Weird political and economic theory of the day

Unless something very strange happens Donald Trump will win the Republican candidacy to run for President of the USA. It is reasonable to ask how a man with no experience of government, no apparent political sense, and with views that are considered offensive by so many achieved this.

The answer is, of course, money. In fairness, the money in question appears to be Trump’s own. Many in the USA are seduced by that fact alone: this is the supposed American Dream. But there is something much deeper than that to be said.

Well, no, in terms of Trump, money and campaigns the truly amazing thing is just how little he has actually spent.

In all, the billionaire real estate showman ― whose improbable front-running campaign for the GOP nomination is centered around the idea that his wealth makes him incorruptible ― has lent or donated $12.8 million to his campaign. That accounts for two-thirds of the $19 million that the campaign has brought in to date ― a sum that is dwarfed by those of other top-tier candidates.

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, for example, has raised $112 million, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who’s running second to Trump in most GOP polls, has raised $47 million.

I think I’ve seen that Jeb spent $100 million to get nowhere.

So the first factual contention actually gets nowhere. what Trump hsa actually done is spouted lies and rubbish of Twatter and found that there’s a ready audience for such. Remind you of anyone?

Which brings us to this which is, if we’re honest about it, something of a stretch:

What Trump has done is use money in the way a neoclassical economist might assume appropriate. He has bought favour. He has ignored the externalities of his behaviour. He has maximised his return without consideration for the consequence. He has focussed solely on his own gain and not considered the consequence for anyone else. Trump is then the epitome of that being we thought was a fiction but which turns out to have a personification after all, which is homo economicus. The ultimately rational, frighteningly indifferent subject of the microeconomics text book now has a new form. It is homo politicus, and Donald Trump is its manifestation.

But in that case we should not be surprised at his appeal. He is after all the the living embodiment of the state to which neoclassical economics would have us all aspire. If indifference is the state that economic theory suggests we should aspire to then Trump proves that, at least in the short term, it really can work as a role model for some who have been taught that this is what success requires.

It is frightening (I use the word advisedly) that Trump is in the position he now commands.

But, and I cannot stress this enough, the fact that theory that teaches that his behaviour is not only rational but to be expected and admired is taught in almost all universities as if it is economics is just as, if not more, frightening.

It is said we reap what we sow. It looks as if the USA might.

But if change is to happen then start by sweeping away the assumptions that underpin the callousness of much economic theory. Then we might have a chance of building a better world.

Trump as the outcome of neoclassical economics. Yeah right.

He’s actually that Courageous State writ large. Sod the law, let’s do what is “right”. Remind you of anyone?

47 thoughts on “Weird political and economic theory of the day”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Trump found a niche in the market. Customers, that is voters, who were not getting what they wanted. He promised to give them what they wanted. They have given him their custom.

    So far, so neo-Classical.

    What Trump is doing that is new is that he is able to harness the outrage of his detractors. He is engaged in viral marketing we have seen with things like “Are you beach-ready?” He says things so outrageous that the Left, that is, the mainstream media, has to re-tweet them and condemn them thus spreading the message further. In that sense it is a very savvy internet-led campaign. Because the wails of the self-righteous do not resonate in the public sphere or bother the customers so the message is spread to more and more people.

  2. Two things:
    1) Ads don’t work like they once did. You do something people like, it’ll take off on Twitter or Facebook.
    2) I believe that there’s a change going on with regards to how people are about political ideology, that most people just aren’t involved and aren’t going to get too worked up, even if they’re a Republican, if Hilary wins. Not enough to expend time and energy. And same in the UK. Even most moderate, reasonable Labour voters don’t care that much about Cameron. Which means that opposition parties now have a vacuum of sensible voters and the only people who will make the effort on opposition are nutjobs.

  3. What Trump has done is use money in the way a neoclassical economist might assume appropriate. He has bought favour. He has ignored the externalities of his behaviour. He has maximised his return without consideration for the consequence. He has focussed solely on his own gain and not considered the consequence for anyone else.

    Meanwhile, Donna Hillary, boss of the Clinton crime family, has carefully considered the ethicality of her every move.

