Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pot Calls Kettle An Idiot

Economist Dean Baker praised economist Paul Krugman last Thursday for ridiculing billionaire Jeff Greene, who Baker said richly deserved to be ridiculed for saying that people “need to get used to lower living standards,” which isn't actually precisely what he said.

Once again proving that economists are stupid as a bag of hammers when it comes to anything other than playing with and manipulating numbers which have dollar signs in front of them.

What Greene actually said was, “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence." (Which is hardly a "lower living standard.") He goes on to say that, "We need to reinvent our whole system of life.” (emphasis mine)

He makes a lot more sense than does either Krugman or Baker, both of whom cheerfully endorse an economy which consumes twice as much as it produces and which maintains an annual net trade deficit of staggering proportion as a result. Baker occasionally gives lip service to the evils of the trade deficit, but continues to support consumer consumption as the basis of our economy, which actually makes him even more unmoored from reality than is Krugman.

Greene is simply acknowledging that a population of 350 million people cannot live as lavishly as can one of 200 million, because resources and infrastructure simply do not permit. Baker, Krugman and everybody else in public life have buried their heads in the sand and refused to see this simple fact, assuming that resources, energy in particular, and infrastructure are limitless and can accommodate an endlessly growing society.

It is as plain as the print on the front page of our daily newspaper that such is not the case. Our economy is not working. It has not been working for decades; has been failing repeatedly, failing bigger each time and recovering more slowly and less thoroughly. We can’t fix it by simply doing more of what we have been doing or trying to do it on a bigger scale, and we can’t continue to pretend that what we are doing is working, as economists and politicians want to do. We have to come up with something different.

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