Letting Go of Macroeconomics

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Tom Palven
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Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:05 am

Economics has been called "the dismal science", but macroeconomics, the branch of economics that deals with government policies, could well be called "the dead science", if we can say that macroeconomics is a science at all.

Unlike microeconomics, which examines useful, logical laws of supply and demand for goods and services, such as the demand for oatmeal cookies or oil tanker insurance, to create voluntary spontaneous order, macroeconomics deals only with governmental actions, including taxing and spending, and is supposed to be able to predict what results various governmental actions will have and to make recommendations. However, it can be shown that these macroeconomic efforts are both unethical and useless, oftentimes counterproductive.

In the first case, all macroeconomic schools of thought, from Keynesianism and monetarisim to "supply-side economics" are unethical because they are all predicated on the coercive use of force. Macroeconomists of all stripes produce elaborate equations, graphs, and tables, which allegedly describe "an economy" and then prescribe authoritarian police actions to enforce compliance with these prescriptions, includiing various taxes, subsidies, grants, bans, tarrifs, and so on. These authoritarian measures violate the age-old ethical standard of the Golden Rule of Reciprocity, and are logically unethical from the outset

Secondly, in addition to failing the ethical test, macroeconomics fails miserably to deliver on its promises because its complex equations do not take normal human nature into account, creating ramifications and quickly- evolving unintended consequences which their equations cannot keep up with; for example, physicians retiring early due to new bureaucratic regulations. insuranace costs, or other factors; food stamps and/or welfare payment regulations which encourage unemployed women to have more children, or encourage fathers to abandom thier families; taxes or regulations that cause businesses to relocate abroad, and on and on. The size of the US Tax Code, alone, gives an idea of the complexities involved.
http://www.trygve.com/taxcode.html

It is no wonder then, that US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and their subordinates, have no more predictive abilities than your average astrologist, or that their economic equations are no more useful than a deck of tarot cards.
For a short video of Bernanke's predictive abilities go to this site:
http://www.garynorth.com/public/8342.cfm
and scroll down to the short video clips in Ben Bernanke Was Wrong
But, even if macroeconomics worked to some degree, and was able to help create more widgets, services, and security for the average person, or whatever it is alleged to do, it would still fail the ethical test. The coercion it relies upon results in unethical involunatary servitude, and without coercion the whole so-called "science" of macroeconomics, would, like the Wicked Witch of the West, not be merely nearly dead, but clearly most sincerely dead.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:23 am

So, looking at the big picture and deducing patterns from it is immoral?
Interesting.

Various economists may promise more than they can deliver, certainly. But there's quite a leap from that and to your claims here.

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Dan
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:30 am

Tom-Palven wrote:Economics has been called "the dismal science", but macroeconomics, the branch of economics that deals with government policies, could well be called "the dead science", if we can say that macroeconomics is a science at all.


Validity testing, makes macroeconomics a science. The poor application of macroeconomics can ruin its impact as can the poor application of any scientific rule. Economists don't initiate political and governmental activities, politicians do based on the vote.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:44 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Tom-Palven wrote:Economics has been called "the dismal science", but macroeconomics, the branch of economics that deals with government policies, could well be called "the dead science", if we can say that macroeconomics is a science at all.


Validity testing, makes macroeconomics a science. The poor application of macroeconomics can ruin its impact as can the poor application of any scientific rule. Economists don't initiate political and governmental activities, politicians do based on the vote.


If it's "governmental activities" and not macroeconomics that are the problem, Matt, maybe we should be Letting Go of Government. Suits me.
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:50 am

OutOfBreath wrote:So, looking at the big picture and deducing patterns from it is immoral?
Interesting.
Various economists may promise more than they can deliver, certainly. But there's quite a leap from that and to your claims here.

Peace
Dan


I thought that I was the one looking at the big picture and deducing patterns from it.--patterns of murder, misallocation, and mayhem. Interesting.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:36 am

Tom-Palven wrote:I thought that I was the one looking at the big picture and deducing patterns from it.--patterns of murder, misallocation, and mayhem. Interesting.

Well, you're the one talking about dismissing an academic field altogether because they look at the big picture in economics. Since it's big picture, one shouldn't try to use knowledge derived thereof is what you seem to say, because it is only of use to the (by default) immoral government.

Resolving differences between micro and macrostudies within various fields are rarely solved by dismissing all micro or macro. It means better theories are needed, not to disregard one end of the field and pretend it doesnt exist.