    Bwahahah!!!

    As Sir Terry would type.

  4. As I said a while ago, Trump (who actually hasn’t just spent his own money) is really a stalking horse for Hillary, though he probably doesn’t realise it.

    It’s a masterful piece of politics. He splits the GOP vote, dominates the primaries and wins the nomination.

    All the while, the lefty media – the intelligent bits – lets his line spin out into the deep blue yonder.

    The minute the nomination is confirmed, all his lies, contradictions, unfunded and unrealistic promoses etc will start to be broadcast 24/7.

    How many Trump voters currently know that he’s a long term Democrat who uses illegal labour to build his business ventures which then go bust owing lots of ‘little people’ cash money? because they’ll all know it soon.

    It doesn’t take many % to think Fuck it, I’;ve been had and just not vote to let HC in.

    I think she’s nailed on, though I also think she will be a one-term president, unless she can change the system.

    Which isn’t inconceivable. In any decent system she’d be awaiting trial on a number of discrete charges, not heading for the White House. America is gone, Europe is finished, the west is over. Barbarians at the gates, with the keyholders waving them through.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “Trump has been a household name in the US for 30 years. He didn’t need to spend anything telling people who he is.”

    Clinton has been in the limelight almost as long. So has Jeb Bush – at least his name tells you all you need to know.

    The question is why does Trump’s schtick work now when it didn’t in the past? He is perhaps more in the limelight thanks to the Apprentice. But it is more likely that people like Cameron do not do well in a political system where the voters are offered choice.

  6. Hmmmmm, this election probably tells us more about the health of the market for presidential candidates (terrible), than it does about the benefits of participating in markets generally.

  7. Trump is cashing in on a vast groundswell of rage against the leftist shite –on both so-called sides–who have turned America and the West in general into nations on the slide to tyranny and collapse.

    Whether Trump is taking advantage of this or is genuine I can’t yet decide.

    He will be a poor President at best–because there is no such thing as a good one–but the bitch Killery would be a disaster far worse than Obama.

    As to Interested’s point: If there is such devastating anti-Trump material around why haven’t the GOP used it on him already? Their hacks hate Trump even more than Killery.

    Also the rage factor cannot be discounted. The media isn’t what it was. If it still had the old power the Vile Bitch would not have to be pulling super-delegate stunts to beat a clown like Bernie-Too many Deodorants–Sanders.

    If Trump gets it then the more shite the media talk the more his support with strengthen. Only Trump getting to the Ovaltine Office and messing it up could bring him down.

  8. Trump’s appeal isn’t mysterious.

    He’s a charismatic alpha male populist.

    After decades of being forced to swallow shit-sandwich candidates by their party establishment, only for the “respectable” conservatives to cave to the Left on every issue that matters, the Republican base was primed for a candidate like Trump.

  9. Trump vs frump. My money is on Hellary, alas. If I were a Yank, I suspect I’d hold my nose and vote for Trump. I can’t think of any realistic situation where I could possibly vote for That Woman.

  10. When it was O vs Hellary, I enjoyed the joke that it was Ebony vs ovary. How should this contest be summarised? Twit vs twat is too obvious.

  11. We’ll probably see the Trump effect in the UK Tory party manifested by Boris, or maybe even an outlier like Priti Patel.

    Fundamentally it seems that bar Maggie and Reagan, the moment a conservative gets power they just turn into soft squishy liberals. (Take the Iraq war out of Dubya’s record and he was a mass spending dick) Look at Cameron’s attempts to demonstrate local Tory associations. Modern politicians really don’t like even the saps that vote for them.

    There’s also a Establishment position in the west that endures regardless of vote, and with the EU, should the “remainers” win, will ensure that fuck all changes going forward,

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “When it was O vs Hellary, I enjoyed the joke that it was Ebony vs ovary. How should this contest be summarised? Twit vs twat is too obvious.”

    I like Trump v. Frump, but it is obviously the Comb Over v. the Back Hander.

  13. So basically, it’s selfish to run for office if you don’t agree with the Proggies, because interfering with their crusades is an externality.

