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JHB

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Lysenko Economics (naming the mess Krugman describes)

In a blog post today Paul Krugman (knowingly or not) describes part of the "Sovietization" of the right:


Portes quotes a three-year-old piece from Niall Ferguson I mercifully missed, ridiculing me as the “man from Econ 101” who believed, foolishly, that huge government deficits could fail to raise interest rates in a depressed economy. Indeed, that is what Econ 101 said – and it has been completely right. Basic IS-LM macro also said that under these conditions printing lots of money would not be inflationary, and that cutting government spending sharply would cause the economy to shrink. All of this has come true.

So Econ 101 has done just fine – and perhaps more to the point, it has made successful predictions “out of sample”, that is, about what would happen under conditions very different from normal experience. This is the sort of thing that produces paradigm shifts in the hard sciences: light bends! Einstein is right!

So why the sense that macroeconomics is a mess? I’d say that it’s essentially political. The type of macroeconomics Portes and I do offends conservative notions of how things are supposed to work in a capitalist society, so they reject the theory no matter how well it performs, and throw their support behind other views and other people no matter how badly they get it wrong. As a result, all the public hears are arguments between dueling economists (some of them not knowing much about economics). That’s a big problem – but it’s not a problem with the economics, which has, once again, been spectacularly successful.
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/economics-good-and-bad/

In the hard sciences there's a name for that sort of thing: Lysenkoism:
The word is derived from the centralized political control exercised over the fields of genetics and agriculture by the director of the Soviet Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Trofim Denisovich Lysenko and his followers, which began in the late 1920s and formally ended in 1964.

Lysenkoism is used colloquially to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism

Lysenko's ideas didn't pan out in practice, but he had the right message (from the Soviet's ideological viewpoint) from the right source (from a good peasant family, the equivalent of the Clark Kent "wholesome boy from the cornfields of The Heartland" image here in the US) at the right timeso the Soviets adopted it wholesale...and like so many things under the Soviets, dissent was "counterrevolutionary": treason, defilement of all that was good and pure, etc.
In 1948, genetics was officially declared "a bourgeois pseudoscience"; all geneticists were fired from their jobs (some were also arrested), and all genetic research was discontinued. Nikita Khrushchev, who claimed to be an expert in agricultural science, also valued Lysenko as a great scientist, and the taboo on genetics continued (but all geneticists were released or rehabilitated posthumously). The ban was only waived in the mid-1960s.

Thus, Lysenkoism caused serious, long-term harm to Soviet knowledge of biology. It represented a serious failure of the early Soviet leadership to find real solutions to agricultural problems, throwing their support behind a charlatan at the expense of many human lives.



Perhaps we should start encouraging use of the term: Chicago Soviet of Economics



Romney "Sick at Heart" Over Bain Job Losses

From Crooks and Liars:
http://crooksandliars.com/jon-perr/romney-sick-at-heart-over-bain-job-losses
Emphasis is mine.
Mods: this is 4 paragraphs from the C&L article. The indented parts are portions where the quoted article is quoting other sources, and are part of the paragraph of the non-indented lines above it.


But as the New York Times documented Friday, large sums of that money were going to Mitt Romney and his Bain colleagues whether their portfolio companies were profitable or not. Put another way, Bain won either way:

Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain's funds.


Cambridge Industries, which filed for bankruptcy in 2000 after amassing $300 million in debt, is hardly unique when it came to Bain's "win even when they lose" business model:

Yet Bain Capital, the private equity firm that controlled the Michigan-based company, continued to religiously collect its $950,000-a-year "advisory fee" in quarterly installments, even to the very end, according to court documents.

In all, Bain garnered more than $10 million in fees from Cambridge over five years, including a $2.25 million payment just for buying the company, according to bankruptcy records and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Meanwhile, Bain's investors saw their $16 million investment in Cambridge wiped out.


"Traditionally," Josh Kosman wrote in his 2009 book The Buyout of America, "cash-rich public companies have paid dividends to lure and reward investors." But private equity firms, he explained, stand this process on its head:

Fourteen of the largest American private equity firms had more than 40 percent of the North American companies they bought from 2002 until September 2006 pay them dividends. In thirty-two of the eighty-three case, 38 percent, they took money out in the first year.

Mitt Romney was a pioneer of this strategy. His private equity firm, Bain Capital, was the first large PE firm to make a serious portion of its money not from selling its companies or listing them on the stock exchange, but rather by collecting distributions and dividends, which in this context is the exact opposite of reinvesting in a company. Bain Capital is notorious for failing to plow profits back into its businesses.


Just how notorious was first detailed by the Times five years ago during Mitt Romney's first presidential bid:

One transaction, involving the medical diagnostics company Dade Behring, took place in 1999 as Mr. Romney was leaving the firm, and the other, involving KB Toys, occurred about two years later. Bain and its co-investors extracted special payments of over $100 million from each company, enabling Bain to make a healthy profit even before re-selling the businesses -- a practice known as "getting back your bait." Lenders say Bain is one of the firms that has taken the most in such payments, which companies usually make by taking on additional debt.

Both Dade Behring and KB Toys soon suffered dips in their business. Unable to meet the burden of their debts, each filed for bankruptcy and laid off thousands of workers. Bain Capital spokesmen have said the company did nothing improper.

Mr. Romney, who remains an investor in Bain Capital, said he had not been involved in those decisions but acknowledged that such payments became part of the buyout business "very early on."

Breaking: Boortz retiring, to be replaced by Herman Cain

AP is reporting that Radio Ranter Neil Boortz is retiring, and that Herman Cain will be the one to fill his rather stinky shoes.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gg_uPcHPMutrfaDdMpwAu84TLYUA?docId=a5e46707d4424d95b7ba024eaaff43f7
ATLANTA (AP) — Conservative talk radio host Neal Boortz announced his retirement Monday after four decades at the microphone, saying he will be replaced by former GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

Boortz said during his morning talk show that his last day will be Jan. 21, 2013, the day of the presidential inauguration. The 67-year-old Boortz said he is in good health and plans to enjoy retirement by traveling with his wife.

"This has been a stress-free job for me. It's just been a total and absolutely joy," he said. "I'm going to miss everything associated with doing a talk radio show."

Boortz's show is syndicated across the country through Atlanta's WSB radio, drawing about 6 million listeners on 230 radio stations.


Radio host Boortz retiring, with Cain to step in

Source: Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Conservative talk radio host Neal Boortz announced his retirement Monday after four decades at the microphone, saying he will be replaced by former GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

Boortz said during his morning talk show that his last day will be Jan. 21, 2013, the day of the presidential inauguration. The 67-year-old Boortz said he is in good health and plans to enjoy retirement by traveling with his wife.

"This has been a stress-free job for me. It's just been a total and absolutely joy," he said. "I'm going to miss everything associated with doing a talk radio show."

Boortz's show is syndicated across the country through Atlanta's WSB radio, drawing about 6 million listeners on 230 radio stations.



Read more: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gg_uPcHPMutrfaDdMpwAu84TLYUA?docId=a5e46707d4424d95b7ba024eaaff43f7



Absolutely Fabulist!
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