Homelessness fell under @NZNationalParty? @PhilTwyford @metiria @cjsbishop

People living rough doubled under Labour! Fell under the National Party led government despite the global financial crisis and the return of neoliberal oppression.


Source: 24 August 2016, Most homeless people working or studying, News, University of Otago, New Zealand, table 4.

Vast right-wing conspiracy alert: economists must be double secret Republicans!


via How Democratic or Republican is your job? This tool tells you. – The Washington Post.

What influence did Milton Friedman have on 1980s and 1990s Australian monetary policy?

The Hayek and Friedman Monday conferences on the ABC in 1976 and 1975 are still ruling the Australian policy roost, if some of the Left over Left in Australia are to be believed. Milton Friedman is said to have mesmerised several countries with a flying visit with his Svengali powers of persuasion.

When working at the next desk to a monetary policy section in the Australian Prime Minister’s Department in the late 1980s, I heard not a word of Friedman’s Svengali influence:

• The market determined interest rates, not the Reserve Bank was the mantra for several years. Joan Robinson would have been proud that her 1975 Monday conference was still holding the reins.

• Monetary policy was targeting the current account. Read Edwards’ biography of Keating and his extracts from very Keynesian Treasury briefings to Keating signed by David Morgan that reminded me of Keynesian macro101.

When as a commentator on a Treasury seminar paper in 1986, Peter Boxhall – fresh from the US and 1970s Chicago educated – suggested using monetary policy to reduce the inflation rate quickly to zero, David Morgan and Chris Higgins almost fell off their chairs. They had never heard of such radical ideas.

In their breathless protestations, neither were sufficiently in-tune with their Keynesian educations to remember the role of sticky wages or even the need for the monetary growth reductions to be gradual and, more importantly, credible as per Milton Freidman and as per Tom Sargent’s end of 4 big and two moderate inflations papers in the early 1980s.

I was far too junior to point to this gap in their analytical memories about the role of sticky wages, and I was having far too much fun watching the intellectual cream of Treasury senior management in full flight. (I read Friedman & Sargent much later).

Apparently, this is how the Mont Pelerin Society rules the roost!?

Solid lines refer to funding and dashed lines refer to mostly ideological connections

HT:  old-rothschild-and-rockefeller-hands-controlled-the-libertarian-communist-dialectic/

Some on the Left believe the @MontPelerinSoc is the ringmaster of a vast neo-liberal conspiracy

bookjacket Cover: The Road from Mont Pèlerin in HARDCOVER

Few had even heard of the Mont Pelerin Society until the late 1990s and the internet age. The ringmaster of the neoliberal conspiracy still has a very ordinary looking webpage.

Lead conspirator Hayek was so little known at his death in 1992 that finding extensive obituaries of him in newspapers is hard. Some may be behind pay walls. Of those that were found, they weren’t very long and forgot to mention Hayek as the leader of a global cabal that rule the waves  :

When Keynesian thought prevailed and his reputation went into eclipse, Mr. Hayek turned to philosophy and psychology, which he first taught at the University of Chicago, where he wrote what many consider to be a second masterpiece, “The Constitution of Liberty “.

His son’s obituaries in 2006 were longer and more fulsome than his father’s mostly on the back of who his now famous father were:

Lawrence Hayek escaped from the formidable shadow of his father, the great economist-philosopher, Professor F. A. Hayek, into high-level medical research within the NHS, only to spend much of his final decade responding to the worldwide interest in the scholar many regard — along with Milton Friedman — as the father of Thatcherism.

Hayek, the Mont Pelerin Society’s and neoliberal conspiracy’s alleged linchpin wasn’t even able to get a job in the University of Chicago economics department. Along with Mises, their salaries were paid by a private foundation. Neither could get paid university appointments in the United States. Hayek was Keynes’s principal critic in the 1930s, and upon Keynes’s death in 1946, the most famous economist in the world at that time.

Despite being a colony of the vast neo-liberal conspiracy, mentioning Milton Friedman’s name in the 1980s at job interviews in Canberra would have been extremely career limiting. Not much better in the early 1990s.

  • Back in the 1980s, the much less radical Milton Friedman was just graduating from being ‘a wild man in the wings’ to just a suspicious character in policy circles.
  • If you name dropped Hayek in the 1980s and 1990s, any sign of name recognition would have indicated that you were been interviewed by educated people.

How times has changed. The reasons are well summarised by Bruce Caldwell:

But how important were [members of the Mont Pèlerin Society] in the emerging global consensus that began in the 1980s in favour of trade liberalization and privatization?

Were not, for example, the dismal performance of Keynesian demand management policies in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere in the 1970s; the heavy-handed actions of the trade unions in Britain during the “Winter of Discontent”; the sclerotic performance of countries like India who had embraced a modified version of the planning model for their own; and, of course, the patent economic and political failures of the East Bloc, far more important in turning the tide, however briefly, towards globalization?

