New Blogger

— The new edition of Blogger looks great. They now have a comment system!, which I am implementing. (Try it out! Needs some formatting…) The puzzle is how to keep my old comments in the archives. For now, I'll just have them both. The isolated number, like this [n], is the link to the old comments. The link that says comments is the new Blogger system. If anyone knows of a permanent fix, please let me know.

  • Vermont Trader

    There is real strategic value in having a world class car industry that is strong technologically and financially.

    But the problem isn’t the companies themselves, it is the capital structure of the companies and their heavy reliance on financial products.

    If the companies are restructured through bankruptcy they will emerge stronger.

    But the current shareholders will be wiped out and the debt holders will take massive losses.

    This is a bailout of the share and debt holders, not the companies.

    So we limp along with undercapitalized and stressed businesses while dolling out huge sums of money to keep them on life support.

  • jim mc garry

    fuck the gang of theives on wall st . let the economy go into the shitter. the haves will find out what it is like to be a have not!

  • Did you know many of the fat cats who circulate from board to board and from job to job throughout the financial industry are also members of the Bilderberg Group and or the Trilateral Commission, founded respectively in 1954, and in 1973, in New York City? When someone takes your money and steals your car, it makes an impression. When they belong to such a shadowy political clique, it leaves an indelible impression. Many elected officials even belong to these cabals, hence the secrecy. When Bill Clinton eased banking restrictions, he dished out $8-billion dollars for “community reinvestment loans.”

    When the financing schemes fell through, as is their wont whenever 30-million Mexican nationals buy inflated properties and default, it left banks in the lurch. Hillary Clinton counted on the Politically Correct loan giveaways to buy votes. Interestingly enough, had Hillary secured the nomination; she, instead of Barack Obama would preside over the bailout. So, where’s that $8-bilion plus dollars? Where’s Hillary? Why the caveat in Section 8 of the bailout: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency?”

    The Global Initiative people (code speak for car thieves) took my money; they did in fact steal my car. If you or I did half the things these people have done, we’d be serving consecutive life sentences. Wise up, get angry, and let the bubble burst. Besides, a bailout guarantees nothing. We’re going to be just fine. You have my word on it. “You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.” –Andrew Jackson, to fraudulent financiers, 1832. Gentlemen, I want my money back: http://theseedsof9-11.com

  • Hope we not fall to far

    • I think we already did …

  • This is a bailout of the share and debt holders, not the companies.

  • The shareholders+debt holders ARE the ‘company’, not the union workers, nor the factories; tho it’s not so clear about pension debt and health expense debt.

    DC should be debating the terms of a pre-packaged Chapter 11 post-bankruptcy plan to help create a viable car making industry. With good, 90% of average wages (instead of 200%). That’s right, less than average wage.
    Far fewer office workers (there will be plenty of not so old computers to replace them) and lower paid top execs — all of whom share in profit sharing.

  • I guess that the problem of recession is really getting on the nerves of many people around and they would surely have a tough time getting themselves out of what I would like to call a self-imposed mess.

  • They still got the bailout they want. But all was for paying their dept last 2008. Definitely Obama needs to know the solution on how to solve this recession.

  • Since they are all complex, “Every historical experience is open to various interpretations and is in fact interpreted in different ways…History can neither prove nor disprove any general statement.” Ludwig von Mises

    Since there are anecdotes on both sides of every argument, but logic on only one, economics is not an anecdotal but a logical science. There is no economics without logical explanations of economic phenomena. Anecdotes without logic are superstition, and the superstitions of economists no better than those of ballplayers, not changing their socks so long as they keep getting hits, except that in the one case we call it superstition and in the other empirical or technical economics. DG Lesvic

    Do you have any economic logic behind your assertion, or is it mere superstition?

  • Since they are all complex, “Every historical experience is open to various interpretations and is in fact interpreted in different ways…History can neither prove nor disprove any general statement.” Ludwig von Mises

    Since there are anecdotes on both sides of every argument, but logic on only one, economics is not an anecdotal but a logical science. There is no economics without logical explanations of economic phenomena. Anecdotes without logic are superstition, and the superstitions of economists no better than those of ballplayers, not changing their socks so long as they keep getting hits, except that in the one case we call it superstition and in the other empirical or technical economics. DG Lesvic

    Do you have any economic logic behind your assertion, or is it mere superstition?

    • Mises is flat wrong. History proves and disproves lots of general statements. Indeed, that’s generally how general statements are confirmed or disconfirmed. Also, there is no such thing as an priori science, much less an a priori social science. I suspect we’ll find it hard to move past this disagreement.

  • By the way, I’m not interested in e-mailing Chait, but wish to confront him on a public forum.

  • Permit me to answer the question for you.

    Redistribution could reduce inequality only in the absence of a market. So long as there was a market, redistributive interference with it, like any other, could only be counterproductive, bringing about the exact opposite result of what was intended, in this case, not reducing but increasing inequality, in Denmark or anywhere else.

    Economic logic tells me that. What, if anything, does it tell you?

    • Markets aren’t logical constructs. They’re complexly constituted, historically contingent systems of empirical institutions. Anyway, since there has been a fair amount of non-counterproductive redistribution, I guess you’re logically bound to deny that the institutions in those places were called “markets”. OK. Why do you think stipulative definitions are interesting?

    • simonkinahan

      Then explain the actual experience of Denmark, which has extremely low inequality, and massive redistribution, with you economic logic, please?

  • Mr Wilkinson,

    I’m a bit confused. There were two responses from you in my e-mail box, but I only see one here. What happened to the other one? I recall you’re saying in that one that Mises was wrong. And since your only rebuttal to me was a denial of logic itself, my task is not merely to defend my own logic but logic per se.

