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Tag Archives: Central Planning

GDP Begets More GDP (Positive Feedback), Report 30 June

Last week, we discussed the fundamental flaw in GDP. GDP is a perfect tool for central planning tools. But for measuring the economy, not so much. This is because it looks only at cash revenues. It does not look at the balance sheet. It does not take into account capital consumption or debt accumulation. Any Keynesian fool can add to GDP by borrowing to spend. But that is not economic growth. Borrowing to Consume Today, let’s look at another problem with GDP. To understand it, let’s walk...

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Cubans Suffer Food Shortages as Economy Enters Crisis Mode

We’ve covered the plight of the Venezuelan economy as it has plunged into chaos over the last several years.  It’s gotten so bad that a year ago, video game money was worth seven times more than the Venezuelan bolivar. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan people have suffered horrible food shortages. Many people in Venezuela have turned to barter just to survive.But Venezuela isn’t the only country suffering the effects of socialism. Cubans are currently enduring food shortages of their own as the...

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The Fatal Conceit of Central Planners Dies Hard

Peter Schmidt has written extensively about the “Confederacy of Dunces” that helped bring about the financial collapse of 2008 and their “fatal conceit.” By fatal conceit, he means the arrogant belief that because of their superior intellect and education, they have the wherewithal to micromanage the economy.One of the members of Schmidt’s “confederacy of dunces” is Lawrence Summers. He served as a senior Treasury Department official during the Clinton Administration and was at the center...

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What Gets Measures Gets Improved, Report 23 June

Let’s start with Frederic Bastiat’s 170-year old parable of the broken window. A shopkeeper has a broken window. The shopkeeper is, of course, upset at the loss of six francs (0.06oz gold, or about $75). Bastiat discusses a then-popular facile argument: the glass guy is making money (to which all we can say is, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”). Bastiat says it is true, and this is the seen. The glazier does make money. Then he introduces the concept of the unseen. The shoemaker...

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The Fed’s too slow

There are a number of weaknesses to using “central planning” in the implementation of monetary policy. Today we see another example—slow decision-making. Whereas markets move at lightening speed, committees of bureaucrats tend to move quite slowly. In 2008, that slowness created a deep recession. I don’t expect that outcome his year, but policy has recently been falling “behind the curve”. Take a look at this FT graph showing the probability of various policy paths in...

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Is Capital Creation Beating Capital Consumption? Report 3 Mar

We have written numerous articles about capital consumption. Our monetary system has a falling interest rate, which causes both capital churn and conversion of one party’s wealth into another’s income. It also has too-low interest, which encourages borrowing to consume (which, as everyone knows, adds to Gross Domestic Product—GDP). What Is Capital At the same time, of course entrepreneurs are creating new capital. Keith wrote an article for Forbes, showing the incredible drop in wages from...

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Which One Wins: Central Planning or Adaptive Networks?

The global economy is in the midst of a grand experiment pitting centralization (Central Planning) against the evolutionary model of adaptive, self-organizing networks. Centralization is the dominant dynamic of the Status Quo everywhere: the economies of China, Japan, Europe and the U.S. are all dominated by Central Planning: central banks, central state agencies, and Deep State / private sector nodes of wealth and power that pull the systemic strings. Central...

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Central Planning Is More than Just Friction, Report 17 February

It is easy to think of government interference into the economy like a kind of friction. If producers and traders were fully free, then they could improve our quality of life—with new technologies, better products, and lower prices—at a rate of X. But the more that the government does, the more it burdens them. So instead of X rate of progress, we get the same end result but 10% slower or 20% slower. Some would go so far as to say, “The free market finds ways to work even through government...

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What They Don’t Want You to Know about Prices, Report 10 Feb

Last week, in part I of this essay, we discussed why a central planner cannot know the right interest rate. Central planner’s macroeconomic aggregate measures like GDP are blind to the problem of capital consumption, including especially capital consumption caused by the central plan itself. GDP has an intrinsic bias towards consumption, and makes no distinction between consumption of the yield on capital, and consumption of the capital per se. Between selling the golden egg, and cooking the...

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Rising Interest and Prices, Report 13 Jan 2019

For years, people blamed the global financial crisis on greed. Doesn’t this make you want to scream out, “what, were people not greedy in 2007 or 1997??” Greed utterly fails to explain the phenomenon. It merely serves to reinforce a previously-held belief. Far be it from us to challenge previously-held beliefs (OK, OK, we may engage in some sacred-ox-goring from time to time), but this is not a scientific approach to explaining observed events. To properly understand a crisis, you have to...

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