August 17, 2018

You don’t see what you don’t see: censorship in the econblogosphere

Comment on Barkley Rosser on ‘Kevin Hassett In Lie Lie Land’

Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference on Aug 23 adapted to context

Barkley Rosser rates the personnel of the current administration: “Pretty much everybody else appointed was some combination of corrupt …, incompetent …, or just plain insane ….

As an economist, though, Barkley Rosser is in NO position to rate any personnel/institution because it is pretty obvious that the representative economist himself is incompetent/ corrupt/insane. The four main approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, and all got profit ― the pivotal concept of the subject matter ― wrong. With the pluralism of provably false theories, economists have not achieved anything of scientific value. They nonetheless hold up the insane claim to be scientists.

One tends to think that economics started as Political Economy and that the economists of old were according to their self-definition more agenda pushers than scientists but that this has changed in the meantime. Yet, this is definitively NOT the case, economists ignore/ violate scientific standards to this day. As incorrigible political agenda pushers, economists apply all tools and tricks of political warfare. And they do keep up with the times.

In the great wave of privatization, censorship, too, has been privatized. This is provably true for economic discussion/debate/dispute. As a starting point for a thorough analysis, in the following, a provisional list of blogs is provided that tend to violate the first rule of “the friendly-hostile cooperation of scientists” that is “… a critical discussion is well-conducted if it is entirely devoted to one aim: to find a flaw in the claim that a certain theory presents a solution to a certain problem.” (Popper)#1

In the econblogosphere, it is not unusual to make critique/refutation disappear or to bury it under a heap of irrelevant/off-topic filibuster and then to go on to recycle one’s garbage. This is not a new phenomenon of the social media age but standard operating procedure since the founding fathers. Morgenstern reminded his colleagues back in 1941: “In economics we should strive to proceed, wherever we can, exactly according to the standards of the other, more advanced, sciences, where it is not possible, once an issue has been decided, to continue to write about it as if nothing had happened.”

It is important to remind oneself that Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism is refuted according to the scientific criteria of material and formal consistency. However, this garbage is undeviatingly recycled. In the social media age, refutation is simply blocked or deleted, and then all goes on “as if nothing had happened”. Most of the private censors have an academic degree, are honorable members of honorable economic societies, have published in peer-reviewed journals, and their blogs reappear regularly in the Top-10, -20, -100 charts.#2, #3, #4, #5, #6

No doubt, everything looks good with economic communication except for the fact that the general public does not see what has been made to vanish into thin air.

Currently, every blog owner is entitled to reject submissions for whatever reason. There is nothing illegal in selecting the content of one’s own blog and in tuning up consent and in tuning down dissent. This is standard operating procedure in the political realm, however, this is an absolute no-go in the scientific realm.

Social communication is composed of information, misinformation, disinformation, story-telling, and deceit. Propaganda, fake news, lies, and censorship are bad in politics but worse in science because, of all human endeavors, science is explicitly committed to truth. Political corruption is bad but scientific corruption is the worst thing of all. An economist who hyperventilates about the incompetence/corruption/insanity of figures like Kevin Hassett has lost his priorities, his compass, the reality of his discipline, and makes a fool of himself.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke


#1 Multiple or one-time blocking/deleting/manipulation/threat of blocking: Economist’s View, Billy blog, Real-World Economics Review blog, Lars P. Syll blog, Uneasy Money, Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, EconoSpeak, The Baseline Scenario, Social Democracy For The 21st Century, bradford-delong, Stumbling and Mumbling, Roger Farmer’s Economic Window, evonomics, Critical Macro Finance, INET, Naked Keynesianism, The Conversation, Information Transfer Economics, Bloomberg View, Dietrich Vollrath, EconBlog101, heteconomist, Fresh Economic Thinking, Noahpinion, Robert Skidelsky, Angry Bear, Renegade Inc, Social Europe, The Everyday Economist, Dani Rodrik’s Weblog, On the Economy Jared Berstein Blog, New Economic Perspectives, Michael Roberts Blog, The Harvard Crimson, Asymptosis, longandvariable, taxresearchuk.
#2 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Lars Syll’s spam folder
#3 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Bill Mitchell’s spam folder
#4 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Real-World Economics Review’s spam folder
#5 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Mark Thoma’s spam folder
#6 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Nick Rowe’s spam folder

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REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Aug 18

What I wrote is this: “As an economist, though, Barkley Rosser is in NO position to rate any personnel/institution because it is pretty obvious that the representative economist himself is incompetent/corrupt/insane. The four main approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, and all got profit ― the pivotal concept of the subject matter ― wrong. With the pluralism of provably false theories, economists have not achieved anything of scientific value. They nonetheless hold up the insane claim to be scientists.” and “An economist who hyperventilates about the incompetence/corruption/ insanity of figures like Kevin Hassett has lost his priorities, his compass, the reality of his discipline, and makes a fool of himself.”

