Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Krugman changes his tune (in time to shill for Obama)

I have said many times that Paul Krugman is much more a political operative than an economist, and while that makes people mad, it also is true. And the day before President Obama's State of the Union Speech, suddenly the gloomy, "We-Are-Practicing-Austerity" Krugman was singing the praises of Obama the Great.

Yes, this is the same Obama that recently Krugman was claiming was not spending enough and was going to throw us into another downturn because of his policies of "austerity." But now that we are in a political campaign, Krugman is singing, "Happy Days are Here Again."

He claims that he was abused when he pointed out the housing bubble, and I find it interesting that in his blog posts and elsewhere, he has attacked Peter Schiff, yet it was Schiff who was the most vocal about the bubble and its meaning. Furthermore, Mark Thornton in 2004 had made the point about the bubble, and Ron Paul was playing Paul Revere on the subject in 2003. However, since Krugman thinks Austrians are idiots and don't know any economics, he throws the Austrian warnings down the Orwellian Memory Hole.

(Now, don't forget that Krugman's good friend Ben Bernanke also missed the bubble, but Krugman isn't about to jump on his ally for being wrong. No, Krugman is much too smart a political operative to do that.)

Yet, there are a couple things in this column that are puzzling. First, he claims that somehow we can revive the economy with...more housing:
But the economy is depressed, in large part, because of the housing bust, which immediately suggests the possibility of a virtuous circle: an improving economy leads to a surge in home purchases, which leads to more construction, which strengthens the economy further, and so on. And if you squint hard at recent data, it looks as if something like that may be starting: home sales are up, unemployment claims are down, and builders’ confidence is rising.
And why might housing be a bright spot in the future? He writes:
Furthermore, the chances for a virtuous circle have been rising, because we’ve made significant progress on the debt front.

That’s not what you hear in public debate, of course, where all the focus is on rising government debt. But anyone who has looked seriously at how we got into this slump knows that private debt, especially household debt, was the real culprit: it was the explosion of household debt during the Bush years that set the stage for the crisis. And the good news is that this private debt has declined in dollar terms, and declined substantially as a percentage of G.D.P., since the end of 2008.
Krugman is talking apples and oranges. No one has claimed that government debt brought about the recession; instead, they are saying that adding trillions of dollars of government debt only exacerbates the problem. Moreover, he is saying that housing has bottomed and maybe things will get better.

Why didn't housing bottom sooner? It did not bottom because Krugman and others argued that the government should continue to pump huge amounts of money into those failing sectors in order to prop them up, as though higher prices bring prosperity. So, the government did just that and housing fell, albeit more slowly, but it fell, so the pain was stretched out.

So, in order to avoid a worse recession, the government created a depression. But now that Obama is up for re-election, suddenly he is Mr. Job Creator. Yes, the man who has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into "green energy" and other such boondoggles suddenly is responsible for bringing back prosperity. Somehow, I doubt that is happening, but political operatives are not exactly known for their truth telling.

As for Krugman's claim that more inflation and more government debt will give us recovery, Frank Shostak, who is a much better economic analyst than Krugman, says that recovery will come only when the government ends its jihad against savings. No, Shostak doesn't have a Nobel, but he does actually understand economics.

141 comments:

morse79 said...

How exactly is Krugman singing "Happy Days are Here Again," when he started his column by writing, "How goes the state of the union? Well, the state of the economy remains terrible."?

Do you mind actually arguing with Krugman instead of making stuff up and then criticizing him for what he didn't say rather than what he said?

Bala said...

Morse,

Anyone with as much as a dried pea for a brain can figure that out by following Krugman's writing over a period of time and specifically reading this article. It looks like you suffer from severe comprehension problems.

Bala said...

Morse,

"this article" refers to Kroogie's latest.

Unknown said...

Bala, on an unrelated note. Thanks for taking on LK on his very own blog. I thought you trounced him on both economics (Keynesian and Austrian) and philosophy (LK is obsessed with trying to prove that gov't intervention is somehow moral and desperately tries to attack the non-aggression principle).

I just wish a Keynesian would tell me what it would take to doubt their theory. Every time I see them state a favorable statistic favorable to their argument, it's presented as causal (the mark of intellectual dishonesty in my opinion), but they cry foul and discount any statistic that doesn't fit their position. It's not just Krugman that does this, either. It's all of them!

I wonder if a currency collapse would be an event that would shake their faith in Keynesianism?

Anyway, keep up the good fight. It makes his blog worth reading (I also appreciate him coming over here to argue his position). I just wish reasoned arguments would sway economists. Is this typical in other fields? It seems economics is akin to religion - no amount of evidence will shake the faith of the faithful. I do believe Austrians are probably more open to reason, though, simply because most were exposed to the Keynesian orthodoxy first, long before ever hearing about AE.

Sorry for hi-jacking the thread Professor Anderson.

Anonymous said...

How does Krugman often decry the "Confidence Fairy", but yet often resort to statements like "rising confidence" (of, for example, builders) as positive signs for the economy-- with feedbacks, no less.

Are there good confidence fairies and bad confidence fairies?

Tel said...

Jethro Tull's "Fallen on hard times" would be a more appropriate song.

Bala said...

Unknown,

Thank you for the kind words. It was an intense learning experience for me too. Extremely draining as well, but I definitely think my foundations have become stronger because of these arguments. And I will keep up the fight. Thanks once again.

Difster said...

Why is it, that every (non-Austrian) economist seems to think of housing starts as an inherently good thing? A ramp up in new home construction can certainly be (but isn't necessarily) a sign of mal-investment.

If aggregate demand is spurred by government policy rather than market forces, the chances are high that it will turn out badly.

Publius said...

Bill - I'd love to hear your arguments in response to Paul's latest blog about "Two percent is not enough." He thinks the latest Fedspeak is "a step in the right direction - it has had a visible effect on markets,pushing down long-term rates, which is all good." It has definitely had "an effect" on the markets but I'm still trying to figure out why that's "all good."

And to P.K., it's obvious that 2 percent is too low and that a 4 to 5 percent target makes more sense - no seriously! He really believes that.

Rick Teller said...

Difster: When people in the US wonder where are the factories that should be employing lots of high paid labor, or where are the cures to various diseases, the answer is that what we have instead is tens of thousands of square miles of granite counters and Palladian windows in ugly McMansions.

This is a result of decades of bad government policy that directed capital toward fake investment (really just durable good consumption) in housing, rather than investment in capital goods, research and technology that would have brought in superior returns. Some of those policies and incentives to splurge on housing include: 1) favorable capital gains breaks and ultimately no capital gains taxes on housing gains, 2) tax deductibility of mortgage interest expense but not rent, 3) Fannie, Freddie, FHA, etc., 4) FDIC insurance that gave depositors no reason to care how stupidly a bank was speculating, and 5) A Fed whose answer to everything is to lower interest rates and, more recently, print money.

