Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chomsky Debate

Initial contact:

Webb: "
Since you seem to think Adam Smith was such a great guy, I would like for you to examine his monetary policy momentarily. In Book I, Chapter V, he suggests that a corn standard is the best choice in the long run, while a silver standard is the best choice in the short run. Since this makes it more difficult for college students to pay off their debts--Smith thinks it is the optimum solution.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN2.html#B.I, Ch.5, Of the Real and Nominal Price of Commodities

Let us first look at some recent statistics from the US. In reality, there is not much difference between corn and silver production since 1960. Both have increased by nearly 300%.

http://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?country=us&commodity=corn&graph=production
http://minerals.usgs.gov/ds/2005/140/silver.pdf

Therefore, Adam Smith is obviously wrong in more than one way.

Furthermore, since 1960, integrated circuits have increased remarkably in relation to corn, and this has required an enormous amount of ingenuity, and even labor. And no, ingenuity and labor are not equal, or cattle would rule the world. So this begs the question as to why farmers with pitchforks should be worth more than the middle class. But of course, you teach at an institution that is in partnership with formerly Calvinistic Harvard, and even lowly M.I.T. has been granted a $10 billion endowment in its own right, which is why you love Smith so much. Fuck the college students; right? It's a good thing that you think the English monarchy is such a joke btw, because the middle class of England (and even Scotland) thought the same thing about Oliver Cromwell.

P.S. A monarch (Charles II) created the Royal Society of which your so called "Scottish" enlightenment developed. It doesn't bother the middle class of England that you see royalty as something that shouldn't be taken seriously, for the intellectuals and artists of the USA haven't taken learning institutions in Massachusetts seriously ever since the transcendentalists began pulling pranks on Unitarian zombies from Boston. Isachaar isn't so bad, but beware the Tribe of Zebulun. Even the groundwork of the US constitution was the work of a monarch. I'll take an Englishman of Judah over a "commie" from HSBC anytime.

"I.5.13
The rents which have been reserved in corn have preserved their value much better than those which have been reserved in money, even where the denomination of the coin has not been altered. By the 18th of Elizabeth*13 it was enacted, That a third of the rent of all college leases should be reserved in corn, to be paid, either in kind, or according to the current prices at the nearest public market. The money arising from this corn rent, though originally but a third of the whole, is in the present times, according to Doctor Blackstone, commonly near double of what arises from the other two-thirds.*14 The old money rents of colleges must, according to this account, have sunk almost to a fourth part of their ancient value; or are worth little more than a fourth part of the corn which they were formerly worth. But since the reign of Philip and Mary the denomination of the English coin has undergone little or no alteration, and the same number of pounds, shillings and pence have contained very nearly the same quantity of pure silver. This degradation, therefore, in the value of the money rents of colleges, has arisen altogether from the degradation in the value of silver."


I.5.17
Labour, therefore, it appears evidently, is the only universal, as well as the only accurate measure of value, or the only standard by which we can compare the values of different commodities at all times and at all places. We cannot estimate, it is allowed, the real value of different commodities from century to century by the quantities of silver which were given for them. We cannot estimate it from year to year by the quantities of corn. By the quantities of labour we can, with the greatest accuracy, estimate it both from century to century and from year to year. From century to century, corn is a better measure than silver, because, from century to century, equal quantities of corn will command the same quantity of labour more nearly than equal quantities of silver. From year to year, on the contrary, silver is a better measure than corn, because equal quantities of it will more nearly command the same quantity of labour.*21"


Chomsky: "
Have no idea what this has to do with AS, or with anything I’ve said about him."

Webb: "The point I am making is that it would be helpful to at least disclose this side of Smith. He's a bit like a wild wolf. The potential is there. He even seems elegant on the surface. But although his diagnosis is correct in many ways, there are teeth in his prescriptions. Indeed, I like to call Smith and Keynes the Twins of Economics. They both share the same birthday, and they're almost polar opposites. Keynes believed in printing fairly large amounts of money to stimulate the economy (in comparison to elite metallic standards), but the problem is the money flows from a top-down perspective, which obviously creates an entirely different sort of authoritarianism: instead of the black and white world of the Wizard of Oz--bankers, construction workers, and real estate agents dominate society. I also find it strange that you have argued Mexico has been hurt in recent times by US economic policy. The second largest source of national income (besides oil) in Mexico has been worker remittances from the United States (until recent times), and the majority of this money was the result of the construction industry within the USA. And even though NAFTA has harmed Mexican agriculture, the country has benefited overall from an influx of manufacturing jobs, which is why many Mexicans are now choosing to stay within their own country rather than easily avoid any walls and/or legal barriers. Of course, you live in the northern USA, which lost those manufacturing jobs, and therein lies the actual problem."

