SE's Weekly Thread: Economics and politics

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Sir Elliot, May 10, 2010.

  1. Blades,

    In this week's weekly thread we return to our weekly thread roots (these posts started as a series of economic discussions). Since we're in the process of watching the implosion of the Euro, I thought this article would be interesting.

    It's a short blog post, discussing (and linking to) a peer reviewed study in a respect economics journal about the relationship between political beliefs and level of economic knowledge. From the respected Volokh Conspiracy (

    Some of the results in this new article by Zeljka Buturovic and Dan Klein in Econ Journal Watch (a peer-reviewed journal of economics) are startling:
    • 67% of self-described Progressives believe that restrictions on housing development (i.e., regulations that reduce the supply of housing) do not make housing less affordable.
    • 51% believe that mandatory licensing of professionals (i.e., reducing the supply of professionals) doesn't increase the cost of professional services.
    • Perhaps most amazing, 79% of self-described Progressive believe that rent control (i.e., price controls) does not lead to housing shortages.
    Note that the questions here are not whether the benefits of these policies might outweigh the costs, but the basic economic effects of these policies.

    Those identifying as “libertarian” and “very conservative” were the most knowledgeable about basic economics. Those identifying as “Progressive” and “Liberal” were the worst.

    It would be hard to find a set of propositions that would meet with such a degree of consensus among economists to rival these propositions–which boils down to supply restrictions raise prices and price controls create shortages. These are issues on which economic theory is exceedingly clear, well-confirmed over decades of empirical support, and with a degree of unarguable consensus among trained scholars in the field. Apparently the existence of a “consensus” among trained scholars on certain policy issues is less important on some issues than others.
  2. Yep thats exactly what is wrong in America. Foolish people who don't know shit about economics. The people in power know exactly whats going on though. Their not idiots. Corporitism sold as socialism killed this country.

  3. I have significant doubts that the people in power have even a basic grasp of most economic principles :(
  4. It's ok SE, Keynesianism is on it's death bed.
  5. Dude they don't care that were getting fucked over cause they are profitting from fucking us over. They know exactly what the real effects of price controls and all that jazz are, there just corrupt or focusing on short sighted goals like getting re-elected.
  6. The world would be a better place if people understood even basic economics.
  7. What a great study, I was thinking about the positive correlation between stupidity and 'progressivism' the other day actually.

    Where are all the liberal stooges on this site that make it their job to run around defending Obama and shitting on teabaggers? Why don't they ever come into the threads discussing economic topics?

    How very telling. :rolleyes:
  8. Great find on that study. I though it was hilarious that they included "NASCAR fandom" in the survey. Genius!
  9. So, to summate your post Sir Elliot, the stastics show that 'liberals' and 'progressives' are least likely to understand the current economic situation, while 'conservatives' and 'libertarians' (bearing in mind that, outside the US, the term refers to a cluster of socialist, progressive philosophies) know more about economics, on average.

    I guess this can be expected. Liberals usually are scholars of the liberal arts - literature, history, philosophy etc etc. You won't find many conservatives in metaphysics, for example. The same applies to science - a majority of scientists are freethinkers and have no religious beliefs, which has been highly correlated with liberalism. There are obviously exceptions... but there are exceptions to your post too Elliot, there are bound to be liberal students of economics. They're just the minority, the same way conservatives are in science and liberal arts. Different strokes for different folks :smoking:
  10. I think you're confusing fiscal conservative with social conservative. I'm sure social conservatives are just as ignorant of economics as economic liberals.

    Funny how the two most ignorant groups are also the two most dominant, and they're also extremely authoritarian.
  11. Economics = A liberal art. It's not a hard science it's a social science. See liberals don't know anything about economics. :laughing:
  12. Perhaps, but I'm not sure if that study was talking about fiscal conservatism or just straight up social conservatism. If it were talking about fiscal conservatism then it would of been talking about 'fiscal progressivism' or something?

    But I see your point, I think even you fellas would prefer the intellectual company of a bleeding heart liberal to an ignorant Creationist conservative from the bowels of Texas or something... :smoking:

    I never thought of it that way, but shows how much I've researched economics in its formally taught form. You see my point though? There are more liberals in some fields and more conservatists in other fields. Celebrate diversity! Yeah!

  13. Well considering data says that %59 of economics degrees are issued to women and the majority of women are liberal you'd think there would be liberal economists.

    There are they are called socialists.

