Friday, June 1, 2012

Speaking of idiots


Anonymous said...

So f&#king true!

Trixie said...

Good one. Another:

On JP Morgan Loss: "This Is How America Works. Some Asshole Clicks a Mouse and $3 Billion Disappears or Maybe a Factory Shuts Down"

Tom Hickey said...

@ Trixie

but that 3 billion never actually existed other than as numbers for keeping score, and the bricks and mortar still remain and can be put to use again. Physical capital is not destroyed but financial capital is.

Dan Kervick said...

Yes. Money Hoarders - a great new program concept for cable.

Dan Kervick said...

I have to confess that I have a jar of pennies on my dresser. I think I need an intervention.

Matt Franko said...

"$3 Billion Disappears "

Trixie dont buy it... these are morons who say things like this.

True balances of NFA in the non-govt sector dont "disappear" except thru taxation.


Trixie said...

but that 3 billion never actually existed other than as numbers for keeping score, and the bricks and mortar still remain and can be put to use again. Physical capital is not destroyed but financial capital is.

Literally? Agree. But tell that to the millions of people that lost jobs and the businesses that closed when someone at Lehman "clicked a mouse". Reassure the Eurozone using that same logic as the banking sector falls in on itself. No biggie.

paul said...

Think of all of the homes sitting vacant and then think of all of th epeople that are homeless.


But we must keep them hungry or they won't want to work.

One of my favorites:

"The coalition believes that the rich must be made richer to encourage them to work and the poor must be made poorer to encourage them to work. In the meantime, the economy stagnates, the prospects of growth retreat before our very eyes and the pain of fiscal consolidation intensifies." (Lord Eatwell - Labour)

Tom Hickey said...

Trixie, finance capital is dangerous economically, but it is war that destroys physical capital. The good news is that nominal mistakes are quite easily correctable through principles such as MMT points out. There was no actual need for the real economy to contract if policy makers had known what to do and done it, i.e., followed MMT policy. Either they were ignorant or disingenuous.

Trixie said...

More agreement Tom. But if we do want to take the metaphor literally, I'd argue there's more than one way to destroy physical capital outside of dropping a bomb on it.

Physical capital also needs to be maintained. In the housing sector, foreclosed homes have been sitting idle for so long, they are basically "self-composting".

I'd imagine idle businesses and factories are facing a similar fate.

Leverage said...

Trixie is spot on.

This is how you destroy nations through deflation. You just let real capital 'fade'.

Practice and know-how are lost, capital goods deteriorate, infrastructures crumble, etc.

This is how 'civilization' dies a slow death. And it can be done using finance as a weapon. We know these are 'nominal' problems.

But finance is a power tool and can be used to destroy real things by exhorting economic power (like austerity policies).

Tom Hickey said...

It's true that idle real resources may deteriorate more quickly, but that it is not a given. What is given is that in default, ownership changes hands. If the new owner doesn't value the property, then the real value declines, too. Some banks would rather bulldoze the structure and take loss the tax write off since it is more profitable to them than maintaining the property. It's generally the land that is valuable.

Trixie said...

And that concludes this episode of Metaphor Hell.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Who is the author of the original quote above?

The quote is just a re-statement of Keynes’s paradox of thrift: i.e. that saving money is deflationary. The quote is wrong to suggest that such saving “impoverishes the entire nation”. At least if an MMTer was running “the nation” they’d know what to do: if there is an increased desire by the private sector for net financial assets, then the government / central bank machine needs to supply those assets via a deficit.

Tom Hickey said...

@ Ralph

Here's what I found by searching:

I myself went looking for the source of this quote and I have seen it questionably attributed to Lester B. Pearson (indeed a former PM of Canada) and also to a murky character called B. Lester, and also, of course, to Jon Stewart. Who knows where the original quote is from.