    Okay.

  14. @Ecks

    ‘As to Interested’s point: If there is such devastating anti-Trump material around why haven’t the GOP used it on him already? Their hacks hate Trump even more than Killery.’

    There’s no ‘if’ about it – he’s a past donor to the Dems, a big Statist (look at the things he said and the money he gave before he decided to run), who has presided over various bankruptcies (who bankrupts a fucking casiono? lol), uses immigrant labour, stiffs small bsuinesses etc. This is all just fact.

    You like him because you think he’s telling it like it is, but he’s just a fake – I can’t believe anyone falls for it. It’s laughable.

    Re the GOP, the establishment probably couldn’t give a shit who gets elected. They play a long game, I’d have thought. If Trump gets the White House – he has no fucking chance of that, mind you – they’ll work with him because he’s a liar and he doesn’t mean half the shit he says anyway. And after 4/8 years he’s gone and who gives a fuck?

    Lots of non establishment GOP people have been saying a lot of stuff, but the media aren’t showing much interest so it’s not getting vast traction.

    The public has always been a sucker for snake oil but as I say it will only take a few of them to realise that they’ve bought a pup and not turn out to vote, and Hillary is in, and that is (I think) what will happen, once the race narrows to DT vs HC and the media goes to work.

  15. It is is beyond belief that this late in the game (see John Oliver’s Latest ludicrous anti-Trump campaign) the mainstream media still do not ‘get’ what Donald Trump is doing .

    There is a groundswell against the Establishment, which the MSM – with its usual myopia – takes to mean the political establishment. This is only partly true. The more significant rejection is of the MSM and its friends in academia, pressure groups, social justice warriors et cetera.

    In short, all the people who ‘know better’ than the ordinary man and woman in the street.

    So Trump stands up and says, “I am listening to you. They are the problem, but you and I are the solution.”

    The media’s responds, “Look at that idiot! He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and the people who are listening to him are morons who must be told what to do.”

    Guess who’s going to benefit from the reaction?

    As So Much for Subtlety at the top of this thread is right. Trump is using Aikido against the mainstream media. They are doing all his work and all his heavy lifting for him.

  16. Like Trump or loathe him, you can’t deny he’s putting the runs on the board. The various stages of Trump denialism have been:

    ‘It’s a joke candidacy, he’ll say something stupid and his campaign will implode’ Been done, didn’t matter.

    ‘ Might poll well but once the primaries start his on the ground organisation won’t cut it against the establishment’. Oops. Super Tuesday wasn’t a knockout blow for anyone, but I suspect Rubio is fucked.

    So now the line is ‘he can’t possibly win the GE’. Every other prediction has gone wrong but I suppose the insiders have to get it right sometime.

  17. Interested: “You like him because you think he’s telling it like it is, but he’s just a fake – I can’t believe anyone falls for it. It’s laughable.”

    Never said I liked him. The only good polit is a dead one and even then they stink.

    He is saying what people want to hear. a time when most poli-scum don’t even bother with such a fig leaf. We’re having what they deign to give us is the credo today.

    Agreed that his populism may be an act. We shall see.

  18. And yes, Jeb!’s backers did sink $100mil+ into his campaign. Which went nowhere.

    One of the things I’ve noticed is that every story about Trump features the most ridiculous photo they can find. Pulling faces, etc. Still not working.

  19. Interested – Que?

    I’m surprised that you’re surprised, cos I didn’t think that statement was controversial.

    He’s a charismatic alpha male populist

    Let’s break this thing down, Andre 3000 style.

    * Charismatic – definitely. Remember, he was a reality TV star for years before he ran for office. You don’t keep getting on TV by being boring or unlikeable. Watch one of his speeches on Youtube, and you’ve got to admit at least two things: a) He knows how to engage an audience; b) He’s funny. Not Frankie Boyle funny, but definitely more entertaining than any of his competitors.

    * Alpha male – I’m sure we don’t need to debate this point.

    * Populist – His entire campaign is based on populism. America First. Jobs. Immigration. Kicking the establishment in the nuts.

