understanding that Brazil might possibly be more dynamic because their government doesn’t – to pick an example at random – try to regulate what size of fizzy drinks the buy when they go to the cinema?

    No? The answer to absolutely everything is more state meddling, is that it? And there is no point, no point whatever, at which they might think they are interfering too much? None at all? Thought so. Tosser.

  22. “Most music students would agree that there shouldn’t be
    state interference in music, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like state interference in general.”

    “Everyone is a reactionary about subjects he understands.” – Robert Conquest.

  23. My local hospice is privately funded. They could all be if people didn’t have half their income stolen by the state and mostly pissed up against the wall.

  24. Mr Ecks

    That’s quite a manifesto (if that’s the right concept for the abolition of government). Much of it was done in Russia. Is the result they have there now what you want?

    Not me – I’d rather have what we have now in the UK (although much of what you propose I would agree with).

  25. Much of it was done in Russia. Is the result they have there now what you want?

    Kind of. But the same was done across the whole USSR, and it is interesting to see how the different nationalities responded. The Balts, for example, set about forming civilised, functioning democracies. The Central Asians set about forming dictatorships ranging from vaguely benevolent (Kazakhstan) to utterly indifferent (Kyrgyzstan) to somewhat brutal (Uzbekistan).

    Russia managed to turn itself into a state run by mouth-breathing thugs in tracksuits and leather jackets, and to this day blames the west for the state of the place. Make no mistake, the disaster that followed the collapse of the USSR in Russia was the fault of the Russians, and the Russians alone. But the Balts – sensible folk – showed that it didn’t have to be that way.

  26. Never mind the Solow-Swan model or anything so hi-falutin’. We studied the logistic curve as applied to economic development in history class in school, aged about 15. If you’re on the bit of the curve where dx/dt is large then yes, you probably will see a pretty dynamic growth rate. That’s not where the mature economies are. If you can’t grasp this, then opining on matters economic might not be the best fit, career-wise.

    I think Mr Ecks’ solution is probably the best way to get the UK back to a twenty year run of 6%+ growth. Even if it were not, the fact it would destroy the Left is reason enough to do it. Only thing I’d add is the abolition (not privatisation) of the BBC along with its copyrighted material to be auctioned in a fire sale. Burn it to the ground, bulldoze the rubble, sow the soil with salt.

  27. Frances Coppola,

    Why does having a degree in music and politics, and a previous career in music, lead to belief in State interference? I would have thought it might lead to the reverse, if anything. State interference in the Soviet Union under Stalin forced composers such as Shostakovich and performers such as Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya to flee the country.

    But a “career in music” of Mason’s sort wasn’t hiring a hall, plugging in some amps and collecting ticket money. It was teaching and research into the music of the 2nd Viennesse School. In other words, the state put bread on his table. Of course, he’s going to love the state.

  28. Frances Coppola – “State interference in the Soviet Union under Stalin forced composers such as Shostakovich and performers such as Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya to flee the country.”

    Forced? I think not. They chose to leave. I have some personal knowledge from those who assisted Rostropovich’s flight and the actual situation was inevitably far more complicated than simply a principled stand against state interference, though that was of course the explanation touted by the West.

  29. Well Timmy you have gone rather overboard on the cunt front today. You must be feeling very insecure.

  30. Bravefart–Russia collapsed rather than reformed and the chips fell as gravity dictated.

    The present semi-criminal status of Russian rule has–IMO–a 2-fold origin.
    1-Govt IS crime. The polits are white collar crims in sharp suits–and we paid for the suits.
    2-The Russian Underworld–non-white collar flatnose types– already played a huge part in Soviet life–as the black market was all that made life bearable (to the extent it was) under the enlightened rule of socialism. When state power temporarily dissolved it is hardly a surprise that crims went for it so to speak and now –after the dust has cleared–enjoy a large role in the state.

  31. Paul Mason may be an ignoramus but calling him an ignorant cunt makes Tim look like an obnoxious dick end and detracts from what is actually a very powerful point which is that the economics editor of C4 is a fool. The title of this blog is so obnoxious I cannot now share it with reasonable people. There is a place for the C-word but this is not one.

  32. “The title of this blog is so obnoxious I cannot now share it with reasonable people. There is a place for the C-word but this is not one.”

    If these reasonable people cannot tolerate a bit of robust language then I would question just how reasonable they really are.

  33. Frances–I wasn’t aware Shostakovich left the USSR at all, except for brief official visits abroad. Indeed, he belonged (doubtless unwillingly) to the Supreme Soviet for several years.

  34. Frederick makes a fair point, the title cannot be shared with many because it will not get through their ‘decency’ filters, on this occasion language a little strong.

  35. “Paul Mason may be an ignoramus but calling him an ignorant cunt makes Tim look like an obnoxious dick end and detracts from what is actually a very powerful point which is that the economics editor of C4 is a fool.”

    No, he is most certainly NOT a fool. He knows perfectly well what he writes is nonsense, but writes it anyway because it furthers his political agenda. People like Paul Mason are downright evil IMO, and he is actually many magnitudes below cunt level in the order of human malevolence.

  36. Just noticed that the editor of news night at the time of his appointment was one George Entwhistle….just saying

  37. Stigler,

    > But a “career in music” of Mason’s sort wasn’t hiring a hall, plugging in some amps and collecting ticket money.

    Fair point, but those who do hire halls and collect ticket money tend to be hardcore Socialists too. A lot of them are just straight-up Communists. For some reason.

    My theory is that it’s because record companies discovered sometime in the Fifties that rebellion sells and have marketed the hell out of that ever since. Musicians, for some reason, (a) think that Socialism is still anti-establishment, and (b) haven’t noticed that the people telling them Socialism is anti-establishment are massive ruthless Capitalist companies. It’s not just musicians, either; serious rock music fans are the same. They all hate record companies and Capitalism and market forces and have huge record collections that only exist thanks to record companies and Capitalism and market forces.

    The best example of this was the spectacle of the grass-roots campaign to Stick It To The Man by buying Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine (signed to Sony) in order to stop that year’s X-Factor single (on Sony) getting to number 1. I still suspect that the entire anti-Simon-Cowell plan was Simon Cowell’s idea. Even if it wasn’t, he should have told Sony it was and got a nice fat bonus.

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