(and I get it, you are an anarchist, who think government is a big load of hooey, and we would all be better off if we just embrace the glorious utopia of libertarianism in blatant disregard of human behaviour and knowledge of history in general.)

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:10 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:
Tom-Palven wrote:I thought that I was the one looking at the big picture and deducing patterns from it.--patterns of murder, misallocation, and mayhem. Interesting.

Well, you're the one talking about dismissing an academic field altogether because they look at the big picture in economics. Since it's big picture, one shouldn't try to use knowledge derived thereof is what you seem to say, because it is only of use to the (by default) immoral government.

Resolving differences between micro and macrostudies within various fields are rarely solved by dismissing all micro or macro. It means better theories are needed, not to disregard one end of the field and pretend it doesnt exist.

(and I get it, you are an anarchist, who think government is a big load of hooey, and we would all be better off if we just embrace the glorious utopia of libertarianism in blatant disregard of human behaviour and knowledge of history in general.)

Peace
Dan


IMHO microeconomics and macroeconomics are toitally different animals. Microeconomic activities are purely voluntary and the methodology is scientific and logically falsifiable.

Macroeconomics, on the other hand, is based entirely on coercion--sticks to bludgion people with and carrots extracted by coercion from others are the only tools in the macroeconomist's bag of tricks; and the results of macroeconomic actions are not falisfiable or predictable change, but a bunch of lame excuses.
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:26 pm

Tom-Palven wrote:IMHO microeconomics and macroeconomics are toitally different animals. Microeconomic activities are purely voluntary and the methodology is scientific and logically falsifiable.

Macroeconomics, on the other hand, is based entirely on coercion--sticks to bludgion people with and carrots extracted by coercion from others are the only tools in the macroeconomist's bag of tricks; and the results of macroeconomic actions are not falisfiable or predictable change, but a bunch of lame excuses.

So, coercion and exploitation never happens on a small scale?
And scientifically sound studies on macroeconomic effects are non-existant?

Your argument seems to be a bit confused. Both micro and macro economics are scientifical fields, and economic activity happen on both micro and macro scales. That you don't like macro economic activity do not negate that it happens and can be studied scientifically.

Furthermore, scientifically, it is often easier to be right about the macro picture, than the micro ones. Consider meteorology for instance.

You argument is with particular economic policies (not academic fields) and particular political actors. Fair enough, but call it what it is, and don't dress it up as a strawman debate on scientific principles.

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Dan
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:12 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:
Tom-Palven wrote:IMHO microeconomics and macroeconomics are toitally different animals. Microeconomic activities are purely voluntary and the methodology is scientific and logically falsifiable.

Macroeconomics, on the other hand, is based entirely on coercion--sticks to bludgion people with and carrots extracted by coercion from others are the only tools in the macroeconomist's bag of tricks; and the results of macroeconomic actions are not falisfiable or predictable change, but a bunch of lame excuses.

So, coercion and exploitation never happens on a small scale?
And scientifically sound studies on macroeconomic effects are non-existant?

Your argument seems to be a bit confused. Both micro and macro economics are scientifical fields, and economic activity happen on both micro and macro scales. That you don't like macro economic activity do not negate that it happens and can be studied scientifically.

Furthermore, scientifically, it is often easier to be right about the macro picture, than the micro ones. Consider meteorology for instance.

You argument is with particular economic policies (not academic fields) and particular political actors. Fair enough, but call it what it is, and don't dress it up as a strawman debate on scientific principles.

Peace
Dan


The difference between micro and macro is not small scale vs large scale, as I pointed out in my GM vs Monaco comment, earlier. The difference is voluntary vs involuntary, freedom vs authoritarianism. Macro has more in common with religious fundamentalism than it does with science.
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:00 pm

Tom-Palven wrote:The difference between micro and macro is not small scale vs large scale, as I pointed out in my GM vs Monaco comment, earlier. The difference is voluntary vs involuntary, freedom vs authoritarianism. Macro has more in common with religious fundamentalism than it does with science.

That is indeed a very unusual use of the terms micro and macro in regards to economics.

You are a no-state free marketeer crusader, or so I've gathered, and I know all the black/white "but it's COERCION" shenanigans that follows with it. Fair enough, but that's not micro vs macro. The libertarian heaven also have a macro-side, which is what happens on a societal scale when the rules of free capitalism are implemented. Macro is basically stepping back several steps and describe what you then see. Think of it as the difference between looking through a powerful microscope to describe what you see on a molecular level, and looking away from the lens to describe the animal you were zooming in on. The same framework for describing does not necessarily apply in both instances. They may need quite different framworks, that both are correct on it's own level.