Chomsky: "It would make perfect sense in a study devoted to AS, say an intellectual biography.  But I’m not writing that.

Mexico has been very severely harmed by NAFTA.  The fact that remittances is a major income source is one illustration of the harm to the Mexican economy, as is emigration altogether.  There have been manufacturing jobs, but it’s very fragile, in transit to even cheaper labor, and tends to be quite isolated from the general economy.  For details on all of this, see among others the studies by the Economic Policy Institute and Center for Economic Policy and Research, a lot available on line.  Those are surely among the reasons why Mexico has had about the lowest growth rate in Latin America since NAFTA – and it’s incidentally also why Clinton began militarizing what had been a pretty open border as soon as he rammed NAFTA through over public opposition."

Webb: "To be fair, in your article "Education is Ignorance" you mentioned how people merely read snippets of Adam Smith rather than the entire work in context, which is why I brought it up. 

Regarding remittances and emigration--this is largely a natural result of the Gravity Model of Trade, and I hardly see how construction remittances harm anyone in Mexico overall: they might lose some skilled laborers, but if more wealth goes back to Mexico than would occur if those laborers were working in Mexico--it is a net benefit. Growth rates aren't everything either. The USA has lower growth rates than China, but most of this is the result of convergence. Mexico's GDP per capita is $14,700. Guatemala's GDP per capita is $5,100. Honduras's GDP per capita is $4,400. And Nicaragua's GDP per capita is $3,100.

This has been going on for a very long time. I obviously do not take the Bible literally, but when Deuteronomy talks about Joseph pushing people to the ends of the Earth, I think it's fair to say people have been travelling to the poles ever since we've been coming out of the last ice age. Even the fabled Northwest passage is opening up above Canada, and one thing Adam Smith did note quite accurately is the power of the ocean in the transportation of goods, which is another reason why the northern nations have been dominant. It's actually frightening how much untapped potential the US, Canada, and Russia have. There are less people living in the US, Canada, and Australia combined than there were people living in China alone in 1950 (we've also had a third industrial revolution since then thanks to computers/internet), and from a spatial economic perspective, these nations not only have a centralized location, but they possess a ridiculous amount of coastline, freshwater resources, and sunlight. 

In the case of the USA, the main reason why the population is so low is in large part the result of harsh monetary policies that have made housing and education prices artificially high thanks to those goods/services being in bed with the Keynesian banks. Nevertheless, tuition wasn't really a problem in the UK in particular until devolution, which is probably why our universities still rank so highly in US News despite our small population size/natural resources relative to the USA. 

Of course, anyone from the USA that trusts political scientists/economists from Cambridge is a moron. The colonies make it too easy for us sometimes. ;)

 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuition_fees_in_the_United_Kingdom

Chomsky: "To be fair, in your article "Education is Ignorance" you mentioned how people merely read snippets of Adam Smith rather than the entire work in context, which is why I brought it up. 
Afraid I have no idea why you brought it up.  There was a good and very clear reason why I picked specific parts of AS that are omitted by those who tell us to worship him.
Regarding remittances and emigration--this is largely a natural result of the Gravity Model of Trade, and I hardly see how construction remittances harm anyone in Mexico overall: they might lose some skilled laborers, but if more wealth goes back to Mexico than would occur if those laborers were working in Mexico--it is a net benefit.
I presume you know nothing of the lives of undocumented immigrants, or of their families.  If you did, you’d be ashamed of yourself for writing the passage.  I happen to live among some of them, and know many others, and will not even comment.  But there’s good literature on the topic, if you are interested.
Growth rates aren't everything either. The USA has lower growth rates than China, but most of this is the result of convergence. Mexico's GDP per capita is $14,700. Guatemala's GDP per capita is $5,100. Honduras's GDP per capita is $4,400. And Nicaragua's GDP per capita is $3,100.
Convergence is an extremely dubious concept, as current specialist literature regularly explains.  Growth rates for Latin America are a radically different matter.  You can’t escape from the harmful effects of NAFTA that way.  And I’m frankly shocked at your comparison.  Do you know anything at all about the history of the Central American countries, and about the hideous record of US intervention?  Did it ever occur to you to look at the remarkable correlation between misery in the Central America/Caribbean region and US intervention?
I’m afraid I’ll skip the rest."

