Murph of the dayJune 28, 2011 Tim WorstallRagging on Ritchie24 CommentsAnd it\’s a glorious one: I’ve been reflecting on the situation in Greece and have pointed out that much of what is happening is the inevitable consequence of neoliberal thinking. Yup, fiscally incontinent socialism is neoliberalism. previousPolly\’s question we can answernextThey love their headlines over at El Reg 24 thoughts on “Murph of the day” Kay Tie June 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm It’s why he had to reflect on it: the cognitive dissonance in his poor brain had to resolve “I am a good person, I am a socialist, therefore socialists are good, but Greece was run into the ground” and it did it by “The Greek socialists were neoliberals”. Tracy W June 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm I wonder what on earth he thinks he means by saying “When you put a currency at the core of your economic policy you put the bankers in charge.” Have the Greeks put a currency at the core of their economic policy? How can I tell an economic policy with a currency at the core of it apart from an economic policy with something different at the core of it? And how does that make the bankers in charge more than with any other economic policy? Hugh Jardon June 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm In the comments he claims that Gordon Brown is not a leftie. You really couldn’t make it up. Arnald June 28, 2011 at 1:31 pm You see, Worstall, you’ve got nothing to say. If you truly believe Greece’s undoing was its social development, then argue the case. Clearly you are wrong. Real worlds, Timothy, not poncing braggadocio amongst your expat mates. You really are obsessed with Wikio’s number one economics blogger, aren’t you? Yet you never ever provide any hint of a counter argument, at least without using some failed theory only existant in denounced textbook. It all just reads like a desperate wannabe. JustAnotherTaxpayer June 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm Brown was a neo-liberal, you nutjobs. Much less so Blair, with a dangerous statist bent, and fiscally incompetent, but he was a neo-liberal. Under Blair/Brown… much of the capital ownership in the education and health sectors was privatised under PFI deals. Care homes were driven into the private sector. Competition and private provision (re-)introduced within the NHS; went further than anything under Thatcher/Major. Completion of rail privatisation. Academy and foundation schools effectively privatise state provision of education. OK. You forced me to defend Brown, so I have to take an acid bath now. JustAnotherTaxpayer June 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm Arnald, if you truly believe that Greece is the result of extreme neo-liberalism, you are beyond argument. Here is what a real economist says about neo-liberalism: http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2010/Sumnerneoliberalism.html “Greece has the least civic-minded attitudes and ended up with the most statist economy in 2008” Niels June 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm Which textbook is that, Arnald? Pete June 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm cut & paste from comments on Murph: The average government job pays almost three times the average private-sector job. The national railroad has annual revenues of 100 million euros against an annual wage bill of 400 million, plus 300 million euros in other expenses. The average state railroad employee earns 65,000 euros a year. Twenty years ago a successful businessman turned minister of finance named Stefanos Manos pointed out that it would be cheaper to put all Greece’s rail passengers into taxicabs: it’s still true. “We have a railroad company which is bankrupt beyond comprehension,” Manos put it to me. “And yet there isn’t a single private company in Greece with that kind of average pay.” And the problem with schools is always a lack of money isn’t it? The Greek public-school system is the site of breathtaking inefficiency: one of the lowest-ranked systems in Europe, it nonetheless employs four times as many teachers per pupil as the highest-ranked, Finland’s. Greeks who send their children to public schools simply assume that they will need to hire private tutors to make sure they actually learn something. And as for Richard’s usual scapegoats? Oddly enough, the financiers in Greece remain more or less beyond reproach. They never ceased to be anything but sleepy old commercial bankers. Virtually alone among Europe’s bankers, they did not buy U.S. subprime-backed bonds, or leverage themselves to the hilt, or pay themselves huge sums of money. The biggest problem the banks had was that they had lent roughly 30 billion euros to the Greek government—where it was stolen or squandered. In Greece the banks didn’t sink the country. The country sank the banks. As for Richard’s comment that: There is now a vast body of research showing that people are very poor at decision-making, particularly when it comes to their long-term well-being It is really quite abundantly clear that the people in Greece who were worst at decision-making, particularly when it comes to their long-term well-being, were the Government. I’m not at all sure that simply making sure they had more money would be a proper solution. Adrian June 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm “You really are obsessed with Wikio’s number one economics blogger, aren’t you” My guess is that most of his visitors are there for a laugh. 1) He tells us today in yet another ticking off that 50 comments a day is not unusual. 