Siegfried Sassoon eat yer heart out

by Henry on December 11, 2009

Charles Rowley laments the cowardice of his erstwhile band of brothers. In verse, no less (or, if you insist, ‘verse’).

Where are all the real business cycle theorists who once argued that business cycles reflect Pareto-optimality? Where are all the monetarists who used to worry about the inflationary implications of massive increases in the money supply? Where are all the financial economists who used to thrust the efficient capital market hypothesis down the throats of Wall Street brokers? Where are all the law-and-economics scholars who used to boast of the efficiency of the common law? Where are all the New Classical rational expectations scholars who used to explain why systematic fiscal and monetary policies cannot influence macroeconomic activity? Where are all those Friedmanians who used to argue so effectively in support of capitalism and freedom?

Where? Where indeed?

Where have all the free market soldiers gone?
Why, they have run for cover, almost every one!
Their models have failed, their math is undone.
They need new statistics and that is no fun.
They dig into trenches to evade the socialist gun.
Their escape routes are cut off, nowhere else to run.
They hide in the darkness and avoid the free market sun.
Come out, come out, counter-attack and be done!

{ 31 comments }

1

Trevor 12.11.09 at 7:33 pm

As Malcolm Lowry put it in “Under the Volcano”:

” –.”

2

rea 12.11.09 at 7:49 pm

What could be more cowardly that to surrender your theory in the face of facts?

3

chris y 12.11.09 at 8:14 pm

What could be more cowardly that to surrender your theory in the face of facts?

Please give three examples of economists who have published statements to the effect that their free market ideology has been falsified by recent events, rather than keeping quiet and hoping that conditions in which said ideology appears plausible will recur before they draw their pensions.

4

Bloix 12.11.09 at 9:48 pm

There was a young man from Japan
Whose poetry never would scan
When they said, but the thing
Doesn’t go with a swing,
He said yes, but I like to get as many words into the last line as I possibly can.

5

Substance McGravitas 12.11.09 at 10:04 pm

Linguists write good,
Economists verse.

6

Maurice Meilleur 12.11.09 at 10:10 pm

Where are the snow-jobs of yesteryear?

7

Brett 12.11.09 at 10:38 pm

I must be missing some sort of in-joke.

Did the models fail or not?

8

John Quiggin 12.11.09 at 10:40 pm

I went to the link assuming that the quote was real, but that the poem was Henry’s own pisstake. Totally pwned!

9

GeoX 12.11.09 at 11:28 pm

Good lord. I clicked the link and saw with my own eyes that the ‘poem’ was not in fact a joke, but in spite of all the evidence of my senses, I still refuse to believe it. Sorry.

10

y81 12.12.09 at 3:01 am

This seems like an empirically false statement (and maybe empirically bad verse, although I suppose there is no such thing as bad “verse”). If we confine ourselves to the blogosphere (which is certainly a lot easier than reading professional journals), it’s pretty easy to find Greg Mankiw and Arnold Kling as free-market types who haven’t abandoned their basic worldviews, don’t think that most of what the Obama administration is doing will be helpful, doubt in particular the efficacy of the stimulus, think that Fed easing is the only useful step that the government can take (and even that may not accomplish much), think that much of the current crisis is attributable to prior government intervention in the housing market, etc.

11

Substance McGravitas 12.12.09 at 3:08 am

I suppose there is no such thing as bad “verse”

http://www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk/poems/pgdisaster.htm

12

Salient 12.12.09 at 3:58 am

I still refuse to believe it. Sorry.

Believe. Mr. Crowley’s blog emphasizes quality over quantity in a clear style which may not enthuse everyone.

And yet there’s still a new post every day, all at a price affordable to you!

What’s not to love?

13

bad Jim 12.12.09 at 8:34 am

What were once vices are now verses.

14

Fr. 12.12.09 at 2:28 pm

I offer two hypotheses:

h1—Economists modify their beliefs (creed) to fit the state of the economy. As a result, there are not many free markeet absolutists left (FM+), but a lot of new “more rules” advocates (MR+).

h2—Media attention changes to fit the state of the economy. As a result, what seemed to be like an overwhelmingly FM+ world of economists has suddenly become an overwhelmingly MR+ world.