Webb: "
I presume you know nothing of the lives of undocumented immigrants, or of their families.  If you did, you’d be ashamed of yourself for writing the passage.  I happen to live among some of them, and know many others, and will not even comment.  But there’s good literature on the topic, if you are interested.

That's really funny coming from someone living in Boston when I actually live in Las Vegas. That's just to let you know how full of shit you actually are deep down and how honest I really am."

Chomsky: "
Glad to know how honest you think you are.
If you knew anything about immigrants, you’d know, for example, that there is quite a large undocumented Mayan community near where I live, with whom I’m in close contact.  And you might even know why they are still fleeing from Reagan’s support for virtual genocide, and its consequences.  Among many others.
But I’d prefer to continue to believe that you really do know nothing about immigrants here or their families in Latin America, or about the reasons for the devastation of Latin America that you bring up.  That’s a much more sympathetic view than the alternative: that you actually do know something."

Webb: "
First of all, even more than manufacturing in general, NAFTA has brought enormous competition to the electronics industry specifically. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mexican-consumer-electronics-industry-second-largest-supplier-of-electronics-to-the-us-market-131233479.html

"
between 2003 and 2009, Mexican electronic industry exports registered an average annual growth of 17.1 percent."

Furthermore, 
"Mexico has been responsible for exporting USD $71.4 billion in consumer electronics and devices in 2010, an increase of 20 percent over the previous year."
PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1bKGn)

I would say that when it comes to electronics in particular, that the Mexicans are converging rather quickly. Part of the argument against convergence is that it doesn't work quickly with industries that are subject to natural resources (poor soil and low infrastructure in developing countries), but that obviously isn't the case with engineering in Mexico.

Also, notice how much higher the HDI is for the northern Mexican states closer to the border thanks to remittances.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mexico_HDI_states.svg

Personal anecdotes don't hold water in economics anyhow."

Chomsky: "Your quite right about one thing: personal anecdotes don’t mean anything.  That’s why I didn’t offer any in referring you to the literature that refutes your beliefs about Mexico and NAFTA.  Or anything else apart from responding to your stream of hysterical insults.
I won’t repeat the sources, but you can check if you look.  What you present here is beyond meaningless, even by the standards of business PR.  Take the first.  Mostly multinationals, glad to exploit cheap labor and rotten working conditions in Mexico, with very limited linkages to the Mexican economy.  But I’m not interested in taking the time to educate you.  You can turn to serious sources, such as those I cited.
As for “remittances,” it takes either extraordinary callousness, or complete lack of understanding of the lives of immigrants here or the families in Mexico to even produce these words.  But I’m not your moral instructor either."

Webb: "
What you haven't offered is any actual data to support your beliefs other than empty promises whilst blaming me for remaining in "ignorance." This type of behavior is typical of sociopaths. As for myself, on the other hand, I've presented plenty of evidence from wikipedia, and other valid sources, but this is apparently below your pay grade at the illustrious M.I.T., which is a rich school near a Mayan community that somehow made its way to New England thanks to American/British/Israeli oppression. People in that part of the country haven't heard a story that ludicrous ever since Joseph Smith pitched the Book of Mormon, but then again, even the Mormon community does more for Mexico than Bostonians."

Chomsky: "
You’re quite right that I didn’t cite the data that refutes your misunderstandings.  Rather, I referred you to sources, the way matters proceed in rational discussion.  You also referred to sources, but as I pointed out, they are pretty poor even by the standards of business PR, for the reasons I mentioned.

