December 18, 2018

Urgent: Taking politics out of economics

Comment on Barkley Rosser on ‘100 Percent Of US Senate Against MbS’


The status of economics is this: There are political economics and theoretical economics. The main differences are: (i) The goal of political economics is to successfully push an agenda, the goal 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.

Political economics is mere opinion, theoretical economics is knowledge: “In order to tell the politicians and practitioners something about causes and best means, the economist needs the true theory or else he has not much more to offer than educated common sense or his personal opinion.” (Stigum)

Economists do not have the true theory but they have many opinions. The four main approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent and all got the pivotal economic concept of profit wrong.

After 200+ years, the status of economics is this: Economics is a failed/fake science and the vast majority of economists are stupid/corrupt political agenda pushers. Economics is an integral part of the political Circus Maximus. Because economists do not have the true theory they are not entitled to give policy advice.#1

Rather odious examples of soapbox economics are provided by the busy communicators across the political spectrum from Paul Krugman to Brad DeLong to Noah Smith to Simon Wren-Lewis to David Glasner to Mark Thoma to Bill Mitchell to Steve Keen to Barkley Rosser.

Barkley Rosser never understood how the economy works and has swapped economics for foreign policy. His field of interest is now the Middle East in general and Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Sa’ud (MbS), in particular. Barkley Rosser has not enough brain for thinking but still enough for journalism and moralizing. His summary of MbS’ role in the Khashoggi affair is: “He is guilty guilty guuilty” and “I think being prevented from becoming the King of Saudi Arabia will be for him the worst punishment.”

Not one iota of economics or objective analysis left ― what remains is gutter journalism.

There is the political sphere and there is the scientific sphere. The political sphere is about agenda-pushing, and the scientific sphere is about knowledge. In the political sphere, every imbecile is entitled to climb on a soapbox and vomit the content of his dysfunctional brain all over the place. In the scientific sphere, people are supposed to contribute something to the growth of knowledge.#2

The two spheres must be kept apart. The strict separation of the scientific sphere and the political sphere is necessary because politics always and everywhere corrupts science.#3 Schumpeter exactly spotted the ultimate cause of the all too obvious scientific failure of economists: “It is only our inability to divorce research from politics, or our suspicion, all too often justified, that the other fellow cannot analyze with single-minded devotion to truth, which makes problems and party issues out of decisions that do not excite anyone in more fortunate fields of research.”

Economics has never been a field of scientific research but a ridiculous political wrestling show.#4 Yes, economists in general and Barkley Rosser, in particular, are “guilty guilty guuilty” of bad science a.k.a. political economics a.k.a. sitcom blather.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Legitimacy lost
#2 Economists: scientists or political clowns?
#3 The end of political economics
#4 Economics: A pointless left-right wrestling show

Related 'Do first your macroeconomic homework'. For details of the big picture see cross-references Political Economics/Stupidity/Corruption and cross-references Failed/Fake Scientists.

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Dec 20

I do not claim expertise in the family life of the House of Sa’ud but I have seen some Inspector Clouseau movies.

Roughly speaking, the Khashoggi story contains some rather improbable elements. For example

• MbS calls his chief of special operations on the phone and tells him to get rid of Khashoggi. No real-world ruler would do this because he knows that his phone is wiretapped. Instead, he would write his order on a piece of digestible paper that his chief of special operations must eat after reading. After all, the supreme principle of statecraft since Machiavelli is plausible deniability.

• The chief of special operations has learned as rule No 1: only idiots carry out an assassination in an embassy of their own country. Rule No 2: make sure that no CCTV photo of your own surveillance system that shows the target person entering your own embassy is ever published in the media.

• It is pure dilettantism to let your colleagues from the other side take live audio/video recordings of how the target person is cut into pieces.

In view of the utter improbability of the whole story your verdict “He [MbS] is guilty guilty guuilty” seems to be a bit hasty. Which tells everyone that your foreign policy competence is even worse than your economics competence.

Who could have imagined that this would be possible?

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Dec 23

In my post of June 29, 2017, I wrote: “Your true competence has always been insightful comments on the sex life of the House of Sa’ud and other celebrities as demonstrated in … ‘Muhammed Bin Nayef Bin Abdulaziz Al Sa’ud Confined To His Palace’.”#1

On Oct 18, 2018, you demanded: “MbS Must Go”#2 and upon my critique that your comment has nothing to do with economics you answered: “You have been repeatedly lectured on how totally inappropriate your complaints that sometimes people here write specifically about politics or other non-economics issues. We can and do write about what we want to and always have. There is no rule or law that says we cannot, and you declaring that we should not or cannot just mskes you look like the totslly worthless arrogant asshole that you are.”

On Nov 27, 2018, you complained: “Trump More Seriously Kowtows To MbS”#3

On Dec 14, 2018, you jubilated: “100 Percent Of US Senate Against MbS.”#4

Apart from my longstanding methodological reprimand that foreign policy is NOT the subject matter of economists but heavily distracts from the main and still unfinished task to explain how the economy works, I wonder why you are so obsessed with this “worthless and ddisgusting and degraded” MbS who tramples all conventions about the proper treatment of journalists underfoot: “Mr. Khashoggi was dead within minutes, beheaded, dismembered, his fingers severed, and within two hours the killers were gone, according to details from audio recordings described by a senior Turkish official on Wednesday.” (NYT)

This is NOT the stuff for highly sensitive economists. Wouldn’t it be much more rewarding for you and your academic colleagues to do some scientific homework and to figure out what profit is?#5

#1 Economists: scientists or political clowns?
#2 Reverse Alchemy: from scientific gold to political shit
#3 “We have sunk very low”
#4 Urgent: Taking politics out of economics
#5 Do first your macroeconomic homework

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Jan 3

In Zero Hedge I read today: “Khashoggi has wrongly been presented by liberal western media as a sort of hero wanting to liberate his own country from the savagery of its Saudi elite. Conveniently, for leftish journals like the Washington Post, this ticks a number of boxes, not least of all how it portrays Trump’s key ally in the Middle East ― the house of Saud ― as a brutal dictatorship. But you couldn’t find a better example of the personification of a fake news operative, who wasn’t even a journalist, than Jamal Khashoggi. The 59-year-old columnist, we now know, was planning to create an opposition movement that would overthrow the Saudi rulers, the same rulers who paid him handsomely for over 30 years as one of their own ‘journalists’. He was a Muslim Brotherhood acolyte who was on the Qatari payroll, managed by an American lady, who assisted him with his vociferous, if not spiteful, attacks on Mohammad bin Salman. Khashoggi had big plans, with the help of Qatar, to bring down the House of Saud and he wasn’t particularly bothered about abusing the trust of that 30-year friendship, which trusted him and shared information with him.”

Provided that this is not also disinformation, it confirms my long-standing impression that, in addition to your proven economics incompetence#2, you are NOT qualified as a foreign policy analyst/journalist either.

#1 Zero Hedge How The Melting Pot Of Truth And Disinformation Became One
#2 Economists: scientists or political clowns?