    Of course, he could be lying, but that doesn’t change what I wrote.

  20. ‘It is reasonable to ask how a man with no experience of government, no apparent political sense, and with views that are considered offensive by so many achieved this.’

    “How’s that working out for you?” – Herman Cain, 2011

    People in government, with political sense, and government experience, have mucked it all up. Americans are fed up with government.

    Trump is a refreshing outsider. He appears to offer less government. We’ll see once he’s president. Will he disappoint like so many other Republicans have? Maybe, but at least he’ll be a place holder to keep Comrade Hillary out.

    I have to agree with Interested, that the West is about done. As evil as Hillary is, the problem is that tens of millions of people will actually vote for her. She and Obama are symptoms of the demise of the West.

  21. Steve

    Depends on your definition of ‘alpha male’ (a term I find rather juvenile). He’s a daddy’s boy who never did anything hard in his life and essentially pays for his women. Is that ‘alpha’? Anyone can buy clunge. He has a big gob and he talks tough. Yep, seen those guys put in their place a time or two. His business deals all go to shit. Is that ‘alpha’? I don’t think so. I think alphaness, if it exists and means anything, is in character, not raw luck. I can’t say I find him charismatic, either. He’s on the telly – so are lots of people. Often it’s precisely because they’re hateable. As for populist, what percentage of the US electorate are behind him? And, equally crucially, what part of this populist agenda is he not lying about?

  22. “How many Trump voters currently know that he’s a long term Democrat who uses illegal labour to build his business ventures which then go bust owing lots of ‘little people’ cash money? because they’ll all know it soon.”

    Well I’m not very interested in Trump so I didn’t know this but let’s just check this out.

    From Wikipedia:

    “Trump’s party affiliation has changed over the years. Until 1987, he was a Democrat;[5] then he was a Republican from 1987 to 1999.[4] He then switched to the Reform Party from 1999 to 2001.[4] After a presidential exploratory campaign with the Reform Party, he wrote an OpEd in the New York Times stating that he was leaving the Reform Party because of the involvement of “David Duke, Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fulani. That is not company I wish to keep.” [178]From 2001 to 2009 he was a Democrat again;[4] he switched to the Republican Party again from 2009 to 2011.[4] An independent from 2011 to 2012, he returned to the Republican Party in 2012, where he has remained”

    Does that make him a long term Democrat? He changes his mind and affiliations…so what?

    “Uses illegal labour…”

    I found one case from the Wikipedia article, which suggests, if correct, that this assertion is an exaggeration:

    “Trump Tower occupies the former site of the architecturally significant Bonwit Teller flagship store, demolished in 1980.[64][65] Trump courted controversy for destroying valuable Art Deco bas-relief sculptures on its facade, promised to the Metropolitan Museum of Art,[64][65] and for a contractor’s use of some 200 undocumented Polish immigrant workers in the rushed demolition process, who were paid (if at all) just $4 and $5 per hour for work in 12-hour shifts.[66][67] Trump testified in 1990 he rarely visited the site and was unaware of the illegal workers, some of whom lived at the site and who were known as the “Polish Brigade”. A long-running labor lawsuit was settled in 1999, with its record sealed”

    His business ventures that go bust…

    “Four of Trump’s businesses have declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[369][370] According to a report by Forbes in 2011, these were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City: Trump’s Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009).”

    Four businesses…shit happens. Especially when you have too much debt involved.

    “An analysis of his business career by The Economist concludes that his “…performance has been mediocre compared with the stockmarket and property in New York.”

  23. “An analysis of his business career by The Economist concludes that his “…performance has been mediocre compared with the stockmarket and property in New York.”

    Still better than any government I ever heard of.

    Don’t think he will be good as Prez-pork but I do think he can beat the Bitch.

    Beat the Bitch!

    Now there is a campaign slogan.

  24. No, I don’t ‘hate’ him. I just know a bullshitter when I see one. He’s an old school salesman and I think the west needs more than a clever pitch now.

