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A is A, it really is

Basic logic is something that Mr Richard Murphy, wonderfully flayed by the indefatigable Tim Worstall, is blissfully unaware of. As Tim points out, Murphy reckons we can use inflation to somehow “wash” out massive debt (by shafting savers and others on a fixed income) while he also vents about the terrible plight of pensioners and the need to protect them.

It might be easier to deal with Richard Murphy in the same way that you might an old, very ill dog. Don’t worry, Richard, there would be no pain.

18 comments to A is A, it really is

  • He is a moron. A leftie who reads the FT is still a leftie though it makes him into some kind of expert for the Guardianistas.

  • James Tyler

    I find reading his blog is entertaining, especially how he deals with any commentors with the temerity to expose his obviously flawed logic and total bias…

    The guy is deliciously deluded….

  • The Objective Historian

    I would not disrespect anyone’s suffering and I only mean this politically, not racially … is this not the scenario that preceded the fall of the Weimar Republic? Uh, no jobs, inflation out of control, enemies at the gates, the president and legislature grabbing wealth and power rather than serving constituents … chaos waiting for a person of seemingly impeccable virtue to dictate a solution.

  • veryretired

    If you don’t recognize the concept of cause and effect, if you actually believe that anything is possible, if you truly think that a desired result can be achieved because that’s the intention of your earnest desire, if you just know something will work out because you feel it’s the right thing to happen, then calling for courses of action which require the cancellation of all relevant laws of economics, human psychology, and anythig else that might get in the way, like gravity, makes perfect sense.

    Rand described this sort of mentality in the character of the young metallurgist, among others.

    (Yes, I know she’s under constant, increasingly snotty, attack lately as her books have come back into popularity, but I refer to her as someone many of us have read, regardless of anyone’s current relationship with her ideas.)

    She described his mental content and processes as a form of fluid plasma, a swirling mix of disconnected assertions and half-formed concepts, desires interchangeable with results, feelings disguised as beliefs, and contradictions piled upon one another with no reference to any logical structure.

    Listen to the nonsense coming out of the recent conference in Toronto, for example. These are the people supposedly in charge of the great part of the human community’s political and economic life.

    There are barely two coherent ideas to rub together and create a spark of hope that we might blunder throught the current political collapse with economic consequences that is clearly threatening to re-create the conditions of the last Great Depression.

    And we might do well to remember how wonderfully that all turned out for the peace and happiness of the human race around the world.

    There have been wistful speculations here and elsewhere about the possibility that a catastrophic collapse of the currrent house of cards might bring about a rebirth of lost freedoms and liberties.

    In fact, historically, desperation leads, not to a shining city on the hill, but a man on a white horse.

    My hunch is there are a few contenders saddling up in the stables even now

    I wonder what the modern version of “Bread and jobs” will turn out to be….

  • Pale horse veryretired, pale horse.

  • Who is Richard Murphy anyway, that Timmy thinks him so worth exposing?

  • Paul Marks


    The conference in Canada could have been even worse – indeed I expected it to be so.

    As yet there is no grand world banking tax – and no formal commitment by all nations to spend themselves into economic collapse.

    Indeed some countries (such as Germany) are even making noises about reducing wild spending.

    I do not believe them – but we shall have to see.

    Other people………………..

    As for logic/reason.

    The left formally reject them.

    Marx rejected logical reasoning in favour of dialectic.

    And the American Pragmatists rejected the idea of objective truth (the foundation on which logical reasoning rests).

    So when we, rightly, say of the left “your positions do not make sense – they violate logic” an educated leftist does not regard that as a problem.

    An “education” is not always a good thing.

  • veryretired

    CCats—I wasn’t making a biblical reference, although I certainly have in the past, but rather an allusion to Napoleon.

    Paul—I agree it could have been worse, they could have listened to our current office holder. Instead, it seems they basically ignored him, just as at Copenhagen.

    There were enough odd things happening in Toronto, see Mark Steyn, that it was somewhat of a relief that nothing too stupid was concluded.

    Nevertheless, the idea that the major political players in the world, and leaders of the nations with the most significant economies in the world, can’t come up with anything better than a bunch of mealy-mouthed dissembling is unfortunate, to say the least.

    Not that I actually expected anything substantive, but it would truly be a pleasant surprise if one of these characters ever said anything that not only described the problems accurately, but also addressed feasible, meaningful solutions.

    For that to happen, of course, they would have to connect with reality in the first place, and then decide to tell the public the truth about what’s going on economically, without all the political filtering and spin.

    Pardon me if I don’t hold my breath.

  • lukas

    Nevertheless, the idea that the major political players in the world, and leaders of the nations with the most significant economies in the world, can’t come up with anything better than a bunch of mealy-mouthed dissembling is unfortunate, to say the least.

    Not that I actually expected anything substantive, but it would truly be a pleasant surprise if one of these characters ever said anything that not only described the problems accurately, but also addressed feasible, meaningful solutions.

    Considering what might have been the result had they all agreed on issues of any substance we should consider ourselves fortunate.

    At this stage an inconclusive outcome is the best we can hope for.

  • Nuke Gray

    Whilst attacking real pensioners is cruel (though good fun!), we libertarians can attack the concept of pensions by pointing to all the new medical breakthroughs that are happening- and their affect on the span of life we will all have. Will it still be feasable to force people to retire at 65, if medicine gives them good, healthy living until 165? With all this stem cell research, this is NOT a fantasy!
    Libertarians should be able to own this debate, hands-down!

  • Laird

    I agree with Lucas. Sometimes (often!) doing nothing is the best course of action. Wait long enough and most problems will sort themselves out, as long as the government doesn’t interefere too much. (Aren’t you Brits famous for “muddling through”? A sound strategy.)