You disagree with the existence of government, which in itself says nothing about micro/macro economics. Both exist in any case, you just don't want anyone to study the macro or use it for anything. To paraphrase it to physics, you advocate intensely atomic research, but seem to view astrophysics as immoral and not worthy of study... Instead of seeing it as complementary fields that both in their way increase our knowledge of the universe.

Wiki-links for the explanation of the concepts in question:
Microeconomics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microeconomics
Macroeconomics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroeconomics

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Dan
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:22 pm

I beg to differ. The Wiki sites you cited state that micro refers to "household and firm" economies, and that macro refers to governmental and world economies, and Wiki is right to this point. That Wiki fails recognize that all macroeconomics relies on coercion, and that micro relates to free markets is something that I hope Wiki will rectify. (Can you do that, Gord?)
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OlegTheBatty » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:57 pm

Tom-Palven wrote:I beg to differ. The Wiki sites you cited state that micro refers to "household and firm" economies, and that macro refers to governmental and world economies, and Wiki is right to this point. That Wiki fails recognize that all macroeconomics relies on coercion, and that micro relates to free markets is something that I hope Wiki will rectify. (Can you do that, Gord?)


Macroeconomics (from Greek prefix "macr(o)-" meaning "large" + "economics") is a branch of economics dealing with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of the entire economy. This includes a national, regional, or global economy.

You are misunderstanding Wiki, Tom. Macro economics is economics at the SCALE of 'national, regional, and/or global'. It exists because the population is large, not because there are governments. That is why it is different from microeconomics.

A better (IMO) analogy than Dan's would be: microeconomics is to the individual cell as macroeconomics is to the whole horse.
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:31 am

OlegTheBatty wrote:
Tom-Palven wrote:I beg to differ. The Wiki sites you cited state that micro refers to "household and firm" economies, and that macro refers to governmental and world economies, and Wiki is right to this point. That Wiki fails recognize that all macroeconomics relies on coercion, and that micro relates to free markets is something that I hope Wiki will rectify. (Can you do that, Gord?)


Macroeconomics (from Greek prefix "macr(o)-" meaning "large" + "economics") is a branch of economics dealing with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of the entire economy. This includes a national, regional, or global economy.

You are misunderstanding Wiki, Tom. Macro economics is economics at the SCALE of 'national, regional, and/or global'. It exists because the population is large, not because there are governments. That is why it is different from microeconomics.

A better (IMO) analogy than Dan's would be: microeconomics is to the individual cell as macroeconomics is to the whole horse.


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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:05 am

Tom-Palven wrote:I beg to differ. The Wiki sites you cited state that micro refers to "household and firm" economies, and that macro refers to governmental and world economies, and Wiki is right to this point. That Wiki fails recognize that all macroeconomics relies on coercion, and that micro relates to free markets is something that I hope Wiki will rectify. (Can you do that, Gord?)

That's because wiki isn't a libertarian faq...

The big difference in micro/macro is that in micro studies you usually have a small sample size, but detailed information, while macro means huge samples and thus rely more on statistics. (Really the basis of all sound science) Anyone can engage in seeing patterns and using statistics to deduce something about the markets and use it to their advantage. (through analysis knowing the long-term demand of a certain material for instance) Engaging in such analysis is not something only governments and big corps do.

So I maintain that your beef is with policy, not the science and academic field of (macro)economics. So talk politics, and don't hide it as a scientific criticism, when it is really a moral criticism.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Gord » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:00 am

Tom-Palven wrote:(Can you do that, Gord?)

Sorry, they're already onto me over the whole "Canadian Raising" thing.
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:28 am

Gord wrote:
Tom-Palven wrote:(Can you do that, Gord?)

Sorry, they're already onto me over the whole "Canadian Raising" thing.


I don't recall "Canadian Raising", and a search for it and for "Canadian Upbringing" didn't enlighten me. :?:
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:53 am

OutOfBreath wrote:
Tom-Palven wrote:I beg to differ. The Wiki sites you cited state that micro refers to "household and firm" economies, and that macro refers to governmental and world economies, and Wiki is right to this point. That Wiki fails recognize that all macroeconomics relies on coercion, and that micro relates to free markets is something that I hope Wiki will rectify. (Can you do that, Gord?)

That's because wiki isn't a libertarian faq...

The big difference in micro/macro is that in micro studies you usually have a small sample size, but detailed information, while macro means huge samples and thus rely more on statistics. (Really the basis of all sound science) Anyone can engage in seeing patterns and using statistics to deduce something about the markets and use it to their advantage. (through analysis knowing the long-term demand of a certain material for instance) Engaging in such analysis is not something only governments and big corps do.