The housing boom was entirely a creature of bad government policies. Had we a minimal government involvement in the economy, and tax policies that didn't care whether people owned or rented, most of us would be living in more modest homes, but they would have cost us much, much less, and we would benefiting from the results of genuine good investments.

JG said...

"So, in order to avoid a worse recession, the government created a depression"

Which government would that be? The one in power from 1992-2000 that actually saw a reduction in the national debt? Or the one in power from 2000-2008 that said "deficits don't matter" and presided over a doubling of the national debt? Or the one that showed up in 2009 after the economy was in full nose-dive mode?

JG said...

@ Bala,

"Anyone with as much as a dried pea for a brain can figure that out by following Krugman's writing over a period of time and specifically reading this article. It looks like you suffer from severe comprehension problems."

Charming, as always. You didn't bother to address Morse's actual critique but you managed to come of condescending and rude anyway. Good for you!

Bala said...

JG,

You mean Morse actually had a critique? Good for you if you noticed something of that sort. I wonder why it looked to me like Morse had hardly read the Krugman piece being referred to and definitely not understood that Prof. Anderson was referring to a summary of Kroogie's fanciful notions spread over many pieces of writing. When lazy people talk rot from a high pedestal, they shouldn't be surprised to get a rude response. In any case, the entire whatever-Keynesian lot of you (including the one man legion) don't deserve any better.

morse79 said...

a) Krugman has NOT, even in his recent blog posts, endorsed the view that the recession is over and everything is hunky-dory.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/21/the-ongoing-debt-transformation/?gwh=1926AF0BCA215208FF6FD18D43AEBDA9

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/debt-and-transfiguration-2/?gwh=C4A026798022B7F608D9F917419C1BA8

b) Anderson was referring to the specific op-ed from 1/22 in this blog post.
c) I critiqued Anderson's claim that Krugman thinks that "Happy Days are Here Again," with a specific quote from said op-ed.

And even though you clearly posted garbage, I am not going to generalize about your intellect or hurl an insult at you.

Bala said...

And I said that a specific quote does not a sufficient critique form. I said that to truly critique, you need to see the Kroogie's piece in its entirety, which you still refuse to do.

And your holier than thou posturing is looking hilarious. It's no justification for your drivel.

morse79 said...

Dear god, do I really need to do this? Emphasis are mine, and all this is from the same op-ed. In no way does this convey that Krugman thinks all is hunky-dory.

"Well, the state of the economy remains TERRIBLE"

"there are reasons to think that we’re finally on the (SLOW) road to better times. "

"Why am I letting a BIT of optimism break through the clouds?"

"the housing bust and excessive private debt — are finally EASING."

"And if you SQUINT hard at recent data, it looks as if something like that may be starting: home sales are up, unemployment claims are down, and builders’ confidence is rising."

"There are, of course, still big risks — above all, the risk that trouble in Europe could derail our own incipient recovery."

"my guarded optimism should not be taken as a statement that all is well."

"And even if my hoped-for virtuous circle is getting under way, it will be years before we get to anything resembling full employment."

You really need to thin hard about yourself bala.

Bala said...

Ha Ha Ha!!! This after complaining endlessly that Obama is not spending enough. Go figure.

JG said...

@ Bala-

Anderson has a bad habit of distorting and misrepresenting Krugman's actual positions. Anderson has dedicated this blog to attacking what he wants people to think Krugman believes rather than what Krugman actually believes.

In other words, Anderson is a shameless fraud and is totally dishonest.

Bala said...

"Anderson has a bad habit of distorting and misrepresenting Krugman's actual positions. Anderson has dedicated this blog to attacking what he wants people to think Krugman believes rather than what Krugman actually believes."

State some positions misrepresented, please.

morse79 said...

Ummmm....How about the one I started with?

" But now that we are in a political campaign, Krugman is singing, "Happy Days are Here Again."

Clearly, that is not what Krugman wrote.

JG said...

"State some positions misrepresented, please."

Oh, boy. Where do I begin. Well, just looking at some of his most recent posts about Krugman we can start with:

1) Misrepresenting Krugman's critique of anti-census paranoia into a supposed endorsement of General Sherman's destruction of Atlanta.

2) Twisting Krugman's critique of Mitt Romney's claim to be a job creator into a supposed attack on Private Equity firms and on economic efficiency in general.

3) Taking Krugman's words about the effective tax rates of the rich and trying to create the impression that Krugman is really talking about total taxes paid by the rich. He then spends the rest of his article claiming that the rich really pay more in total taxes than the middle class, which was never what Krugman was talking about in the first place. In other words, a rhetorial bait-and-switch.

Would you like some more examples of Anderson's lack of integrity or will this suffice?

macroman said...

I am starting to understand this column and most of its contributors, but set me straight if wrong. You know that anyone who thinks the government has a role to play in the market system is a socialist, communist or Statist bent on putting us all in a Gulag. So this allows you to see the cunning hidden motives behind everything Krugman says. It,s always about something else, right? He,s always REALLY saying something other than what he says, so that other thing which you imagine, is what you attack. ?.

Major_Freedom said...

Macroman:

"You know that anyone who thinks the government has a role to play in the market system is a socialist, communist or Statist bent on putting us all in a Gulag."

Straw man.

The actual position libertarians have against statists is that all statists are bent on violating private property rights and harming innocent people.

However, the superficialities of you worldview, the talking points, the philosophy of it, when taken to its logical conclusion, is indeed a call for people to slave away in Gulags.

JG said...

Funny. He criticizes one straw man argument then follows up with his own.

"Statists" (a derogatory term for anyone who thinks the existence of a central government isn't an affront to God and freedom) don't believe in any of the hateful things you claim. But then, why let the truth get in the way of a good sound bite.

Bala said...

""Statists" (a derogatory term for anyone who thinks the existence of a central government isn't an affront to God and freedom) don't believe in any of the hateful things you claim."

Irrespective of whether you know it or not and whether you agree or not "the State" is by definition the instrument of coercion and oppression. It is the machinery that holds and wields the monopoly over the legal use of force. Therefore, it is, once again by definition, an enemy of liberty and individual rights. That you are a Statist but you do not think so only means that you are so hollow that you do not even understand what it is that you support.

morse79 said...

"It is the machinery that holds and wields the monopoly over the legal use of force. Therefore, it is, once again by definition, an enemy of liberty and individual rights."

Unless you believe that liberty cannot be ensured without the state or some modicum of social order. I guess we are all just supposed to agree to be nice to each other and hope no one invades our country?

