July 5, 2019

How to spot economics trolls

Comment on Craig Murray on ‘How To Spot A Twitter Troll’*


Craig Murray summarizes: “It is a matter of simple fact that the British government employs a very large number of people whose full time job is to influence the political narrative on social media. The 77th Brigade of the British Army, the Integrity Initiative, MI5 and MI6 and GCHQ all run major programmes of covert online propaganda. These information warriors operate on twitter, facebook, and in comments sections across the internet. I have long been fascinated by the disconnect by which people, who do know and understand that the security services employ tens of thousands of people and have budgets of billions, nevertheless find it hard to accept that they may come personally into contact with their operations.”

Does this come as a surprise? No: “Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners’ reality. Socrates explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not reality at all, for he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the manufactured reality that is the shadows seen by the prisoners. The inmates of this place do not even desire to leave their prison; for they know no better life.”#1

The situation has not fundamentally changed since the ancient Greeks. Newspapers, radio, TV, and social media only multiply the shadows on the blank wall. The communicative situation is schematically summarized with a graph on Wikimedia.#2

So, we have three elements reality-medium-consciousness. Who controls the medium manufactures reality as it appears in consciousness. The British government is a major player in this business since around WWI and social media add merely a new facet to the communication mix which consisted originally of rumor, horror stories (enemy), hero stories (own), disinformation, and censorship.

While everybody knows since George Orwell that history and actuality are for the greater part literary fiction and medial stagings of scribes/Ministry of Truth/entertainment industry one tends to think that science is non- and anti-hallucinatory.

The task of science is to eliminate all distortions between reality and consciousness. A materially/formally consistent theory is the best mental representation of reality that is humanly possible. Science is binary, i.e. true/false with nothing in between. The ultimate goal of science is the true theory.

This, of course, holds also for economics: “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)

The fact of the matter, though, is this: The major approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism, MMT ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, and all got profit ― the foundational concept of the subject matter ― wrong. Economics is not a coherent body of certain knowledge but a heap of provably false theories.

So, economics has no scientific content but is propaganda in a scientific bluff package. There has been no scientific progress for 200+ years. False theories are not replaced by true theories but simply repeated. Oskar Morgenstern criticized his academic peers 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.”

From this follows that the vast majority of economists were already trolls long before the launch of the econblogosphere. The characteristic of economics is that production and distribution of communicative content have traditionally not so much been under the control of the government as of the Oligarchy. Well-known examples are pivotal institutions like the London School of Economics,#3 the Cowles Commission,#4 or the University of Chicago.#5 This, though, is only the historical tip of the iceberg. The conclusion is not too far-fetched that in the meantime academia and the greater part of economics publication/ communication is orchestrated and sponsored by a handful of activist billionaires. This carries quite naturally over to the econblogosphere.

Since the scientific failures of Adam Smith/Karl Marx, who both did not understand profit and how the monetary economy works, economics has not been science but political agenda pushing. This starts with econ textbooks and ends with the fake Nobel.

Spotting economics trolls is easy, they identify themselves by waving their camp flag (Walrasian, Keynesian, Marxian, Austrian, MMTer, Pluralist), announce to improve/save the world, hype their current bellwether (excellent article, Paul), stubbornly repeat proto-scientific garbage, utter their silly left/center/right opinion, stage their pointless debates, gossip extensively about their private lives, and play their dirty tricks in the background.#6, #7, #8 There is not the slightest idea of scientific truth, i.e. of material/formal consistency, in what they produce. An economist is the epitome of a useful political idiot.

James Buchanan, himself a billionaire-funded economic agenda-pusher, called his colleagues “a bevy of camp-following whores” and more is not to say about the academic and non-academic folks that populate the econblogosphere. It is troll-business as usual.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

* Craig Murray
#1 Wikipedia Allegory of the Cave
#2 Wikimedia AXEC153 Allegory of the Cave
#3 “The London School of Economics was founded in 1895 by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, initially funded by a bequest of £20,000 from the estate of Henry Hunt Hutchinson. Hutchinson, a lawyer and member of the Fabian Society, left the money in trust, to be put ‘towards advancing its [The Fabian Society's] objects in any way they [the trustees] deem advisable.’
“In 1895, he [Sidney Webb] helped to establish the London School of Economics, using a bequest left to the Fabian Society. He was appointed Professor of Public Administration in 1912, a post he held for fifteen years. In 1892, Webb married Beatrice Potter, who shared his interests and beliefs. The money she brought with her enabled him to give up his clerical job and concentrate on his other activities. Sidney and Beatrice Webb founded the New Statesman magazine in 1913.” (Wikipedia)
#4 “Alfred Cowles III … was an American economist, businessman and founder of the Cowles Commission. He graduated from Yale in 1913, where he was a member of Skull and Bones. He was the grandson of Alfred Cowles, Sr., who was a founder of the Chicago Tribune.” (Wikipedia)
#5 “Veblen’s first job was at the University of Chicago, the university bought and paid for by John D. Rockefeller the classic robber baron, …. Rockefeller called the university ‘the best investment’ he ever made, since he intended to use it to advance the interests of his class and suppress opposition.” (Zimmermann)
#6 The economist as storyteller
#7 Economics as storytelling and entertainment for the masses
#8 Economists/MMTers: agenda pushers, distractors, blockers, muters, censors

Related 'MMT and the woes of useful political idiots' and 'The end of political economics (I)' and 'The end of political economics (II)' and 'Are economics professors really that incompetent? Yes!' 'Marshall and the Cambridge School of plain economic gibberish' and 'Oxford economics — still at the proto-scientific level' and 'Economists: Jacks-of-all-trades ― except economics' and 'Mad but true: 200+ years after Adam Smith economists still have no idea what profit is' and 'Economics debate ― just another variant of hardcore wrestling' and 'Economics: The greatest scientific fraud in modern times' and 'Right troll left troll pack your bag and get out of economics'. For details of the big pictures see cross-references Political Economics/Stupidity/Corruption.

Wikimedia AXEC139d


Also to keep an eye on 'Trolls of a feather flock together' see for example Wikipedia for history
or BuzzFeed News for present-day “Science Philanthropy”.