    Almost our entire problem is in continually placing our pathetic faith in shyster leaders who tell us what we want to hear – the only difference between Trump supporters and those of Corbyn, or any of the other cunts, is in what kind of shit they can persuade themselves is sherry trifle.

  25. Interested,

    That’s because of the nature of the much-lauded representative democracy system. You have to vote for someone to have any influence at all; that tends towards people putting all their hopes and faith into some candidate who seems to be on their side.

    I don’t think it’s really fair to blame ordinary people for this. It comes from all the power being in the hands of these elected minorities.

  26. Interested – nothing wrong with hating people. I do it all the time.

    But if you want to understand why Trump’s winning, it’s because his supporters see him differently than you do.

    If you can’t like saying Abba are shit at music, and wondering why so many people like Abba. KnowhatImean?

    I think the west needs more than a clever pitch now.

    Well, as Ian B said, it’s the system.

  27. Stupid smartphone.

    If you don’t separate your personal feelings from analysing why a politician is popular, it’s like saying Abba are shit at music, and wondering why so many people like Abba.

  28. If I were a Yank, I suspect I’d hold my nose and vote for Trump.

    I don’t always go for ideological purity over political practicality, but if I were an American voter, in this election I would definitely be voting for the Libertarian.

    I needn’t go into the reasons for not voting for Clinton, but will stick with her likely opponent. Trump’s pitch is appalling, designed to appeal to lowest-common-denominator populism of the worst sort, but to my mind the real killer is the fact that he is plainly telling untruths about parts of his platform. That makes it very difficult to predict what he would actually do, which in some ways is worse than credibly promising to be an abomination.

  29. Philip Walker – Obama got the presidency twice, each time saying what he was going to do and, both times, not delivering very much. The US presidential election seems to be about choosing which of the 2 liars on show you prefer.

  30. Oh sure, I was pricing in the fact that no politician delivers their whole platform, and most deliberately set out to over-promise. But even with that taken into account, Trump seems to be more mendacious than the usual crowd.

  31. Bloke in North Dorset

    diogenes

    If you don’t have access to the Economist you can register and get 3 articles free. They’ve just done a Briefing on Trump which is quite interesting, within the bounds of them being anti him.

  32. So Much For Subtlety

    Interested – “He’s a daddy’s boy who never did anything hard in his life and essentially pays for his women. Is that ‘alpha’?”

    He turned a small-ish fortune into a large one. That is probably fairly hard. I am not sure. I am sure you do not know how he gets and keeps women. That sounds more like sour grapes. But even if it isn’t, it is a bit pathetic to make that claim given you do not know. He seems to be on good terms with the exes that suggests it was not money. Remember he has at least one sterling endorsement – the woman who sued him for rape and keeping as a sex slave. That is pretty alpha.

    “I think alphaness, if it exists and means anything, is in character, not raw luck. I can’t say I find him charismatic, either.”

    I would like to think so but I don’t think it is. James Bond is as alpha as you can get and yet he is a psychopath really. I agree about the charisma.

    “And, equally crucially, what part of this populist agenda is he not lying about?”

    It hardly matters at this point. The choice is between Trump or a bunch of closet Democrats. They will all vote for whatever President Hillary wants, with the exception, perhaps, of Cruz. So why not take a chance Trump might mean some of it?

    Interested – “He’s an old school salesman and I think the west needs more than a clever pitch now.”

    You mean someone like Cameron? Clinton? Obama? The smart people have comprehensively failed. It is time to try something else.

    “Almost our entire problem is in continually placing our pathetic faith in shyster leaders who tell us what we want to hear – the only difference between Trump supporters and those of Corbyn, or any of the other cunts, is in what kind of shit they can persuade themselves is sherry trifle.”

    In fairness to our favourite manhole watcher, Corbyn does not tell people what they want to hear. He actually believes stuff. Not that he believes good stuff. He got elected because he was the anti-Blair. Trump believes stuff too. Quite what is a problem. But he is not a shape-shifting reptile, possibly from outer space, like Hilary.

  33. ‘Trump believes stuff too. Quite what is a problem.’