Or, the question is irrelevant.

15

max 12.12.09 at 5:26 pm

Where have all the free market soldiers gone?

They’re going on and on and on and on and on… what?

Why, they have run for cover, almost every one!

Oh, so sad, the libertarian dead-ender… Oh, thank God, BOURBON!

Their models have failed, their math is undone.

Remember, remember, the Fifthteenth of September.

They need new statistics and that is no fun.

Au contraire, invent your stats anew – a quick fix – turn them askew!

They dig into trenches to evade the socialist gun.

I know, I know, economists are no fun; first to Godhood, first to fret about Huns.

Their escape routes are cut off, nowhere else to run.

Their losses, their losses, have sizzled their buns.

They hide in the darkness and avoid the free market sun.

Instead of vaingloriously declaring victory: ‘Say, we can pretend we won!’

Come out, come out, counter-attack and be done!

White collar workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but the facts!

max
[‘One good turn deserves another.’]

16

max 12.12.09 at 5:32 pm

Where are all the real business cycle theorists […]

And I might add, even hot air has diminishing returns.

max
[‘Not since the halycon days of Iraq in 2005 have there been so many fish in one barrel.’]

17

Gitane 12.12.09 at 9:04 pm

The language of economics is thriving, however
it’s meaning is dead.

18

Barry 12.12.09 at 10:00 pm

And his latest post, ‘Past Echo or Future Promise?’ (http://charlesrowley.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/past-echo-or-future-promise/), he shows that the Obama administration uses many of the same words (government, obligation, a, the, citizens, health) as

Spoilers…………………………………

Spoilers…………………………………

Spoilers…………………………………

HITLER!!!!!!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

19

notedscholar 12.13.09 at 12:24 am

Is this a song?

20

MR Bill 12.13.09 at 12:27 am

So, he’s sayin’ ‘the market didn’t fail us, we failed the market’?

21

Jim 12.13.09 at 4:58 am

Markets don’t fail,
People do.

22

bad Jim 12.13.09 at 6:57 am

It’s hard to make fun of yet another flavor of “We were right to be wrong and you were wrong to be right.” After Iraq that song doesn’t exactly evoke nostalgic longing.

23

John 12.13.09 at 7:56 am

Ridiculous. The recession was not a result of the free market. Quite the contrary. The entire house of cards was grounded on the government’s insistence that everyone own a home. There are certainly other factors involved, but it is nothing more than a ludicrous assertion free markets are to blame for the recent economic troubles.

24

bad Jim 12.13.09 at 9:43 am

And yet they seem incapable of noticing.

25

Mordaunt 12.13.09 at 2:19 pm

From the latest post on Mr Rowley’s blog:

In 1965, Ayn Rand was rightly convinced that the United States was driftng towards a form of fascism

Truly, a gift that keeps on giving.

26

dr ngo 12.13.09 at 3:27 pm

Truly, a gift that keeps on giving.

Fruitcake?

27

ajay 12.14.09 at 10:43 am

26: a sort of cut-and-come-again magic fruitcake, to be precise.

Markets don’t fail,
People do.

I can’t help hearing this in the same style as “Guns Don’t Kill People Rappers Do”.

28

Peter Whiteford 12.16.09 at 7:35 pm

I also enjoyed his recent comment: “The Roman Empire collapsed ultimately because far too great a proportion of its wealth was squandered on free bread and circuses for its citizens. “

29

Substance McGravitas 12.16.09 at 7:55 pm

If only a few people get the bread and circuses it’s okay.

30

Peter Whiteford 12.16.09 at 9:52 pm

I’ve always thought that semi-perpetual warfare on multiple fronts was a more important cause of the decline and fall than bread and circuses, but there is of course an extremely large literature on the topic.

31

Substance McGravitas 12.16.09 at 11:12 pm

To be fair, some of those circuses had three rings.

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