2) He doesn’t publish any more than a handful each day. 3) Therefore the vast majority must get binned – presumably on the grounds he thinks they are trolls. I suggest ‘trolls’ are his biggest audience – and he knows it. He raises the issue of his pompous comments policy quite regularly, so he must regard this as more than a trivial problem. I realise not everyone who visits necessarily comments, but is there any reason to think the proportions are much different to non-commenters? If the proportions are different, it suggests that there are vast numbers of serious visitors who have nothing to say but to listen unquestioningly to Ritchie’s wisdom – which is just how he likes it. Kay Tie June 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm “Clearly you are wrong.” Clearly someone doesn’t know what “clearly” means. Arnald June 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm “Clearly someone doesn’t know what “clearly” means” Clearly someone with nothing to say. JAT “a real economist” dear oh dear. Another adherent to failure. Well done! It’s just your rich smugness that keeps you guys alive. I can’t believe people are still sputing this utter shite. Arnald June 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm sputing and spouting Chris June 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm I’m psychic; even before I clicked on ‘comments,’ I just knew that Arnald would be splashing his arse-gravy about. Niels June 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm @Arnald “JAT “a real economist” dear oh dear. Another adherent to failure. Well done! It’s just your rich smugness that keeps you guys alive.” Is that how you argue the case, have something to say? Can’t say it looks like it from here, just your usual posturing. Georges June 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm Richard sure has come a long way on the issue of Greece: http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/03/05/lets-ignore-the-nonsense-the-reality-is-there-is-no-debt-crisis-even-in-greece/ Blue Eyes June 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm “Completion of rail privatisation.” Nationalisation of Railtrack = privatisation, does it? “education and health sectors was privatised under PFI deals” The money was borrowed from the private sector, the buildings were built by the private sector, the liabilities remain with the taxpayer. How exactly is this privatisation? “Academy and foundation schools effectively privatise state provision of education.” No, they liberated the provision from the monopoly of the local education authority. The schools are still funded by the taxpayer. How is that privatisation? JustAnotherTaxpayer June 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm Private sector provision of state services is in the tradition of neo-liberal reform, Blue Eyes, that’s the point; and it is a tradition which New Labour embracd under Blair/Brown. Academy schools are private companies – charities. Foundation hospitals are quasi-independent – regulated by, rather than controlled by, the state. Yes, fair point on Railtrack that stuff moved the other way too; the Banks would be a more significant failure! No, I am not saying they went full-Friedman. Neo-liberal reform is generally a gradual, incremental process. But New Labour were moving towards Friedman, not towards Marx. Tracy W June 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm Wow, something really hit a nerve with Arnald. Anyway, Arnald, what evidence, if any, could convince you that Greece was not neoliberal? (Not that I expect an actual answer to this question, I expect just more attempts at insults. But hey, hope springs eternal, I’d be delighted to discover that I had underestimated Arnald on this point.) Ian B June 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm “Wow, something really hit a nerve with Arnald.” Arnald’s just one big nerve, in that respect. Kay Tie June 28, 2011 at 5:08 pm “Clearly someone with nothing to say.” Well, Arnie honey, I did have something to say: I was pointing out that a simple assertion with no reasoning is worthless. Clearly you’re too stupid to see that. Sean June 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm Big neoliberal privitisation show in London today, the statists selling the state, wonderful. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/06/27/bloomberg1376-LNHY1K1A1I4H01-09V3IDJDR5NOIMLUGFUT2DN3K3.DTL Offshore Observer June 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm Arnald, The case against Greece is not “its social development.” but simply the fact that it did not disclose its true financial position when it joined the euro. It did not meet the minimum requirements for membership. If its government had not lied about the state of its finances then it would have remained outside the euro, the drachma would have fallen in value respective to the euro and Greece’s competitiveness would have improved. The simply fact is that the Greek government got thier country into a financial mess and now cannot afford to get them out, the price of government incompetence (to put the best possible shine on this) will be borne by the people of Greece one way or another. I feel sorry for them but don’t blame neo-liberalism. there are many countries who have undergone years of neoclassical economic reform. Australia, New Zealand and Canada have all undergone 2 decades of neoliberal reform and guess what all three are doing pretty well at the moment. Guerner June 28, 2011 at 9:09 pm Arnald, how come “Wikio’s number one economics blogger” is so dim he doesn’t even understand total return figures on indices? He consistently talks about 0% return on the FTSE, conveniently ignoring dividend yields. His understanding of capital markets is pathetic. Frances Coppola June 29, 2011 at 10:18 am And I thought I had found a good ‘un in my critique of Murphy’s claim that Habitat and Jane Norman went down because of Osborne’s VAT rise. That was small beer compared to this. I salute you, Tim. The Euro does prevent Greece from using the normal monetary policy escape routes from debt – currency devaluation and inflation. However, my spies in Greece are very clear who the culprits really are, and it isn’t economists or bankers. It’s Greek politicians and their friends, who have over generations systematically enriched themselves at the expense of ordinary people. The Greek problem is corruption, pure and simple. Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. 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