I have given some thought (about two minutes) to what is wrong with the economic theory that gave us the Great Moderation, with its eternal promise of no worldwide flood ever again, only the colors of rainbows. The temptation for theorists, in seeking a way forward, is to throw the baby out with the floodwater, and then the ark at the baby. But perhaps that would be a mistake. Perhaps the ark could be salvaged if a simple genetic modification were made to the baby. It has been customary to suppose that this baby is a rational human being, and moreover that this rational human being is representative of other human beings. Now, in all honesty, who here among us can claim to be represented by this?
I’ve been watching lots of football. My well-behaved, subjective preference is for Football Code X, but that is immaterial, because my gripe is with any football competition involving a Finals System, whether it be Soccer, American Football, either of the Rugby codes, Australian Football, Gaelic football – perhaps even Table Football if I understood its complexities – or any other game that might exist out there in the “real world” supposedly located beyond the perimeter of the CBD.
Today at heteconomist, interest is not so much in the economy, or even economics, but, if anything at all, in the economists themselves. Currently, the economist is king. Not just in the US, UK or Japan, but in most parts of the world. The king of comedy. Right now we are witnessing one of the more audacious practical jokes in modern history, and it is mostly down to economists! Not so much the heterodox economists. They don’t count, really. The kings of comedy are the orthodox economists, and they are having a ball!
Modern Monetary Theory continues to make inroads. The latest example is the successful conference in Rimini on the weekend. Michael Hudson has offered his reflections. But what the newcomer to MMT may not yet appreciate is that there are many shades to MMT. Sure, the work of the academics is pretty much homogenous. But this is not always the case in the blogosphere, where we feel free to mix things up. Out here, we don’t necessarily agree that we are discussing economics, let alone MMT. Some of us are not even willing to concede that we blog. With this in mind, I think it is time we had a Glossary that clarified the many nuances of wider MMT. On the surface we may seem identical, but underneath there are almost differences. Perhaps such a Glossary was not needed in the past, but this is 2012. I am not actually qualified to compose a Glossary, but what’s done is done.
It occurs to me that what I would most like to do right now is put up the most irrelevant post ever! Maybe it will provide a small insight into the world I inhabited prior to starting up a blog about modern monetary theory and other heterodox approaches to economics. It is a world in which numerous teams and many solo players are at loggerheads with the casinos of the world. However, few if any operate in a manner anything like the loose circle of individuals I was involved with for several years. “Advantage players”, so called, invariably pride themselves on their hard-nosed attitude to finding a legal edge in any game they can. Little else matters. It is amoral and apolitical, other than to stay within the law. What counts in advantage play is “getting the money”. Only the most incompetent dreamers could be less effective in this regard than the circle of which I was lucky enough to be a member.
I’ve been doing some reading and it seems that the source of our present economic woes can be narrowed down to one or more of the following explanations:
I’ve been thinking. If we intend to introduce a job guarantee, we first need to address the grave issue of boondoggling. It’s time we got serious about eliminating this terrible social ill. I haven’t bothered to check, but I would imagine that boondoggles are occurring at an incredible rate all round the world, every second of the day, and this is before we’ve even introduced the job guarantee. It’s as if the very thought of such a program has set off an epidemic of boondoggling. It’s time to compile a list of worthless activities that add zero value – sometimes negative value – to my real living standard. This list is neither definitive nor exhaustive. Market signals and the threat of starvation were too weak to induce that kind of effort. But at least it will enable us all to point the finger at those who are contributing absolutely nothing to the aggregate of my personal well being.
I’m not sure about you, but I can’t see this post being any more sensible than the previous one. Heteconomist is not the most disciplined or focused blog at the best of times, but when the whole world seems to have gone mad, I feel more than ever that some kind of relief from the insanity is in order.