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02/01/2013

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Oliver

What a succinct, fitting and timely epitaph for the entire economic system:

Humans had a vested interest in maintaining the fraud.

George Orwell would crack a rare smile. Let's chisel it huge in marble so it can be seen from space.

Bonny weekend from this side of the pond.

James

Republicans only hate spending if it's social programs. An out of control "defense" budget is just fine with them. Or have we forgotten the Bush budgets? That's why nothing gets fixed- both sides want the insanity to continue. They just disagree on who gets your money. Well, except for when it comes to the financial industry....

Andrew

Great post, but just wanted to point out a quick correction: neo-liberalism (free market economics) is actually the opposite of Keynesianism.

See the paragraph starting: "Of course, standard Keynesian (neo-liberal) 'thinking' blesses. . ."

(I'm an editor by trade.)

Yeah, I fixed that. I meant to say "neo-Keynesian liberalism" but I got happy and said the opposite -- Dave

John D

The thing that is awful about the GDP is that it primarily measures consumption. Hiring someone to dig a hole and then refill it adds to GDP. When a business looks at it's performance it looks at profits along with change in assets and liabilities. Our assets are decreasing with every barrel of oil we pump and every forest we cut down; and are our liabilities are growing with all our debt- but borrowing money to buy a car is good for the GDP. If you take the adage that you can't improve what you can't measure, it seems like we try to get good at the wrong thing.

Alexander Ač

Hello Dave,

this might be interesting:

"The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future" from Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, but I cannot get to the whole PDF article:

Science fiction writers construct an imaginary future; historians attempt to reconstruct the past. Ultimately, both are seeking to understand the present. In this essay, we blend the two genres to imagine a future historian looking back on a past that is our present and (possible) future. The occasion is the tercentenary of the end of Western culture (1540 – 2073); the dilemma being addressed is how we – the children of the Enlightenment – failed to act on robust information about climate change and knowledge of the damaging events that were about to unfold. Our historian concludes that a second Dark Age had fallen on Western civilization, in which denial and self-deception, rooted in an ideological fixation on “free” markets, disabled the world's powerful nations in the face of tragedy. Moreover, the scientists who best understood the problem were hamstrung by their own cultural practices, which demanded an excessively stringent standard for accepting claims of any kind – even those involving imminent threats. Here, our future historian, living in the Second People's Republic of China, recounts the events of the Period of the Penumbra (1988 – 2073) that led to the Great Collapse and Mass Migration (2074).

http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/DAED_a_00184

Mike Roberts

John D, I'm not sure that the US GDP number measures anything except the scale of fantasy of some people's dreams. It is totally divorced from reality, that's for sure.

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