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Samizdata quote of the day

Whenever dismal scientists agree so passionately about the impact of a complex, one-off and multi-faceted event, alarm bells deserve to go off

Allister Heath

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36 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Expatnik

    Beware the Hive Mind

  • RRS

    Heath also writes:

    Smaller political units are better managed than larger ones; and competition between these smaller units tends to make countries pursue more fiscally conservative and sensible, pro-growth policies. We’ll eventually find out who’s right.

    Possibly. But equally important is the fact that forms of cooperation ( which may be more fruitful that “competition”) developed between individual economic units, in accord with the particular benefits to each, rather than centrally prescribed forms of interactions as “members” of a larger group for collective objectives (also centrally ordained)tends to provide greater enrichments to offset “policies” established by the political classes.

    That applies to national units as it does to business enterprises.

  • Laird

    The headline of that article should have been “Why Economists are Hopeless”, period. It’s not just about Brexit; it’s about basically everything. They obstinately refuse to accept the empirical evidence all around us that their cherished theories are completely wrong, and that they as a group are no more accurate (or useful) than astrologers. Humility is not among their virtues. Until the Keynesian playbook is acknowledged as the fraud it is, and its tenets utterly discarded, they will continue to be wrong, all the time, about everything. It would be quite amusing were it not for that fact that as a group they wield great power and command (undeserved) respect among the laity, and thus can (and do) cause enormous damage to us all.

  • RRS

    Still, the principal point of breaking away should not be seen in “economic” effects.

    It is the escape from the “designers” who would ordain the social structures and the relationships within it.

    Those who would order a “unity of reason” and objectives for all would, and have, failed as well on the economic issues.

  • John Galt III

    Off Topic

    US Election – very interesting poll by US Daily Wire Survey – there are two “protest” candidates: Libertarian/Leftist Gary Johnson who supports Black Lives Matter and Green/Marxist: Jill Stein who is the Bernie Sanders clone. So we have (3) leftists running against (1) Republican. Proof below:

    31% of all Liberals(that’s Leftists in the US) support either Johnson or Stein. Why is that important? Because Clinton beats Trump among Liberals 5 to 1. The Liberals are fleeing Hillary. They won’t vote for Trump, BUT they sure won’t vote for Hillary.

    6.5% of all Conservative support Johnson or Stein. Why is that important? Because Trump beats Clinton among Conservatives 6 to 1. Basically, Trump is not hurt by the protest candidates at all.

    Bottom Line: Protest candidates are siphoning off a huge amount from the Clinton base and very, very little from Trump.

    Trump +6% in this poll over Clinton.

    https://usdailywire.com/2016/08/18/trump-leads-clinton-by-6/

    If this does not change by November 8th – Trump will crush Clinton.

  • John Galt III

    Clarification: I added Liberals and Moderates together on this as Moderates these days lean left. Both are fleeing Clinton in droves and that is the point I was making. If you are in the UK, go to Ladbrokes and make a few Quid. Ladbrokes has the odds way wrong.

    The protest vote is overwhelmingly anti-Clinton. Put another way, out of 1000 voters who are Moderates or Liberals, Clinton loses 310 of them and Trump 65.

  • Still, the principal point of breaking away should not be seen in “economic” effects.

    Indeed, no one I know who voted LEAVE did so primarily for economic reason either. Not one.

  • Scapegrace

    Indeed, no one I know who voted LEAVE did so primarily for economic reason either. Not one.

    you beat me to it! i can’t recall anyone saying that was their main driver for voting out, it was either “uk laws must be made & unmade in the uk” or “too much immigration”. All the talk about the fact uk taxpayers were net contributors the eu budget was worth saying, but the only people i know who actually voted just on economic grounds were ones who voted remain.

  • Mr Ecks

    Given that both the UK state and the EU are massive economic fuck-ups (along with the rest of the West and Japan and others) following Keynesian tramlines to economic disaster, there was little in it economically. EXCEPT it is and will be easier for the UK to change course on its own (and be pressured to do so by those who are still sane in the nation) than being in a chain gang of 28 morons shotgun-guarded by some of the very worst leftist CM bureaucratic/political scum on this Earth.

  • Regional

    The Democrats are going to have a ‘Night of the Long Knives’ epiphany and their advocates in the MSM are their biggest enemy.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Mr Ecks @ August 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm:

    Given that both the UK state and the EU are massive economic fuck-ups (along with the rest of the West and Japan and others)…

    Hardly. “Massive economic fuck-ups” are Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Cuba – countries where basic necessities are missing for most of the people.

    Yes, one sees some foolish (and even very foolish) economic policies followed, but so far, real disaster has not ensued. (No Hoovervilles, no hunger marchers, no hyperinflation.)

  • Fred the Fourth

    Rich R: Maybe. But one may, for instance, go bankrupt slowly at first, then suddenly. As someone once noted.

  • Fred the Fourth

    I suppose I should say that I live in California, so bankruptcy is on my mind a lot.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    Over thirty years ago, some economists took out warnings in the papers of Britain against the policies of Margaret Thatcher, just before those policies started to work. I sometimes wonder what happened to them- did they lose their jobs? Were they publicly ridiculed? Or were they rewarded for having the ‘right’ opinions, despite the obstinate economy not agreeing with them?

  • PaulM

    Nothing wrong with economists, didn’t they predict nine of the last three recessions?

  • monoi

    @RR, the issue as always is in the not seen.

    How much better we would be if better economic policies were pursued?

    All that we have now shows the natural resilience of the economy despite the best efforts of the “elites” to ruin it.

  • Fraser Orr

    > monoi
    > How much better we would be if better economic policies were pursued?