So I maintain that your beef is with policy, not the science and academic field of (macro)economics. So talk politics, and don't hide it as a scientific criticism, when it is really a moral criticism.

Peace
Dan


Would you agree that the King Ranch, which is 1,289 square miles in size, and Microsoft, which has 89,000 employees employ the tools of microeconomics, whereas the economics of Monaco, which is .76 sq mi in size and has a population of 36,000 falls into the macroeconomic category. What differentiates Monaco from the King Ranch? (Hint. Monaco is considered to be a State.)
Last edited by Tom Palven on Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:17 am

Tom-Palven wrote:Would you agree that the King Ranch, which is 1,289 square miles in size, and Microsoft, which has 89,000 employees employ the tools of microeconomics, whereas the economics of Monaco, which is .76 sq mi in size and has a population of 36,000 falls into the macroeconomic category due to its ability to coerce?

No.

Both the ranch and definitely microsoft use macro economics (which is just economics on a larger scale) when they plan their businesses. And big corps and ranches do have coercive ability, although maybe not quite as potent as the ones of a state. Although both may have alot more coercive power overall than tiny Monaco.

I think you need to define coercion, cause you do seem to give such words different content than what is commonly done. You seem to claim that coercion is something only states do. that will require a rather specific definition of coercion.

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Dan
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:22 am

OutOfBreath wrote:
Tom-Palven wrote:Would you agree that the King Ranch, which is 1,289 square miles in size, and Microsoft, which has 89,000 employees employ the tools of microeconomics, whereas the economics of Monaco, which is .76 sq mi in size and has a population of 36,000 falls into the macroeconomic category due to its ability to coerce?

No.

Both the ranch and definitely microsoft use macro economics (which is just economics on a larger scale) when they plan their businesses. And big corps and ranches do have coercive ability, although maybe not quite as potent as the ones of a state. Although both may have alot more coercive power overall than tiny Monaco.

I think you need to define coercion, cause you do seem to give such words different content than what is commonly done. You seem to claim that coercion is something only states do. that will require a rather specific definition of coercion.

Peace
Dan


What differentiates Monaco from the King Ranch?

From Dictionary.com
co·er·cion   /koʊˈɜrʃən/ Show Spelled[koh-ur-shuhn] Show IPA
noun
1. the act of coercing; use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance.
2. force or the power to use force in gaining compliance, as by a government or police force.
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:24 am

Quite a few things I would imagine. One is an agricultural business with quite some employees I would imagine, while the other is a principality known for gambling and the fine life for the rich.

Why not answer the question, or make your points directly.

And I see you just added dictionary of coercion. Good. Now where does it say that coercion is only something states do?

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:42 am

OutOfBreath wrote:Quite a few things I would imagine. One is an agricultural business with quite some employees I would imagine, while the other is a principality known for gambling and the fine life for the rich.

Why not answer the question, or make your points directly.
And I see you just added dictionary of coercion. Good. Now where does it say that coercion is only something states do?

Peace
Dan


Answer what question directly?
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Martin Brock » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:37 pm

Tom-Palven wrote:If it's "governmental activities" and not macroeconomics that are the problem, Matt, maybe we should be Letting Go of Government. Suits me.

Letting Go of Government ... Letting Go of God ... what's the difference?

Macroeconomics is not pseudoscience entirely, but politics influences macroeconomic theory at least as much as empirical observation of some natural phenomenon. Take the Keynesian account of GDP for example.

C + I + G + X − M = Y

C = Consumption
I = Investment
G = Government Spending
E = Exports
M = Imports
Y = Gross Domestic Product

Why does Government Spending appear explicitly in this account? Why is G not incorporated in C and I?
Why does Federal Reserve Spending not appear explicitly? How about spending financed by credit more generally?
Why does General Motor's Spending not appear explicitly? How about Automobile Industry Spending or Transportation Industry Spending?

This accounting identity has little to do with a scientific description of the macroeconomy and has everything to do with promoting a particular policy, more government spending. Keynes' "General Theory" is laughably specific.
Last edited by Martin Brock on Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Martin Brock » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:45 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:Macro is basically stepping back several steps and describe what you then see. Think of it as the difference between looking through a powerful microscope to describe what you see on a molecular level, and looking away from the lens to describe the animal you were zooming in on.