    Most people who are economists are conservative because once you learn about economics you see government policies affecting the market create extra problems on top of either not entirely fixing or worsening the problem, and your just like fuck that shit maaaaaannnn......
  14. Sure, though it's a generalisation to make - we've all met that insane old lady who can't stand anything modern and wishes things were how they were 'back in the old days'. And, of course, there's Sarah Palin... ;)

    But I guess it's no more of a generalisation than when I say that, because there is a strong tendency for athiests to be liberals and a strong tendency for scientists to be athiests, then scientists are, on average, liberals. Cuts both ways, I'll accept your generalisation if you accept mine. :hello:
    I never thought of it in this way, and that's right too. I guess, if I wanted to nitpick, there is a bit of a difference - socialism is an economic system, but it's quite a bit more too. It's a social system, a political system, you could almost call it a 'creed for society' - however, free market capitalism isn't so much a model for society I don't think, it's more an economic ideology that crosses over into being a social model through praxeology, if I've done my research right.

    I dunno man, if the government didn't enforce minimum wage, 8 hour working days etc I reckon that unions would of sprung up to make these demands anyhow... and if not, then the situation is clearly pretty fucked up with the balance of power tilted way, WAY in the direction of the producer. I agree that a lot of government regulations have been dismal failures and served to create/strengthen/maintain monopolies - but, that said, regulations are much fairer and work better in theory, so I guess it all comes down to whether you want to pursue this now-impractical (but hopefully not forever impractical) vision of 'fairness' as a social goal or give up, saying that regulation fucks up everything and settle for an entirely unregulated free market that will 'regulate itself' (not very secure).
  15. #15 Gooch_Goblin69, May 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2010
    ^ exactly the free market takes care of it with unions. Why do we need to make it ILLEGAL to work for less than $8?

    Also everyone has A DIFFERENT idea of what fair is so to force your vision of fairness is just ridiculous. Forcing people to pay taxes on something they don't want seems pretty unfair to me. Thats essentialy forcing you to spend money. YOUR MONEY. Does the government own our money?
  16. Because if we don't we leave way too much to chance. For example, there isn't neccesarily going to be a bakers union in your little town of 10 000 people. There's nothing to say unions will arise, and there's even less to say that the employer is going to actually take them seriously. Ideally, yes, the government wouldn't be involved and unions would be the regulation... but, like I say, there's so much that can go wrong. On top of that, unions are hardly standardised - you could have a hypothetical union that says "No, we don't want you in our union because you're black", and thus the black guy is forced to work for a sub-par wage or try and find a more tolerant employer - once again, there's nothing to say that this tolerant employer actually exists. No, if we don't have a minimum wage then we leave far too much up to blind chance, coincedence and variability rather than having one system that garuntees worker protection for every worker, everywhere.

    And sure, fairness isn't something that everyone will see eye to eye on. Like I've always said, if you find it unfair then in my imaginary awesomeland I'd say "Well, we have plenty of land to spare and we absolutely want you to be as free as you want to, so if you want to be free of our vision of 'fairness' and create your own, off you go!" If we had surplus funds, we'd probably even give you a bit of cash to get you started ;)
  17. So how do these policies effect sustenance farming hippies that don't give a shit about the capitalist fat pigs world?
  18. Why couldn't the bakers start there own baking bussiness's and try to compete with the first bussiness owner if they didn't want to work for them for a shit wage? Start a home bussiness and sell stuff for lower prices. Eventually that bussiness could grow and become a large employer. High taxes retard growth of bussiness's. Also they do have those anti-discrimination laws.

    So your entitled to a job just for being alive?
  19. The short answer to your question is money, my friend. These bakers getting paid their shitty wage are gonna have a hard time creating a bakery. I agree that potentially it could all work out, they could impliment a very efficient and organised business plan, be benevolent employers and thus attract the best bakers, bake some awesome fuckin bread and become kings of the baking industry. But, as said, where's the money going to come from? Banks, with all of their gross manipulations and the gigantic risk that your business will fail and you'll be heavily in debt?

    On top of that, not everyone has the skills to do such a thing. You might have a fantastic baker, the best in the land. But he also might happen to have no organisational skills, not work terribly well with other people and basically not be fit to run the show. You might say "Get a manager!", but again, it takes money. Also, not everyone has the inclination to start a business, it literally might not occur to some people.

    On top of THAT, baking is quite a friendly example to your theory. Suppose we have construction workers, crane drivers, oil drillers or any other occupation where they're getting paid shit but there's no way in HELL they can start their own business? As you can probably imagine, there are enormous obstacles to starting a construction company. You might say "Well, the original employer did it, his skills and resources are the reason the company is what it is so he can pay what he likes."

    Morally, that sits very, very badly with me, it's really an abuse of a power that not everyone can or does weild. Under your free market system though, he does have the right, and that's what gets to me I guess.

    And sure, everyone has a right to a job or some kind of livelihood.

    Edit; Aren't anti-discrimination laws regulation that infringe upon the freedoms of the employer in just the same way as forcing them to pay a minimum age infringes on their freedoms?
  20. Well, I doubt they are responding to polling and surveys... so I don't think it applies ;-)

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