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Response to Demeter (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 12:06 AM

6. In-Crowd Economics: It's Hip to Fear the Deficit By Paul Krugman

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14507-in-crowd-economics-its-hip-to-fear-the-deficit

Back during the early days of the Iraq debacle, I learned that the military has a term for how highly dubious ideas become not just accepted, but viewed as certainties.

"Incestuous amplification" happens when a closed group of people repeat the same things to each other — and when accepting the group's preconceptions itself becomes a necessary ticket to being in the in-group. A fundamentally flawed notion — say, that the Germans can't possibly attack though the Ardennes — becomes part of what everyone knows, where "everyone" means by definition only people who accept the flawed notion.

We saw that in the run-up to the Iraq War, where perfectly obvious propositions — the case for invading was very weak, the occupation could well be a nightmare — weren't so much rejected as ruled out of the discussion altogether; if you even considered those possibilities, you weren't a serious person, no matter what your credentials.

Which brings me to the fiscal debate, which is characterized by the particular form of incestuous amplification that Greg Sargent, a commentator at The Washington Post, calls the Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop....MORE...And at this point, of course, all the Very Serious People have committed their reputations so thoroughly to the official doctrine that they almost literally can't hear any contrary evidence.

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