Reading one of Spudda’s books

I got through the introduction and had to stop.

He claims that no economic theory talks about empathy. So, not read Theory of Moral Sentiments then, in which Adam Smith thoroughly explores the subject and gives, in the twists and turns of the audience watching the slackrope walker, one of the better descriptions of it. Then there’s the claim that neoliberal and neoclassical economics are the same because they both assume perfect foresight by markets. Neoclassical refers to the insistence that things work at the margin, the Marginalist Revolution, as opposed to the classicals. No doubt his head would pop if Keynes were to return and insist that of course he himself was a neoclassical. Because Keynesianism is all about said margin. It’s even from that which we derive Knightian uncertainty.

But the one that really digs that probing forefinger into my snout is this insistence that we really must try to maximise our potential. Including family, friends, social relations, leisure and all the rest. What the fuck does he think maximising utility is?

For buggery’s sake he’s being stupid there. For example, if we maximise money income then the Laffer Curve cannot exist. It’s only by our maximising utility, thus placing a value upon leisure, family, friends, societal relationships, that we can have a substitution effect. And if there’s only the income effect, which solely maximising cash income or physical consumption would leave us with, then there cannot be such a curve. But he both insists that Laffer is wrong and also that we only maximise cash income.

Ritchie insists upon two things, that neoliberal, or neoclassical, economics thiks we all maximise cash incomes and he also, at other times, insists that the Laffer Curve cannot possibly be true. Yet the very analysis, by Laffer, depends upon the idea that we maximise utility, not cash income.

Sorry, my blood pressure can’t take much more of this.

25 thoughts on “Reading one of Spudda’s books”

  1. It’s things like that that mean I never get more than a few minutes into a lefty vid, or a few pages into a lefty book. It’s the presence of a stupid strawman (like e.g. Nigeria is poor, Nigeria is capitalist, therefore Capitalism doesn’t lead to wealth and hence we should all adopt socialism like I mentioned on the other thread this a.m.), or something that’s just factually incorrect (e.g poverty in Indonesia is increasing, ibid.)

    As for Laffer, the left like to think it’s some kind of neoliberal voodoo, whereas it’s just the application of optimal pricing theory to taxation.

    And the “maximisation of income” is so prima facie nonsense as that it shouldn’t even merit mention – FFS, ask anyone who has worked (like me) in a commission-based environment (or who gets bonuses based on work done) whether they work 20 hours a day off their tits on speed or… whether they decide they’d rather have time and enough income to be comfortable thank you very much. It’s even trivially true for the lower-paid and the middle classes – how many people with a full-time 9-5 voluntarily take on an evening job? If the “maximising income” were correct, then EVERYONE would.

    I can just see it now, Fred the manager at Slough Paper on £50k comes home from work at 6, has a quick dinner, then is off down the pub to work a shift from 8pm to midnight, 6 days a week.

    Or not……

  2. Sorry, this nonsense irks me – if someone offered me a payrise of say 5% of my annual salary or a week off in lieu, I’d probably take the week. Or at least try to negotiate it to 7-8 days.

    Cos right now my marginal utility of 20-32% more holiday is worth more to me than 5% more salary.

  3. The Meissen Bison

    John Miller: Why read it?

    That’s my first reaction as well though I’m glad of the subsequent splenetic outpouring if it’s not injurious to the Worstall health.

    I’d no more read his book than I’d contemplate talking to him in a pub.

  4. Hmm some corrections for Tim on this slow,
    slow, slow,
    slow, slow, slow, day of his:
    ‘everything other than the most working class household.’ -> ‘anything’ + ‘working class’?
    ‘begins’ -> ‘begets’?

    Sprucing: …’to a more than halving of working hours, from a hundredweight (of) hours (112 hours (7 days, 16 hours)) to today’s 40 or so.’

  5. If it makes you so angry why are you so obsessed with him? Why don’t you publish some ideas of your own?

  6. Good one. 4 books. 30 odd articles a week. That’s without the blog. Yes, well done, I don’t publish ideas, well done indeed.

  7. All I can say Tim is I’m glad you read him to save me the time of doing it. Basically I think that between your various articles you probably save me having to read about an hour or two a week of crap. I get more than enough flavor of it by reading your articles. Time well spent.