    I think we would be best if no economic policies were pursued and the government left people the hell alone to trade with each other as they saw fit and to their mutual benefit.

  • RRS

    @Monoi

    Think for a moment. What are “policies.”

    Are they not almost exclusively prescriptions by some for the conduct for others?

    Of course some are personal. But those you refer to are are “public” in their intentions.

  • RRS

    Garbled it:

    read:

    prescriptions by some for the conduct of others.

  • Rob Fisher

    “no one I know who voted LEAVE did so primarily for economic reason”

    My thinking was along the lines of: state is never going to get smaller in the EU, so leaving is a necessary first step. Why do I want the state to get smaller? To get away from suffocating petty bureaucrats and to get fabulously rich thanks to the ensuing double-digit growth.

    Is the former an economic consideration? In the sense that everything is economics, it is. Would I be happy with suffocating petty bureaucrats if it turned out they made everyone rich? Actually, maybe I would, since economic growth boils down to people not dying as much.

    Come to think of it, I’m pretty glad the universe is arranged so that freedom causes prosperity…

  • Gene

    Laird, what are you talking about? “Economists are wrong about everything”? Which economists? I wasn’t aware that they all agreed with one another.

    Really, you could easily find some very respected economists whose beliefs line up quite well with your own.

  • lucklucky

    Bieng Economist usually came with prescriptions, prescriptions that need the violent arm of the State to impose fast so inevitably most of them are Statists. It is like being Journalist, the profession attracts Preachers so inevitably it is dominated by them. Since the only religions today are Politics (and Islamism) inevitably it is once again Statists dominated.

  • Alisa

    Ditto lawyers.

  • Laird

    Gene, context. Obviously I was talking about mainstream, Keynesian economists who dominate the profession (in academia, business and government), not the occasional outliers such as Austrian Economists (or, for that matter, Marxist economists, although I would argue that latter is a contradiction in terms). And within that groups I do indeed mean “everything” material.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Just because something is not called religion does not mean it isn’t one.

  • RRS

    Alisa

    Not to cavil, but why lawyers.

    Aren’t they chiefly “interpreters”?

  • RRS

    Those scholars of economics who are seeking knowledge through perceptions of the connections of bits of information generally adhere to interpreting those bits of information.

    The perceptions of information and of the connections of the bits often err. But those who stick to interpretations can stimulate how others think about the information.

  • lucklucky

    Most Politicians are lawyers. So that they want more laws is logical.

    Lawyers want laws, the more laws, more lawyers, they get more work, making a society putting more resources into laws means they get more resources and power . Laws only exist with the State violence behind. The more the laws the more potential organized violent a State is justified to be.

  • RRS

    LuckyLucky –

    No, most Legislators may be lawyers.

    But “politics” is a much broader form of social activity.

    Like so many, you choose to conflate legislation, regulations, etc. with Law; probably because of their practical effects.

    Still, it is the broad electorate, formed into coalitions of particular interests, that have fomented the proliferation of legislation, regulations, etc.

    And lawyers are employed by those interests to advocate or defend.

  • Jacob

    ““Economists are wrong about everything”

    Not exact.
    A better formulation would be: economists are on both sides of every issue. There is no issue or problem where you will find agreement among all economists. There are no widely accepted and known truths or axioms. On any issue you will find some economists arguing A and others arguing NOT A. So, since A and NOT A cannot both be correct – some economists are always wrong. It’s difficult to tell which is which.

  • Alisa

    RRS: they are interpreters to roughly the same extent that economists are, no? And the extent to which they are legislators, executors and enforcers is far greater than that of economists, I think.

    Also, you are quite correct to yet-again join PM in making the distinction between legislation and Law, but these days there seems to be less and less room left for the latter, in favor of the former – and consequently that is what lawyers are dealing with (and in), for the most part, whether we (or even they) like it or not.

  • RRS

    Alisa

    they [lawyers] are interpreters to roughly the same extent that economists are, no?

    No – IMO. Interpretation is a focus of scholarship in the “study” of economics. It does not seem to be the focus of “Practicing” economists (and those who would “wage influence”)

    The practice of law constantly requires interpreting amongst parties and participants (e.g. with regulators); wording contracts, explaining in courts, etc.

    I wrote:

    Still, it is the broad electorate, formed into coalitions of particular interests, that have fomented the proliferation of legislation, regulations, etc.

    Lawyers interpret for that broader electorate (or public)and its segments.

    You write:

    but these days there seems to be less and less room left for the latter [LAW], in favor of the former [Rules of Policy – legislation, regulations, and their excrescences] – and consequently that is what lawyers are dealing with (and in), for the most part, whether we (or even they) like it or not.

    Quite true; largely (in the U S) because of the popular determinations that our legal system shall serve as a means to ends, rather than the former functions of the 500 years of its precedents. But, that’s what people want and that system creates a particular demand for particular kinds of law practice that has brought forth the current supplies of interpreters.

    This has been a topic over at the Library of Law and Liberty site (part of Liberty Fund.org)from time to time.

  • Alisa

    Point taken, RRS – although who or what exactly is people, is of course a topic for a separate discussion.

  • lucklucky

    I don’t agree RRS. Politics only exist to make Laws. Without laws the politician can’t enforce a particular behavior.

    Today at modern societies current state of development, laws are mostly made to restrict Freedom not to open. It is to enforce only one behavior, to force a unique path in society, going further is to establish totalitarianism in small steps via legislation and end redundancy of distributed and different behavior.

    I conflate because i have good reason to conflate. Lawyers are just not Whores. They are Pimps to. The make the ideology of Politics as the only game in town. That is the reason many of them want to outlaw warfare for example.