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  #81  
Old 12-13-2011, 05:26 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
I actually think that this divergence is why you see the outsized influence of Paris versus the rest of the country, which has usually been problematic.
Problematic for whom? Not for me, or for most French people.

No one disputes that Britain was the economic powerhouse of Europe throughout the 19th century. It was also by most accounts a pretty awful place (It still is, imo). Why France lagged behind Britain in industrialization is, I suppose, a question that torments some French historians. Not me. I was simply responding to your claim that free trade is the motor of capitalism.
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  #82  
Old 12-13-2011, 05:34 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
I didn't say France was the only nation which practiced protectionism. I'm saying that it was the one which practiced it rather consistently from the beginning of the Industrial Age until now. No other nation has had the same continuity of trade policy than France, and in my view it is the reason France lagged behind the British and the Germans in the 19th century as an economic power. From Bourbons to Revolutionaries to Bonapartists to Bourbons to Revolutionaries to Bonapartists to Republicans to Gaullists.

Nothing particularly controversial about this. I don't even think French historians deny it. Rather, doesn't the argument follow something about "preservation" of lifestyle rather than growth?
Let's see. Here are estimates for 2011 GDP per capita of France, the UK, and Germany:

France: $34,858
Germany: $37,428
UK: $35,645

These numbers aren't all that different, if you ask me. They certainly don't imply dramatically different living standards in France than in its somewhat more wealthy neighbors. If this is what France has gotten from centuries of destructive protectionism, it suggests to me that either you're overstating the scope of the historical policy differences between these countries or you're overstating the destructive effects of protectionism.
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  #83  
Old 12-13-2011, 06:04 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Let's see. Here are estimates for 2011 GDP per capita of France, the UK, and Germany:

France: $34,858
Germany: $37,428
UK: $35,645

These numbers aren't all that different, if you ask me. They certainly don't imply dramatically different living standards in France than in its somewhat more wealthy neighbors. If this is what France has gotten from centuries of destructive protectionism, it suggests to me that either you're overstating the scope of the historical policy differences between these countries or you're overstating the destructive effects of protectionism.

GDP is a fetish anyway, an inadequate measure of welfare and well-being. Comparisons between countries are especially problematic. See Joseph Stiglitz:

http://www.project-syndicate.org/com...itz116/English
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  #84  
Old 12-13-2011, 10:03 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Let's see. Here are estimates for 2011 GDP per capita of France, the UK, and Germany:

France: $34,858
Germany: $37,428
UK: $35,645

These numbers aren't all that different, if you ask me. They certainly don't imply dramatically different living standards in France than in its somewhat more wealthy neighbors. If this is what France has gotten from centuries of destructive protectionism, it suggests to me that either you're overstating the scope of the historical policy differences between these countries or you're overstating the destructive effects of protectionism.
Except that I don't see the purpose of comparing GDP in 2011 when we're discussing systems. The GDP of France is $34,000 per capita, but the GDP of Spain is $30,000 per capita, and the GDP of Italy is $29,000 per capita. "Not that big a difference". It would be crazy for anyone to suggest that the "Italian model" or the Spanish one were functional and interchangeable with the French or British model. Instead, welcome to the deforming influence of the Euro. While France will not be as bad off as the Italians or Spanish in its aftermath, if Florian is old enough he might remember a distinct difference in living standards between 1992, say, and 2011 in France.

The Euro is a gigantic credit bubble. It is popping as we speak.

The GDP of France in 1938 was about $40 billion. The GDP of Germany at the same time was $80 billion. The GDP of Britain was $57 billion. If you're curious, the Spanish were at $9 billion and the Italians were at $23 billion. With variations between Germany and Britain at the lead, that is the usual arrangement of European economic power. France a distant third.
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  #85  
Old 12-13-2011, 10:07 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
Problematic for whom? Not for me, or for most French people.
That's not what I've read. Paris is responsible for most French radicalism.

As for what modern French think, I can't speak to it. Historical Frenchmen had objections to the outsized role of Paris in French politics, though.

