What’s amusing is that The Economist employs a lyrical framework from John Lennon’s Revolution song, to contextualize their current analysis of blogo-economics. While the late Mr. Lennon fancied himself a working-class hero, the clever writers at The Economist fancy themselves as pop-culture revisionists, capable of synthesizing Liverpoodlian sardonics with marginal economics.
The Economist, that notable London rag conceived in the fervor of British mercantilism 170 years ago, has scored quite a smashing insight with its treatment of Marginal Revolutionaries, on page 51 of the current print edition, the last of 2011. While minting out differences between the the three currently relevent blogecons–Neochartalists, Market monetarists and Austrians–this magazine has also managed to expose its own most fundamental blind-spot.
After a page or two of expostulating on the nuanced difference between the two Keynesian perspectives–the Neochartalists and the Market monetarists, the Economist’s exploratory prose finally hovers about the Austrian school. Those frugal, post-von Mises thinkers, harboring such “pre-Freudian inhibitions” as they do, argue that central banks distort the business cycle with “malinvestment.” The long and short of it is that such overblown, centralized malinvestment distortion diverts precious capital– which should be opportunized for “long-gestation investment projects”– to “more immediate gratifications”, or short-term stuff. Such as, I presume, the meandering shopping notions of a fickle consumer public.
But what really got my goat–cluelessly intuitive Austrian neophyte that I am–is this statement, which occurred at the conclusion of The Economist’s Austrian exposition on page 54 or the article:
“But this malinvestment cannot explain why 21.8 Americans remain unemployed or underemployed five years after the housing boom peaked.”
To which I was, like, lol, and like, duh!: Outsourcing!
What’s America going to do? What’s America going to do now that developing nations are producing, at a third the cost, all those durables that we were cranking out so prodigiously a hundred years ago?
The grand ole days of American industrifest destiny are gone forever! Gone, for the most part, are the washing machine assembly lines. Flownaway are the Maytags and the Whirlpools! Where are the great teeming steam-belching factories of days gone by? Cranking out microwaves and cars and blenders and suspenders and goodness-knows-what-all? Gone to BRICs, almost every one. When will they ever learn? Your unabashedly globalist predisposition doth bare naked your naivete, Mr. Economist.
Back in the day, we used to dig gargantuan tonnages of raw stuff out of the ground and expend vast amounts of capital, labor, energy, and toil and sweat to produce copious goods that were shipped off to Sears and Wards and then Kmart and what not, so that the huddling masses yearning to be free of discomfort and liberated from their meager immigrant existence could graduate to becoming middle class Americans with picket fences double garages dogs in the yard microwaves not to mention tvs and radios and then vcrs, personal computers, xboxes, pet rocks and laptops.
But now? What do we yankess make from nothing now? Carbon emissions? Ha!
Nowadays, about the only thing that Americans produce from raw resources is food: grains and meat, vegetables. The only true wealth that we generate comes from our vast breadbasket of food production, farming and ranching. The third world hath undercut us with their burgeoning new economies, and left us first-worldians in the dust!
Think about that. Its time for us couch potatoes to get back to the earth. Maybe the woodstockian children of God walking along the road (as Joni called them) were on to something: Gotta get back to the land and set my soul (my economy) free. We are stardust, baby! because you see, as Ringo once explained in a car commercial: “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”
Now there’s your Revolution, Mr. Lenin! or excuse me, Mr. Lennon. And there, Mr. Economist, is your fourth estate of the emerging blogosphere econs: the fundamentalist school of economics. To whit: People have to eat. And although they may “consume” manufactured goods and services, they do not eat most of them. We cannot digest iPads, nor iPods, nor drycleaners nor hairstylists, nor federal reserve notes, no matter how easily our banks and bigboxes have quanitatively acquired them.
Oh ye media-lobotomized Americans! Food is where its at. Do your due diligence now; prepare to invest in it. Dig into the back .40. Get your hands soily. There’s the “real” growth potential with which those NGDP (nominal gross domestic product)-touting market monetarist free-spenders will someday eat their theoretical words.