Here I have considered in much more detail whether there is such a thing as a ‘Consumer’ in isolation? I ask if a person’s role as producer is not more important. I look at the part played by interest rates, capital, and entrepreneurs, as well as by the state. I argue that worship of that False God – the ‘Consumer’ – not only slows economic progress in general and encourages heavy-handed and often harmful policies of intervention but also that it leads directly to the wastefulness of Boom and Bust.
I’ve entitled this episode of Cantillon Effects, ‘Duck Hunting’, not because I have any sudden urge to blast waterfowl out of the sky, but because a number of economic canards clearly need shooting down before they can find a safe place to roost in the general consciousness and there begin to breed even more confusion than already exists.
With his latest sophomoric outpourings, Ray Dalio confirms our impression that here we have a man who is undoubtedly a first-class money-maker but who has recently quit that lucrative last in order to display his second-rate intellect by peddling distinctly third-hand ideas.
The phrase on everyone’s lips at the moment is ‘Yield Curve’ – largely for its supposedly unerring ability to predict a recession if not, as its most extreme devotees seem to imply, actually to cause one. But is that a valid interpretation of what is afoot in financial markets and does that jibe with how the real economy is developing?
There must be something in the air this winter – something that is besides the whiff of climate cant and manufactured eco-hysteria emanating from Davos and all the other organs of bien pensanterie. For, everywhere you look, someone is going less than quietly insane, either cooking up or Swedish chef rehashing glaring errors of economic idiocy or sweet-shop window socialism. Bork, bork, bork!
It’s not Modern; it’s not Monetary; and it’s really not much of a Theory If ever there was a prime example of a belief in the Fairy Gov-a-Mother being mixed with a bad case of warmed-over monetary crankdom, the suddenly, newly- fashionable doctrine which masquerades under the portentous-sounding name of ‘Modern Monetary Theory’ – ‘MMT’, for short – must surely qualify.