Dealing with the global warming crowd in a cooling world

On Drudge, but down the bottom on the side where no one will see it.

Light, warmth nosediving to levels ‘not seen for centuries’…

Global freezing is a catastrophe in the making. If it does happen, we should remove from every university department and government agency every single one who had so strongly argued that global warming was our biggest concern. And we should make them repay every last cent of the grant money they received.

Looking for a corporate sponsor with a sense of history

John Stuart Mill’s library is falling to bits because of a lack of funding. There cannot be a lot of money required, and some corporate philanthropist ought to be able to come up with the needed money out of petty cash. Mill wrote the greatest book ever written on the market economy, his Principles of Political Economy. Now is the time for some business to return the favour. The following is a note that has been sent out alerting the rest of us to the problem.

Dear Colleagues

I have received an appeal which I think is worth communicating to you. I hope many will heed it and make a donation, it is well worth it.

Oxford’s Somerville College was given John Stuart Mill’s library by Harriet Taylor’s daughter, Helen Taylor. The collection contains books which had belonged to John Stuart Mill and, even more, books which had belonged to his father; many books contain ample marginalia by one or other of them. Unfortunately the books are in a state of decay and an appeal has been launched to raise the funds necessary to their restoration. I hereby copy part of a message I have received from Dr Anne Manuel, librarian of Somerville College:

“we are now getting serious about preserving the Mill Collection and the marginalia contained therein. I am going to be putting in for some grants over the summer but we are starting off with a student-organised crowdfunding campaign to enable us to get started with a preservation survey and some initial boxing and box-shoeing of delicate volumes. As you expressed an interest in the annotated collection, I wonder whether you might promote the campaign to anyone you felt might be interested in supporting this? We are hoping to set up a Friends of the John Stuart Mill Library group with speakers/events/news updates etc and I can give you more detail about this as we go if you would be interested (or indeed any of your colleagues)

The link to the crowdfunding site is here.

Thank you for any help you can give us with this – it would be very much appreciated!”

Giancarlo de Vivo

Dipartimento di Economia, Management, Istituzioni
Università di Napoli “Federico II”
via Cinthia – Monte S. Angelo
80126 Napoli

The question really is just how depraved is the ABC?

From The Oz. These are five questions the ABC refuses to answer:

1 – Did Q&A approach Zaky Mallah to join the show’s audience, or did he approach Q&A?
2 – Were the Q&A team aware of the general nature of the question that Zaky Mallah was going to ask?
3 – Did the ABC pay for Zaky Mallah to appear on Q&A?
4 – Did the ABC pay for his transport or travel to the program?
5 – Can you please release the correspondence between Mallah and the ABC.

I assume that the first two are a yes, the ABC did approach him and knew in general what he was going to ask. Tony Jones was completely primed for it. But the third and fourth are the kinds of things that would never cross my mind as real possibilities. The correspondence therefore has to come out.

The odd thing is that this was a genuine public service, the way it revealed a state of mind amongst some of our fellow citizens. It has been a quite edifying bit of television. The only problem is that the outcome was not the ABC’s intent but quite the reverse. The aim was to embarrass the government but has done only damage to itself. The last straw, one hopes, but at the very least it is the next-to-last straw. If the ABC cannot see how hideous it has become from the way this was plotted and designed, they really are an organisation beyond redemption.

Q&A has made Abbott’s anti-terrorist laws a certainty

The full video of the exchange of views with Zaki Mulla is here. Graeme Morris is also very good, and puts the political problem in its proper perspective. The Twitter Feed is also worth noting.

Possibly the most amazing Q&A ever. I walked out and came back in at the end just in time to see Tony Jones go to an audience member who is a former convicted terrorist who escaped a larger punishment on a technicality. It has to be seen to be believed, but until I have the video and transcript, will have to do with the Catallaxy comments thread. This lad, in cahoots with the ABC, has established every point the PM has been trying to make about dealing with terrorists. Slightly edited. You can go to the actual thread to see the full transcript. Steve Ciobo by the way was outstanding.

Menai Pete
#1717090, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:31 pm (Edit)
The Lib looks him in the eye and sticks it to the terrorist. That made the whole night worthwhile.

#1717091, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:31 pm (Edit)
Well…now we know who the ABC supports. Time to shut up shop guys.

#1717093, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:32 pm (Edit)
Fuck me dead.

#1717094, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:32 pm (Edit)
FMD this is sick.

#1717095, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:32 pm (Edit)
Wow, fuck off terrorist swampie. This episode is weird.

