City Journal Spring 2014

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Guy Sorman
Growing Out of Poverty « Back to Story

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Economics does not lie, but economists do all the time. When two economists, both eminent, both noble price winner, stand on exact opposite views on the same issue, what is the conclusion? That at least one of them is wrong, meaning is lying deliberately or not. Most amazing of all is the each economist accuses the other to be IDEOLOGIC! What a mess...
In the traditional media good news is scarce - Michael Crichton wrote on it somewhere which says it far better than me. Modern media wants a public that is fearful because it keeps them tuned in - "Cold war over? Better watch it a meteor could hit the earth!"

So a story like this will never make the six o'clock news. Or whatever.

That being said, the article is a bit unfocused - you mean Rove is right and we shouldn't worry about deficits?
Alena Hromádková,Prague April 12, 2012 at 6:15 AM
I apologize for the numerous misprints and misspellings in my previous writing. I´ve got alarmed because I could see so many wastages, absurd destructions of national assets and all kinds of systemic corruction one can imagine. And that´s the story of China as well, I am afraid.A lot of work was done but the price was too high for many countries.See John Lanchester´s book " Whoops" (Penguin, 2010) about the world of contemporyfinance...
Alena Hromádková, Prague April 12, 2012 at 5:58 AM
Anatol Lieven in his article ´History is not bunk´(Prospect, Oct. 1998) critised the artificial polarity of the policies " either the developments of a successful western-style free market economy or ´reversion to communism´".He commented situation in C/E Europe and the ruthlessness of the local power elites.
Now Communists, who loved the simplification and did their best to stop all attemps to reinvent a stable political order and the rule of law, are triumhant again.Free market yes but wihout the respect to local tradition a people´s mindset you can get prosperity but also new kinds of moral, intelectual a nd social powerty. I hope that A. Lieven´s arguments are well known. Here all ´home voices´were discredited and silencen in very smart and powerful way, especially here in Prague...
Best news I've seen in a long long time. It is great to recognize the positive drivers of economic and eventually human rights improvements, which are primarily free market economic principles, to the rest of the world.
What a confused mess. That aside, the debate is over, so why is Guy still talking about it? Even the most left-leaning acknowledge the superiority of capitalism. No, the veiled debate here is about when and where government plays a role, if at all. By Guy's article there is no need for democracy for a viable market economy(if China's any indication). And most free market radicals (read Republican politicians) believe that "more must be better" (turned out wonderfully for South America, thanks Milton). But the rest of us believe that even markets that are truly free and without borders (folks, there is no such thing) require careful regulation given human weaknesses. Not to mention that government ownership of industries for which there is no local competitive market (e.g., prisons, parks, energy, highways, etc.) is still the best solution (if you've experience rolling blackouts and 1000% rate hikes since deregulation you can thank neoliberals). All that aside, democracy trumps capitalism (at least that's how it used to be). The will of the majority prevails regardless of market forces. And if you don't like that, you don't have to live here.
Excellent analysis. We have not had a Prez since Wilson so adamantly against free markets and of course, FDR added to that but was not a progressive nutter like Wilson was or Obama is now today. There is no Obama recovery. People are getting poorer. The Dow goes up and down because business does not trust this Socialist. Any business person who votes for Obama or the Reid Senate, should be boiled in BP oil. They are stupid beyond belief and un-American.His energy policy is ruinous. Housing is a bust. And his foreign policy will simply make us a 3rd World nation. I wonder why this analysis above will not not be propped up by the MSM?? LOL
I agree whole heartedly, but have note one problem arising from the wealth generated from free markets and democracy. Many of the most wealthy civilizations in history who were the model for Adam Smiths thoughts about free markets no longer exist today or are in decline. Greece and Italy come to mind both for historic (antiquity) reasons as well as recent trends. So perhaps wealth does have one negative consequence, it leads to poor thinking and ultimately being poor.
And you actually believe this drivel?
You confuse aggregate numbers with mean and scaled numbers. Again.
And equality is only the outcome of economic growth - whether high, medium or low - if the fruits of that growth is at least somewhat equally distributed. You assertion is simple, pure, social darwinist ideology.
And You have the audacity to call Acemogluand Robinson "ideological!" PLEASE!
From what I see around the web it is startling how many people don't see this. It is amazing how many people think the socialist model is the one we follow and they actually say so on a website. World workers party and the many other socialist websites are a testament to the religon of socialism/communism. The branding of Nazism as being the far right side of politics is another propaganda victory for those who would shackle us with socialist ideas. It is hard to imagine but we have an entire political party, the democrat party, who believe instituting socialism is a good idea. Granted, for them it is instituting a fuedal system and they plan to be the royalty.
PLEASE somebody tell our disingenuous prez that not only is he wrong and misguided, he is a century behind.
With totally free markets success is inevitable but so are irrational market moves and extreme economic pain over extended periods of time. Dire poverty and hunger will compel the unemployed to relocate and seek employment, much more efficiently than having unemployment compensation. Allowing banks to fail and depositors lose all their money is much more efficient in the long run than having an FDIC, but those calamitous runs on the banks that periodically occur will cause extreme chaos often enough. Society greatly benefits from rational efficient regulation although it tends to reduce the effects of a free market. Horses run faster without saddles and bridles, but its less painful to ride the horse if you have the means to carefully control the horse.
Globalization all great for developing countries, who are fast absorbing Western science and technology. However it is quite bad for the U.S.! As other large countries catch up, we will lose our power balance and will be far less secure than we are now, when our strength is unsurpassed. Economists for some reason never consider this simple fact: economics and military strength are interrelated.
Many insist that we are so creative, that as long as our markets are open, we will always invent faster than others can absorb it. This is naive. As soon as we invent something, we are transferring the new knowledge abroad for cheaper manufacturing. Furthermore, our large corporations have been establishing R&D centers abroad, and we are losing the invention itself to foreign engineers. That's is the downside of the free market - the absence of protection of the domestic superiority.
"Global warming messiahs, beware: human ingenuity proves able to cope with the predicaments of Mother Nature."

To a point. But part of human ingenuity is to stop digging when we find ourselves in a hole. The warming we've seen so far, about 1/2 a degree C, is, to terribly mix metaphors, but the tip of the iceberg. The extent and thickness of the arctic sea ice is much reduced. The trend is clear. As the summer arctic becomes less icy, dark water will receive sunlight that previously hit reflective ice. That's a positive feedback loop.

All major national academies of science foresee temperatures rising by 2 or 3 degrees C, and perhaps 5, over this century. Past records of crop yields during heat waves, and records of the frequency of heat waves, indicate that if we add 3 degrees to the temperature records of the past and recompute crop yields, we're in trouble.

Human ingenuity can draw the conclusion: a concerted push to develop the technology of wind and solar and new-generation nuclear power, now, can allow us to both have our air conditioning, and not need it so desperately, a century from now.
It is gratifying to see intrusive, socialist government in retreat worldwide and I'm looking forward to the next election to deal intrusive, socialist government here in the U.S. a solid blow just as occurred in the 2010 mid-terms.
46 million people on food stamps in the US? I would say we have a long way to go.
An old economics colleague of mine cracked (in the 1990s) that we should stop talking about export-led growth and start using the term "import-led growth".