As JG said, complete straw man.

JG said...

"the State is by definition the instrument of coercion and oppression"

Inadvertantly you actually speak some truth. The state is the instrument, but you avoid talking about who really wields that instrument. Do you know who that is? I'll give you a hint, it isn't the unwashed masses at the Occupy rallies. It isn't some bureucrat sitting in a government office. It's the wealthy private interests whose armies of lobbyists and Super PACs who own this country. But instead of railing against the corrosive influence of money in our politics we get foolish rants from Anderson and his fan-boys about how government is the problem rather than the people/policies that have corrupted our government.

Anderson, instead of showcasing your jealousy at Krugman's success why don't you write an article here about why the Citizens United ruling was a travesty? Oh wait, I forgot, if the private sector buys the public sector that's perfectly fine. It's the public sector that is interfering with the private sector....silly me.

macroman said...

MF, please explain. Was "gulag" a straw man as in your first sentence, or is the inevitable result of the thinking of your enemies to put you in the Gulag as you finish with. Anyway, delete Gulag form my original question to get this question: is it because you know the real motives of Krugman and his ilk that the blog always seems to attacking something other than what Krugman actually writes?

macroman said...

Bala, I guess you are an anarchist? Even Ayn rand believed the state needs a monopoly on law courts, police and army, but I guess since anarchism has never been tried (maybe in Sicily?) we can't know for sure it won't work.

macroman said...

Bala. You use the words "by definition" quite a lot. I do not think those words mean what you think they mean. They actually weaken your argument. If by definition the state holds all power, then anyone who holds power is by definition part of the state. Therefore by this definition the Mafia is part of the state - so it is not a useful definition.

You need to say, that as a matter of fact, not definition, the state holds overwhelming power. And then we can argue about facts - is this true or not?

Bala said...

"Even Ayn rand believed the state needs a monopoly on law courts, police and army, but I guess since anarchism has never been tried (maybe in Sicily?) we can't know for sure it won't work."

How is this an argument?

"I do not think those words mean what you think they mean."

I do not think you even understand what the word "definition" means.

" If by definition the state holds all power"

I did not say this. So don't stuff your words into my mouth. All that can help you do is claim a false victory by defeating your strawman version of what I said.

"You need to say, that as a matter of fact, not definition, the state holds overwhelming power."

Wrong. YOU need to acknowledge that by definition, the State is a machinery of oppression and repression that holds a monopoly over the legal use of force as a result of which it automatically becomes an aggressor violating the rights of everyone it "governs".

"And then we can argue about facts - is this true or not?":

False and a silly approach. Incidentally, you should probably consider renaming yourself "strawman".

Bala said...

"Unless you believe that liberty cannot be ensured without the state or some modicum of social order."

Just a small insertion.

Unless you falsely believe that liberty cannot be ensured without the state or some modicum of social order.

Go on and believe your delusions to be true. I am not standing in your way. Don't, however, expect me to agree with you.

Bala said...

"Unless you believe that liberty cannot be ensured without the state or some modicum of social order."

In fact, here is a modification.

Unless you believe that liberty cannot be ensured without some modicum of social order and further believe that a modicum of order cannot be wnsured without the State.

Why don't you just bare your fangs and accept the truth that you are a thug at heart? That would at least be honest though ugly.

Bala said...

"I guess we are all just supposed to agree to be nice to each other and hope no one invades our country? "

Yeah!! I guess anarchy means that people just twiddle their thumbs and watch while hordes remain free to violate their property rights. Your implicit depiction of anarchy is the real straw man.

macroman said...

Bala, you are right. My comment about Ayn Rand was not an argument, but I thought you might give me your opinion about her. What I was more interested in was whether you think anarchy has ever been tried, and if so how successful it was.

macroman said...

BAla, let try another example to show why arguments "by definition" are not very useful.
By definition anyone who holds absolute power is a tryrant.
By definition God holds ultimate absolute power.
By definition God is a tyrant.

There Is no point arguing about this if it is really by definition true that anyone who holds absolute power is a tryrant.

But as a non definitional proposition the idea that anyone who holds absolute power is a tyrant may be false. God for example may be a tyrant, or he may be infinitely good to us or he may be indifferent (or may not exist of course)

There may be an absolute ruler who chooses to be very nice and non tyrannical. We need to look at facts, not definitions, to see what is true in practice.

macroman said...

Bala, I am not saying that you gave the argument I just outlined about god. I am trying to show how silly it is to try to establish facts about the real world "by definition". Facts are established by observation. You seem to use definition as a synonym for assertion. You could just as well say I assert that anyone holding the monopoly of legal power will do x y or z, but then we all know that this may be true or false or partly true.

Bala said...

"What I was more interested in was whether you think anarchy has ever been tried, and if so how successful it was."

This point is irrelevant to the main point that the State is criminal by definition.

Definitions, incidentally, are not attempts to establish facts about the real world. They deal with "concepts". The definition of a concept is an identification of those characteristics of every entity that bears the label given by the concept, characteristics that enable us to distinguish every entity that is a concrete referrent of that concept from the rest of its environment.

Definitions are important because they tell us what it is that we are talking of. If our definitions are not clearly stated, we run the risk of not knowing what we are talking of. Statements made from definitions are in fact tautological AND descriptions of the real world because the definitions themselves are based on prior sensing of entities in the real world followed by integration of the sense percepts into concepts.

Hence, your statement " I am trying to show how silly it is to try to establish facts about the real world "by definition" " only shows how silly your epistemology is.

"Facts are established by observation."

Concepts are formed from sense percepts. Definitions are particular attributes of concepts. Hence, definitions are established starting from sense percepts. Hence, to claim that "facts" are superior to definitions is silly.

"You seem to use definition as a synonym for assertion."

No. To define is to be clear as to what you are talking of. To not define is to babble incoherently. If that's what you want to do, be my guest.

"You could just as well say I assert that anyone holding the monopoly of legal power will do x y or z, but then we all know that this may be true or false or partly true."

This is proof of your incoherent babbling.

macroman said...

Bala, sometimes a new topic opens up in a conversation, which you may think is irrelevant. Nevertheless the other party may find it interesting. I think you are an anarchist, which is interesting if true. So if you are an anarchist, I guess you know about it than I do, hence I ask questions. We can always return to the original discussion later if we want.

1 has your prefered form of social organization or non organization ever been tried or nearly tried in practice?
2 if so, how did it work out, and what comments can you make on the practical implementation of your preferred model in practice?

Thanks for allowing me to change the topic.

macroman said...

Bala: the "state is by definition criminal"

Did you mean to say that crime is what the state defines as criminal? Now that is a definition and you can see how useless a definition is to establishing what is good or useful.