Quote:
No one disputes that Britain was the economic powerhouse of Europe throughout the 19th century. It was also by most accounts a pretty awful place (It still is, imo). Why France lagged behind Britain in industrialization is, I suppose, a question that torments some French historians. Not me. I was simply responding to your claim that free trade is the motor of capitalism.
Free trade certainly was the motor of Britain, which you agree was the powerhouse of Europe.
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  #86  
Old 12-13-2011, 11:23 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
Free trade certainly was the motor of Britain, which you agree was the powerhouse of Europe.
It's a shame that people question the beneficial effects of free trade in 2011. Never mind that virtually all economists agree, perhaps with minor caveats, all you have to do is look at the economic conditions of countries that restrict trade.
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  #87  
Old 12-14-2011, 01:40 AM
Baz Baz is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
It's a shame that people question the beneficial effects of free trade in 2011. Never mind that virtually all economists agree, perhaps with minor caveats, all you have to do is look at the economic conditions of countries that restrict trade.
There's always those who benefit and always those who suffer. Has the middle class in the US benefited from the wave of "free trade agreements" that have been signed over the past few decades? I think not. If these agreements had genuine input from the public then perhaps it would be a different story and each sector of society could benefit somehow from "globalization" or the free trade agreements.

Virtually all economists agree...really? Parts of the west (especially the youth) have been devestated by the offshoring of production to China, India, etc.
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  #88  
Old 12-14-2011, 01:42 AM
Baz Baz is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
I think it would be somewhat controversial for an economic historian to say that free trade is the most important factor in the development of capitalism, of "growth," a rather ambiguous concept anyway that is hard to measure before the 19th century. Population, natural resources, investment, education, technological innovation seem to me more important.
Maybe "State Capitalism" is a more apt name for these economies.
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  #89  
Old 12-14-2011, 05:08 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
Except that I don't see the purpose of comparing GDP in 2011 when we're discussing systems. The GDP of France is $34,000 per capita, but the GDP of Spain is $30,000 per capita, and the GDP of Italy is $29,000 per capita. "Not that big a difference". It would be crazy for anyone to suggest that the "Italian model" or the Spanish one were functional and interchangeable with the French or British model. Instead, welcome to the deforming influence of the Euro. While France will not be as bad off as the Italians or Spanish in its aftermath, if Florian is old enough he might remember a distinct difference in living standards between 1992, say, and 2011 in France.

I am old enough to remember and older than you. And I have no idea what you mean by that last sentence. Living standards are as difficult to measure as GDP (you might want to read the piece by Stiglitz). They are also culture-bound and subjective. I have lived in the US, France, Italy, and Britain at various times in my life. As far as I am concerned the standard of living of France is superior to that of the US and Britain, even if the median income of Americans is higher than the median income of the French. Is the standard of living better or worse in 2011 than in 1992? What does that mean?

Quote:
The GDP of France in 1938 was about $40 billion. The GDP of Germany at the same time was $80 billion. The GDP of Britain was $57 billion. If you're curious, the Spanish were at $9 billion and the Italians were at $23 billion. With variations between Germany and Britain at the lead, that is the usual arrangement of European economic power. France a distant third.
So what? In 1938, the GDP of Germany was largely a function of the revved-up German war machine and greater population. The population of Germany in 1938, if you include the annexation of Austria and the Sudentenland, was almost 80 million compared to 40 million French. But even if you leave out Germany's "acquisitions," it still had a population of 60 million.

This thread began as a discussion of the development of capitalism, and the relationship between capitalism and free trade. You, as usual, have digressed and diverted it for some reason known only to yourself to a comparison of GDPs---which is not relevant to your original claim, namely that free trade is the essence of capitalism, unless you can establish that differences in GDPs are caused solely by whether or not a country exercises protectionism (as I pointed out, all countries have used protectionism at various times).* Historians, sociologists, philosophers have been discussing the subject of capitalism and its "causes" for two centuries, its material and "spiritual" foundations. Why don't you make an effort to acquaint yourself with the discussion? It is considerably more interesting than comparisons between the GDPs of different countries.

*Since GDP measures and aggregates all goods and services, it is not even a measure of capitalist productivity, unless you consider teenagers cutting grass, doctors treating patients, policemen arresting criminals, soldiers blowing up ordinance, etc. etc. as examples of capitalist productivity.

Last edited by Florian; 12-14-2011 at 07:23 AM..
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  #90  
Old 12-14-2011, 02:13 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by Baz View Post
Virtually all economists agree...really?
Yes.
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  #91  
Old 12-15-2011, 04:35 AM
Baz Baz is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
Yes.
You lie.
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  #92  
Old 12-15-2011, 08:02 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by Baz View Post
You lie.
Too strongly put. Better: "... are incapable of distinguishing between the voices in your head and that which emanates from the rest of the world."
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  #93  
Old 12-15-2011, 04:56 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by Baz View Post
You lie.
I'm seriously amazed how people on here just casually throw that allegation around. If you bother to find out what economists think, you'd arrive at the same conclusion. So, no. I didn't lie.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
Too strongly put. Better: "... are incapable of distinguishing between the voices in your head and that which emanates from the rest of the world."
Stick to eating donuts.
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  #94  
Old 12-15-2011, 05:15 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
I'm seriously amazed how people on here just casually throw that allegation around. If you bother to find out what economists think, you'd arrive at the same conclusion. So, no. I didn't lie.




