Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. The Trump Stock Market Trap May Be Triggered - Barry_M_Ferguson
2.Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - Richard_Mills
3.US China War - Thucydides Trap and gold - Richard_Mills
4.Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - Anika_Walayat
6.US Dollar Breakdown Begins, Gold Price to Bolt Higher - Jim_Willie_CB
7.INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - N_Walayat
9.US Prepares for Currency War with China - Richard_Mills
10.Gold Price Epochal Breakout Will Not Be Negated by a Correction - Clive Maund
Last 7 days
Trading Natural Gas As The Season Changes - 16th Sep 19
Cameco Crash, Uranium Sector Won’t Catch a break - 16th Sep 19
These Indicators Point to an Early 2020 Economic Downturn - 16th Sep 19
Gold When Global Insanity Prevails - 16th Sep 19
Stock Market Looking Toppy - 16th Sep 19
Is the Stocks Bull Market Nearing an End? - 16th Sep 19
US Stock Market Indexes Continue to Rally Within A Defined Range - 16th Sep 19
What If Gold Is NOT In A New Bull Market? - 16th Sep 19
A History Lesson For Pundits Who Don’t Believe Stocks Are Overvalued - 16th Sep 19
The Disconnect Between Millennials and Real Estate - 16th Sep 19
Tech Giants Will Crash in the Next Stock Market Downturn - 15th Sep 19
Will Draghi’s Swan Song Revive the Eurozone? And Gold? - 15th Sep 19
The Race to Depreciate Fiat Currencies Is Accelerating - 15th Sep 19
Can Crypto casino beat Hybrid casino - 15th Sep 19
British Pound GBP vs Brexit Chaos Timeline - 14th Sep 19
Recession 2020 Forecast : The New Risks & New Profits Of A Grand Experiment - 14th Sep 19
War Gaming the US-China Trade War - 14th Sep 19
Buying a Budgie, Parakeet for the First Time from a Pet Shop - Jollyes UK - 14th Sep 19
Crude Oil Price Setting Up For A Downside Price Rotation - 13th Sep 19
A “Looming” Recession Is a Gold Golden Opportunity - 13th Sep 19
Is 2019 Similar to 2007? What Does It Mean For Gold? - 13th Sep 19
How Did the Philippines Establish Itself as a World Leader in Call Centre Outsourcing? - 13th Sep 19
UK General Election Forecast 2019 - Betting Market Odds - 13th Sep 19
Energy Sector Reaches Key Low Point – Start Looking For The Next Move - 13th Sep 19
Weakening Shale Productivity "VERY Bullish" For Oil Prices - 13th Sep 19
Stock Market Dow to 38,000 by 2022 - 13th Sep 19 - readtheticker
Gold under NIRP? | Negative Interest Rates vs Bullion - 12th Sep 19
Land Rover Discovery Sport Brake Pads and Discs's Replace, Dealer Check and Cost - 12th Sep 19
Stock Market Crash Black Swan Event Set Up Sept 12th? - 12th Sep 19
Increased Pension Liabilities During the Coming Stock Market Crash - 12th Sep 19
Gold at Support: the Upcoming Move - 12th Sep 19
Precious Metals, US Dollar, Stocks – How It All Relates – Part II - 12th Sep 19
Boris Johnson's "Do or Die, Dead in a Ditch" Brexit Strategy - 11th Sep 19
Precious Metals, US Dollar: How It All Relates – Part I - 11th Sep 19
Bank of England’s Carney Delivers Dollar Shocker at Jackson Hole meeting - 11th Sep 19
Gold and Silver Wounded Animals, Indeed - 11th Sep 19
Boris Johnson a Crippled Prime Minister - 11th Sep 19
Gold Significant Correction Has Started - 11th Sep 19
Reasons To Follow Experienced Traders In Automated Trading - 11th Sep 19
Silver's Sharp Reaction Back - 11th Sep 19
2020 Will Be the Most Volatile Market Year in History - 11th Sep 19
Westminister BrExit Extreme Chaos Puts Britain into a Pre-Civil War State - 10th Sep 19
Gold to Correct as Stocks Rally - 10th Sep 19
Market Decline Will Lead To Pension Collapse, USD Devaluation, And NWO - 10th Sep 19
Stock Market Sector Rotation Giving Mixed Signals About The Future - 10th Sep 19
The Online Gaming Industry is Going Up - 10th Sep 19
The Unknown Tech Stock Transforming The Internet - 10th Sep 19
More Wall Street Propaganda - 10th Sep 19
Stock Market Price Structure Still Suggests We Are Within Volatile Rotation - 9th Sep 19
Stock Market Still Treading Water - 9th Sep 19
Buying Pullbacks in Silver & Gold - 9th Sep 19
Government Spending - The High Price of a "Free Lunch" - 9th Sep 19
Don't Worry About a Recession - 9th Sep 19
Large Drop in Stocks, Big Rally in Gold and Silver - 9th Sep 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The No1 Tech Stock for 2019

Krugman the Crazy Keynesian Does Not Have Clue

Economics / Economic Theory Jan 20, 2010 - 04:18 AM GMT

By: William_Anderson

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleEven when Paul Krugman gets it right, he still gets it wrong. Now, I am not someone who is a knee-jerk critic of the guy, although I generally expect Krugman to blame the wrong people and recommend the wrong "solutions."


