by Henry Farrell on October 20, 2010

“Clive Crook on his blog today”:

bq. idolizing experts and disdaining the supposedly ignorant masses is at least as dangerous. The intelligent use of experts is not straightforward. Technical expertise tends to be narrow, sometimes extremely narrow. Many policy-oriented experts are only too pleased to exceed their limits, pronouncing widely and authoritatively on matters they understand hardly any better than non-experts.

My immediate reaction while reading this was that even if the underlying claim is right, it still sounds a bit rich when it comes from someone whose paid job is every week to pronounce widely and authoritatively on matters where he does not possess any obvious expertise. And then I read the next sentence.

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British austerity open thread

by Chris Bertram on October 20, 2010

490,000 public sector jobs to go, and just wait for the multiplier effects.

“Here’s Joe Stiglitz”: :

bq. Thanks to the IMF, multiple experiments have been conducted – for instance, in east Asia in 1997-98 and a little later in Argentina – and almost all come to the same conclusion: the Keynesian prescription works. Austerity converts downturns into recessions, recessions into depressions. The confidence fairy that the austerity advocates claim will appear never does, partly perhaps because the downturns mean that the deficit reductions are always smaller than was hoped. Consumers and investors, knowing this and seeing the deteriorating competitive position, the depreciation of human capital and infrastructure, the country’s worsening balance sheet, increasing social tensions, and recognising the inevitability of future tax increases to make up for losses as the economy stagnates, may even cut back on their consumption and investment, worsening the downward spiral.