Bala said...

"Thanks for allowing me to change the topic"

Ha! Ha! Ha! What gives you the feeling that I am extremely naive? I intend to answer neither of your questions because they are irrelevant when the issue at hand is the fundamental criminal nature of The State. You need to find an idiot to fall for your cheap tactics.

macroman said...

Is there something about the answers that I shouldn't know? What gives?

Bala said...

"Did you mean to say that crime is what the state defines as criminal?"

No. I didn't mean to say that. The word "crime" is a moral concept of what a man ought not to do, specifically with respect to the rights other men. I do understand that Statists can't grasp a concept this simple, but then that's what makes them as hilarious as they are.

"Now that is a definition and you can see how useless a definition is to establishing what is good or useful."

This "reasoning" of yours is a perfect example of how insane one can sound if one is not clear about the definitions of the terms one is using.

Bala said...

"Is there something about the answers that I shouldn't know? What gives?"

No. The only point is that I am not naive enough to answer irrelevant questions and get sidetracked into a stupid discussion. To get an answer from me, first explain why your question is relevant when the issue is whether the State is criminal by definition.

morse79 said...

"Unless you believe that liberty cannot be ensured without some modicum of social order and further believe that a modicum of order cannot be wnsured without the State."

There you go! Now you have moved off absolute definitions to disagreements over what ensures liberty. So now the state, is not BY DEFINITION a tyrant, but in your opinion one because social order can be maintained without a state.

"Yeah!! I guess anarchy means that people just twiddle their thumbs and watch while hordes remain free to violate their property rights. Your implicit depiction of anarchy is the real straw man."

Congratulations, you have just traced the evolution of political entities, or even states, that emerge to satisfy a communal need.

Bala said...

Morse,

Looks like you didn't get 2 points. First, I was stating your position clearly eliminating the ambiguity in your wording. Second, I was being sarcastic. And what makes you think you are the first Statist buffoon to congratulate me for understanding the Statist justification for the existence of the State? It is not without understanding the Statist position that I hold the State to be criminal. So stop patting yourself on the back and realise that you have made a first-class fool of yourself.

Zachriel said...

Bala: the issue is whether the State is criminal by definition.

state, a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory.

Hmm. Don't see the word 'criminal' in the defintion.

morse79 said...

"I was being sarcastic"

Right...

"It is not without understanding the Statist position that I hold the State to be criminal."

You and Roddis are great at this "that's not what I really meant! You just don't understand Austrian premises" game! It seems we can never hold you to what you actually write.


"Statist buffoon"

And I still don't get this attitude that you and MF have and the need you have to hurl insults left and right. I am pretty thick skinned and take a jab here and there, but you are persistent. It makes me think - if your goal is to actually convince me of what you think how could you ever home to do this with that attitude? If, instead, your goal is to stroke your own ego it makes perfect sense.

Bala said...

"You and Roddis are great at this "that's not what I really meant!"

Where did I imply that? Malaria got your brain? I said that I know the position I am criticising (unlike Statists who do not understand Anarchy)

"It seems we can never hold you to what you actually write."

And how did you come to this conclusion from a statement that says "I do know that which I am criticising"? I guess wallowing in the cesspool of Statism helps you see the non-existent.

"if your goal is to actually convince me of what you think"

We have a policy out here. We do not free someone once they've reached a certain age. The mind has difficulty letting to. And calling you a Statist buffoon is defining you. You are a Statist. And you do entertain by making a fool of yourself. That makes you a buffoon. So, you are a Statist buffoon by definition.

Bala said...

"state, a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory. "

Erroneous definition. Once again, you do not understand definitions.

Zachriel said...

Bala: Erroneous definition. Once again, you do not understand definitions.

Words are defined by usage, and a dictionary is generally regarded as an authoritative resource. If you are using a personal definition, then it is incumbent on you to make your meaning clear.

Bala said...

"Words are defined by usage, and a dictionary is generally regarded as an authoritative resource. If you are using a personal definition, then it is incumbent on you to make your meaning clear"

I told you you do not understand definitions. Thanks for proving it.

Bala said...

Hey insane legion,

Here's something that can teach you something about definitions.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/definitions.html

At the very least, it will tell you what definitions mean to me and what I mean by the definition of something.

macroman said...

I understand, you have only one topic to discuss.

macroman said...

Hey insane legion, rather than read Ayn rands views on definitions you could try reading a real philosopher,s views, Karl popper, see "two kinds of definition" from which the following is a quote

Every discipline, as long as it used the aristolean method of definition has remained arrested in a state of empty verbiage and barren scholasticism ....

Popper is in the minority on this one, probably, but our friend bala is a perfect example of the barren scholasticism Popper mentions.

Bala said...

OK, strawman. Please explain how two people can discuss something whose definition is not clear? By bellyfeel?

macroman said...

Karl Popper,s essay is easy to find and will answer your question.

Bala said...

OK, strawman. Assume I'm too dumb to find it out and give me the link.

macroman said...

Sorry having trouble posting links. Google "two kinds of definition popper Ayn rand" it is reprinted on a blog called contrary rand

Bala said...

ARCHN? Why didn't you say so before? It's one of the most comically foolish sites I have ever seen.

macroman said...

You want to read a philosopher or not? You can find Poppers article there, and after reading it, criticise it. Or you could buy Poppers books at a book shop "open society, .." or. A "a pocket popper", which is how I read it, many years ago. It dates from 1945.

Bala said...

Why don't you define the word "philosophy" and tell me what qualifies a person as a philosopher?

Joseph Fetz said...

I am just curious, since Macroman mentioned it, how many people here are 'Randians'? I ask this because I am certainly not a Randian, and I find it somewhat insulting that someone would peg this discussion as such without anyone clearly showing that they are such. Thus far, I have not seen any Randian ideas being bandied about.

Just sayin'.

macroman said...

As far as I know I suspected bala is a fan of Ayn Rrand and asked him what he thought of her. I don't remember characterizing Anyone as being a Randian. I think many contributors are anarchists, but asked only Bala if he was, but he didn't,t want to discuss it. His unalienable right, of course, to not discuss it.

Joseph Fetz said...

I personally don't prefer the term anarchist, I like "anti-statist". The reason being that I love governance and regulation, in fact I insist upon it. The difference is that I wish my archons (aka governance/regulation) to be provided by the market in a system of poly-centric law rather than a system of state monopoly. My archons are chosen by the market in an arena of private property rather than by a tyrannical majority in a system of chaos and violence.

Joseph Fetz said...

To be sure, I am not a supporter of such illusory ideas that include, but are not limited to, "tacit consent" and "social contract". These are merely figments of the imagination and have no grounding in reality-- they're fiction.

macroman said...