    His populist creed includes being against international trade. He keeps saying he’s going to get the Chinese. He indicts NAFTA. Tariffs on everything.

    Great way to turn a recession into a depression.

    Actually, I believe we’ve been in a depression for 8 years. 94,000,000 Americans are unemployed. Govco tells us the unemployment rate is under 5%, so we should be happy. In fact, it’s 43%, far worse than during the Great Depression. Be happy.

  34. So Much For Subtlety

    Gamecock – “His populist creed includes being against international trade. He keeps saying he’s going to get the Chinese. He indicts NAFTA. Tariffs on everything. Great way to turn a recession into a depression.”

    I agree we have been in depression for 8 years. Because Obama is such a frickin’ genius. But Trump can hardly be worse. He is not against trade as such. He just says that those deals are bad. Certainly he is right about Japan and China manipulating their currencies. Not that it is helping Japan much. A tougher stance on trade might not be ideal but we will have to see what he does. The inevitable rule of Republican politics is that they talk tough on China during the election and then fold in office.

    However at the moment the only issue that matters is immigration. He is against it. Mexico cannot run a sensible economy so their White ruling class is pushing their mixed race underclass into the US. Where they vote for people like Obama. It is too late to do anything about it now but if America wishes to remain America for more than another generation it needs to act now.

  35. I think we’ve been in recession for 8 years too. In arithmetical terms, it depends on how much you think the GDP statistics represent anything real.

  36. @Steve

    “Interested – nothing wrong with hating people. I do it all the time.”

    I didn’t say I didn’t hate *anyone*, I said I didn’t hate *Trump*. That said, I don’t think I do hate anyone. Hatred is boring. I despise a few. Is that the same?

    @SMFS

    No, I’d have thought it was pretty clear that I almost specifically do not think we need more of Cameron, Clinton, or Obama. We need people who can see what is going on and will acknowledge it to us truthfully, and take the necessary action to set us back on the right path.

    This is my whole issue with Trump, really. Apart from which, he has literally zero chance of winning against Clinton. He is a stupid man and it will be very simple for her to expose that. He has a large ego and a very thin skin – ditto.

    Re his fortune, I believe he would have been better investing it in stocks and shares, and re his ongoing relationships with his exes I don’t suppose it costs all that much to buy the ongoing “loyalty” of faded models.

    I feel no sour grapes towards him – I think that emotion only applies to one who has personally done one down? though I almost literally cannot think of any way in which my own life could be improved, so I don’t really feel that emotion towards anyone.

  37. I think what I am trying to say, badly, is that I assume – with a few fascistic exceptions such as Ironman, Dave, SJW and DBC Cuntface – we are all variations of classical liberals shading into Conservatives/libertarians.

    We all despise above almost everything else bullshit.

    Donald Trump’s schtick is that he cuts through that bullshit and tells it like it is.

    I think he is telling a lot of people what they want to hear, and they are finding it so refreshing to hear a “politician” on the national stage say these things in politically incorrect ways that they are forgetting to turn on their bullshit detectors.

    I simply don’t believe that he is not bullshitting. My bullshit detector is going bananas, basically.

  38. Trump’s immediate relevance to us is his foreign policy.This is the usual tangled skein, but he if often very much against American interventionism and has said we’d have been better off with Gaddafi and other middle Eastern hardmen still in place.He is not keen on picking a fight with Putin and says the EU should deal with him over the Ukraine, it being more their business.This is a bit more nuanced than the usual right-wing American might rhetoric which is sometimes frankly fascist.

  39. Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    If Trump comes up against Clinton he will win. The American Left appear to view her in the same way the British Left view Blair; a venal warmonger bought and paid for by special interests. If Trump comes up against Sanders then it’s anyone’s guess who’ll win.

  40. Interested, to stand any chance of being elected, Trump will need to win that ring of peripheral states from the Great Lakes through New York round to California. For Obama they were solidly for him. Despite the fact the Republicans held all the middle states and the North Western ones, they don’t have enough votes to matter. The only state where Trump looks ok is Texas. It is hard to see New York or California. Maybe Florida will go Trump?

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