Was not George Stigler (himself a founding member of the Society) right in his comment about economists that “our influence appears to be powerful only when we support policies ripe for adoption” (Stigler 1987, p. 11)?

see Daniel Stedman Jones (2012). Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics and P. Mirowski and D. Plehwe, eds. (2009), The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective for the handbook on the cabal leading the vast right-wing conspiracy. For example,

The Road from Mont Pèlerin presents the key debates and conflicts that occurred among neoliberal scholars and their political and corporate allies regarding trade unions, development economics, antitrust policies, and the influence of philanthropy. The book captures the depth and complexity of the neoliberal “thought collective” while examining the numerous ways that neoliberal discourse has come to shape the global economy.

Masters of the Universe traces the ascendancy of neoliberalism from the academy of interwar Europe to supremacy under Reagan and Thatcher and in the decades since. Daniel Stedman Jones argues that there was nothing inevitable about the victory of free-market politics. Far from being the story of the simple triumph of right-wing ideas, the neoliberal breakthrough was contingent on the economic crises of the 1970s and the acceptance of the need for new policies by the political left.

The vast right wing conspiracy is done so on the cheap when you follow the money

Much is made of how the Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute are funded by the Koch Brothers to act as their propagandists. Greenpeace and Right Wing was good enough to follow the money:

  • American Enterprise Institute: $350,000 in total between 2004 and 2011 as compared to an annual income of $25 million.
  • Cato Institute $ 5.35 million over 14 years. Their last  annual donation in excess of $250,000 was in 2001. Its annual income is $12 million.

Chickenfeed – on an annual basis, this financial largess would barely pay for a cheap research assistant in a small office out of the Cato’s 90 staff members and 60-adjunct scholars. An average congressman raises more than this in political donations each year. Romney and Obama each spent $1 billion on their presidential campaigns.

Karl Popper argued that who made an argument is of little value. What matters is critical discussion of what they said. Knowledge grows through critical discussion.

Peter Drucker made similar points about people with great strengths also come with great flaws. (Biography sales would be 1/10th of its size if the great were not flawed).

Drucker championed a business rule of never making a decision until there is disagreement; only then do you know the boundary of what you plan to do. Unless one has considered alternatives, one has a closed mind.  This above all, explains why effective decision-makers deliberately disregard the second major command of the textbooks on decision-making and create dissension and disagreement, rather than consensus.

Decisions of the kind the executive has to make are not made well by acclamation. They are made well only if based on the clash of conflicting views, the dialogue between different points of view, the choice between different judgments. The first rule in decision-making is that one does not make a decision unless there is disagreement

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.  - John Stuart Mill

Paul Krugman, Tom Sargent and Me

Paul Krugman seems to be implying that I am the double-secret ring-leader of a vast right-wing conspiracy.


Today in his blog at the New York Times, Krugman said:

…why the sudden attention to Sargent’s 2007 speech?

I think it’s fairly obvious: it’s essentially stealth anti-Keynesian propaganda, cloaked in the form of a widely respected and liked economist uttering what sound like eternal truths.

But they aren’t, and the real goal here is to undermine the case for fighting unemployment in the here and now. There are virtues to that 2007 talk, but right now is no time for 2007 Sargent.

In my reply at his blog, I said that I originally posted the link to Sargent’s speech to make a point that most economic analysis is free of politics because the average economist is a moderate Democrat. Tom Sargent is a life-long Democrat.

To add to my reply at Krugman’s blog, Krugman said earlier in his blog that:

It’s not so much that what Sargent said is wrong, although some of his principles are by no means universally agreed upon, even in normal times.

What’s so striking about Sargent’s points is that it’s hard to think of a worse time to cite them.

And the people citing that old speech clearly have ulterior motives.

I live in New Zealand. Not everything is about U.S. domestic politics.

I rather prophetical said on Marginal Revolution on the 20th that “Too many on social media such as Reddit responded by smearing Sargent as a right-winger and neo-liberal. He is a life-long Democrat.”

My conspiratorial minions span the globe to include initially Newmark’s Door and then Marginal Revolution,  Stephen WilliamsonVox.com, the American Enterprise Institute, Catallaxyfiles and the Business Insider to name but a few. There are other unindicted co-conspirators.

Karl Popper argued that conspiracy theories overlook the pervasive unintended consequences of political and social action; conspiracy theorists assume that all consequences must have been intended by someone.

Krugman agrees that Sargent’s 12-points are not that controversial in themselves. Krugman then plays the man rather than the ball:

“How to discredit an unwelcome report:

… Stage Four: Discredit the person who produced the report. Explain (off the record) that
1. He is harbouring a grudge against the Department.
2. He is a publicity seeker.
3. He is trying to get a Knighthood/Chair/Vice Chancellorship.
4. He used to be a consultant to a multinational.
5. He wants to be a consultant to a multinational.

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