To say an economist is making a fool of himself is NOT an offense but an accurate and well-established characterization: “If a professional group regards itself a having a message to deliver to others than its own members and makes any public claims in that respect, it thereby gives others the right to scrutinize the methods whereby that message was discovered, including the principles, or possibly prejudices, followed in choosing premises. They continue to do so. Cunningham in 1891 remarked that in the choice of premises ‘it is not always easy to tell when a professor of the dismal science is making a joke’ and I suspect that Cunningham meant that if the professor was not joking, then he was making a fool of himself.” (Viner, 1963)

Because the premises of economics ― the concept of profit, in particular, #1 ― are false at least since 1891, holding up the claim that economists are doing science is foolish or worse.


#1 Wikimedia Profit Law Wikimedia AXEC143d

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REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Aug 19

The key to understanding economics is that there are TWO economixes: political and theoretical economics. The main differences are: (i) The objective of political economics is to successfully push an agenda, the objective of theoretical economics is to successfully explain how the actual economy works. (ii) In political economics anything goes; in theoretical economics, the scientific standards of material and formal consistency are observed.

Theoretical economics (= science) had been hijacked from the very beginning by the agenda pushers of political economics. Political economics has produced NOTHING of scientific value in the last 200+ years because the representative economist was fully occupied with agenda pushing.

So, the representative economist can be characterized (using your words referring to the current WH-staff): “Pretty much everybody … was some combination of corrupt …, incompetent …, or just plain insane.”

As it happens, this is an unintended self-characterization of economics which boils down to this neat formula: economics ⇒ political economics ⇒ zero scientific content ⇒ representative economist ⇒ useful political idiot ⇒ incompetent/corrupt/insane.

Needless to emphasize that the representative economist does NOT care about the scientific standards of material and formal consistency but relentlessly spreads his political BS across the econblogosphere.

The corruption of the representative economist consists of claiming to do science while pushing an agenda. Fact is, the four main approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/ formally inconsistent and all got the pivotal economic concept profit wrong.

The axiomatically correct macroeconomic Profit Law reads Qm≡Yd+(I−Sm)+(G−T)+(X−M).#1

As a representative economist, you (i) NEVER refuted the Profit Law, and (ii), you NEVER showed that one of the four main approaches applies it. You just keep parroting the brain-dead ‘accounting-identity’ idiocy#2, #3 and playing your silly political kindergarten games by exposing some random figure as corrupt/incompetent/insane. This is political agenda pushing and has NOTHING at all to do with science.

Science tells us how the economy works and it is common knowledge that the representative economist has not figured it out to this day. It is therefore NOT incivility to call him corrupt/incompetent/insane but an unassailable statement of fact.


#1 Profit Theory in less than 5 minutes
#2 Wikipedia and the promotion of economists’ idiotism (II)
#3 Wikipedia and the promotion of economists’ idiotism (I)

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REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Aug 20

The axiomatically correct macroeconomic Profit Law reads Qm≡Yd+(I−Sm)+(G−T)+(X−M).#1

It has profound consequences, e.g.
• Keynes’ I=S is false,#2
• All I=S/IS-LM models are false,#3
• The MMT balances equation (I−S)+(G−T)+(X−M)=0 is false,#4
• National Accounting is false.#5

The representative economist, who is too stupid for the elementary mathematics of accounting, reiterates the BS-consensus about "accounting identities" on Wikipedia.#6

Your characterization of the WH-staff: “Pretty much everybody … was some combination of corrupt …, incompetent …, or just plain insane.” is a self-description of the economics profession in general and yourself in particular.


#1 Profit Theory in less than 5 minutes
#2 How Keynes got macro wrong and Allais got it right
#3 Mr. Keynes, Prof. Krugman, IS-LM, and the End of Economics as We Know It
#4 MMT, Bill Mitchell, and the lack of basic scientific integrity
#5 The Common Error of Common Sense: An Essential Rectification of the Accounting Approach
#6 Wikipedia and the promotion of economists’ idiotism (II)

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Wikimedia, AXEC136e


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#PointOfProof