Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Financial Times: The Great (Economic) Debate

Today's Financial Times resounded with more than its usual "plop" when it hit my doorstep this morning.  When this happens, AA knows that the issue is freighted with more than the usual amount of weighty insight and ponderous thoughts.

The FT has opened its opinion page to a one week debate between the advocates of austerity and of stimulus which promises at least five more such issues.  And at least that number of resounding thuds.  Luckily, the doorstep at Chez AA is sturdy.

Wrapped comfortably in their blankets of blind dogmatism (perhaps a bit too tightly wrapped), several learned thinkers have already weighed forth.  There have been the usual appeals to authority, though as of yet we have not heard what Master Aristotle's position is.  Prophets of various economic sects have been quoted along with the lesser works of apostles and disciples.   Holy books have been referred to.    Heretical scriptures and false prophets denounced. 

Today the abject failure of one particular sect to learn from history was noted, perhaps more in sadness than bitterness.  They are, it appears, sadly doomed (and perhaps damned) to repeat it.  One bearded chap was called out for holding a particularly laughable view - at least in the opinion of one economic "scientist".

As of yet there have been no remarks on opponents' paternity nor the virtue of their womenfolk, though like the 2006 World Cup there is still plenty of time.

While many important matters have no doubt been settled in this way, such as the number of wills and natures of Christ,  I expect this debate will prove a vain attempt to enlighten those who are manifestly in error.   

And so AA is preparing for the eventual regrettable recourse to force to secure recantations (or perhaps more precisely "refudiations") from the evil,  the ignorant and those of mixed disposition between the two.  And, if necessary to eliminate the various Great and Small Satans from the "science" of economics before they mislead others from the path of righteousness.

At present, AA is busily sharpening a rather sturdy stave for the intellectual battles to come.  What better way to make a point forcefully?

But which side to choose?  As a young undergraduate, I had fancied one day enlisting in Minsky's legions to do battle with the unbelievers.  Recently though I have considered joining the forces of Arthur Laffer.  A man whose profound insight was with Occam-like economy inscribed on the back of a cocktail napkin.  When I consider the venue, a potent motive for enlisting in his research corps.

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