April 17, 2019

Economics, MMT, and the capture of science by the political mob

Comment on Bill Mitchell on ‘When the MMT critics jump the shark’*

Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference

Bill Mitchell is well aware of how communication works: “Terminology, semantics matter a lot in framing arguments and educational dissemination.” and “So framing and language matter and one of the things that the core MMT group has been mindful of and intent on ensuring is that these conceptual points are clear in peoples’ minds.”

And then he starts framing and mobbing Thomas Palley (who has indeed delivered a brain-dead critique of MMT.#1):

“I have known him for decades. He continually disappoints. He has become one of those self-styled Post Keynesians who are trying to destroy the credibility of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) for reasons that are not entirely clear although I know things I won’t write here.”

“But, the reality is that his work (what limited academic work that he has published) sits squarely in the Neoclassical IS-LM synthesis tradition, which is not Post Keynesian nor heterodox at all. It is the antithesis of Post Keynesian.”

“So I have never understood how he wants to appear Post Keynesian. Anyway whatever the answer to that little puzzle is, he definitely has a set on MMT and regularly recycles the same sorts of attacks, which, continue to have the same problems. In other words, he does not seem to (or does not want to) learn.”

“He also accuses those who respond of dishonesty ― playing the pure is me card ― although his own work on MMT fails, …”

“At the time, it was a ridiculous claim that suggested he had read very little of our work or was just being a vindictive or both.”

“Has Palley not read my work? The answer is he has, and indeed, in February 2014, he did cite my work and lied about it.”

“He either hasn’t read much and therefore should not be holding himself out as any sort of expert on the matter or he has deliberately avoided referring to those sections of our work that are inconvenient for his vindictiveness, which disqualifies him through a lack of credibility.”

“The selective quoting of literature is, in fact, the exemplar of the way academics construct dishonest scholarship. Not that Palley is working in an academic post (despite trying).”

“Palley either hasn’t read my work or deliberately avoids citing it. That is not the behaviour of a person acting in good faith.”

“That is a dishonest representation. I would forgive a non-economist, not trained in concepts such as opportunity cost, etc if they had made that statement.”

“That might make him feel important. But it certainly doesn’t help him establish the credibility he has so sorely desired over the years but never seems to find.”

“So, Tom, you can do better than the pathetic stuff you are pumping out at present. It doesn’t help your standing at all.”

That sort of argumentation is known as Ad-hominem Fallacy. Genuine scientists avoid motive speculation and folk psychology because they know that it leads away from the point at issue and directly into the bottomless swamp of inconclusive blather. As Schumpeter put it: “Remember: occasionally, it may be an interesting question to ask why a man says what he says; but whatever the answer, it does not tell us anything about whether what he says is true or false.”

The proto-scientific swamp, though, is the natural habitat of political agenda pushers who have no truck whatsoever with true or false. The methodological point to grasp is that there is theoretical economics and political 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. Fact is that theoretical economics (= science) had been hijacked from the very beginning by political economists (= agenda pushers). Political economics has produced NOTHING of scientific value in the last 200+ years.

Economics is NOT a science. Economists are NOT scientists but useful political idiots. MMTers are NO exception. Bill Mitchell, in particular, has disqualified himself in multiple dimensions
• heavy use of ad hominem,
• suppression of serious critique,#2
• redundant refutation of blatant straw-man critique,#3
• continuous deflection from the point at issue, i.e. the inconsistency of MMT theory and the fraudulence of MMT policy.

The real point at issue is that MMT is built upon a provably false sectoral balances equation, i.e. (I−S)+(G−T)+(X−M)=0.#4 The true balances equation reads (I−S)+(G−T)+(X−M)−(Q−Yd)=0. Because all variables are measurable with the precision of two decimal places, the real point at issue can be decided once and for all by mathematical proof and empirical test. However, NO MMTer has ever answered to the proof of material/formal inconsistency of MMT.

Economics is a failed/fake science. Economic debates do not advance science but are nothing more than political brawls.#5 The “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” is a fraud. MMT academics are an integral part of the fraud. Debates between competing schools have no scientific content but are propaganda exercises. The MMTer Bill Mitchell is NOT a scientist but a political agenda pusher. The same holds for the Post Keynesian Thomas Palley. Both have to be expelled from the scientific community.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

* Bill Mitchell When the MMT critics jump the shark
#1 Post-Keynesianism vs MMT: a Zombie debate
#2 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Bill Mitchell’s spam folder
#3 Debunking idiots does not prove that MMT is valid
#4 Yes, economists are really that stupid
#5 Economics: The proto-scientific mob embroiled in just another gang war

Related 'Economics: A science without scientists' and 'Economists: Time to say goodbye' and 'Dear idiots, MMTers are Wall Street’s agenda pushers' and 'How a Swedish professor cares about the Oligarchy’s financial well-being'. For details of the big picture see cross-references Failed/Fake Scientists.

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