I used to be a ignorant of economics

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I guess you could say I was a principled, albeit non-collectivist Liberal. I was anti-war and pro-civil liberties. But I didn't know squat about economics. I learned the typical public version of American economic history. But, being open-minded, I read other viewpoints. I read Capitalism and Freedom by Friedman. It was pretty good but was lacking. I personally didn't like Friedman because he seemed like too much an apologist for Republicans and Reagan. He opposed the gold standard and didn't seem to take any hard-core foreign policy positions. Although, he was against the draft. Then I found Murray Rothbard. He supported a hard-core anti-war pro-free market position. No compromise. Here and here are two eviscerations of the supposed laissez faire Reagan. One looks at his record and one takes down Reaganomics from a free-market position.

Here's a partial Bibliography

LysanderSpooner's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm


Probably finding economists you can agree with isn't the best way to learn economics.

Economists well-versed in economic history going back many, many centuries is a better choice. Phoney-baloney of the present doesn't have to be repeated when you see how it worked in the past.

All economies are engineered by nation-states for specific results. That's been so since the establishment of the first one....Ancient Egypt.

Some have been engineered to work for the majority...some have been engineered to work for the few.

Unless you comprehend how that's done, you'll learn nothing. I'd suggest economic historian Adam Tooze as a starter. "The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy", is a masterpiece.

It flies in the face of most economic theory...including Austrian Theory. Hitler nearly conquored the world by tossing acceptable theory in the waste bin.

Michael Hudson is another. He's well versed in economic functioning all the way back to Ancient Summeria, yet has present day experience as a Wall St. Analyst and an economics research professor at the Univ. of Mo.

He's the one who saved Iceland's fanny while the rest of Europe is going into meltdown. Of course, he had to fly in the face of economic theories promoted for the last 150 years to do that.

If something didn't work centuries ago, it isn't going to work now.

I'd recommend catching up on modern monetary theory. The alternative to the global meltdown still underway. The alternative to austerity is prospserity. The only thing getting in the way of that is non-sensical theory passed on as truths.


The proof/dis-proof of any theory is how it functions....or has functioned...in the real world, isn't it? Most theory has been dis-proven centuries before it was written. Through studying economic history, you can eliminate nearly all of it. That makes room to see what is actually so.

Probably instead of insisting economics conform to ideology, we should have systems that function according to economics. Insisting apples dropped from a tree fall upwards is what we are doing with economics. Things work as they work...not as we'd prefer them to.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I would say that any time you are reading an economist who can be said to be pushing any political point-of-view at all, you are probably not learning economics at all. You are learning politics. Von Mises, even Krugman would be prime examples of this. Real economics is very dry and boring to read because it contains no emotional or subjective material like "freedom" or "prosperity". It has lots of math in it. Most people find it ery unpleasant tnd tedious to study.

Political message boards are for learning politics, not Economics.

Art's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Here's some comments on economists from economist Richard Wolff on the Bill Moyers show last week. Keep in mind he has attended Yale, Harvard and Stanford.


"RICHARD WOLFF: Well, you know, in the history of economics, which is my profession, it's a standard play on words. Instead of talking about how the economy is shaped by the actions of consumers in one way, workers in another way, corporate executives in another way, we abstract from all of that and we create a myth or a mystique. It's called the market.

That way you're absolving everybody from responsibility. It isn't that you're doing this, making that decision in this way, it's rather this thing called the market that makes things happen. Well, every corporate executive I know, knows that half of his or her job is to tweak, manipulate, shift, and change the market.

No corporate executive takes the market as given. That may happen in the classroom, but not in the world of real business. That's what advertising is. You try to create the demand, if there isn't enough of it to make money without doing that. You change everything you can. So the reference to a market, I think, is an evasion.

BILL MOYERS: Was this the economy you were taught at those three elite institutions to celebrate?

RICHARD WOLFF: No. No, this is the economy that I came to understand is the reality. For me, and I learn things at all those institutions, it's not that. I came to understand that in America, economics is a split, almost a schizophrenic kind of pursuit. And let me explain. On the one hand, there are the departments of economics in colleges and universities across America.

But side by side with them is an entire other establishment that also teaches economics. You don't have that in other disciplines. There aren't two history departments or two anthropology departments, or two philo-- so what is this? I looked into this. It's because there are two separate functions performed by the economics departments and then by the other ones.

And the other ones are called business schools and business departments. In fact, in most universities, in all those I've been at, the economics department is in one set of buildings, and across the campus in another is the business school. And there's actually tension in the university about who teaches the basic courses to students that they're required to take and so on.

Here's what I discovered. The job of economics, to be blunt but honest, is to rationalize, justify, and celebrate the system. To develop abstract theories of how economics works to make it all like it's a stable, equilibrium that meets people's needs in an optimal way. These kinds of words are used. But that's useless to people who want to learn how to run a business, because it's a fantasy.

So they are shunted someplace else. If you want to learn about marketing, or promotion, or advertising, or administration, or personnel, go over there. Those people teach you how the economy actually works and how you'll have to make decisions if you're going to run a business. Over there, you learn about how beautiful it all is when you think abstractly about its basic principles.