    Here, briefly, is how Mises did so, as I related it, in The Chicago School of Supersition.

    While, to Milton Friedman, the test of a theory is how it works out in practice, to the man he read out of the science, Ludwig von Mises, such tests can never be conclusive, for there is always the question of whether concurring events are cause and effect or coincidence.

    “The question whether there is any connection between them can only be answered by” a theory “established beforehand on the ground of aprioristic reasoning…If there were no economic theory…economic facts would be nothing more than…unconnected data open to any arbitrary interpretation.”

    Theories of human action “are, like…logic and mathematics, a priori…not subject to verification or falsification on the ground of experience and facts….both logically and temporally antecedent to any comprehension of historical facts…a necessary requirement of any intellectual grasp of historical events. Without them we should not be able to see in the course of events anything else than kaleidoscopic change and chaotic muddle.”

    “There is no means of studying the complex phenomena of action other than first to abstract from change altogether, then to introduce an isolated factor provoking change, and ultimately to analyze its effects under the assumption that other things remain equal.”

    “Action and reason are congeneric and homogenous…two different aspects of the same thing. That reason has the power to make clear through pure ratiocination the essential features of action is a consequence of the fact that action is an offshoot of reason…Logical thinking and real life are not two separate orbits. Logic is for man the only means to master the problems of reality. What is contradictory in theory is no less contradictory in reality.”

    And, as before, since they are all complex, “Every historical experience is open to various interpretations and is in fact interpreted in different ways…History can neither prove nor disprove any general statement.”

    And, answering Simon, as well as yourself:

    When history flies in the face of logic, it isn’t logic that is wrong. When you don’t have logic on your side, you can always conjure up statistics. But if your “history” was right, and my logic wrong, you ought to be able to tell us why. I’m still waiting for you to do so. Instead, you expect me to tell you why your “history” was wrong.

    But while your “history” must be taken on faith, logic is before our very eyes.

    Again, I ask, have you anything besides supersition and faith healing?

  • It looks as though there were some delayed postings, and everything got out of sequence here. So, readers, please make allowances for that.

    But I can tell you right now how this discussion will wind up. Since Mr Wilkinson will leave reason, science, and economics to me, I will be glad to leave superstition and faith healing to him.

    • You are actively annoying people and losing sympathy for you position. If I write a post about fundamental economic or scientific methodology, feel free to pipe up. If I write a post about anything else, feel free to say something useful about the actual topic of conversation. Dragging every topic back to fundamental methodology is neither useful nor welcome. I’m aware of your objections to doing social science the empirical way. There is no need to bring it up again.

      • Greg N.

        Yeah, but have you read through his book??

  • And what that means is that, whatever the conclusions of superstition and blind faith, the scientific conclusion is that taking from the rich to give to the poor can not reduce but only increase income inequality and “social injustice.”

    • griffin13

      dg-

      You’ve made this assertion several times, but I don’t remember the logic behind it. I assume you’re thinking something along these lines:

      Redistribution increases marginal tax rates, which creates a disincentive to climb to new tax brackets, thereby perpetuating and exacerbating inequality.

      You can only make this assertion if you know that the disincentive to work is very large. That’s a synthetic proposition. You can’t know it a priori.

  • But don’t Obama that. It must be our secret.

  • nickbacklash

    Goddamit, DG, you are really turning me off Austrian economics here.

  • slocum

    Goods that can be mass manufactured are by definition non-positional. But the timing of the consumption of newly introduced goods can be positional. Eager early adopters subsidize the rest of us.

    I don’t see that. Just as early adopters subsidize everybody else, so to do people who continue to buy the top-of-the-line, ‘gold plated’ versions (with much fatter profit margins) even after the early adoption period.

    Or, if you’re going to take the stance that positional goods are only those that have a limited supply and status ranking (e.g. Manhattan real-estate, slots in the Harvard freshman class), then early adoption of technology doesn’t qualify either (there was no effective limit on how many iPods Apple could produce during the early days when they cost ~$500, just a limit on how many people were willing and able to spend that kind of money).

  • Mr Wilkinson,

    After having said, “there is no such thing as an priori science, much less an a priori social science,” how could you condemn me for discussing methodology?

  • griff,

    I appreciate your challenge, and would like to respond to it, but could only do so by means of reason, science, and economics, and it is not certain that that is welcome here

    • griffin13

      I’m sure the discussion would be welcome here, as long as you don’t do it in a tone deaf manner. We’re libertarians, after all. First Amendment for life!

      I appreciate many aspects of Austrian thought. In particular, I think the concept of the time structure of capital, aka the heterogeneity of capital (Mario Rizzo over at ThinkMarkets has written about this) is a devastating critique of the Keynesian IS-LM model–upon which the idea of fiscal stimulus is based.

      That said, to reach a valid, true conclusion from logic alone requires true assumptions (I think; it’s been a while since I took logic). If you cannot know your assumptions a priori, then you require empirical evidence to support them. It is as simple as that. Otherwise, you merely end up arguing which assumptions are true and the valid arguments are meaningless. Which is the cause of the shoutfest here in the comments.

  • And Mr Wilkinson, one other thought. I know that you can “disprove” my theory by your empirical method. I knew that before you attempted it. I have known since my earliest days in economics, before you were born, that the empirical method could be used to “disprove” anything in economics. So that was no great accomplishment. The real test is disproving the theory on its own terms.

    Can you do that?

  • May a very old man offer a little fatherly or even grandfatherly advice to you youngsters,

    It’s not such a terrible thing to learn something once in a while.

  • There was a message from one you of in my e-mail, but I don’t see it here.

    What happened to it?

    And, by the way, it was not to heap praise upon me, so don’t worry.

  • It looks like this discussion is over. So, my final word. Thanks for the freedom of speech here. I haven’t found it everywhere.