Give us a specific example of macroeconomic theory.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:52 pm

Martin Brock wrote:Macroeconomics is not pseudoscience entirely, but politics influences macroeconomic theory...

That i can agree with. Goes for all social sciences really.

Tom, I asked you to define coercion in the particular way you use it, not to retort with rhetorical questions. The definition you offered, is the common definition. Nothing in there that singles out states as the coercive force, which is what you seem to claim.

For what it's worth, and just cut to the chase, I'll offer that I believe that your theory is that if we got rid of State coercion, we would be rid of coercion altogether. My retort will be that coercion can and usually does happen inbetween people, and with the absence of the state's (potential) coercion, coercion between individuals would expand to fill the void. That is what history so far has told us. Further that no coercion is pretty impossible if the point is total individual freedom as we meddle in eachothers lives constantly, and the lines between coercion, persuasion, emotional blackmail, manipulation and such are quite fluid.

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Dan
Last edited by OutOfBreath on Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:55 pm

Martin Brock wrote:Give us a specific example of macroeconomic theory.

Specific schools of macroeconomics would include monetarism and keynesianism for instance.
But macroeconomics is also data gathering, not just the theory traditions.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Martin Brock » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:23 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:
Martin Brock wrote:Give us a specific example of macroeconomic theory.

Specific schools of macroeconomics would include monetarism and keynesianism for instance.
But macroeconomics is also data gathering, not just the theory traditions.

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I didn't ask for a school. Give me an example of some macroeconomic quantity and its measurement and its theoretical relationship to other macroeconomic quantities. I'm looking for something like "F=MA" in physics, something I can evaluate as more "scientific" than "political". Keynes' formulation above certainly is not more scientific (in a politically disinterested way) than political. Few people see a political motivation in Newtonian dynamics.
Last edited by Martin Brock on Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Martin Brock » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:27 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:My retort will be that coercion can and usually does happen inbetween people, and with the absence of the state's (potential) coercion, coercion between individuals would expand to fill the void.

Coercion sometimes happens on a grand scale, when some people gang up on other people, particularly when one gang of people has many instruments of coercion, even enforcing a monopoly of these instruments. This coercion on a grand scale is what libertarians resist.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:44 pm

Martin Brock wrote:I didn't ask for a school. Give me an example of some macroeconomic quantity and its measurement and its theoretical relationship to other macroeconomic quantities. I'm looking for something like "F=MA" in physics, something I can evaluate as more "scientific" than "political". Keynes' formulation above certainly is not more scientific (in a politically disinterested way) than political. Few people see a political motivation in Newtonian dynamics.

Social sciences in general have few "iron laws" like that, admittedly. That doesn't mean that you can't go about it scientifically when you gather data to test your theories. The eternal problem of social sciences is that usually observing something inevitably leads to changes because it was observed. It is continually acted upon, and experiment-like rigour is impossible to apply.

As for economics, it's not about choosing teams. It's about observing data at different levels. Macroeconomical data will often revolve around the dynamics and large scale consequences of supply and demand within different sectors of the larger economy. GDP is often used as a measuring stick for instance.

I am not a trained economist, neither do I claim to be. But I react to Tom seemingly hi-jacking terms to use them for his own political purposes, when he'd be better off just presenting that politics in the first place.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:51 pm

Martin Brock wrote:
OutOfBreath wrote:My retort will be that coercion can and usually does happen inbetween people, and with the absence of the state's (potential) coercion, coercion between individuals would expand to fill the void.

Coercion sometimes happens on a grand scale, when some people gang up on other people, particularly when one gang of people has many instruments of coercion, even enforcing a monopoly of these instruments. This coercion on a grand scale is what libertarians resist.

Indeed it does, and infact seem to be modus operandi for humans on smaller scales as well. Or rather the advantage of doing so outcompetes anyone else trying not to. Before states, we had tribes, and someone have always been in a position of authority, something else we seem predisposed to insert.

I have no objections to the moral goals of libertarians, I mainly oppose it on the grounds of being unrealistic as to what happens when you replace the democratic state with whoever have the most resources to field an army. Which is how it will turn out, using all of history as a guide.

I for one am quite happy fiddling abit with the finer mechanisms of the democratic state of present, than replace it with something uncertain, which probably will just be a reversion to tribal society and a new feudalism. you have my full support in putting checks on states' ability to coerce physically. Level of taxation is as it should be: up to political debate and voting at regular intervals.

That's my stance at least, for what it's worth. I am less interested in being principally pure and clean as a whistle in ethical formal logic, as I am in understanding what the reality is, and, with that starting point, seeing what can realistically be done.

