Skip to comments.Eonometricians Gone Totally Mad in Support of Tyranny
Posted on 12/27/2009 9:21:07 AM PST by FromLori
There has always been speculation among economists who apply a verbal deductive methodology to the science of economics as to why econometricians adopt a worshipful posture towards using equations when attempting to explain the economy.
One theory holds that it provides cover to bring about more intervention in the economy. A current proposal by Yale economist Robert Shiller provides an object lesson in how phony equations are created to advance government intervention.
In today's NYT, Shiller writes: Corporations raise money by issuing both debt and equity, the latter giving investors an implicit share in future profits. Governments should do something like this, too, and not just rely on debt.
Borrowing a concept from corporate finance, governments could sell a new type of security that commits them to paying shares in national profit, as measured by gross domestic product. Notice what Shiller is doing here.
He is taking a real concept, corporate profits and attempting to adopt it in a manner that is very different.
A shareholder in a corporation is actually a part owner of that corporation. Thus, his profits based on his percentage of ownership are entirely understandable. Where else would the money go?
The government is not a profit producing entity. There are no "profits" to distribute. But Shiller seems to imply there are. What the hell is he talking about? Here's where his worship of everything that can fit into an equation turns him into an apologist for state tyranny: Historically, one impediment [to issuing shares that commits to pay a share of GDP] was the difficulty in accounting on a national scale: governments didnt even try to measure G.D.P. until well into the 20th century.
Although G.D.P. numbers still arent perfect they are subject to periodic revisions, for example the basic problem has been largely solved. So why not issue shares in G.D.P. now. Talk about seeing everything through cult like eyes of an econometrician. Shiller thinks a share of GDP "profits" haven't been issued before because it is only recently that econometricians have been able to measure GDP.
Of course, the real problem is that there are no "GDP profits" to distribute. GDP measures in a sketchy method "national production". If Joe creates shoes and exchanges them with Pete for a coat. They each gain, but there is no external profit that the government owns in this transaction. There are no shares in GDP to issue, despite how complex an equation the econometricians can design.
But Shiller sees it differently. Read the last Shiller paragraph I quoted, again: Although G.D.P. numbers still arent perfect they are subject to periodic revisions, for example the basic problem has been largely solved. So why not issue shares in G.D.P. now? What Shiller is really saying here, if we take an eye off his equations, is that the government owns all production and it's about time that the people realize this. Such a claim thus makes it easier for governments to raise money. Shiller is clear about this: Such securities might help assuage doubts that governments can sustain the deficit spending required to keep sagging economies stimulated and protected from the threat of a truly serious recession. Once he let's the cat out of the bag that it is about making it easier for governments to raise money, he quickly shifts into explaining in more detail the equation that will divide up the GDP: In a recent pair of papers, my Canadian colleague Mark Kamstra at York University and I have proposed a solution. Wed like our countries to issue securities that we call trills, short for trillionths.
Let me explain: Each trill would represent one-trillionth of the countrys G.D.P. And each would pay in perpetuity, and in domestic currency, a quarterly dividend equal to a trillionth of the nations quarterly nominal G.D.P.
If substantial markets could be established for them, trills would be a major new source of government funding. This is really all mad mumbo jumbo, except for the last paragraph.
Shiller is designing an equation based on exchanges where there is nothing spun off to create any ownership. He intuitively must understand this, since he then tells us about trills: Trills would be issued with the full faith and credit of the respective governments. That means investors could trust that governments would pay out shares of G.D.P. as promised, or buy back the trills at market prices. [Note: I am not sure what Shiller means by "paying out shares". In another part of his column he talks about paying out from "cash flow". Same thing with his comment as to buying back trills at market price. If it truly is a market price, why would it be necessary for the government to buy back trills, or important to even mention, since if it truly is a market price, they could be sold in the market? This indicates a very amateurish effort by Shiller in his entire proposal that doesn't appear to be even internally consistent.-RW] He brings the full faith of government because Shiller realizes that the only thing that brings value to trills then is plain and simple, the power of the state to tax. That's what "backed up by the full faith and credit of the government" means. It just covers it all up in mumbo jumbo about ownership in GDP.
Shiller then goes on to explain how a trill will pay out based on one trillionth of "the annual cash flow". Which is simply another way of saying that the interest on this type security will be variable based on nominal GDP, but it does so in a deceiving way by suggesting that somehow there is an annual "cash flow"to be divided. There is no such thing. There is simply the ability of governments to tax, nothing more, nothing less.
Shiller's equations do nothing but attempt to obfuscate this fact through fancy equations, so that it becomes easier for governments to borrow money that ultimately must be paid for through taxation or inflation. Nothing new here.
Marxists are becoming desperate. I long for the days of honest Marxists. The Soviets were perhaps the last honest Marxists, deluded but honest about the lack of private property rights. It seems that Shiller’s idea is a default scheme. If the economy does not grow, you will not receive dividends. The pressure to manipulate the GDP numbers would also increase.
I believe that Shiller is a big defender of Social Security so this proposal fits with his crazed belief in entitlement Ponzi schemes. You can never win an argument with those committed to government. Failures only justify the neeed for larger government and ultimately larger failures.
Economics is NOT a science... maybe Sociology, maybe Psychology. Perhaps, ultimately, a branch of ethics. The whole field is a fraud.
Anyone of those “brainiacs” see the global meltdown coming? Thinking they could slice and dice at most $1T in mortgages, good and bad, and come out with somthing worth.. what is it now? - $500T!! These guys lie to suit whoever is paying them the consulting fees..
Smoke and mirrors insanity. Don’t listen to any of them...
Are they the ones that invented "Ebonics?"
By historical standards, the U.S. government ran surpluses, except during war and recession. In the first 150 years, there were what — at least 100 years that showed surplus? So they could sell shares in government profit rather than in GDP. Of course if there is no profit, then shareholders get stiffed for that year.
At this point, I’m not sure who would buy such shares. It might have worked 70 years ago or more. Angry shareholders would have insisted that the government make spending cuts.
It means a media bias to a group of economic thought i.e., liberal economists.
A fool and his money is easily separated and so would be the case to invest in this given the amount of spending unless of course they raised taxes so high and given this fascist government of obama and the banks it is a good possibility that could happen. It would otherwise make zero sense to invest in it as the Chinese are figuring out.
Not all Econometricians nor all Economists think as Schiller does. However - the vast majority at the Ivy League schools do. It has long been known that they are liberal cesspools. The University of Chicago USED to be very conservative; unfortunately, no longer. There is some unfortunate truth to the statement that they mouth whatever the person signing the consulting check or research grant wishes to hear. Evidenced in the recent climate gate scandals - econometricians and economists are no different excepting they are more clever at cleansing data.
All that having been said - God help us all if the government starts issuing shares in GDP.......the mortgage market meltdown was bad enough!
And then, horror of horrors, basically creating derivatives ("trills") from this fanciful and farsical mis-assignment.
It's like assigning miles-per-gallon values, and using the price of water instead of gasoline to compute running costs.
Sorry, water doesn't burn, and government only produces negative value.
"COMMERCE BETWEEN MASTER AND SLAVE IS DESPOTISM"
Bankers Beg God For Forgiveness
They should after donating so heavily to liberals and acorn and wanting climate gate to prosper from!
Economists who study really long term financial issues.
>>Nothing new here.
Meet the New Boss, same as the Old Baal
How long do you think it would be before there would be a call for "equal distribution" of trills. It's not fair to let only the wealthy purchase all the trills since "everyone" contributes to the GDP.
The guys are nothing if not deviously inventive.
No it isn't, but a lot of people who claim to be economists certainly are.