#1717096, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:33 pm (Edit)
IT, even the scriptwriters from “Home and Away” couldn’t produce dialogue to match this after a three day ether and golddtop binge. The audience even are a little confused, Divine is even a bit weird for the Sandalnistas.

#1717097, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:34 pm (Edit)
Steve Chobo should take his microphone off and walk off.

Menai Pete
#1717099, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:34 pm (Edit)
Claims to be a victim of fashion crime – had to wear an orange jumpsuit for two years before he got out on a technicality

#1717100, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:34 pm (Edit)
If Liberal MPs do not boycott Qanda after tonight, then they deserve everything coming to them.

Carpe Jugulum
#1717101, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:34 pm (Edit)
Can someone tell him, he made threats to kill. he made threats to commit a terrorist act and now he is bitching.

#1717106, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:37 pm (Edit)
Just digs his own grave.

#1717109, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm (Edit)
That should be the last Q & A ever. Utterly disgusting.

Turtle of WA
#1717111, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm (Edit)
That one backfired on the ABC.

Carpe Jugulum
#1717112, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm (Edit)
I will give the lone conservative some cudos, that was a tough gig.

#1717113, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm (Edit)
Oh my god I was right!

#1717114, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm (Edit)
Fmd what a disgusting show.

Menai Pete
#1717115, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:39 pm (Edit)
Just digs his own grave.
And Steve Ciobo shovelled dirt on top of while Snowcone was left speechless

#1717116, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:39 pm (Edit)
Disgusting Their ABC swampfilth Islamic apologist shyte.

#1717119, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:40 pm (Edit)
Ciobo’s performance on all fronts was utterly superb.
He made Fitzgibbon look like a schoolboy and he destroyed the bearded turd in the cap.

#1717121, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:40 pm (Edit)
Did the convicted terrorist have a name?

Menai Pete
#1717122, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:41 pm (Edit)
I did not think it was possible tonight but Q and A just got even worse

#1717126, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:42 pm (Edit)
They’ve got a tweet per minute count running now, FFS. FMD, sandgoblin reckons the government is recruiting for ISIS, even Snowcone for once stunned into surly silence; the anticipated ambush sort of went off in his face, his usual smug exit subdued like he’d been sprayed with a shitmist.

#1717127, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:42 pm (Edit)
Strike while the iron is hot …
The Attorney-General should launch an immediate investigation into the ABC and its apparent collusion with a man convicted of threatening to kill Commonwealth employees.
Now’s when you attack the ABC with all guns blazing.

#1717132, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:44 pm (Edit)
That psycho – he was there as a set-up gotcha. Backfired badly on Tony.

#1717135, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:45 pm (Edit)
Tony Jones left speechless caught out by threat made on Q&A by a fighter who had been in Syria.
I hope he goes back to a power out he has no idea how energy is supplied.

#1717136, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:45 pm (Edit)
For the record, Fitzgibbon refused to support Ciobo in saying he’d be happy for the be-capped shitball to be thrown out of the country.

#1717139, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:47 pm (Edit)
Turnbull…suggest you have good look at Q&A tonight and make the right call on the know you want to do it so go ahead. We love this country and deserve it to be protected frm these media terrorists.

Turtle of WA
#1717140, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:47 pm (Edit)
Massive backfire. Sucked in snowcone.

#1717141, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:47 pm (Edit)
We should be grateful to the be-capped shitball for one thing, however. He spoke the truth when he said Muslims angry with the government want to sate their fury by killing people. On the record and confirmed. Thanks, Q&A.

#1717143, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:48 pm (Edit)
The ABC would have had to search that fellow out just to get him to unload on ciobo. Epic Dorothy fixed fail as Snowcone interrupts his rant. Instead of saying I’ll take that as a comment, he should have said l’ll take that as a death threat.

#1717151, posted on June 22, 2015 at 10:51 pm (Edit)
That’s right, JC.
Even I stayed on after a channel-flip.
Bear in mind that this bloke was convicted of threatening to kill Commonwealth officials.
He again threatened people live to air on television.
IMO, he should be arrested, charged again and expelled from Australia.

#1717166, posted on June 22, 2015 at 11:01 pm (Edit)
FFS. Just saw that BS on Q and A. Parallel universe. The frigging audience clapped the little shit.

Infidel Tiger
#1717167, posted on June 22, 2015 at 11:01 pm (Edit)
IMO, he should be arrested, charged again and expelled from Australia.
It sounds like it was an obvious set up by the ABC to embarrass the government.
Jones and the management should be charged with aiding and abetting terrorism.

