Why Scotland’s looming recession is a figment of the imagination and propagandising

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Illustration by Jon Berkerly

You’ll have seen the headlines like this one:

Scotland’s economy “precarious” and on edge of recession, warns thinktank

I hope you won’t be disappointed when I refuse to tackle the idea head on with evidence. I won’t play their game. Unionist economists, journalists, politicians and you, if you can be bothered, can go and browse through my dozens of posts attesting to the rude good health of the Scottish economy. It’s simply unbelievable.

What I will do is simply tell you why you shouldn’t give any of them the time of day or a moment of your thoughts. Here’s why I know it’s tosh without bothering to engage with them.

  1. Economics is not a real science. Economists can often come up with semi-plausible explanations as to why things went wrong in the past but they can never collectively predict the future. There are too many variables and human behaviour is unpredictable. There aren’t enough specifically Scottish data to use anyway.
  2. Economists make assumptions based on what they were taught, what their colleagues believe or what their unconscious mind predisposes them to rationalise after it has decided for them.
  3. Unionists consciously or unconsciously ask questions, select evidence and form conclusions that ensure they get the answers that suit their political stance. I’d do the same if I was a Nationalist economist.
  4. They can’t help themselves. The unconscious mind is much more powerful than the conscious mind and crucially, has been shown to make decisions split seconds before the conscious mind thinks it has made them.
  5. Thus, the recession if it appears will be a social construct and not a physical reality like the weather.
  6. When the media pick up the story it will be propaganda.

 

And:

‘The inscrutability [of economics] is perhaps not unintentional.  It gives endless employment to dialecticians who otherwise might become public charges or, at very worst, swindlers and tricksters.’ Jack Vance

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14 thoughts on “Why Scotland’s looming recession is a figment of the imagination and propagandising

  1. Contrary July 2, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    Haha, thank you for this!

    So, even if you do grasp the meaning of any of the economics, it will be impossible to debunk any claims made because it was all made up in the first place? Excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Contrary July 3, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Well, old Albert was indeed a genius. Except it is a bit tainted for me because he ardently insisted that spooky action at a distance (you know, good ol’ entanglement) was impossible, and caused all sorts of trouble over it with his contemporaries, except that it has now been proven to physically happen. I believe he was so famous in his lifetime that he had undue influence over the world of physics, his approval or not could make or break scientist’s careers, valid theories could be trashed because of his say so. He broke from the team that were developing the theory of quantum physics – you know the famous phrase ‘god does not play dice’ (not exactly what he said, but close enough), but this sentiment is not true – probability is the bedrock of theoretical quantum physics, and it works, nicely, for now. (Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate, is an excellent book)

    In this case, the quote is perfectly valid … Maybe I should have just agreed! 🙂

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  3. broadbield July 3, 2017 / 4:57 pm

    There are quite a few independent minded economists who would say that classical economics, neoliberalism is nonsense. They assume absurd propositions about human nature, that everyone has complete information on which to make so-called rational decisions, for example. See Richard Murphy (on here recently) and Steve Keen for starters. The damage they have done by feeding politicians and central bankers voodoo economics is incalculable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Contrary July 3, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    A friend told me that GDP really isn’t a good economic indicator,, but then could not explain exactly why, so I just have to assume it is, but only kind of. Sigh.

    Broadbield, you believe that Richard Murphy and Steve Keen are giving harmful advice? The latter seemed to have a solid theories on modelling, so I am surprised. What do you think of modern monetary theory? The argument there seems to be than Kensian economics is still based on the gold standard which no longer exists & new economics are required for fiat currency.

    (Sorry professor! Haven’t quite let it go yet. But, no one wants to discuss quantum physics with me 😦 )

    Liked by 1 person

  5. broadbield July 3, 2017 / 6:53 pm

    Contrary, I expressed that badly. I meant orthodox economists have given bad advice; Keen & Murphy are among those who are pointing out the imbecility of neoliberalism and policians’ fetish with austerity.

    Modern Monetary Theory – here’s a little teaser.

    A women goes into her bank and asks for a loan. The teller says, “Of course, madam, how much do you want?”

    Where does the money for her loan come from?

    a) the deposits of savers with the bank;
    b) the Magic Money Tree;
    c) the Bank of England giving money to the bank;
    d) the international money markets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Contrary July 3, 2017 / 9:07 pm

      Um,,, well, it must be (b) The Magic Money Tree,,, surely? Because the money doesn’t actually exist now, just will do sometime in the future. Probably. Maybe.

      Glad to hear Keen and Murphy are okay guys! I wanted to believe so.

      Like

      • broadbield July 4, 2017 / 5:59 am

        Yes, even the Bank of England admitted recently that banks create money out of thin air when they give credit.

        Like

      • Contrary July 4, 2017 / 7:28 am

        Yay! I won! I won! [little dance of victory] … Well, I feel like I’m learning, at least,,,

        Like

  6. broadbield July 3, 2017 / 6:57 pm

    Contrary, I know Quantum Mechanics has passed every test, so far, and is a very successful theory and drives many of the technologies that power modern living, like computers. And so has Einstein’s theories of Special & General Relativity. But the two don’t fit together, so something’s wrong somewhere. As for an electron being entangled with another at the opposite end of the universe – how does that work, since Einstein’s theory sets a cosmic speed limit of the speed of light. Personally, my money’s with Einstein.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Contrary July 3, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    Einstein, in his latter years, was coming up with some fairly contorted ways of thinking, because he couldn’t accept the logical outcomes. There are a few issues with consolidating general relativity, but the problem is likely gravity – we don’t know what it is, yet – just as Gravity is a problem in the theory of everything, it just doesn’t fit. I would have to read up a bit to get my forces & particle physics straight, so we’ll leave that just now. This is why it is so exciting they’ve discovered gravity waves.

    Your disbelief in entanglement, tsk, and it is usually photons that are used, I thought, but it appears not always,,, yes, light speed cannot be breached, but that is why it is spooky. In our usual Newtonian world, quantum tunnelling cannot happen (an outlier in probability terms) but it does – it is happening in the sun every microsecond! The quantum world is amazing. Here is an article from nature from a couple of years ago – entanglement will mean unbreakable quantum encryption if it can be harnessed (fairly boring use to my mind, but I am sure there is lots of money to be made):

    http://www.nature.com/news/quantum-spookiness-passes-toughest-test-yet-1.18255

    You might want to move your money from the the Einsteinian camp … 🙂

    Like

  8. broadbield July 4, 2017 / 6:01 am

    Roger Penrose: Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe. I’ve only read a little, but the title illustrates what’s sometimes wrong about “objective” science. And people have invested whole careers in an idea which they are reluctant to give up even in the face of evidence.

    Like

  9. Contrary July 4, 2017 / 7:37 am

    Oh yes, so true, so true. Accepted doctrine in science can be just as hard to escape now as it was in copernicus’ time. Except you don’t get arrested and tortured for considering alternative views these days. I hope. People find it hard to change their thinking away from what they always thought was fact, especially when their careers depend on it, and scientists are no different – objectivity is always skewed by our subjective outlook. I will be interested to read your summary of the book 🙂

    Like

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