Peace
Dan
Last edited by OutOfBreath on Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Martin Brock » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:52 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:As for economics, it's not about choosing teams. It's about observing data at different levels. Macroeconomical data will often revolve around the dynamics and large scale consequences of supply and demand within different sectors of the larger economy. GDP is often used as a measuring stick for instance.

No. It's more about choosing teams. Your own example of macro-economic schools indicates politically motivated teaming. That's Tom's point.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Martin Brock » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:58 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:I have no objections to the moral goals of libertarians, I mainly oppose it on the grounds of being unrealistic as to what happens when you replace the democratic state with whoever have the most resources to field an army. Which is how it will turn out, using all of history as a guide.

What democratic state? You mean whoever has the most resources to field an army? The United States is hardly more "democratic" than the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The U.S. doesn't even have "democratic" in its name.

I for one am quite happy fiddling abit with the finer mechanisms of the democratic state of present, than replace it with something uncertain, which probably will just be a reversion to tribal society and a new feudalism.

We could discuss specific political reforms here. What reform, precisely, will just be a revision to tribal society and a new feudalism?

... you have my full support in putting checks on states' ability to coerce physically. Level of taxation is as it should be: up to political debate and voting at regular intervals.

What sort of voting? You mean biannual plebiscites in which I choose from one of two candidates, both of them pathological liars?
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:01 pm

Martin Brock wrote:No. It's more about choosing teams. Your own example of macro-economic schools indicates politically motivated teaming. That's Tom's point.

Then the same applies to your claims, and thus there are no economics at all. If you want to go that route.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:06 pm

Martin Brock wrote:What democratic state? You mean whoever has the most resources to field an army? The United States is hardly more "democratic" than the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The U.S. doesn't even have "democratic" in its name.

Oh give me a break. See this is precisely the problem with libertarians. If you dont see any difference between the US and north korea politically, you truly do have ideology glasses glued on. Faulty democracy is very different from no democracy, but that doesnt fit the libertarian all or none angle.

We could discuss specific political reforms here. What reform, precisely, will just be a revision to tribal society and a new feudalism?

You're not talking reform, you're talking removal. Very different. I just outline what is humanity's default that would reassert itself if such happened.

What sort of voting? You mean biannual plebiscites in which I choose from one of two candidates, both of them pathological liars?

So reform the system. Get more than two parties. Abolish one-man congressional districts. You are not prevented to do that, but you must gain popular support for it. Being dissatisfied with options, is again very different from having no options apart from what the sovereign pleases. And no, that does not in any way describe the US. You wouldn't be in such economic troubles if it did.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Martin Brock » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:15 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:Then the same applies to your claims, and thus there are no economics at all. If you want to go that route.

What claims?
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Martin Brock » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:22 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:Oh give me a break. See this is precisely the problem with libertarians. If you dont see any difference between the US and north korea politically, you truly do have ideology glasses glued on. Faulty democracy is very different from no democracy, but that doesnt fit the libertarian all or none angle.

I see plenty of differences. The specific issue here is "democracy". How are you defining "democracy"? How do I know that "democracy" is faulty as opposed to non-existent?

What libertarian all or none angle? Why isn't your "democratic" angle all or none?

You're not talking reform, you're talking removal. Very different. I just outline what is humanity's default that would reassert itself if such happened.

Where do I talk removal? Why can't you discuss a subject with me rather than some straw man you imagine?

So reform the system. Get more than two parties. Abolish one-man congressional districts.

None of these reforms appeal to me. They won't change anything.

You are not prevented to do that, ...

Of course, I am.

... but you must gain popular support for it.

By "popular support", you mean a sufficient number of votes for one of two candidates, both of them pathological liars, in a biannual plebiscite?

Being dissatisfied with options, is again very different from having no options apart from what the sovereign pleases. And no, that does not in any way describe the US. You wouldn't be in such economic troubles if it did.

I have countless options at Walmart, and I have these options every day, not every two years, and I may also choose between Walmart and Target and Best Buy and Amazon.com and Ebay. I prefer more options of this kind, options that I choose independently every day. The political reforms I favor don't simply change the names of members of a small committee of a few hundred people making decisions for hundreds of millions of other people. The reforms I favor take power away from these few hundred people and empower the hundreds of millions to make more choices for themselves. That's what I call "democracy", the rule of people by themselves, not the rule of "the people" by a few people. How the few are selected is irrelevant.