The benefits of free trade

I am about to do a presentation on the benefits of international trade, which are similar to the benefits of domestic trade. Of course, you have to appreciate the structure and genius of an entrepreneurially-driven market economy first, which all of this is predicated on.

. an economy is an exchange economy – people sell to one another

. sellers, however, have to work out what buyers will want to buy

. not only do they have to work out what buyers will buy, they have to find a way to make sure that they buy from them and not their competitors

. that is why a market economy driven by private-sector entrepreneurs is superior in every way to any other set of arrangements

. sellers are a self-selecting process – entrepreneurs are just members of the community who decide they would like to earn an income from selling products to others

. government-selected sellers weaken an economy (crony capitalism)

. among sellers only those whose products most closely match the wishes of buyers will survive

. therefore:

. prices are kept down
. product quality is improved
. innovation is constant

. governments may contribute with some necessary regulation and will provide welfare, but have almost nothing to offer so far as product and product innovation are concerned

. this is how a domestic market economy works

. international trade is the same only across borders

. foreign sellers often produce better products at lower prices – better to buy from others than produce such things oneself

. comparative advantage explained

. domestic producers often wish to discourage imports but love exports

. will lower living standards to restrict imports

. government restrictions on imports is a very large mistake

. should not protect domestic industry since it does not protect the economy, helps out only a handful of producers and only in the short run

. once business understand that a government will never protect them from competitors who provide better goods and services, domestic competition becomes much more rigorous

. tough domestic competition is the best guarantee of international success

. but the politics are often very difficult for particular groups – such as those who produce primary products

. also many complaints about jobs going overseas – but full employment is more easily guaranteed in an open economy

. a government therefore needs sensible adjustment policies that allow resources to flow where they receive their highest return

. everyone must be made to understand that the best long-term strategy for the entire community is to allow free trade in all goods and services

. leads to higher incomes and more secure jobs

Politics, of course, gets in the way, but every decision maker generally understands all of the above very well.

The vast majority of economists are Keynesian

I will preface this with my own invention, the National Accounting Stimulus Trap, which is built around Y=C+I+G. An increase in public spending will, inevitably, show up as an increase in Y because that is how the accounts are designed. A fall in public spending will inevitably show up as a fall in Y, for exactly the same reason. If you think that the real effects of a change in policy can ever be detected in less than a year, you have to be blind to the basics.

Which brings me to a blog post by Simon Wren-Lewis, University of Oxford, with the title, The academic consensus on the impact of austerity. The consensus is negative; most economists are either Old or New Keynesians:

Unfortunately we do not have a great deal of information on what academic economists as a whole think about austerity, but we do have two important survey results which are pretty conclusive. In the US, there is the IFM Forum, which regularly asks a group of distinguished economists – including many macroeconomists – their views on key policy issues. The last poll I have seen suggests that 82% of that panel thought the 2009 Obama stimulus had reduced unemployment, while only 2% disagreed. In the UK, the CFM survey asked a similar question to a smaller group of academic economists, most of whom are macroeconomists. Only 15% agreed that the austerity policies of the coalition government have had a positive effect on aggregate economic activity, while 66% disagreed. That consensus is not universal – it would not apply in Germany for example – but I doubt if anyone would disagree when I say that US economists call the shots as far as academic macroeconomics is concerned.

This is why economists the world over continue to teach Keynesian macro to undergraduates, and normally not as one ‘school of thought’ but rather as an initial approximation of how the economy actually works. As Amartya Sen so forcefully reminds us, the experience of the last hundred years has earned Keynesian theory this central role.

There’s more of the same:

We have another, more indirect, source of evidence. If you asked whether there was a standard model for analysing the business cycle among economists in academia and in policy making institutions, the answer would have to be the New Keynesian model. I want to include economists in central banks in particular because they have to put theories of the business cycle into practice on a regular basis. The key macromodels that central banks use to forecast and to analyse policy are Keynesian, and many are New Keynesian. [his italics]

And I have to give you this, which is a jargon-filled sentence of such raw stupidity that it amazes me that anyone can write such a nauseating sentence with such smug certitude given how anaemic the American “recovery” has been:

This is why, among economists with expertise, there is a clear majority view that fiscal austerity is significantly contractionary in a liquidity trap.

No economy that has had a stimulus applied has recovered in any interesting sense. The business cycle is cyclical. Every downturn turns up. Nothing falls forever. But if you are going to call the present pathetic example of a recovery a serious upturn, I will merely point out that you have not got a clue.

For more of the same, go here.

