Streetwise Professor

January 18, 2009

The Ghost of Christmas Future?

Filed under: Economics,Politics — The Professor @ 4:06 pm

Whenever I read something about the UK’s descent into suffocating statism on the Adam Smith Institute website, or in my other reading, it reminds me of Scrooge witnessing the grim vision presented by the Ghost of Christmas Future in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.  Unfortunately, rather than treating this, as Scrooge did, as a cautionary tale that demands a drastic change of heart and behavior, we in the US seem perfectly content to slouch along in Britain’s wake, moving inexorably to a dystopian future of political correctness, socialized medicine, intrusive bureaucracy, and a stifling of individual initiative.  The gargantuan economic “stimulus”–a wildly excessive response to a severe, but hardly unprecedented economic downturn–will likely become the Trojan Horse in which all sort of “progressive” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) nostrums will be smuggled into the citadel of American society.  Its baleful effects will far outlast the supposed crisis which it is purported to cure.

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  1. Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking. This stupidity is going to cost us a generation to reverse, if ever.

    Hey, at least the Brits, farther down the road to serfdom, are likely to throw out Labour next election.

    Comment by penny — January 18, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

  2. Yes… I agree by and large with is view. The only counterpoint I can think of is the much talked about “lost decade” of Japan. Apparently, the Japanese decided not to bail out their ailing companies in the early nineties and paid a price for it in a downturn that lasted through much of the nineties. I am not sure about the interaction between the bureaucracy and the industry in Japan… would like to know what the Prof thinks of the Japanese policy.

    Comment by Surya — January 19, 2009 @ 1:24 am

  3. Surya-

    A quick reply. Japan had the worst of both worlds. They spent huge sums on “stimulus”, largely in the form of elaborate infrastructure projects (sound familiar?). Debt went to something like (if memory serves) 140 pct of GDP. They got nothing to show for it. At the same time, Japan dithered in fixing its “zombie” banks that were incubating zillions in bad loans (mostly against real estate that crashed with the bubble.)

    Bottom line, to SWP anyways–(a) fix the banks, and (b) huge fiscal stimulus packages are unlikely to restore vibrant growth.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 19, 2009 @ 8:06 am

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