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Nicholas Gruen
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Hmm, Well this is the first post of yours that I've read Chris that I've ever strongly disagreed with. Of course things could turn out OK. In fact I'm probably OK with your suggestion that Brexit could turn out not too bad - after all at least the economic models say it's a modest hit. But the idea that I can relax about the harm Donald Trump could do? I'm sorry but while - again - nothing much could happen, in which case if Trump doesn't court disaster perhaps it won't happen to us - fairly dramatic things tend to happen in the space of four years giving Trump plenty of time to do terrible things. When the twin towers fell in 2001 the Bush jnr presidency was turned from a likely non-event into a cascading set of disasters we're still not over. In such cases actual harm can easily massively outweigh expected harm. I'm not sure that monetary losses should be compared with starting wars.
Toggle Commented Jan 1, 2017 on A new year's message at Stumbling and Mumbling
Commonsense really. Anyway, there's so much wrong with the masculine idea of dialogue as contest in the free market for ideas (rather than dialogue as cooperation and joint search). But it's main problem is the entirely practical one that we're highly emotional creatures - our emotions sit behind our 'reason' helping us wield it decisively and with intuitive insight. So rudeness - as opposed to civil and even charming directness - is an almost sure-fire way to derail reason and get people responding personally and emotionally. I'm reminded of Nietzsche's marvellous opening to Beyond Good and Evil Supposing truth to be a woman – what? is the suspicion not well founded that all philosophers, when they have been dogmatists, have had little understanding of women? that the gruesome earnestness, the clumsy importunity with which they have hitherto been in the habit of approaching truth have been inept and improper means for winning a wench?
A fair summary as a description of first round effects in the world as it is now. But it's in the framing - and governments - as opposed to oppositions have a lot of ability to frame what they're doing. Before the failures arrive this can look like good politics. That's what the policy is in opposition. If it's implemented then its champion is in government. If the investment is framed as a portfolio investment and it's made clear that standard operating procedure will be that most investments fail then that should insulate a government with any skill in putting its case from most of the flak. One can imagine this being a bit dicey until there's some success, but if one can have some reasonable signs of success in the first couple of years, you just point to them when the failures are pointed out - together with reporting from the relevant agency managing the portfolio. And a lot of failures take quite a long time to fail! So I would have thought this problem isn't too hard for a government seeking to develop a new narrative.
I'm sympathetic to the philosophy of liberalism - amongst other creeds. Libertarianism not so much, because it reflects its philosophy is disembodied - as if our lives should be ruled by a set of intellectual principles - with one principle itself reified above all others - rather than those principles interpreted within the bonds of our individual experience as socially constructed beings as Adam Smith might have written if he'd written the Theory of Moral Sentiments according to modern lingo.
Toggle Commented May 16, 2015 on Hating libertarians at Stumbling and Mumbling
It's sensible to draw attention to the various contrasts, but beyond that I'm not sure what one can get out of it. Australia was one of the most aggressive in using fiscal policy and it is benefiting from China's strength. As for the idea that monetary policy can substitute for fiscal policy if you're not at the zero bound, that might be true in the medium term, but not in the short term. Australia was able to dump a fiscal expansion of 1% of GDP into its economy within a couple of months of deciding to act - in (from memory) Oct 2008. Cheques were in the mail by December giving us a great Christmas - unlike just about everyone else.
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Mar 13, 2010