You gotta be joking

Jerry Seinfeld must have a philosopher’s soul to be getting into the nature of humour in a world of PC. In an article titled, No Jokes for You, Harry Stein discusses the boundaries Seinfeld has just discovered. This is the conclusion. There is much food for thought along the way.

Many of us should feel better knowing Seinfeld is in this fight. Might he eventually go all in, and connect the dots? Might he come to realize that this issue also bears on the proliferating trigger warnings at colleges—the kinds his children will soon be attending—and the treatment of people like Condoleezza Rice and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and so much more?

Probably not. But for now, let’s settle for a steady push for the freedom to make light of anything, across the ideological spectrum—including, for the next month or so, Rachel Dolezal and her amazing quick-switch from white to black.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The mystery of the Keynesian Revolution

Here is another book just published about the Keynes, this one, Reinterpreting The Keynesian Revolution by Robert Cord. This is what it’s about.

Various explanations have been put forward as to why the Keynesian Revolution in economics in the 1930s and 1940s took place. Some of these point to the temporal relevance of John Maynard Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936), appearing, as it did, just a handful of years after the onset of the Great Depression, whilst others highlight the importance of more anecdotal evidence, such as Keynes’s close relations with the Cambridge ‘Circus’, a group of able, young Cambridge economists who dissected and assisted Keynes in developing crucial ideas in the years leading up to the General Theory.

However, no systematic effort has been made to bring together these and other factors to examine them from a sociology of science perspective. This book fills this gap by taking its cue from a well-established tradition of work from history of science studies devoted to identifying the intellectual, technical, institutional, psychological and financial factors which help to explain why certain research schools are successful and why others fail. This approach, it turns out, provides a coherent account of why the revolution in macroeconomics was ‘Keynesian’ and why, on a related note, Keynes was able to see off contemporary competitor theorists, notably Friedrich von Hayek and Michal Kalecki.

There are many reasons why it happened, but there is this for starters: if you say to kids that the best way to grow up strong and healthy is to eat lots of chocolate cake you will need to do very little convincing. You will actually ruin their health, but they won’t know that until they have tried it for themselves.

My own contribution to this issue of why Keynes with this theory at that time is to point out that Keynes was reading Malthus’s letters to Ricardo at the bottom of the Great Depression at the end of 1932 while preparing his “Essay on Malthus” for his Essays in Biography that was published at the start of 1933. And there, in the midst of Malthus’s letters, he discovered the general glut debate of the 1820s and Malthus’s arguments attributing recessions and unemployment to demand deficiency. So obvious is this sequence that it remains the most mysterious of all of the mysteries I have encountered in my dealing with Keynes and the Keynesians that not only do they not accept that reading Malthus had any effect on Keynes’s thinking, they will not even consider it as a possibility. But that’s how it happened, and the more evidence I have the more resolutely it is ignored. If you want to look at the sociology of science in relation to Keynes, that is where I would start.

C’mon, which one is the bigger idiot?

This is from a speech by Obama himself:

“I got a letter a while back from a gentleman living in Colorado, and clearly an intelligent guy, and he had taken a lot of time to write this letter. And he said, you know, I voted for you twice, but I’m feeling disillusioned,'” Obama said.

“And I get letters, people say, ‘You are an idiot,’ and here’s what you didn’t do, and here’s the program that is terrible, and all kinds of stuff. But this gentleman, he said, I voted for you twice but I’m deeply disappointed. And it went on and on, chronicling all the things that hadn’t gotten done,” added Obama.

Anyone who voted for Obama twice is certifiably stupid.

Thank goodness there were none in the State Department

This is from a write up of Cornered, a 1945 film I’ve never heard of. But this is the part that is incredible, especially since, as everyone knows, there were no communists in Hollywood at the time:

Scott immediately hired the author of The Last Mile and his original choice from the beginning, writer John Wexley. A hard line Communist Party member, Wexley gave the dialogue a distinctly socialist stance, thinly disguised as antifascist drama, much to the chagrin of Dmytryk and Scott. While they too had ties to the Communist Party, Dmytryk and Scott did not want to weigh down the drama with party-approved rhetoric. Wexley was soon relieved of duty, and John Paxton was hired to tone down the Communist propaganda and punch up the antifascist angle, while adding more action and tightening up the pace of the story. . . .

Shortly before Cornered was to be released, Wexley summoned Dmytryk and Scott to a Communist cell meeting where he lambasted them for erasing the Party lines from the film and then demanded their removal from the Red ranks. In effect, Wexley and the Party faithful were upbraiding Dmytryk and Scott for practicing creative freedom. According to Dmytryk, this incident led to him quitting the Communist Party in Hollywood.