Ritchie proves Piketty wrong

This is fun:

Had an email conversation with Prof Stephanie Kelton in the USA yesterday. She is a leading modern monetary theorist and currently Chief Economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee whilst on leave from her position as Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

A Bernie Sanders appointment. Bit like Ritchie and Corbyn actually. But still:

During the email exchange Stephanie, when discussing the problem of explaining who pays for government investment, offered a quip I thought worth sharing:

The problem … is that they all think money grows on rich people

That was, I admit, a laugh out loud moment. But that’s because it is so true.

So, money doesn’t grow on rich people then. Glad we’ve got Piketty sorted out then. For of course his thesis is that being rich means that more money just accumulates to those already rich and that this is a disaster for society about which something must be done. And if that’s not true then those things don’t need to be done then, do they?

62 thoughts on “Ritchie proves Piketty wrong”

  1. I guess he’s been looking out of a different hole in his stump than when he was getting all damp over Picketty then….

  2. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    In the Lord of the Rings, one of the Dwarf kings – Thrain or Thror – says that “Gold breeds Gold.”

    There’s a reason why rich people become richer: they have worked out how to “breed gold”. Even those who lose it all, sometimes make another fortune.

    And it’s the inverse of why the 14th Earl of Farnsbarns has to sell his stately home to Boris The Bulletdodger.

    Piketty… It’s all bollox really. We’ve seen it countless times in the past, with capitalists who seem to own “too much” these days it is just the scale is bigger and thanks to modern media these people are. In the public eye.

  3. Of course! Money doesn’t grow on rich people. That’s why “soak the rich” has never been a thing with left-wingers, and why left-wingers never argue that their hugely expensive government programme can be paid for by increasing taxes on the rich.

    Also, Our Murph: not name-dropping at all, is he?

  4. Of course, Ritchie (as always) doesn’t “prove” anything. He merely states it or, in this case, states that somebody he approves of has stated it. And then expects everbody to act as if it is fact having been proven to a particularly rigorous standard.

    To be honest, many of his acolytes (and he is far from unusual in this respect) treat even his most insane gibberings as revelations from the Divine (or the Dawkins, if they bat that way).

  5. LHTD is very prolific these days, isn’t he, especially when He has The Joy of Tax in preparation. I laughed out loud when I read this little piece from him:

    “It’s fair to say it’s the longest blog I have written, so far. But pretty much in the same style as what you’re used to on this site. Technical knowledge is not required.

    A whole book writtten in 3 word sentences? A mite tedious, I would predict. But at least no technical knowledge is required, which actually means in the case of his regular commentators no knowledge of any subject is required, just a limitless supply of vacuous and unsupported prejudices which he will endeavour to satisfy.

  6. “It’s fair to say it’s the longest blog I have written, so far. But pretty much in the same style as what you’re used to on this site.”

    To my so-called critics, just let me say this.

    Firstly, everything is created by big government, which proves that everything belongs to big government

    And Secondly…….

    [much, much later]

    And eight-hundred and thirty-fourthly, as I have proved elsewhere, the IMF have never specifically said that my methods of extrapolating the tax gap to infinity are unsound

    And eight-hundred and thirty-fifthly….

    [and on and on. Ad infinitum, ad nauseam]

  7. AndrewC,
    But if his critics have made 8 or 9 hundred errors he has a duty to correct them. Quakers have always done this.

    But you ignore that.

  8. “A whole book writtten in 3 word sentences?”

    Did he negotiate a contract to be paid by the page?

    And the write little sentences.

    One per line

    Often without full stop

    You neoliberal splitters

  9. AndrewC

    It is quite clear that you are here to waste my time.

    Future contributions will be deleted


    I am afraid you are becoming a troll

    That’s your last contribution here

  10. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City”

    This roughly translates to “Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Bolton”.

  11. It’s a funny old world we live in,
    But the world’s not entirely to blame,
    Its the rich what gets the pleasure,
    And the poor what gets the blame.

    (Oh, and “Steel rods of reason through my head”)

    That aside, if you’re rich enough, you can buy a good quality pair of shoes which will last several years, instead of cheap flip-flops which die every few weeks.

  12. He writes in Haiku. Not traditional Haiku of three lines of 5 7 5 meter and thus subject to obsolete neoliberal ideas about tradition and about how counting works.

    Our economics is grounded

    in the Murphomathic* drive

    Which would reorganise the economy

    based only on calculations of sufficient compassion

    (*sorry to Mr. Douglas Adams…)

  13. GlenDorran

    The first time I saw the comment:

    ‘I am a friend of the truth’

    I choked on my coffee, not least because the truth and Ritchie have at the very best the acquaintance a blind squirrel might have with the odd acorn, but I was ialso n awe of the lese majeste style of expression – what kind of person even thinks in this way, let alone is so idiotic as to commit it to even a blog entry?