Thus, when I saw the title of his most recent column, "Bankers Without a Clue," I thought that this might be the day that I can read a Krugman column without cringing. Perhaps, I imagined, he might even use the "bankster" term that I have seen from so many libertarians and Austrian economists. Ah, hope!

Unfortunately, Krugman gave us his tired analysis, and in doing so, he also demonstrated that he was clueless himself about the stagflation of the 1970s. (After all, Krugman being a True Believing Keynesian believes that we should not have both inflation and rising unemployment, since he already has written elsewhere that almost any economic problem can be solved by…printing more money.)

He writes:

Consider what has happened so far: The U.S. economy is still grappling with the consequences of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; trillions of dollars of potential income have been lost; the lives of millions have been damaged, in some cases irreparably, by mass unemployment; millions more have seen their savings wiped out; hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, will lose essential health care because of the combination of job losses and draconian cutbacks by cash-strapped state governments.

And this disaster was entirely self-inflicted. This isn’t like the stagflation of the 1970s, which had a lot to do with soaring oil prices, which were, in turn, the result of political instability in the Middle East. This time we’re in trouble entirely thanks to the dysfunctional nature of our own financial system. Everyone understands this – everyone, it seems, except the financiers themselves.

The first paragraph is correct, although that is because he is stating the obvious. The second paragraph, however, reveals his ignorance of economic history. However, given that Krugman is ignorant on, well, about everything dealing with a real economy, his "Jake Blues-style" series of excuses for missing his bride at the altar ("There was an earthquake, IT WASN’T MY FAULT!!") seems about par for the guy.

For the record, the stagflation of the 1970s occurred because of a lot of reasons, none of them rising oil prices, which were largely a result of U.S. inflation that occurred after President Richard Nixon in 1971 ended all ties of the U.S. dollar to gold and gave us a pure fiat currency. (Keynesians want us to believe that rising oil prices caused inflation, when, in reality, the causality chain ran the other way.) Furthermore, he goes back to his tired and wrongheaded narrative about the U.S. financial system:

…there was nothing accidental about the crisis. From the late 1970s on, the American financial system, freed by deregulation and a political climate in which greed was presumed to be good, spun ever further out of control. There were ever-greater rewards – bonuses beyond the dreams of avarice – for bankers who could generate big short-term profits. And the way to raise those profits was to pile up ever more debt, both by pushing loans on the public and by taking on ever-higher leverage within the financial industry.

Yes, yes, it was all about the lack of regulation and the greed of those capitalists who were just following the Ideology of Free Markets. (I am sure that each of those bankers had copies of Atlas Shrugged in their back pockets.) Had the system been regulated by those Wise and Generous Regulators That Populated Washington after the New Deal, all of this could have been averted. What Krugman does not say, of course, is that we had both deregulation and the growth of moral hazard. (In fact, I never have seen Krugman refer to moral hazard, even though the perverse incentives that the various government backstops created made for a "heads I win, tails you lose" atmosphere in which the banks could fall into the "we’re too big to fail" nonsense.)

During the 1970s, Congress vastly expanded both the regulatory apparatus and government spending, and for the first half of the decade, the U.S. Armed Forces were bogged down in Vietnam. The top tax rate stood at 70 percent, the financial system was relatively small and highly-stratified and, as Michael Milken demonstrated, funding for the new high-technology initiatives that drove the economy through the 1980s and beyond came in large part from outside the regulated banking sector, something Krugman ignores (since it does not fit his own ideological narrative).

Furthermore, as the government taxed and regulated the economy into oblivion, thus destroying economic opportunities, it made up for the lack of economic growth (and the extra tax revenues growth would bring) by turning to the Federal Reserve System, which was all-too-happy to accommodate the growth of government by cranking up the printing presses.

Not surprisingly, the rate of inflation exploded during the 1970s and it was not, as previously noted, due to those greedy Arabs jacking up the price of oil on a whim. No, as the government expanded its jihad against private enterprise, the Fed responded by applying the "Krugman Solution" of printing more money in hopes that the activity generated by the new cash would cover the obvious economic bare spots.

As a result of this government "mismanagement" (to use a nice term), the economy experienced bouts of stagflation throughout the decade. Since Krugman cannot bring himself to believe that government taxation, regulation, and a rapidly-expanding fiat currency could have caused this debacle, it must have been OPEC and those greedy oil executives.

Likewise, he wants us to believe that American bankers in the last decade suddenly were seized by Ayn Rand Fever and decided to be greedy, ideology-directed financiers who recklessly leveraged their institutions and then hypocritically begged for money afterwards. Sorry, but these guys were on the dole all along, and given that Krugman never mentions moral hazard, one can see just how clueless (or maybe dishonest) the guy has been all along.

As I see it, the bankers are not clueless at all. They understand the game, they understand that the government is going to clean up the mess that they and their friends in Congress and the Bush and Obama administrations have created, and they understand that their antics are going to give them what they always have wanted: a nice, cozy, financial cartel which will provide sweet political contributions for the political classes, bonuses and high pay for themselves, and very little for everyone else.

And if Krugman cannot see it, then the guy truly is clueless. However, my take on the matter is much more cynical, and I don’t think I need to go any further on that subject.

William L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him mail], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit his blog.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com

    © 2009 Copyright William L. Anderson / LewRockwell.com - All Rights Reserved
    Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules