Why is Robert Skidelsky speaking at Mont Pelerin??

I’m now mid-Pacific, about five miles high, on my way to the regional meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in Palo Alto. It is a the meeting of the remnants of the last few remaining supporters of market economies not only as the means to prosperity, but also as a necessary element in the preservation of political freedom.

So imagine my astonishment to see this as one of the sessions being on offer:

1:15 pm – 2:30 pmLessons Learned from History for the Future of Freedom
Gabriel Calzada,?Universidad Francisco Marroquín (Chair)
Victor Davis Hanson,?Hoover Institution
Amity Shlaes,?Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation
Robert Skidelsky,?Warwick University

This is from Robert Skidelsky’s Wikipedia page:

In September 2015, Skidelsky endorsed Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign in the Labour Party leadership election, writing in The Guardian: “Corbyn should be praised, not castigated, for bringing to public attention these serious issues concerning the role of the state and the best ways to finance its activities. The fact that he is dismissed for doing so illustrates the dangerous complacency of today’s political elites. Millions in Europe rightly feel that the current economic order fails to serve their interests. What will they do if their protests are simply ignored?”

As a minor matter next to this, but not minor to me, is that he is the most prominent defender of Keynesian economics, along with Paul Krugman, anywhere in the world. There is also a fact virtually unmentioned on his own Wikipedia page but mentioned here in relation to a disgraceful book he published at the start of the GFC: Keynes: The Return of the Master.

Keynes: The Return of the Master?is a 2009 book by economic historian?Robert Skidelsky. The work discusses the economic theories and philosophy of?John Maynard Keynes, and argues about their relevance to the world following the?Financial crisis of 2007–2010.

I’m not surprised he is reluctant to have the book mentioned. Want more? From the same source:

Chapter 8 sums up Keynes’s relevance to the current age as of 2009. The author suggests that Keynes would likely advise us to rethink macroeconomic policy, with a greater emphasis on balanced growth and with a somewhat large role for government in ensuring there is a smooth flow of investment to help protect the economy from unpredictable shocks. Macroeconomics should be reformed so that it again recognises the role of uncertainty and so it draws on other areas of knowledge such as history and International political economy, with a less central role for maths. The global savings glut needs to be addressed. Ethics should once again have a role in guiding capitalism, as should Keynes’s vision of harmony, where differences are cherished rather than pressured to conform, as can be the case with current concepts of “social cohesion” and “consensus”.

Mises must be turning in his grave. Why is such an out and out socialist being allowed to speak at Mont Pelerin? And on that minor matter of Keynes, this is the most recent cover description for my next book which I have just sent to the publisher.

Classical Economic Theory and the Modern Economy’

Steven Kates

Economic theory reached its highest level of analytical power and depth in the middle of the nineteenth century among John Stuart Mill and his contemporaries. This book explains classical economics when it was at its height, followed by an analysis of what took place as? a result of the ensuing Marginal and Keynesian Revolutions that have left economists less able to understand how economies operate.

Chapters explore the false mythology that has obscured the arguments of classical economists, clouding to the point of near invisibility the theories they had developed. Kates offers a thorough understanding of the operation of an economy within a classical framework, providing a new perspective for viewing modern economic theory from the outside. This provocative book not only explains the meaning of Say’s Law in an accessible way, but also the origins of the Keynesian revolution and Keynes’s pathway in writing The General Theory. It provides a new look at the classical theory of value at its height that was not based, as so many now wrongly believe, on the labour theory of value.

A crucial read for economic policy-makers seeking to understand the operation of a market economy, this book should also be of keen interest to economists generally as well as scholars in the history of economic thought.

Might mention it to Robert when we catch up.

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Tuesday Forum: January 14, 2020

Posted in Open Forum|269 Comments

A most intriguing “Parasite”

‘Parasite’, having been named Best Picture by the National Society of Film Critics, has now been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

First let me say it was the most watchable film I have seen in a long time. Then let me say it was the most morally incoherent film I have seen in a long time, although I do think I have finally unravelled its message. I will add no spoilers. Will only say it’s worth your time. It was as watchable as the new Starwars is dull beyond imagination. Modern PC has not caught up with Korea, while Starwars was so Hollywood that almost from the first second I could tell where the film would end, as it did. You most definitely cannot say that about Parasite. There has been talk for a long time that it might win Best Picture at the Academy Awards – which is now an even more realistic possibility – so others seem to see its moral centre, but that’s Hollywood for you. You’ll have to see the film to know what I mean.

And if you’ve seen Parasite, please include nothing that gives away the story in the comments.

Posted in Cultural Issues|21 Comments

Annastacia Palaszczuk holidayed while township burned

Veteran who ran makeshift refugee camp for Aurukun residents slams Queensland government.

THE heroic saviour of 60 fleeing men, women and children from Aurukun has compared the rioting, violence, vendetta and malicious arson that followed the murder of two young clansmen in the Cape York community to Somalia. Tim White knows what he’s talking about. He is a veteran of the ADF’s 1992-93 Somalia deployment (Operation Solace). Using his own initiative and at great risk to his own welfare, he transported to safety those escaping the conflagration and provisioned them with food and medical supplies. The number of refugees grew to 130. Dr White is angry with the Palaszczuk government. “We had to keep reminding ourselves we were in Australia … the state government failed this mob.” The question is: why?

Police photo of burning homes in Aurukun on New Year’s Day.

Part of the answer, of course, is racism. Not fake racism of the Meghan Markle variety but the real, wicked, left-wing variety. Labor politicians and journalists (a single group) don’t like drawing attention to cultural failures in Aboriginal townships – especially violence against women and girls – because they think intellectually lofty (that is, superior) whites should look the other way, in the interests of ‘tolerance.’ Add to that the gender and party affiliation of the Queensland’s Premier and you realise why a vicious tribal war was – for all intents and purposes – ignored by the media’s phony humanitarians and critics of Scott Morrison’s holiday. Will Premier Palaszczuk visit the town, will Melbourne luvvies have a vigil, will Nicole and Keith donate half a million dollars to rebuild Aurukun, will comedians and musicians hold a fundraiser? Of course not.

Posted in Hypocrisy of progressives, State Politics|25 Comments

A picture is worth a lot of words. CO2 and warming since 1895

A handy picture from an informative paper that provides a long list of counter-arguments about catastrophic warming. I take the point that very little good is done by circulating these things among ourselves, the thing is to get to a wider circle of people. We need to look for the best material to provide to others who are interested but uninformed.

Check out and circulate recent posts by Jo Nova.

The scientifically illiterate bean counters at The Australian are at it again. Vintage Alan Kohler. Bring back the NEG, ignore the science and damn the price and security of the power supply.

The current defensive, “we always thought that” stance, coupled with “I won’t put up electricity prices to do it, or put a tax on them”, to quote Prime Minister Scott Morrison in his ABC interview on the weekend, is a dead end.

That’s because first, he and his party obviously have not always believed in climate change and its connection with extreme weather events, for which there is plenty of evidence including a lump of coal in parliament, and second, anyone who did actually understand the awful risks from global warming would readily put up electricity prices to prevent them, and more. Continue reading

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe|43 Comments

Swarbrick [sw?rbr?k] noun – a believer in cataclysmic anthropogenic climate-change

Reprinted in The Oz from The Economist was an article on how English lags behind in climate change word creation. It’s about how across many linguistic groups but unlike in English new terms are being coined in relation to climate change. There we find this:

Van Dale, a dictionary publisher, lets the Dutch-speaking public vote on its word of the year (in separate contests in Belgium and The Netherlands). For 2019 Belgians chose winkelhieren, or “buying local”. The Dutch went with an imported word that has a good case for being the winner in English, too: “boomer”.

As Chloe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old member of New Zealand’s parliament, was giving an impassioned speech on the impact of climate change on her generation, she coolly dismissed a heckling older MP with a curt “OK, boomer”. The phrase was already an internet meme; Swarbrick made it the talk of the offline world as well.

I’m not sure I can actually think of anyone lower on my list of authorities on anything than “a 25-year-old member of New Zealand’s parliament” but let that be. And myself being one of these baby boomers, whose generation has done so much to lower the collective common sense of the planet, I will remind Ms Swarbrick that what she thinks she knows she learned from us, from us baby-boomers, her teachers and professors at every step along the road of her education.

But what struck me even more in the search for a collective term to describe “a believer in cataclysmic anthropogenic climate-change”, now all so common everywhere, is that in her honour such people should be referred to as a “swarbrick”. It’s the brick part that I find so accurate, as in “thick as a brick”, but also because of how lacking in melody and sweetness the term itself seems to be. You’re just a swarbrick, you climate change ninny. Like Victoria was turned into “Victorian”: we would have swarbrick turned into “swarbrickian” in its adjectival form.

I imagine that Ms Swarbrick would take this usage as a badge of honour.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy|41 Comments

James Delingpole on fire

Australian ‘Climate’ Fires Are Pure Fake News Propaganda.

Posted in Fake News, Politics of the Left|33 Comments

On The Getting of Scott Morrison

THIS morning’s bad Newspoll result for Scott Morrison will arouse party room conniptions and a story-unto-itself nuclear half-life in the media but the figures are only as foreboding as the Prime Minister wants them to be. The poll is a chin cut – bloody but not deep. Yes, a month of causal linkage made by commentators between Mr Morrison’s actions (or whereabouts) and deadly bushfires took a political toll. No surprise there. The bigger the lie, the bigger the bill. But the idea that hundreds of thousands of voters suddenly want Anthony Albanese to hold the reins of Federal power is laughable. Apart from a few notably goofy photo-ops with firemen, he has said and done nothing of any importance or relevance to the unfolding national crisis. His first instinct was to defend the PM when the Hawaii hysteria began. Both men underestimated the journalistic appetite during the Christmas lull for a scandal to rival the cricket as a lazy-days diversion for the bored and the fanatical. The Opposition Leader altered his messaging only when it became clear Mr Morrison was the arch-villain. The poll also shows there was a public appetite for a culpability narrative. That’s no bad thing. The dollar coin has to stop rolling at somebody’s boot-tip. But it’s doubtful the public holds the PM accountable for the fires or their scope and fallout. They realise that’s deranged. No, they mostly hold Mr Morrison responsible for mismanaging his own vulnerability to criticism. He should be on top of such political basics.

Polling aside, the broader hate-campaign against Scott Morrison had three phases. First, a few journalists – all carbon dioxide foes still smarting about yet another electoral repudiation for the cause – decided that a Prime Minister (with two young children) had no right to Christmas leave while bushfires were burning. If he couldn’t man a hose like Tony Abbott or dole out a cut-lunch for the cameras like Mr Albanese, he sure as Adam Schiff could visit some forward areas and a command headquarters; he could be seen to care, in other words. Phase two was predictable: by the time he did return to work, the media had primed those he visited – many of them sullen ferals or “firies” living fifteen minutes of fame – to abuse him. A few even expressed a desire to assault him. Other ‘protesters’ were arrested after invading his family home in the Shire – later boasting their intention was to defecate in the swimming pool used by the Morrisons’ two little girls. Amoral animals like this used to be clubbed by Special Branch in the Bjelke-Petersen era but they now sashay around Australian political life like ennobled heroes. In Victoria, they are a special branch themselves – of the ALP. The third and final phase was something the Nolan brothers’ filmic magicians called ‘the Prestige.’ The ta-da moment when we see what the set-up was all about. It was ‘climate change’ pulled out of a top-hat. Same old rabbit.

Posted in Federal Politics, Media|88 Comments

The History-Making Covfefe-dom of Donald Trump

THE President’s tweet for Iranian dissenters (see Steve, below) has become the most ‘liked’ Persian message in the history of Twitter. That is a remarkable achievement. What Franklin D. Roosevelt did with radio and John F. Kennedy did with television, Donald J. Trump is doing with the internet. Of the three, Trump’s pioneering mastery of a new medium is the most humanly authentic. Roosevelt’s “fire-side chats” allowed a disabled patrician to come across to his listeners as a sympathetic and reassuring steward of America’s fortunes during the Great Depression. Whether or not his administration’s programmatic reaction to the crisis was a good thing – or even worked – is a separate matter.

The televised debate between Kennedy and a badly ‘flu-stricken Richard Nixon in 1960 allowed another severely disabled Democrat to project a confidence and a calmness superior to his opponent’s for a national audience. What physical invisibility did for Roosevelt, cortisone did for the previously rake-thin Massachusetts senator. On Twitter, by contrast, Trump hides no frailty. Not even his haters claim he’s pretending to be something he’s not. Never before in history has a world leader had a real-time instrument of communicative power as he does. At first they laughed. A POTUS on Twitter! Not anymore.

Posted in American politics, Innovation, Media|15 Comments

Bushfires: Pennies on prevention could save the states millions

Today in The Australian

With the flames still raging, it is too early to tell how great the losses from this season’s bushfires will be. Already now, however, the ?commonwealth government has pledged $2bn for a National Bushfire Recovery Agency, while the NSW government has announced an additional $1bn in recovery funding.

Posted in Uncategorized|18 Comments