  14. @Van_Patten:

    Yes! And also the painfully vain “Serious people agree with me.” he frequently resorts to.

  15. @GlenDorran

    Serious people
    Agree with me. You are now
    Banned do not come back.

    (I know I’m crap, but at least I’m having fun and not playing with matches in a haystack)

  16. Murphy after consultation with lawyers:

    £120tn tax gap
    Amazon is not part of this
    Let me make it clear

  17. ‘My name is Murphymandias, King of Taxes
    Read all my works, ye mighty, and despair’
    Nothing else remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal ego, witless and bare
    Cold and empty, old age stretches far away.

  18. There once was an accountant called Murphy
    Who was quite brilliant, candidly
    But his grasp of the numbers
    Was obvious to allcomers
    So we knew it was utter baloney

  19. New tax gap opens:
    difference with prior law.
    Makes perfect sense, no?

    Contradict myself?
    I have always said thusly:
    War with EastAsia

  20. abacab
    His earnings have been, there or thereabouts, just beneath the VAT threshold, so it is probably a moot point.

    However, hypothetically:
    He has been receiving a “research grant” from the TRF for the past 5 years or so, a figure of about £175k. So what research project was this? Was it a single research grant or a series of grants? What single paper or series of research papers is there to show this grant is genuine? In short, is a true academic researcher or is he a chancer?

  21. And right on cue, Ritchie moves his goalposts again. This time he’s in the FT telling us that, actually, People’s QE is only needed if there is an economic crash.

    Now, bearing mind that PQE and Green QE are one and the same, does anyone ever, anywhere, recall reading that teensy weensy qualification before?

  22. “This time he’s in the FT telling us that, actually, People’s QE is only needed if there is an economic crash.”

    I’m not properly paying attention, but does that mean that Tim / fellow evil neo liberal capitalist bastards have just had some influence over Corbyn’s proposed economic strategy 😉 – or am I misreading Ironman’s post?

  23. Ironman:

    Nope, never seen that. Ritchie has never added that little rider to his many, many defences of Green QE.

    Will he use his normal get-out: “of course it was obvious that I meant that all along, you are just being a pedant”

  24. “People’s QE is only needed if there is an economic crash.”

    The evil hegemony of Neoliberal rule (or ‘miss-rule’, a term that I first coined) has meant that the last 40 periods of 12 months (or ‘years’, a term that I also first coined) has been one long economic crash (or ‘crash’, yet another term that I first coined).

    Thus I have proved the need for PQE.

    But you do not answer that.

  25. I’m not sure if Tim has influenced Corbyn’s shot-for-vraims thinking. I would say though thay Murphy has had enough of being laughed by non-bonkers people. So we have this qualification, which he has ALWAYS said but nobody can recall seeing before.

    It’s a bit like the tax gap, which is now the COLLECTIBLE tax gap and, at £20bn, is no longer way more than HMRC’s calculation.

  26. @BiCR

    The University of Missouri-Kansas City is the fourth best university in Missouri.


    It doesnt make it into the top 254 economics departments around the world, but this may reflect the heterodox economics that they follow.


    Stephanie Kelton is heterodox economist.

    To compare it to the University of Bolton is unfair. It’s more like the University of East Anglia but with added crazy people.

  27. “To compare it to the University of Bolton is unfair. It’s more like the University of East Anglia but with added crazy people.”

    Surely you mean with even more added crazy people?

  28. Ironman

    What a shit weasel – as you say, he will glide over it as though nothing has happened, proceeding with his Bourbon- like condescension and barring ‘hostile comments’ (he must wish he had no need for clarification!) I think he has obviously swallowed the Goebbels line about ‘the big lie’ but of course he lacks the intelligence to even lie consistently! (Lawrence, my old stool pigeon, there’s your cue!)

  29. AndrewC

    Haiku have three lines
    Five syllables, then seven
    Unless Haiku is a government that has it’s own means of syllable production in which case it can have as many as it likes, just so long as they’re written into the real economy, otherwise they just go to fat cat poets.

    I created the Haiku by the way, as I’ve explained elsewhere. Repeatedly.

  30. Bloke in Costa Rica

    There once was a man named Murphy
    Who, candidly, was a total cunt
    And he probably couldn’t
    Write a limerick that scanned

    “[…]the fourth best university in Missouri.” This reminds me of WIlliam F. Buckley’s example of an underwhelming superlative: “the tallest building in Wichita, KS.”

  31. For those interested in a simple rebuttal of P…; pointed out on Tom Woods Show:
    P makes an exception to his thesis on capital: in USA he says, it is large corporate salaries, not capital which lead to inequality.
    Something like Marx saying in Das Kapital that his theories do not apply to British capitalism.

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