Bonddad to political bloggers: STFU about econ.

(2 PM – promoted by TheMomCat)

Via Ritholtz, I see bonddad is upset about the politicization of economics by econ-illiterate political bloggers.  I presume Ritholtz somewhat approves of this message, even though he adds it’s more about “dishonesty” and “lack of integrity.”  Bonddad posts some questions for both the left and right to answer before they open their stupid yaps again.

I have some questions for bonddad, Ritholtz, and economists more generally, in return:

1. How is it possible to have infinite growth on a finite planet?  Who are the genius economists who have repealed the laws of thermodynamics?

2. On a related note, if you can’t have infinite growth, how long before a debt-based economy implodes or is forced to declare a debt jubilee as debt inevitably outstrips real wealth?  Again, we’re talking about a measurably finite planet.  I’m pegging it at some time around Lehman, but Europe will also do nicely.  (also, what is the notional value on outstanding CDS; and when is a default not a default?)

3. How many species will be extant by 2050?  How much polar ice will be left?

4. Where is the accountability for outright fraud on Wall Street?  For “privatizing gains, while socializing losses?”

5. To what extent did tax cuts for the rich and imperial wars of aggression contribute to our debt?  Globalization?  Free trade agreements?  If the United States in not an empire, then what is it?  If an empire is not a wealth pump aggressively pursuing wealth from the periphery to pump it into centers of power (and how!), then what is it?

6. When did we return to “mark-to-market” accounting?

7. How’s the “experiment” in austerity working out?

8. Are the busses still running in Detroit?  Do they have streetlights?  Jobs?  Is everyone’s tummy full?

That’s just for starters.  

If economics is not “political,” then I don’t know what is.  It seems to me that the financial elites rule the world, much to everyone else’s detriment, as if the centers of power were trying to starve us peripheral devices to death.  That strikes me as very political.

How else could you explain these events?  Is there some fancy, recondite economic theory we’re not familiar with?  I’ll bet there is, and that it’s based on laughably ludicrous assumptions having nothing to do with reality.  I have noticed wide-ranging opinions on what to expect next from so-called economists, from robust growth to a mass die-off.  The outsized standard deviation on that range of so-called expert opinion basically invalidates them all, but when a big time investor like Jeremy Grantham (pdf) starts sounding political alarms about ethically bereft capitalism killing us all, it catches my attention.  Are they catching on?  Are they beginning to see through the fog of their own ideological bullshit and dishonesty?

If the current financial crisis is not a political crisis, then wtf is it?  And why should political bloggers stfu, while leaving all the commentary to the econ geniuses (whose motto appears to be “Fail, fail, fail”)?  Maybe we should all stfu and just occupy something.

While I read pro-econ bloggers like bonddad and Ritholtz, and appreciate the gift of their views, it is not at all clear to me they hold consensus opinions, that they have beheld the hidden image in the autostereogram.  Economics is not a self-contained box, having perfectly understood Newtonian mechanics.  Even a total, dishonest nincompoop like Assrocket can weigh-in, tho’ why does bonddad even read Assrocket, or care in the slightest what Assrocket thinks?  He’s called “Assrocket” for a reason.  

What’s at stake here is far too important to leave up to the economists who can’t seem to get out of their driveways without crashing into a goddamned telephone pole.  It was the abject failure of the financial and political whiZZards that mainstreamed “the doomporn obsession” that bonddad laments.  Remember when we were within hours of a global financial seizure?  Did bullish bonddad or Doomstress Stoneleigh correctly predict the debt crisis?  Is the financial crisis over?  How’s “too big to fail” BoA doin’?  As for Ritholtz’s “dishonesty” charge, there’s plenty of that to go around in economics, filed somewhere under “conflicts of interest” and “ideological bullshit.”  

No, I really don’t think economics is of no political concern and should be left solely to the pros (“shut up while Daddy’s trying to drive”).  I feel almost omniscient saying that much.


  1. Bondad hallucinated green shoots and became enraged when people could not see them and complained about being broke and jobless. His charts make me itch, they are crazy frantic. Most economists operate on theory and have no interest in the economy that ordinary people live in. Free market fundies who miss the point of what an economy is. Krugman seems to agree with you.

    To say the obvious: we’re now in the fourth year of a truly nightmarish economic crisis. I like to think that I was more prepared than most for the possibility that such a thing might happen; developments in Asia in the late 1990s badly shook my faith in the widely accepted proposition that events like those of the 1930s could never happen again. But even pessimists like me, even those who realized that the age of bank runs and liquidity traps was not yet over, failed to realize how bad a crisis was waiting to happen – and how grossly inadequate the policy response would be when it did happen.

    And the inadequacy of policy is something that should bother economists greatly – indeed, it should make them ashamed of their profession, which is certainly how I feel. For times of crisis are when economists are most needed. If they cannot get their advice accepted in the clinch – or, worse yet, if they have no useful advice to offer – the whole enterprise of economic scholarship has failed in its most essential duty.

    And that is, of course, what has just happened.    


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