BILL MOYERS: But so few have done that. As you know, as you've written, as you have said, we've not had much of a debate in this country for, I don't know, since the Great Depression over the nature of the system, the endemic crisis of capitalism that is built into the system. We have simply not had that kind of debate. Why do you think that is?

RICHARD WOLFF: Well, I think we have had it from time to time. We have had some of the greatest economists in the tradition, for example, Thorstein Veblen, at the beginning of the 20th century, a great American economist, very critical of the system. Someone who taught me, Paul Sweezy, another Harvard graduate. These are people who have been around and at various times in our history, the beginning of the 20th century, during the 1930’s, again in the 1960’s, there was intense debate.

There has been that kind of thing in our history. I mean, we as Americans, after all, we take a certain pride, which I think is justified, we criticize our school system. We just spent two years criticizing our health delivery system in this country. We criticize our energy system, our transportation system.

And we want to believe, and I think it's true, that to criticize this system, to have an honest debate, exposes flaws, makes it possible to repair or improve them, and then our society benefits. But then how do you explain, and that's your question, that we don't do that for our economic system?

For 50 years, when capitalism is raised, you have two allowable responses: celebration, cheerleading. Okay, that's very nice. But that means you have freed that system from all criticism, from all real debate. It can indulge its worst tendencies without fear of exposure and attack. Because when you begin to criticize capitalism, you're either told that you're ignorant and don't understand things, or with more dark implications, you're somehow disloyal. You're somehow a person who doesn't like America or something."

Jun. 29, 2012 10:24 am
Quote LysanderSpooner:

I used to be ignorant of economics.

Used to? With all due respect, with your incessant posting of Libertarian propaganda increasing exponentially on a daily basis, I'd say you still have a ways to go in understanding how economics works in the real word....

norske's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The last paragraph also requires you, as a good American, to accommodate fraud and deceit, even celebrate it. You will always stay out of jail because you're a banker, or trader, or too big to fail. Business schools do teach the cheat now. How to abrogate legally negotiated contracts , how to screw the stockholders, the bondholders and the employees in one fell swoop is Americam capitalism at it's finest.

Enron as a case study and how they went wrong is not an ethics issue, but an execution issue. How they got caught. and how you can prevent the same mistake is a worthy subject for a disertation.

Remember, those defrauded by Jaime Dimon were sophisticated investors that knew everyone lies, cheats, and steals. At least that was their defense, and it worked. The pinnacles of wall street admitted fraud and are still celebrities within their bubbles of exclusivity.

I think some godfathers of crime families have more integrity than wall streeters. [maybe wall streeters ARE crime family members]

douglaslee's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I believe Libertarianism and Ayn Rand Objectivism are more akin to Apple Users, Raw Foodists, Moonies and other cult movements than they resemble any political movement. What is sad is the mainstream Republican Party is now so much more aligned with the same nutbags than any rational thought-based pragmatism.

Phaedrus76's picture
Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm
Quote Art:

I would say that any time you are reading an economist who can be said to be pushing any political point-of-view at all, you are probably not learning economics at all. You are learning politics. Von Mises, even Krugman would be prime examples of this. Real economics is very dry and boring to read because it contains no emotional or subjective material like "freedom" or "prosperity". It has lots of math in it. Most people find it ery unpleasant tnd tedious to study.

Political message boards are for learning politics, not Economics.

Actually, Art, politics is 90% economics. It's about who gets what out of the national economic pie and how to accomplish it, I guarantee you that bailing finance to the tune of $11 trillion plus through Quantititive Easings 1, 2 and 3 was an economic choice with politics behind it. A bad choice..

Budget cuts in order to maintain the privatized money-creation system is another.

90% of politics is economics. If you don't understand the basics, you're going to get bamboozled with nonsense for every action of the Federal Government and it's phony justiications.

The majority of Americans are economically ignorant. That makes them politically naive. They've voted for exactly where we are today regardless of which wing of the Corporate/Financial Party they voted for.

Spaniards, Greeks and Italians are throwing out their major parties. The economics behind politics is hitting them in their wallets.They are beginning to understand it. Americans don't.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"


Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The Scandinavians understand the enemy. Norway is in Shengen but not Eurozone. Sweden and Denmark are in Eurozone and Schengen, but not the Euro common currency. Iceland did all three and had to correct. Finland is in the Euro but I don't know how they're doing. The 3 + Iceland are doing fine. The big 3 have surpluses and a growing economy. Iceland is growing but I don't know their budget. They also don't kick people out of their houses to protect tax cheats like American's do. They also don't let radio nutcases educate themselves. PT Barnum is smiling gleefully at tea party driven self flagellation. Here is your hair shirt you pea brained libertarian loons.

douglaslee's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Is the Republican Party Fit to Govern?

Repeal and replace is dead.

Long live repeal and replace!

Whatever the fate of the Senate GOP's so-called healthcare bill, this chaotic week of Obamacare repeal makes one thing very, very clear: the Republican Party is simply not to fit to govern.

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