  8. It has to be a gig for Snippa. What he does makes no sense if he believes it; it only makes sense as a means to getting attention and keeping the funding coming in, which to be frank he is remarkably good at.
    Heck if I had to make an application to the ECO fund to get funding for insulating cladding which might compromise the fire safety of a building, I could think of no-one better than Snippa to help write the application. Or to get funding from a charity or the EU or anyone else giving out other people’s money.
    What annoys me is organisations like the unaccountable BBC giving him attention. If the BBC was accountable to the licence fee payer he would not get anywhere near a studio.

  9. The muddles in his mind arise like mist from the festering pools of his resentment and anger. I’ve no idea what has made him so pathologically angry and resentful, but the wellsprings seem to be insecurity and egocentricity. Broadly speaking, he is a type often found on the left.

  10. Robert Meredith – that’s a topic long but maybe only occasionally debated here, and the answer is Murphy is dangerous – lurks around the edges of people forming opinions and labour party policy – will never go away through shame or disproof – and so like invasive weeds has to be continuously whacked, countered and debunked. It’s a civic service.

  11. Old Berber saying
    Raiding is our agriculture
    New leftie saying
    Taxation is our production.

    How much richer are the Berbers now than then?

  12. You throw light on to what was dark while the potato rots in the earth.

    My apologies: I simply had both tabs open and lazily punched it in here rather than at Forbes.
    I would have, I absolutely would have, written ‘errata’ but was worried about getting my pretentiousness, no: declenations, wrong.

    I was actually wondering as I read the blog post, if you were giving it another shot or had forgotten your pain: last time?

    Anyway are there any good books on the marginal revolution? I remember one by an Alfred?, Marshall, which was a bit mathish for a read…

  13. I told you so. Moral hazard.
    Fire in Bethnal Green, maybe some cladding round the building.

    Residents to be rehoused, possibly in Buckingham Palace.

    Politicians swerve to a “resilent community”. Bollocks. Between the hipsters, 49 varieties of Islam, druggies that can’t move to Essex, a few normals hoping to make a buck on rising house prices. This is about the least united “community” you could imagine.

  14. Good one. 4 books. 30 odd articles a week. That’s without the blog. Yes, well done, I don’t publish ideas, well done indeed……..

    Ok I apologise. I only read your blog as the Forbes stuff is unreadable because of the advertising. I might be wrong but it appears that 1 in 3 or 4 of your blog posts is about Richard Murphy which given that there must be hundreds or thousands of people to comment about does seem like an obsession. Weird.

  15. The Meissen Bison

    @ Robert Meredith

    I agree with you about Forbes – I never follow those links and remain puzzled by a site that insists on being so resolutely unuserfriendly – if there is such a word.

    I think you may be somewhat overstating the proportion of Murphy posts but to the many tuberologists and spudophiles who gather here, this is a theme that is simultaneously entertaining and alarming.

    Murphy is the inverse of the canary in the mine – the more he sings and is listened to, the greater the appeal of a life abroad.

  16. Richard is entertaining and his public postings and speaking would make fine research for a grad student in psychology.
    He’ll say one thing one day then a few days later something totally opposite.
    Been following him for years, he’s like a slow motion train wreck. Sadly he has the power to harm others while he is at it.
    He’s especially entertaining when he posts away from his blog and cannot control the responses from… well… people who understand reality.

  17. @ Robert Meredith. To be fair, I once called out Mr W on the same obsessions, but to echo Napsjam, it’s a civic service. Originally Murphy was a relatively low profile idiot and TW’s efforts were better directed at debunking the collective ‘wisdom’ of the likes of Toynbee, but fair dues to both parties, as Murphy has blagged his way into higher profile TW has doggedly kept up the good work highlighting what a weapons grade idiot Murphy actually is.

  18. This is the advantage the left always has. They can lie, about everything and no one else on the left will call them out because these lies will convince a certain number of people to vote left. And othe lies will convince a certain number of other people to vote left. On the right, people fall over themselves in the rush to teat down the slightest perceived inaccuracy uttered by their own side. We may have a beteer sense of reality but they have control of the culture because anything they want can be true.

  19. If my worst sins are a tad of grammar then I’m doing well compared to Spudda, yes?

    Setting the bar rather low there, no?
    Seriously, though, I had a similar experience a while ago when I tried reading a leftist book that I found at my mother’s house. It simultaneously insisted that scarcity was a lie foisted on us to scare us into following orders, and that CORPORATIONS ARE POISONING OUR AIR!

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