    It was quite refreshing to see the assembled World Leaders essentially ignore Obama yet again. It does give one hope.

  • veryretired

    Oh, I agree that the less this bunch does the better, especially since they invariably reach for the wrong medicine and then overdose on it.

    Years ago there was a great bit on Saturday Night Live (when it was still funny on occasion) in which Steve Martin played a doctor from the middle ages. His treatment for everything is to bleed the sick person, and in this specific case, the patient dies.

    Jane Curtin plays the girl’s mother, and goes into a great rant about how the doctors don’t know what they’re doing. Martin then goes into this speculative, thoughtful monologue about how maybe he’s wrong, and maybe illness is more complicated than vapors and “bad blood”, and maybe he should reconsider what he thinks he knows.

    Then he looks into the camera and gives us a patented Martin, “Naaah”, and starts ordering more bleeding for some poor soul with a smashed leg.

    Every time I hear one of the current regime’s alleged experts, from the Com Org on down, I hear Martin in the background.

    It becomes clearer every day—-they don’t know what they’re doing, but can’t stop pretending that they do.

  • “Who is Richard Murphy anyway, that Timmy thinks him so worth exposing?”

    He’s an advisor to and (sometimes paid) report writer for:

    The TUC, Action Aid, Compass, new economics foundation, the Green Party and a few others.

    There’s a whole swirl of lousy economic and taxation ideas that come out of the man and which sprawl all over the left side of the economic and political debate in the UK.

    However strange, weird, contradictory, flat out wrong at times, I think he is, the man does have influence. Which is why I continually point out how strange, weird, contradictory and flat out wrong he is.

    In the (perhaps vain) hope that that influence can be reduced.

    Just to give you an example, he wrote the TUC’s pre budget submission this year. Which advocated 50% income tax over £100,000. Plus the removal of the NI upper limit. Making marginal tax rates some 75% (50% income, 12 % employees NI and 13% employers….or thereabouts). He then claimed that tax collected would rise.

    When tackled on whether 75% might not take us over the revenue maximising rate (Laffer and all that) his claim was that such high rates would actually increase labour supply. As all those stay at home wives of the highly paid would go out to work to keep up the family post tax income.

    It’s an interesting idea, certainly: that the income effect will overcome the substitution effect at 75% marginal rates (which is what Laffer is all about of course).

    The thing is, while it’s interesting, it’s also entirely wrong. All of the empirical research (and I do mean all) shows that for married women the substitution effect is much more important than the income effect….much more important than it is for men that is.

    So much so that there are (reasonably) serious points made that women should in fact have lower marginal tax rates than men.

    So, the TUC pre budget submission is based upon either ignorance of or blank refusal to admit the empirical reality. High marginal tax rates dissuade married women from entering the labour market, not encourage them.

    Thus all the sums in that report about revenue collection are simply wrong. No, not as a matter of opinion, not according to some different concept of social justice or anything, just wrong.

    My aim is that by continually exposing such basic errors in his “work” I can make fewer people take him seriously. Maybe it will work and maybe it won’t….although I would add that I was very chuffed to see my deconstruction of his report “The Missing Billions” quoted almost word for word (sadly without attribution) in Hansard.

  • James Waterton

    Wow, that Murphy guy is batshit crazily insanely confused. Case in point, comment #17:

    You both persist in thinking the private sector generates wealth and gthe public sector sends it

    You’re wrong

    The public sector can and does generate wealth – the NHS for example and education and roads and law and order and on and on and on

    The private sector can destroy wealth .e.g the banking crisis

    If this is accepted then you conclusions do not follow

    And your claims are untenable and mine obviously right

    So, respectfully, you’re wrong

    It’s difficult to know where to start with someone who thinks this is a convincing argument.

  • Ah, that answers that. The New Economic Foundation huh? That explains a lot.

  • James Waterton

    My smited comment still hasn’t been released from purgatory…

  • Paul Marks

    It is not that difficult to respond to Mr Murphy’s claims.

    Dear Sir.

    The taxpayer financed things you claim “create wealth” (the NHS and so on) do not create wealth – they consume it. This is true BY DEFINTION – see the words “taypayer financed”, for if they really did “create wealth” they would not need to be subsidized by force.

    Also your claim that the banking crises proves that free enterprise (what you call the “private sector”) destroys wealth is false because GOVERNMENT POLICY created the financial crises.

    It was government policy to increase the money supply, and increase it again and again – see that antics of Alan Greenpan, and if you think that Greenspan is a “free market libertarian influenced by Ayn Rand” (the media legend) then you are indeed very much mistaken (one point among many – Rand despised Greenspan, and with good reason).

    For the overall effects of government monetary expansion see “Meltdown” by Thomas Woods.

    Also there is the specific government polices that pushed the credit money into housing (and encouraged these home loans to be turned into securities and traded).

    For this see Thomas Sowell’s “The Housing Boom and Bust”.

    Not just general matters such as the updated Community Reinvestment Act, but also the constant antics of such men as Senator Dodd and Congressman Frank – via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the private companies they dominated via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    By the way – Chris Dodd and Barney Frank are the two men in charge of writing Barack Obama’s Financial Services Reform Bill.

    Again if you think such measures (written by such men) will make matters better (rather than even worse) you are very much mistaken.

    Yours Faithfully.

    Paul Marks.

  • James Waterton

    I agree that it’s not difficult to respond to his claims. I just don’t think it would be worth it. I strongly doubt any amount of sensible logic would penetrate the confused mind of someone who believes a socialised healthcare system – or a public, toll-free road for that matter – “creates wealth”.