Wednesday , October 28 2020
Home / Chris Dillow: Stumbling and Mumbling (page 3)

Chris Dillow: Stumbling and Mumbling

Stumbling and Mumbling is a personal blog of Chris Dillow, an economist who spent eight years with one of Japan’s largest banks. He blogs about British politics and provides thoughtful analyses on the British economy and sports.

Truth, utility & education

Katharine Birbalsingh, headteacher of Michaela Community School, says the Black Lives Matter movement is a distraction. I think her claim is defensible – albeit because it raises an issue many of us would rather ignore. The Times quotes her: The problem with getting angry about racism is it’s distracting. It leaves you with less energy to help you succeed, like working hard. This alerts us to a nasty conflict – between beliefs that are true and those that are useful. It is...

Read More »

The economics-politics divide

Duncan Weldon made a good point recently when he tweeted that the “disconnect between British political discourse and opinion of mainstream economic opinion feels extreme.” Whilst political discourse talks of balancing the government’s books, most economists (outside the IFS) point to negative borrowing costs and think it more important to look after the economy. Instead, whether left or right, we have other priorities: how might monetary policy better support the economy? How can we end...

Read More »

Maskphobia: the face of conservativism

Why do some rightists oppose mandatory face-coverings? Tory MP Desmond Swayne has called them a "monstrous imposition", Peter Hitchens says they leave us "muzzled in face-nappies" and of course James Delingtwat and Laurence Fox have jumped on the bandwagon - although Mr Fox has at least the redeeming virtue of possessing some talent. I don't think the answer lies in the proposition that there's little evidence of masks' effectiveness. For one thing, there is. For another, risk is not...

Read More »

Ideas, interests and capital

One of the problems with being a Marxist is one so rarely gets intelligent criticism. So I was delighted to see Eric Lonergan’s thoughtful reply to my review of Angrynomics. In many ways. I agree with him. He’s right that there is a “vacuum of thought” about economics – a vacuum filled by snake-oil peddlers of nationalism. But this vacuum is much more evident in politics & the MSM than it is among economics. Angrynomics itself is a treasure trove of policy ideas. If we add the work of...

Read More »

Attention, fashion and false consensus

One of the pitfalls of growing old is that one is often befuddled by the modern world. So it is with the reaction to the Intelligence Select Committee's report on Russian influence on UK politics. This has highlighted the fact that Russian oligarchs are using London to launder their dirty reputations and dirty money. But, I splutter, we've all known this for ages, even decades: I've been referring to Chelsea "Football" Club as the money launders for years. In fact, I have a similar...

Read More »

Angrynomics: a review

Picture the typical angry voter. If you’re like me, your image will not be a twentysomething saddled with huge student debt, extortionate rent and a dull job but rather some russet-trousered gammon with no real complaint. Much as I liked it, this is one issue I have with Mark Blyth’s and Eric Lonergan’s Angrynomics. “People have every right to be pissed off” they write, “but please, be pissed off about the right things.” For me, though, our politics is characterized by too little of what...

Read More »

Experts: the Caprice challenge

What do experts know? This question arises from the reposting the other day of an exchange between Caprice and Dr Sarah Jarvis, wherein Caprice argued for an early lockdown and mask-wearing, only to be opposed by the doctor. In hindsight, it looks as if Caprice might have been more correct. Which poses the question, for economists as much as other scientists: how should we talk to lay-people? Here are some suggestions. First, know what you know and what you don’t. As Charlie Munger said,...

Read More »

On cancel culture

In the lively debate about “cancel culture” provoked by that letter to Harper’s magazine, there’s one point which I fear is underplayed. This is that there are understandable reasons why reasonably educated middle-aged people should be surprised and discomforted by what the Harper’s signatories call “moral certainty” and what Janice Turner calls an “angry throng.” It’s because several strands of the western liberal tradition simply don’t prepare them  for this, and have left some of us –...

Read More »

The Deficit Myth: a review

One common objection to neoclassical economics is that it underweights the importance of history and class. It is therefore paradoxical that Stephanie Kelton's The Deficit Myth, which claims to challenge orthodox economics, should be guilty of just these vices. Let's start by saying that I wholly agree with the main claims she makes - that a government which enjoys monetary sovereignty can always finance its borrowing. Asking how we will pay for public spending is therefore daft. Instead,...

Read More »

Reclaiming freedom

We might be seeing a significant political change, with the left reclaiming freedom and anti-statism from the right. I'm prompted to say this by the Black Lives Matter slogan, "defund the police" which invites us to see the state as an oppressor. As Grace Blakeley recently tweeted: People know that the state is fucking them over just as much as their boss or landlord - in fact, it’s helping their boss and landlord fuck them over even more...Rather than saying ‘just give more state...

Read More »