Sounds reasonable joseph.

Bala said...

strawman,

My requests for the definition of the concept "philosophy" and for what qualifies a person as a "philosopher" are still awaiting your reply.

macroman said...

Sorry too boring. Read Popper not because he is a philosoher but because he makes a powerful argument, although it has been critiqued quite a bit. I have no interest in whether you call him a philosopher or not. Verbalism and scholasticism and arguing over definitions is proudly time wasting in my opinion, after having read Popper. You will certainly find some things in popper,s article that you agree with and you might think about some other things in a new light.

Bala said...

As Joseph Fetz suggested, you should change your handle to hollowman. shallowman should also do. How interesting it must be to engage in discussion without being clear what one is talking of. It definitely gives infinite scope for participation. You can talk about anything at all and claim that it is part of what you started off discussing.

macroman said...

Bala, you are confused. I am not discussing anything with you yet, certainly not "what is the essence of philosophy".

You asked how can you dispense with your kind of definition and i refered you to why popper but I,m guessing you won't read him. I am a scientist, and agree with popper than in science definitions are mere shorthand, they can be dispensed with if necessary, they tell us nothing about the real world. Poppers example of the difference is this. Your kind of definition is

A puppy is a young dog.

The scientist reads this as, we call a young dog a puppy. And we could call it anything we like, it's just shorthand.

Nothing in vet science depends in the slightest on this definition, we can always say a dog aged between 0 and 2 Years if we need to be more specific. We often introduce definitions in scientific papers, but they always are there for
convenience, and the definition never establishes anything about the physical world.

No vet checks off the essential dog ness of a sick dog brought to them. No vet cares about your definition of a dog before treating it. When they prescribe a medicine they make sure they specify the medicine in a way the chemist can understand.

Popper claims that it is this supreme indifference to definitions and essentialism that accounts for science,s progress, and the lack of it which produces the verbiage so characteristic of amateur Philosophers and some professional ones. I think he is right, but challenge yourself by actually reading his argument. He has thought of your objections and gives his answers.

Now you can always go back thru the above and ask me to define certain words. My politest answer will be get a dictionary, because I think you are kidding.

Zachriel said...

Bala: At the very least, it will tell you what definitions mean to me and what I mean by the definition of something.

'There's glory for you!'

'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

Bala said...

strawman,

Like every other Statist buffoon, you too are showing that you do not understand the difference between concepts and concretes and hence keep switching between them. It doesn't matter what I call a concrete but when I am talking in terms of concepts, definitions are paramount because without clear definitions, you can't be clear what you are talking of. Here's a simple example from science. What is a "metre" (or "meter" as Americans would have it)? What would it mean for science if "metre" were not to be defined and could be changed continuously as users wished to change it?

Bala said...

Hey insane legion,

Good to see that you have been reduced to incoherent babble.

macroman said...

I think we should rename him or her as ballarina, RIna for short. He or she dances around a lot.

macroman said...

Hey, Rina. Is a meter a concept or what,s the other thing? Is there an essence of metreness.

Bala said...

Ha! Ha! Ha! One more Statist buffoon starts to babble incoherently.

Bala said...

"Popper claims that it is this supreme indifference to definitions and essentialism that accounts for science,s progress"

Yeah!!! I guess that's why scientists never bothered to define their units. What's a metre, incidentally?

Bala said...

A dictionary definition is not the last word in the definition of a concept.

macroman said...

I think Popper means that the definition if a meter is arbitrary. He does not say we never use definitions, that woud indeed be silly, and the idea that you could think such a well known philospher coud think so, without reading what he says, doesn,t reflect to well on you. But hey, anyone can make a mistake - it probably sounded like that.

The point (or one point) is that the definition tells us nothing about the physical world, it is not a source of knowledge.

macroman said...

And by the way if anyone needs an example of what Karl Popper means by saying a preoccupation with definitions quickly descends into verbiage and scholasticism or own Bala is the perfect example. Every time he doesn't want to answer something he asks for definitions, and never gives his own definition, except the occasional question begging one, like state = tyranny. He assumes what he wants to prove then claims it is a definition so it can't be argued about. Dancing with angels on the head of a pin.

Bala said...

"And by the way if anyone needs an example of what Karl Popper means by saying a preoccupation with definitions quickly descends into verbiage and scholasticism or own Bala is the perfect example."

Ha! Ha! Ha! So you want to discuss complex concepts without defining what the concepts denote. You want to stay wedded to concretes and refuse to address abstract concepts. Be my guest.

"The point (or one point) is that the definition tells us nothing about the physical world, it is not a source of knowledge."

It is not a source of knowledge but it is the knowledge itself.

Bala said...

"I think Popper means that the definition if a meter is arbitrary."

But a metre, once defined, is not arbitrary. Similarly, a concept, once defined, is not arbitrary. Definitions serve the role of helping us identify an entity as a member of a larger class and to distinguish every member of that class from every other entity that does not belong to that class. They identify the key attributes of the entities defined by that concept that account for or explain the maximum number of other characteristics.

The attributes identified as part of the definition of a concept apply to every entity that is identified as a member of that class. This is an absolutely important part of any discussion of any complex concept, especially abstractions and, worse, abstractions from abstractions. If you do not wish to engage in fruitful discussions by evading necessary definitions, feel free to indulge in your whim. Just leave me out of it.

Bala said...

"I think Popper means that the definition if a meter is arbitrary."

At the same time, this does not also mean that science is even capable of operating with measures of length that are arbitrary and change according to the whims of users. Without clearly defined (though arbitrary) units, there can be no science. I don't know if Popper recognised this point, but it is clear that you haven't.

macroman said...

Yes you have no idea what popper is talking about, but have you read his essay? I actually do know about science, it is my profession, I publish in physics journals, and don't need your lectures on how science works. Knowing the definition of a metre is not a source of new scientific knowledge, believe me on this one. THe point is new knowledge not navel gazing and classifying the creative work of others. Or as Popper once sAid Not just sharpening
your pencils but actuAlly writing something.

Bala said...

Your having published in Physics journals says nothing about your understanding the epistemology of anything at all, leave alone science. My point simply is that definitions are our knowledge. The depth of our knowledge is directly proportional to the depth of our definitions. Those with a poor understanding of the definitions of concepts tend to use them rather poorly (as you have shown many a time)

In particular, your line of attack against definitions - that they do not give us new knowledge about the real world - is as silly as it gets. The importance of definitions will become clear to anyone who uses deductive reasoning as a means of knowing the world. Try deriving all the results Euclid has derived in The Elements with unclear definitions and you will soon realise the folly of your silly approach. In fact, a glance at that book can teach even you the importance of definitions. Give it a shot. You won't lose much. There's a lot you could gain.

macroman said...

