I gazed out the eighth-story window of a humble – bashful, even – apartment at crowds of pedestrians on the street below, feeling drawn to those crowds, blissfully lost in their collective thoughts, basking in a sense of universal oneness and kindness toward everyone and everything. I held a specially designated Study Mug to my chest, nestled just so, withholding for a time the pleasure of that first sip. At last I relented, and gave in to sweet temptation, raising the Mug to my lips.
Saul (real name Jackson Daly) stood amid general hilarity by the lake, drenched in moonlight and old and tawny port, a bottle of which he clutched to his chest. It had been procured earlier that day from the one and only liquor store in the small New South Wales coastal town of Sunshine. A scattering of his brothers and sisters, sprawled on a grassy knoll, partook of wine and herbal cigarettes. They looked at him expectantly, as though he might have something important to say, but he backed away, without comment, and headed toward the road. It traced the edge of the lake and could have led Saul, if he’d wished, all the way to the pier.
Practice exam question. “Capitalism is unstable, but not that unstable.” Explain and discuss this statement with special reference to Harrod’s knife-edge problem and modern developments in growth theory. (Please take this exercise seriously and treat like a real exam. You will be glad you did come finals. R.M.S.)
Student response. Roy Harrod’s famous ‘knife edge’ (though he is said frequently to have denied it being a knife edge) suggested a capitalist susceptibility to extreme instability in which, other than at the ‘warranted’ rate of growth, the economy would either shrink to zero or explode toward hyperinflationary infinity. Because capitalism, though unstable, is clearly not that unstable, economists scrambled to find a reason for the system’s track record of not being that unstable.
Magpie of the blog Magpie’s Asymmetric Warfare reminds us of Keynes’ evaluation of his own general theory:
I believe myself to be writing a book on economic theory which will largely revolutionise … the way the world thinks about economic problems. When my new theory has been duly assimilated and mixed with politics and feelings and passions, I can’t predict what the final upshot will be in its effect on actions and affairs. But there will be a great change, and in particular the Ricardian foundations of Marxism will be knocked away. (Keynes to George Bernard Shaw, Jan 1, 1935, as quoted by Geoffrey Pilling)
While sorting through old papers earlier today – or perhaps it was last week – the final play of a little known writer of considerable critical acclaim surfaced. If memory serves, it had been read while at high school, rather than watched, for reasons that will become apparent. If the recollection is accurate, the work of Morris Minor – there is no connection to the automobile of the same name – was encountered at about the same time as a children’s story involving farm animals.
Within the last century, quite a number of lost ancient religious texts have been found. Sadly, few of these, even when of an eschatological nature, have turned their attention in any detail to the work of economists. Especially lacking has been a consideration of the history of economic thought. Happily, this oversight can now be put partly right. I believe this could be the first finding of its kind ever published in the economics blogosphere. The discovery was certainly fortuitous, hidden as it was behind a dusty edition of Milton Friedman’s A Monetary History of the United States, which had somehow found its way into the lost books section of the local library. If it had not been for my insistence that the library clerk mount a step ladder to remove it from the area, the lost Book of Noah’s Wife might have fallen into the hands of the monetarists.
Critics frequently charge (no link found) that while we on the Left are prolific in identifying reasons things must change, our prowess in actually bringing about change is less impressive. I thought it might be of theoretical interest, or at least of idle curiosity, to reflect on the means of effecting change. Let’s sit ourselves down with a cup of coffee and conduct a thought experiment concerning what might be done. Dare we contemplate something more than change? Something as grandiose as social transformation? Yes, I say. Why not? This could prove to be an intriguing exercise indeed.
Posting on or surfing the internet is dangerous. Readers should be aware that they are closely monitored at all times by CIA plants posing, in some instances, as regular commenters. Financed with off-budget Federal Reserve money printing, they are aided by intelligent bots, developed using secret technology received from the greys. The goal is a new world order under the rulership of Obama, soon to be confirmed Antichrist. Opponents can expect mind control through chemtrails and, if caught, their guns to be seized by foreign troops and deposited in a special closet designated for the purpose in a FEMA concentration camp. With a trio of sixes branded on their hands, they will be compelled to worship the president each Sunday – rain, hail or shine – even when they have better things to do. This is what makes the present post such a risky endeavor.
I’ve been thinking about it. Work, being a core part of life, is meant to be interesting, engaging, and meaningful. Otherwise, why are we wasting our time on this planet? Yet, for many, work is not living up to its name. Work of the good kind is less and less on offer in the jobs being created. I’ve been reflecting on possible reasons why, and decided it’s really simple. The problem is not the jobs. It’s us. Most humans are simply not the kind of people a boss would want to hire.
On the east coast of Australia, about a hundred kilometers south of Sydney – or perhaps four hundred kilometers south, though surely not more than that – you might, if passing through the town of Blue Ocean, spot Barnabas College, a private boarding school for boys. It was certainly one of the more scholarly schools I attended.