For example, I favor a progressive consumption tax of a particular type. This reform limits the authority of the central committee and also limits the authority of wealthy proprietors like Sam Walton.
People associating freely respect norms of their choice, and relationships governed this way are necessarily interdependent.

More central authorities conquer by dividing, imposing norms channeling the value of synergy toward themselves.

"Every man for himself" is the prescription of a state, not a free community. A state protects the poor from the rich only in fairy tales.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:37 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:
Martin Brock wrote:Macroeconomics is not pseudoscience entirely, but politics influences macroeconomic theory...

That i can agree with. Goes for all social sciences really.

Tom, I asked you to define coercion in the particular way you use it, not to retort with rhetorical questions. The definition you offered, is the common definition. Nothing in there that singles out states as the coercive force, which is what you seem to claim. For what it's worth, and just cut to the chase, I'll offer that I believe that your theory is that if we got rid of State coercion, we would be rid of coercion altogether. My retort will be that coercion can and usually does happen inbetween people, and with the absence of the state's (potential) coercion, coercion between individuals would expand to fill the void. That is what history so far has told us. Further that no coercion is pretty impossible if the point is total individual freedom as we meddle in eachothers lives constantly, and the lines between coercion, persuasion, emotional blackmail, manipulation and such are quite fluid.

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Governments, whether conducted by republics, democracies, war lords, kings, dictators, emirs, etc, claim to have rights to a monopoly on the use of coercive force, police power, in a given geographical area, except where they share police powers with a hierarchy of governments; in the US, towns, counties, water management districts, and states. All these various kinds of governments claim to have "rights" to extract the earnings of people and bend them to their will, which can be defined as coercion, involuntary servitude, or slavery.

I simply maintain that this coercion is a violation of the logically irrefutable (To my satisfaction, anyway. I have never even seen a good attempt at a logical case for the legitimacy of coercion, including Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Mill, etc.) ethics of the Golden Rule of Reciprocity. The fact that if I succeed in preventing one group of people from running my life as they wish to, that another, possibly more malevolent, group may come along to claim control of my life, seems irrelevant to the ethics involved. Macroeconomics embraces, and is dependant upon, governmental coercion. whereas microeconomics is not.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:11 pm

Martin Brock wrote:I see plenty of differences. The specific issue here is "democracy". How are you defining "democracy"? How do I know that "democracy" is faulty as opposed to non-existent?

Indeed, so dont pretend there aren't, just because yoy have it in for states in general. Democracy is a rule where the people being ruled can elect the rulers, and where there's a degree of accountability. America qualifies. I said faulty, because that seemed to be your interpretation of it.

What libertarian all or none angle? Why isn't your "democratic" angle all or none?

I should have said black and white. Which you demonstrated quite nicely with your US = N Korea statement. No difference in degree matters. States are states. No matter how they play out in the real world. That's what I referred to, and view as an untenable position quite incompatible with observed evidence.

Where do I talk removal? Why can't you discuss a subject with me rather than some straw man you imagine?

Well, it won't be good until all coercion is gone, and that would mean that the state go gone. At least if you're gonna keep with the black/white principal argument you are using to support the libertarian position.

None of these reforms appeal to me. They won't change anything.

Alrighty, advocate your own reforms. (you did want reform and not removal right?)

You are not prevented to do that, ...
Of course, I am.

... but you must gain popular support for it.
By "popular support", you mean a sufficient number of votes for one of two candidates, both of them pathological liars, in a biannual plebiscite?

No, you're not prevented. But in a democracy you need support from a majority or at least a large influential minority to get any way. Of course, you have no guarantee that the others agree with you. You must then persuade and do politicking. Your disillusionment has as much to do with that your countrymen aren't in agreement with you on what needs to be done. Start a campaign, start a party, start a movement. Nothing is stopping you. Really. You are not guaranteed support for your position, but you have every opportunity to promote it.


I have countless options at Walmart, and I have these options every day, not every two years, and I may also choose between Walmart and Target and Best Buy and Amazon.com and Ebay. I prefer more options of this kind, options that I choose independently every day. The political reforms I favor don't simply change the names of members of a small committee of a few hundred people making decisions for hundreds of millions of other people. The reforms I favor take power away from these few hundred people and empower the hundreds of millions to make more choices for themselves. That's what I call "democracy", the rule of people by themselves, not the rule of "the people" by a few people. How the few are selected is irrelevant.

Alright, push for direct democracy or something then. Representative democracy works quite well in many places in the world. How the reps are chosen can matter highly.