Stick to eating donuts.
It's a good strategy - exhibiting a complete lack of wit, rendering yourself an utterly useless interlocutor - if your goal is simply to get people to leave you alone. But, being left alone really isn't your goal, is it?
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  #95  
Old 12-15-2011, 05:41 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
It's a good strategy - exhibiting a complete lack of wit, rendering yourself an utterly useless interlocutor - if your goal is simply to get people to leave you alone. But, being left alone really isn't your goal, is it?
Great comeback. As long as it keeps you from clicking the link that would destroy your insular worldview, who cares right?
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  #96  
Old 12-15-2011, 05:50 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
Great comeback. As long as it keeps you from clicking the link that would destroy your insular worldview, who cares right?
You do your point of view no good when you wrap everything in superlatives; and you'll never get many click-throughs by simply asserting how great the stuff is you're pointing to. Why don't you just give us idiots the Cliffnotes; you know, try to make your case for yourself?
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  #97  
Old 12-15-2011, 07:10 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
You do your point of view no good when you wrap everything in superlatives; and you'll never get many click-throughs by simply asserting how great the stuff is you're pointing to. Why don't you just give us idiots the Cliffnotes; you know, try to make your case for yourself?
My link is to the St. Louis Fed. In case you weren't aware, it's the primary source for Matthew Iglesias' fancy graphs. If that isn't sufficient, then try googling for the following words: economists survey free trade

That will provide you with all the evidence to back my original assertion.

The reason I don't provide more links is because you vampires avoid the truth like sunlight. The more sunlight I provide, the more you avoid it. Given that, it's a fool's errand to try and convince you of anything. Factual truth is insufficient to change people's minds. I provided the evidence; it's up to you to want to discover the truth. The problem is you, and others here, don't want to. I can't make you want to.
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  #98  
Old 12-15-2011, 07:12 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
My link is to the St. Louis Fed. In case you weren't aware, it's the primary source for Matthew Iglesias' fancy graphs. If that isn't sufficient, then try googling for the following words: economists survey free trade

That will provide you with all the evidence to back my original assertion.

The reason I don't provide more links is because you vampires avoid the truth like sunlight. The more sunlight I provide, the more you avoid it. Given that, it's a fool's errand to try and convince you of anything. Factual truth is insufficient to change people's minds. I provided the evidence; it's up to you to want to discover the truth. The problem is you, and others here, don't want to. I can't make you want to.
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  #99  
Old 12-16-2011, 12:08 AM
Dee Sharp Dee Sharp is offline
 
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Default Re: Words Are Wind (Robert Farley & Michael Cohen)

So US squeamishness about Japan's colonial adventures was an emotional response. Rather than put an oil embargo upon them, we should have remained friends, because that would be rational. We didn't do that, which is the sort of crazy thing these guys will admit that countries sometimes do. But for Japan to attack a country with 10 times its steel production would be completely irrational. That sort of thing happens so rarely that we can ignore it. Therefore it never happened.

In economics, many still consider it reasonable to ignore anything not in the models. If the IR field follows that path, the next major war will result in the same excuses we heard after the financial crash: there's nothing we could have done, as no one saw it coming.
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  #100  
Old 12-16-2011, 05:20 AM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Words Are Wind (Robert Farley & Michael Cohen)

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Originally Posted by Dee Sharp View Post
In economics, many still consider it reasonable to ignore anything not in the models.
By "many" I think you're referring to Keynesians.

Quote:
If the IR field follows that path, the next major war will result in the same excuses we heard after the financial crash: there's nothing we could have done, as no one saw it coming.
Black swan events? We have enough trouble doing what we know we're supposed to do.
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  #101  
Old 12-16-2011, 06:55 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
My link is to the St. Louis Fed. In case you weren't aware, it's the primary source for Matthew Iglesias' fancy graphs. If that isn't sufficient, then try googling for the following words: economists survey free trade

That will provide you with all the evidence to back my original assertion.

