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Although Krugman is usually quite good about not allowing his education indoctrination to get in the way of making more or less sensible policy recommendations.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 03:56:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep him in the short run, and he's free to make sensible policy recommendations. Stretch it out to the long run, and his model starts interfering. This is where the absurdity of the "intertemporal government budget constraint" enters in.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 04:04:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fortunately for Krugman's ability to accurately describe the world we live in, "the short run" is likely to keep him preoccupied for much of the rest of his career as a public figure.

The rest of us may not find that fact quite so fortunate, but that's hardly Krugman's fault.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 04:34:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you guys into that MMT/Chartalism stuff?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 02:29:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes and no.

The MMT'ers are right when they talk about the financial side of things. But I find that they sometimes get so caught up in debunking financial BS that they pay too little attention to the needs of the physical economy.

In particular, a few of them argue that the US' foreign balance is of no particular concern since its import costs are all denominated in US$. I disagree with that position, because the US' foreign balance position means that if other people start demanding hard currency for their stuff, they risk cutting off the flow of goods and services on which the American society depends to be in a state of not-revolution. Since I rather like my society to be in a state of not-revolution, and since I assume that this disposition is shared by most well-fed, reasonably affluent people, knowing that my society's continued being in a state of not-revolution depended on the largess of foreign powers with possibly divergent geopolitical interests...

... would not improve the quality of my sleep.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 05:35:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The phrase that Bill Mitchell uses is, "so long as people accept the US dollar, ...", without delving into how long that might be and under what terms.

Which is true as far as it goes, and that is what you want from a theory on an aspect of the economy. After all, the problem with the underlying theory that Krugman uses is that its a closed model independent of money, and so the premise that money is neutral over the long term is built into the underlying logic of the model, entirely immune to falsification by empirical evidence. Grand Theory of Everything economic models have to date ended up being Grand Theory of Nothing In Particular models, running on false equivalences between the terms of the model and the actual phenomena observed in the real world.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 11:21:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't quarrel with his modeling approach. I just think that when he is formulating policy proposals, he should pay a little more attention to possible scenarios for other people beginning to not accept dollars than I usually see in them.

Of course, I realise that he's busy debunking sky-is-gonna-fall scaremongering about the dollar collapsing due to the sovereign deficit - which is entirely the wrong sort of deficit to cause a dollar collapse. So perhaps it is simply that he does not want to open himself to "gotcha" games by quote miners.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 11:46:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... accepting the US dollar. The terms of trade dropping, sure, but a floating exchange rate most commonly melts down when there is substantial debt denominated in foreign currency, and since the US is not in that position, a slide in the exchange rate without a meltdown would ensure that people keep accepting the US$.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 01:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A sufficiently substantial (and, more to the point, sufficiently rapid) deterioration of the terms of trade would be quite painful enough that you would want to avoid it.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 01:57:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How much disruption is caused if the US dollar drops in value, say, by 50% on a trade weighted basis ... and how much disruption is caused if the US$ is not accepted as payment ... are two categorically different questions.

In the latter case, you are talking about 2/3 of US petroleum supply no longer arriving, except on barter terms or by diverting funds from exports that have earned hard currency.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Aug 16th, 2011 at 06:50:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whereas in the former, petroleum prices only go up by something on the order of 100 %.

Which couldn't possibly cause riots.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 17th, 2011 at 04:03:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely. We've had gas prices double several time in the past forty years, and it never caused widespread rioting. Recessions, sure, but not riots.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 17th, 2011 at 07:00:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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