As for choice, it isn't that hard to make room for other parties. Abolish one-man districts, and allow for multiple parties in the congress. That'll increase the number of options you want. (Imagine a truly libertarian party. Wouldn't that be nice? Could probably fetch 10-20% of american votes) Maybe not exactly what you want, but you might not necessarily get that at walmart either.

The real trouble of that analogy, is that opposed to buying consumer goods, public infrastructure needs continuity and long planning. Thus when a choice is made, it needs to be stuck with, even if you change your mind in a year. If everything is being redecided continously, nothing will come of it. Which is also a problem with politics. On the campaign trail, the make the impression that they can start with a clean deck of cards and lay things out exactly how they want. The dirty reality lessens their room for maneuvering quite quickly. They often get slammed in the face with something unexpected and unthought of when in office. And highway maintenance may be unsexy, but needs to be done for instance.

For example, I favor a progressive consumption tax of a particular type. This reform limits the authority of the central committee and also limits the authority of wealthy proprietors like Sam Walton.

Ah, so tax isn't always theft then, or is it ok with just a little less theft? ;)

Now we're back in reasonable land. Discussing how we can make use of the structures already in place.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:36 pm

Tom-Palven wrote:Governments, whether conducted by republics, democracies, war lords, kings, dictators, emirs, etc, claim to have rights to a monopoly on the use of coercive force, police power, in a given geographical area, except where they share police powers with a hierarchy of governments; in the US, towns, counties, water management districts, and states. All these various kinds of governments claim to have "rights" to extract the earnings of people and bend them to their will, which can be defined as coercion, involuntary servitude, or slavery.

Indeed, physical violence is in all societies institutionalized and subject to a monopoly by the local rulers. You still seem to assume though that coercion is always physical and always done by states. A monopoly of outright violence is not a monopoly on coercion. Coercion can come about in many ways from many different places. And a claim to a monopoly does not mean it's so. Only states have legitimate rights to violence, but that's not stopping all other people.

Modern states are at least seperate from the ruler's household, and the taxes are no longer just to line the purse of the sovereign to pay for his extravagances. (yes, I know, waste exists also today, but in a very different manner)

I simply maintain that this coercion is a violation of the logically irrefutable (To my satisfaction, anyway. I have never even seen a good attempt at a logical case for the legitimacy of coercion, including Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Mill, etc.) ethics of the Golden Rule of Reciprocity. The fact that if I succeed in preventing one group of people from running my life as they wish to, that another, possibly more malevolent, group may come along to claim control of my life, seems irrelevant to the ethics involved. Macroeconomics embraces, and is dependant upon, governmental coercion. whereas microeconomics is not.

See, I said this was a moral argument.

My remarks are based on observations of the real world, not on logically pure consistent principles. Which is where we crash I think. But no matter what you do, as long as there is economic activity, there is a larger economy, which may be studied directly, and not necessarily through microeconomics. Indeed, they may behave differently, which is why the field of economics increasingly seek to find a good mix of micro and macro observations and mold into a theory. Your vision of society is also on the macro scale. By definition.
mac·ro   [mak-roh] Show IPA adjective, noun, plural -ros.
adjective
1.
very large in scale, scope, or capability.

I'd say the removal of the state, and the free self-ruling people in it's stead is pretty big in scope.

Anywho, you're on about morals and politics. Which I suppose is why you stamp one way of researching economics as immoral. Economics can be studied without morals and politics attached. True, most theories embrace some policy or other, but there still is a neutral subject matter we are theorizing over. So I see no point in closing one avenue of knowledge on moral grounds.

I don't think we'll agree on that, as you are keen to see your economics as the mere extension of your morals. I disagree, but then we seem to disagree over morals as well, so that's maybe to be expected.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:46 pm

Martin Brock wrote:
OutOfBreath wrote:Then the same applies to your claims, and thus there are no economics at all. If you want to go that route.

What claims?

Just to have made the entire round.

If it is just a team-sport, then there is no science or knowledge. Either way. It will just be dressed-up opinion from both sides. I believe there exists a neutral core of data and observations that are interpreted differently. Which is why I dont agree that it's mostly team sports.

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Re: Letting Go of Macroeconomics

Postby Gord » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:27 am

Tom-Palven wrote:
Gord wrote:
Tom-Palven wrote:(Can you do that, Gord?)

Sorry, they're already onto me over the whole "Canadian Raising" thing.


I don't recall "Canadian Raising", and a search for it and for "Canadian Upbringing" didn't enlighten me. :?:

Like I said, they already caught me.

Edit: Wait, it was still the first hit I got on a Google search: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_raising
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