I have also published in a journal for the philosophy of science, but in this case I agree it does not make me a philosopher - the paper was more about history of science.

Zachriel said...

Bala: It doesn't matter what I call a concrete but when I am talking in terms of concepts, definitions are paramount because without clear definitions, you can't be clear what you are talking of.

Clear operational definitions are important. That's why when you say "the issue is whether the State is criminal by definition" and we look up the accepted definitions and it doesn't comport with your position, there's a problem. When we ask if you are using a personal definition, and you respond like Humpty Dumpty, well, there you are.

Bala: A dictionary definition is not the last word in the definition of a concept.

Of course not, but it is a starting point. Other than that, you haven't bothered to support your claim.

macroman: He assumes what he wants to prove then claims it is a definition so it can't be argued about. Dancing with angels on the head of a pin.

Yes, that is a fair description.

Bala said...

Hey insane legion,

You still do not understand the concept "definition". No wonder then that you are insane. "accepted" is no yardstick for a sound definition. You are the one playing Humpty Dumpy all the time by refusing to let reason rule your definitions allowing you to have your words mean whatever you want them to every moment. My approach does not permit shifting definitions. Yours does. Hence, you qualify for the label "insane".

Bala said...

Just to understand why "accepted" is not a good standard for definitions, try addressing this simple point. "accepted" always means accepted by someone based on some yardsticks. The soundness of an "accepted" definition stands and falls with the soundness of the yardsticks. Hence , to merely say being "accepted" is the yardstick, you are engaging in circular reasoning. Not surprising for a Statist buffoon.

A definition should help you identify an existent as belonging to the class of entities represented by the label and should help you distinguish an entity that belongs to this class from all other entities. If it doesn't, it is nonsense. The purpose of definitions is epistemological.

Zachriel said...

Bala: Just to understand why "accepted" is not a good standard for definitions, try addressing this simple point.

In normal discourse, the commonly accepted definition is assumed. If you are using a different definition, then it is up to you to provide that definition in order to make your meaning clear.

state, a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory.

Did you have a problem with the accepted definition?

Bala said...

Yes. It says nothing about the State. It says nothing about the relationship the State has to all the other people living in the region "occupied" territory. It does not even tell us that there are people in that territory. It is this as vacuous as vacuous can be. Just what I have become accustomed to from Statist buffoons.

Bala said...

Look at how hilarious you sound when you say "normal discourse" as though what you are doing is normal and what I am doing is not. You buffoon. Get your definitions sound before you try opening your mouth again and making a fool of yourself.

Bala said...

Sorry about the typos. Typing as I am from my new phone, monitoring and correcting for errors is something I am still learning to do.

Bala said...

What you have done is to grab a few randomly chosen characteristics of The State, make a sentence of them and throw it at me as a "definition". This random grab-bag notion is so typical of Statist buffoons. You are really hilarious, Humpty Dumpty.

Bala said...

"In normal discourse, the commonly accepted definition is assumed"

So "normal discourse" does not require sound definitions, does it? Very interesting. Am I glad I am not at the receiving end of your "normal" discourse!!!

Zachriel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zachriel said...

Bala: It says nothing about the State.

Of course it does. It says a state is a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory, the political organization of such a body of people.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/state

Bala: So "normal discourse" does not require sound definitions, does it?

Of course they do, and most people share common definitions, so there is reasonable communication.

You never did provide a definition of state.

Bala said...

I explain the important points that your definition misses and you have the temerity to come back with this idiotic assertion!!! And then you have the audacity to say that I haven't offered a definition when you have neither asked for one nor offered a sound definition yourself. Your buffoonery is really hilarious.

Zachriel said...

Zachriel (to Bala): If you are using a personal definition, then it is incumbent on you to make your meaning clear.

Zachriel (to Bala): When we ask if you are using a personal definition, and you respond like Humpty Dumpty, well, there you are.

Zachriel (to Bala): If you are using a different definition, then it is up to you to provide that definition in order to make your meaning clear.

Bala: And then you have the audacity to say that I haven't offered a definition when you have neither asked for one nor offered a sound definition yourself.

This might be a good time to provide your definition of 'state'.

Bala said...

The State - The machinery, consisting of particular individuals, that wields and enforces the legal monopoly over the legal use of force against other individuals in a geographical area and funds it's operations through compulsory taxation of the individuals in its territory of influence.

Bala said...

Insane legion,

Now that I have shown that your definition is useless and offered my definition, can we move forward? Please explain the grounds, if any, on which you could reject my definition.

Zachriel said...

Bala: The State - The machinery, consisting of particular individuals, that wields and enforces the legal monopoly over the legal use of force against other individuals in a geographical area and funds it's operations through compulsory taxation of the individuals in its territory of influence.

So if you live in a place where you can possess a gun and the right to self-defence, then there is no State?

Bala said...

Hey insane legion,

Before I answer your question, do you accept or reject the definition? If the latter, on what grounds?

Bala said...

"So if you live in a place where you can possess a gun and the right to self-defence, then there is no State?"

No. As usual, you have it all topsy turvy.

Zachriel said...

Bala: As usual, you have it all topsy turvy.

As usual, instead of addressing the objection, you wave your hands.

Bala said...

"As usual, instead of addressing the objection, you wave your hands."

Nonsense. It is not an objection. It is utter nonsense and a topsy turvy way of putting it. Once again, do you accept or reject the definition? If the latter, on what grounds?

Zachriel said...

Bala: Nonsense. It is not an objection.

Of course it was. You provided a definition. We provided a plausible problem with the definition. Instead of addressing that problem, you do your usual, which is to wave your hands.

Zachriel said...

Bala: "Man acts" is not an empirical fact.

We observe human actions. And the way humans act is different than the way other things act, and our understanding of these differences, again, are due to observation.

Bala said...

OK, insane legion. As usual, you are too dense to understand the obvious. Here's why it is topsy turvy. You said

"So if you live in a place where you can possess a gun and the right to self-defence, then there is no State?"

The correct position is

"So if you live in a place where there is no State, then you can possess a gun and the right to self-defence?"

You have the causality completely backward. That's the standard problem with you. Further, even this only identifies one characteristic of a state-less condition. There is no reason this could be an objection to my definition. So, unless you make clear what your objection is, I will have to conclude that you are, as usual, indulging in meaningless babble as a means of diverting attention from the core issue.

Zachriel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bala said...