The reason I don't provide more links is because you vampires avoid the truth like sunlight. The more sunlight I provide, the more you avoid it. Given that, it's a fool's errand to try and convince you of anything. Factual truth is insufficient to change people's minds. I provided the evidence; it's up to you to want to discover the truth. The problem is you, and others here, don't want to. I can't make you want to.
Economists survey free trade....and they praise it! What else is new? As Paul Krugman once famously said: "If there were an Economistís Creed, it would surely contain the affirmations 'I understand the Principle of Comparative Advantage' and 'I advocate Free Trade'."

But creed is one thing; practice is another. The history of capitalism (in the US as in every other country), as opposed to the theory of capitalism, tells a rather different story from the pleasant fictions of economic textbooks. For most of the 19th century, northern American industrialists were in favor of protectionism to shield themselves from foreign competition. It seems to have worked rather well for them...

And now what is the official position of United States on this subject? Judge for yourself:

http://economistsview.typepad.com/ec...liberaliz.html

Last edited by Florian; 12-16-2011 at 07:54 AM..
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  #102  
Old 12-16-2011, 08:58 AM
Baz Baz is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
I'm seriously amazed how people on here just casually throw that allegation around. If you bother to find out what economists think, you'd arrive at the same conclusion. So, no. I didn't lie.
AemJeff was right sugar I shouldn't have called you a liar it was too strong...I apologize. The paper you linked to advocates free trade policies and claims there's a consensus on this within the economic community. But as Florian has said there's a huge difference between free trade in theory and free trade in practise and very often what is called free trade isn't the free trade that economists have a consensus on.

I wasn't talking about the theoretical models the economists use in their research or textbooks but the so called free trade agreements that are put into practise like NAFTA. In my opinion these are heavily if not totally influenced by the financial and corporate lobbies (as we should expect) who benefit from them. And I don't think this is controversial if we look at the effects on the working/middle class in the US.

From all the wealth created in the US from 1983-2004, 42% of it went to the top 1%, 94% went to the top 20%, the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States in this period.
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  #103  
Old 12-16-2011, 10:13 AM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Modern capitalist China?

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Originally Posted by Baz View Post
AemJeff was right sugar I shouldn't have called you a liar it was too strong...I apologize.

The paper you linked to advocates free trade policies and claims there's a consensus on this within the economic community.
Accepted and thank you.

Quote:
But as Florian has said there's a huge difference between free trade in theory and free trade in practise and very often what is called free trade isn't the free trade that economists have a consensus on.
I agree. That's also why I said economists agree, but with some caveats. But even with our currently imperfect free trade agreements, all those economists would still reject the general protectionist sentiment as it exists now in both parties.

Quote:
I wasn't talking about the theoretical models the economists use in their research or textbooks but the so called free trade agreements that are put into practise like NAFTA. In my opinion these are heavily if not totally influenced by the financial and corporate lobbies (as we should expect) who benefit from them. And I don't think this is controversial if we look at the effects on the working/middle class in the US.
Economists would largely disagree with you. NAFTA took place during the Clinton years. Economic boom, balanced budget.

Quote:
From all the wealth created in the US from 1983-2004, 42% of it went to the top 1%, 94% went to the top 20%, the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States in this period.
I agree this is a problem and something I've thought about for quite some time, but don't know what the fix would be. Taxes?
1. Estate tax. The rich use trusts, not wills. The trusts appoint trustees to manage the money so the silver spoons don't need to do anything.
2. Higher marginal tax rate. The rich don't make money from salaries. When Bush tax cuts expire in 2013, it won't even dent the deficit.
3. Higher capital gains tax. This is where Warren Buffett makes his money. I'd support this to an extent, but even so, at a certain point, the money starts to move overseas. Those investment dollars fund industries in other countries.
4. Close tax loopholes. The biggest loophole is the mortgage interest deduction. Every single homeowner in America uses this. It's the biggest loophole there is and I support ending it, but I doubt anyone on this board who owns a home would agree with me. I'd close as many loopholes as possible.
5. Progressive consumption tax. I'd back this, but there's no political support for a VAT.

If you're unhappy that the wealthy have too much, then there's no way to make things more equal unless you take that wealth by force and redistribute it, Hugo Chavez style. If you're unhappy that people don't have jobs, then the consensus is to do NGDP targeting. Bernanke said no.
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  #104  
Old 12-16-2011, 11:03 AM
Dee Sharp Dee Sharp is offline
 
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Default Re: Words Are Wind (Robert Farley & Michael Cohen)

Black swan events? We have enough trouble doing what we know we're supposed to do.[/QUOTE]

Most economists thought the financial crisis was a Black Swan. If structural engineers were as disconnected from reality as economists, they would be terribly confused every time a house of cards collapses.
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