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These People Are Insane

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We can gain a guide to the likely sensibleness of Social Europe as a journalistic outlet from this quote:

“Social Europe publishes thought-provoking articles on the big political and economic issues of our time analysed from a European viewpoint. Indispensable reading!”

Polly Toynbee
Columnist for The Guardian

Clearly, they’re going to be entirely batshit on anything economic.

At which point I have to admit that’s just an assumption, an heuristic. A rule of thumb which saves time in decision making. Then they go and do this:

Less understandable was Germany’s postwar aversion to Keynesian stabilisation, as practised in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere.

This aversion, partly ideological, was to prove inconsequential, at least domestically. Germany’s dynamic, export-driven economy performed well by several measures—even if since 1990 its unemployment rate has fluctuated more than in France, Italy, the UK and the US, as assessed by the standard deviation. German austerity proved more consequential abroad, though, as Greece was to discover after the financial crisis of 2007-09.

Domestically, Germany managed that crisis remarkably well, experiencing a much smaller drop in output than the above four comparators. Unemployment fell gradually from 11 per cent in 2005 to 3 per cent in 2019, with only a minor uptick in 2009.

How did Germany do this? Through fiscal stimulus, with encouragement from the International Monetary Fund. John Maynard Keynes had arrived in Germany.

At the same time, ideological opposition to fiscal stimulus from Conservatives in the UK (as with Republicans in the US) bent on austerity wrought a much larger decline in output than on the European continent, as well as increased unemployment. They had turned their backs on Keynes.

Hmm. So, let’s check that:

Does that look to you like Germany did more Keynesian fiscal incontinence stuff than the US or UK? Did less austerity?

Yes, quite, they’re batshit.

What has actually happened here is that our author has assumed that Keynesian spending is good, Germany had a good outcome, therefore Germany must have used Keynesian spending. Without, you know, checking anything.

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