"We observe human actions"

We observe human MOTIONS. That the motions represent "action" does not come from observation but from our understanding of the concept "man". Reflection tells you which movement is "action" and which is mindless behaviour. For instance, if you observe a person in the motion of sneezing, you do not interpret it as action. If a person engages in any action that you understand as volitional, you call it action. That's why Mises called "Man acts" a synthetic a-priori proposition. I call it axiomatic because it is a fundamental characteristic that distinguishes every entity that you may identify as belonging to the class "man". It is infact tautological because "does act" is an essential attribute of the concept "man".

Bala said...

"There are many regularities in human choice and actions."

Ha! Ha! Ha! Can you say that a particular stimulus will produce a particular response from a particular human being at different points in time? Can you say that it will produce the same response in different human beings at the same or different points in time? Try. You are sure to make a fool of yourself.

Zachriel said...

Bala: We observe human MOTIONS.

So you are using a special definition of "act" to mean a volitional act. Thank you for the clarification.

We can certainly infer volition from observation. Other animals exhibit volition, and it is only by examining the particular organism that we can reach any reasonable conclusions about how they will act.

You can certainly start with certain precepts and attempt to develop a theory of behavior. In any case, *given* "man acts", what can you deduce?

Zachriel said...

Bala: The correct position is ...

We're trying to clarify your definition. Per your definition, if you live in a place where you can possess a gun and the right to self-defence (meaning the government doesn't have a monopoly on force), then there is no State? Is that your claim?

Bala: Can you say that a particular stimulus will produce a particular response from a particular human being at different points in time?

Yes, we can make statistical predictions.

Bala said...

"We're trying to clarify your definition. Per your definition, if you live in a place where you can possess a gun and the right to self-defence (meaning the government doesn't have a monopoly on force), then there is no State? Is that your claim?"

Nonsense. And this is the exact wrong way to understand the definition. Read my definition. I said "legal monopoly over the legal use of force". I did not say "legal monopoly over the use of force". The whole point is the word "legal" before the phrase "use of force". This means that the word "legal" is the adjective to the phrase "use of force". Having a legal monopoly on the legal use of force means that the machinery may alone have the power by Law to decide whether an action is legal or not and is empowered to use force to enforce the law in the event that it finds an action to be illegal. In other words, it means that the machinery will have the last word on what is legal and what is not and that it alone is permitted to use force against what it deems illegal.

A person using a gun to defend himself is not a "legal use of force". It is a "use of force". That the State finds it to be "legal" does not mean that the individual's wielding of the gun was a "legal use of force". Even the legal status of that person's wielding the gun is decided by the State. That is the point of the monopoly.

So, your objection is utter nonsense. Do you have any real objection to my definition.

Bala said...

"You can certainly start with certain precepts and attempt to develop a theory of behavior. In any case, *given* "man acts", what can you deduce?"

Why not read Man, Economy and State and find the answers for yourself? You can even learn real economics in the process!!!

Zachriel said...

Bala: The State - The machinery, consisting of particular individuals, that wields and enforces the legal monopoly over the legal use of force against other individuals in a geographical area and funds it's operations through compulsory taxation of the individuals in its territory of influence.

Bala: Do you have any real objection to my definition.

You might want to consider Max Weber's definition, "a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory."

Can you spot the differences?

Bala said...

"You might want to consider Max Weber's definition, "a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory." "

You are wasting my time. Given that I have shown your objection to be nonsense, do you still have an objection to my definition?

Zachriel said...

Bala: Given that I have shown your objection to be nonsense, do you still have an objection to my definition?

Sorry. It took days just to get your definition. We had asked for clarification, which you provided, along with your usual tirade.

The latest question we raised is legitimate, and we provided a similar definition from a noted scholar. Instead of considering this definition, and how it might differ from your own, you grunted and waved your hands, again.

The primary difference between your definition and Weber's is that you draw a dichotomy between the individuals that comprise the state and those subservient to the state. In a democratic society, the people are sovereign. Under your definition, a democracy is not a state, but that doesn't comport with the usual meaning of the term.

Bala said...

"The primary difference between your definition and Weber's is that you draw a dichotomy between the individuals that comprise the state and those subservient to the state."

That "dichotomy" is a real feature of the State. There are people who wield the monopoly and there are people subject to the monopoly. Are you disputing this?

"In a democratic society, the people are sovereign."

The standard delusion of the Statist buffoon. The State is sovereign and the people may only decide which individuals may hold the monopoly over the legal use of force.

" Under your definition, a democracy is not a state"

The "State" refers to the machinery that wields the monopoly while "democracy" refers to the manner in which those that hold the monopoly over the legal use of force may be identified. It has no bearing on he concept "State". My definition permits States of every kind from democratic to dictatorial. So stop fooling yourself and wasting my time.

Zachriel said...

Bala: That "dichotomy" is a real feature of the State. There are people who wield the monopoly and there are people subject to the monopoly. Are you disputing this?

Yes. In a democratic system, the people are sovereign. You may have heard of a practice called "elections".

Bala: The standard delusion of the Statist buffoon. The State is sovereign and the people may only decide which individuals may hold the monopoly over the legal use of force.

Hence, there is no distinct boundary between the people of the state and the rest of the people as suggested by your definition. (Even in a monarchy, such a distinction is not always clear, as the king often has to rely upon support outside his immediate circle.) Compare yours to Weber's definition.

Bala said...

"Yes. In a democratic system, the people are sovereign. You may have heard of a practice called "elections". "

Thanks for the education, but then elections are a means of identifying the individuals who will constitute government. We are talking of the State. In any case, "sovereignty" refers who has the last word. People do not. Government and the State do. Hence, claiming that people are sovereign is bowdlerising the term "sovereignty".

"Hence, there is no distinct boundary between the people of the state and the rest of the people as suggested by your definition."

The boundary is real but who am I to stop you from deluding yourself?

" Compare yours to Weber's definition."

Weber's definition is a bad one because it fails to account for the relationship between the State and the subjects.

Zachriel said...

Bala: In any case, "sovereignty" refers who has the last word. People do not.

In a democracy, the people have sovereignty, that is "government of the people, by the people, for the people". It's not a perfect form of government, and there certainly is conflict between the apparatus of government and the people, but to claim that the people have no say whatsoever is false.

Bala said...

"In a democracy, the people have sovereignty"

As I said earlier, he who has the last word is the one who has sovereignty. The individuals who constitute the State have the last word. If in spite of this you wish to repeat the above slogan ad nauseum in the hope that repetition of a false statement a 1000 times will make it true, go ahead and make a fool of yourself.

So, now that I have shown this "objection" to be nonsense as well, do you have any further objection to my definition?

Bala said...

"but to claim that the people have no say whatsoever is false."