You may try to evade all of this by a stream of slander, or by ridiculing those who have fled, and are fleeing right now, from horrendous atrocities backed by the US with the enthusiastic support of Ronald Reagan.  That tells us both something about you, but nothing more than that"

Webb: "
Where did I defend the policies of Ronald Reagan? Regarding the War on Drugs in particular, I am against it, as most economists are. I also disagree with militarizing the border and sending people back home. However, I also do not think the legalization of drugs would solve all of the problems, and that is in part why I mention the Mormons. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/22/AR2009072203738.html?sid=ST2009072203833


Also, nobody forces Mexicans to come to the United States in the first place. They know the risks. I'm actually from Utah, and even though Mitt Romney is an embarrassment, the University of Utah is home to the only Marxist economics department in the country, which might surprise you. As a matter of fact, my family on my mother's side migrated from Boston to Utah (they ended up in Boston defending Charles II as Royalist highlanders from Scotland). Since Scots are matriarchal, I always tell people whom tell me I can love this country or leave it that my ancestors came over here on a prison ship, and that I'll be happy for them to negotiate a peace on my behalf.


Also, I'm not sure if you tried attaching a specific link, because I do see a paperclip on one reply, but I am unable to open it; so I would prefer a hyperlink if you do not mind. As far as I can tell, the only source I have received is that I should study material from the Economic Policy Institute and Center for Economic Policy and Research, which is a bit broad as far as rational discussions go.

P.S. I apologize for the bullying, but I am a Taurus, and it's all in good fun once you get to know me. Speaking of think tanks, at least I didn't pretend I was your friend and drink your wine and eat your food and embarrass you in front of the entire audience like I did with Hoppe and company down in Auburn. I actually spoke to you about this awhile ago. I'm not sure if you remember. Even UNLV isn't Rothbardian by the way. They actually gave him a pretty difficult time while he was there. As far as my book is concerned I gave up on it awhile ago. People believe what they want to believe. And the only way to make "money" on a book is to have octuplets these days."

Chomsky: "
Where did I defend the policies of Ronald Reagan?
You might find it amusing to read the letters you mistakenly believe you are responding to.  The question of your defending Reagan never arose.  Rather, your slanderous and depraved attacks on people fleeing the misery and destruction of the Reaganite wars – for which you and I share responsibility, but I don’t imagine that you can comprehend that.
 Regarding the War on Drugs in particular, I am against it, as most economists are. I also disagree with militarizing the border and sending people back home. However, I also do not think the legalization of drugs would solve all of the problems, and that is in part why I mention the Mormons. 
Why you bring any of this up I haven’t the slightest idea.  Or interest.

Also, nobody forces Mexicans to come to the United States in the first place.
While this does not sink to the depravity of condemning Mayans fleeing from virtual genocide, it comes close.  And to carry your comment further, nothing forces me to waste another moment with performances like this."

Webb: "
How in the hell am I responsible for Ronald Reagan, much less anything that the US government does? Unlike yourself, I don't even consider myself to be an American. I'm British. No joke. But it is a nice gesture to try and clean up after the other side while making extra money from microprocessors on the side and using poor people as an excuse. And let me know when any paper pushers from M.I.T. die fighting Mexican drug cartels instead of siding with marijuana smoking hippies during the Vietnam war, because your buddies sure as hell opened up Pandora's Box in that decade now didn't they?I almost forgot to add that it's really too bad Mao Zedong wasn't still around, because he was obviously a much lesser evil than a Catholic dictator in tiny little Vietnam. But that's the thing about Sagittarians. You care more about the means than the end. Look at Stalin."Rather, your slanderous and depraved attacks..."
At best it is libel since it is written, but you're obviously as bad at the law as you are at economics, which is why you're at M.I.T.

http://defamation.laws.com/defamation-laws/libel-vs-slander

Chomsky: "Acknowledged out of politeness, with sympathies for your desperation."

Webb: "
Actually, I've pulled quite a few punches with you. For instance, China actually had more people living there in 1840 than the US/Canada/Australia have today combined, and those population levels were sustainable for China, which means we're two industrial revolutions ahead of them (despite the fact that we have far more land, natural resources, economic diversity, and sea power to begin with). And the Chinese would be right to thank us, because they've used all of our amazing technology to have more than three times as many children since then, which we western imperialists are obviously responsible for, because even though we might be younger, we are obviously the ones in control. It's a lot like Ephraim and Manasseh.

I feel so desperate. :\"

Chomsky: "
No more politeness even necessary.  Just trashed, as future letters will be without acknowledgment until you manage to write something minimally rational."
Here's a link. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+9&version=NKJV

Webb: "Since you like to speak on the behalf of Scotland and Australia regarding the Queen of England and you make accusations regarding my free speech (when you've been such a traitor towards the USA all these years), I find it rather fitting. I don't care if you find my emails to be trash, because your address is obviously a dumpster."

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