Dismal science

I am easily swayed by most kinds of economic arguments, which makes it easy to convince me of many things. The ones towards the extremes of the spectrum are easier to deal with (i.e. harder to convince me of); for instance I can generally pick holes in statements like:

  • if it moves, nationalise it
  • if it moves, privatise it
  • make all black people the private property of white people and don’t pay them anything
  • start a war to create jobs and boost the economy
  • make the rich even richer so that their wealth will trickle down to the rest of us.

The further towards the middle ground, though, the harder it gets. Am I a Keynesian? Am I a monetarist? Goodness knows. (I do believe in feeding a cold, if that helps, but only because I see no point in multiplying personal misery when an easily obtained placebo is to hand.) Maybe I have some strange idea that human beings are way too complex for this kind of thing and the kind of theory that is appropriate on Monday afternoon may be completely out of touch come the circumstances of Tuesday morning.

But this guy seems to make sense, and I don’t just say that as a public sector employee: “The only way to cut government debt is to increase government spending“. Discuss; or, failing that, tell me where he’s wrong.