And to claim that the people have the last word is certainly the most idiotic statement that can be made. Hence, the statement "people are sovereign in a democracy because it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people" can be made only by a propagandist or an unthinking, brainwashed minion of the State. It is conpletely untrue.

Zachriel said...

Bala: As I said earlier, he who has the last word is the one who has sovereignty.

As an example, the U.S. is having national elections this year. They may very well change their leadership.

Bala: Hence, the statement "people are sovereign in a democracy because it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people" can be made only by a propagandist or an unthinking, brainwashed minion of the State.

That would be Abraham Lincoln.

Bala said...

"That would be Abraham Lincoln"

Yup! That confirms what I said.

"As an example, the U.S. is having national elections this year. They may very well change their leadership. "

Once again, this only confirms what I said - that elections only decide which individuals will hold the legal monopoly over the legal use of force.

So, as of now, every objection of your has been shown to be nonsensical. Do you finally accept my definition because you have been unable to show an error in it?

Zachriel said...

Bala: Do you finally accept my definition because you have been unable to show an error in it?

No, because the strict dichotomy entailed in your definition doesn't exist in democratic states as the people have a say concerning the exercise of power. The people are sovereign.

Zachriel: That would be Abraham Lincoln

Bala: Yup! That confirms what I said.

You're funny.

Bala said...

"No, because the strict dichotomy entailed in your definition doesn't exist in democratic states as the people have a say concerning the exercise of power. The people are sovereign. "

So you just want to repeat a false statement a million times till you are convinced it is true. Keep doing it.

"You're funny."

You're worse. You're insane.

Zachriel said...

Leo Tolstoy:

“Once while travelling in the Caucasus I happened to be the guest of a Caucasian chief of the Circassians, who, living far away from civilized life in the mountains, had but a fragmentary and childish comprehension of the world and its history. The fingers of civilization had never reached him nor his tribe, and all life beyond his native valleys was a dark mystery. Being a Mussulman he was naturally opposed to all ideas of progress and education.

“I was received with the usual Oriental hospitality and after our meal was asked by my host to tell him something of my life. Yielding to his request I began to tell him of my profession, of the development of our industries and inventions and of the schools. He listened to everything with indifference, but when I began to tell about the great statesmen and the great generals of the world he seemed at once to become very much interested.

“‘Wait a moment,’ he interrupted, after I had talked a few minutes. ‘I want all my neighbors and my sons to listen to you. I will call them immediately.’

“He soon returned with a score of wild looking riders and asked me politely to continue. It was indeed a solemn moment when those sons of the wilderness sat around me on the floor and gazed at me as if hungering for knowledge. I spoke at first of our Czars and of their victories; then I spoke of the foreign rulers and of some of the greatest military leaders. My talk seemed to impress them deeply. The story of Napoleon was so interesting to them that I had to tell them every detail, as, for instance, how his hands looked, how tall he was, who made his guns and pistols and the color of his horse. It was very difficult to satisfy them and to meet their point of view, but I did my best. When I declared that I had finished my talk, my host, a gray-bearded, tall rider, rose, lifted his hand and said very gravely:

“‘But you have not told us a syllable about the greatest gen­eral and greatest ruler of the world. We want to know some­thing about him. He was a hero. He spoke with a voice of thunder; he laughed like the sunrise and his deeds were strong as the rock and as sweet as the fragrance of roses. The angels appeared to his mother and predicted that the son whom she would con­ceive would become the greatest the stars had ever seen. He was so great that he even forgave the crimes of his greatest enemies and shook brotherly hands with those who had plotted against his life. His name was Lincoln and the country in which he lived is called America, which is so far away that if a youth should journey to reach it he would be an old man when he arrived. Tell us of that man.’

Zachriel said...

Bala: So you just want to repeat a false statement a million times till you are convinced it is true.

No. Actually we pointed to a particular example, the United States of America, where a person of no particular note was elected President (that's the primary executive office), and this year, the electorate will decide whether or not that person shall remain President. It's an imperfect system, but certainly it demonstrates that there is no stark dividing line per your definition.

Another problem with your definition is the term "against", which implies more than is appropriate when the government has the people's consent.

Bala said...

Ha! Ha! Ha! Argument by appeal to authority. Lincoln was a Statist who had no qualms about robbing and killing people. He was the one who introduced the big Statist tool of robbery called the Income Tax in the US, wasn't he? No wonder that all you Statist buffoons admire him.

Zachriel said...

Bala: No wonder that all you Statist buffoons admire him.

Statists like primitive tribes from the Caucasus.

Bala: Argument by appeal to authority.

Actually we pointed to a particular example. The Lincoln example was for our readers so they could see how far afield your views really are.

macroman said...

Can AE predict something about the Keynesian multiplier. If one were told in advance how someone is going to attempt to estimate it, what data they would collect and how they would treat the data to estimate the multiplier, can AE make any prediction in advance(I say in advance but in fact work like that has been going on for some time)

A simple prediction like : the answer will be negative, or positive, or greater than 1 would be a start.

Bala said...

"A simple prediction like : the answer will be negative, or positive, or greater than 1 would be a start."

No. Austrians do much better than that. They say and demonstrate that the entire multiplier thingy is a load of nonsense.

Bala said...

"The Lincoln example was for our readers so they could see how far afield your views really are."

Ha! Ha! Ha! As though the libertarian position on Abe wasn't known before. He was a Statist and an enemy of liberty. What do I care if my views are "far afield"? What makes you think "popularity" is the yardstick of a view? It is not surprising for Statist buffoons to think like that given all the other goop they swallow hook, line and sinker but to expect a libertarian to fall for that nonsense only shows you for the buffoon you are.

macroman said...

Anderson, can you confirm that AE economics can make no empricial prediction about the multiplier. Note I mean, read Romer 's methodology, method of data collection and analysis, and predict before looking at the results that the answer Romer gets will be positive or negative, or a meaningless random number or something else. I would like to hear if from someone with academic training.

macroman said...

Sorry, I mean Valerie Ramey's work. Hear her speak of it on econtalk with Russ Roberts. I think Russ doesn't t entirely like the results she gets but Roberts has enough academic integrity (maybe it's just politeness) to not say "meaningless concept".

macroman said...

Still waiting for an Austrian economist to make a prediction about the value for the multiplier (as operationally defined by Ramey's method of data collection and data reduction). If, for example, the answer is "the result will be a random number" please say so explicitly. Saying "multiplier=meaningless concept" is not an answer but an evasion. I would have thought the Austrian answer would be "it will be negative", but please enlighten me.

Bala said...

" Saying "multiplier=meaningless concept" is not an answer but an evasion."

No. It is not an evasion but the best answer that one can give. It would be no different from the answer to the question "how does red smell?". Your question is only as meaningful as that.