Quote note (#264)

David Henderson quoting Peter Brimelow:

One winter afternoon in late 1975, Joe Clark came to see me in the Toronto offices of the Financial Post. This was even before he became Joe Who. He was running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party, but almost no one had noticed. Earlier that fall Clark had broken a previous appointment with me, pleading insufficient time to consult his economic advisors. Economics is a stigma you have to accept when you write for the Financial Post. Somewhat reluctantly, I began our rescheduled interview by asking him what he thought about the Economic Council of Canada’s just-published report Looking Outward, which had recommended continental free trade and had therefore been widely denounced as advocating Canada’s absorption into the U.S.A. […] Clark immediately fell apart. Frankly, he said, he didn’t know anything about economics — still — and his exhausting schedule wasn’t helping. You see, he added, “when I went into politics I had to choose between learning economics and learning French. And I chose French.”

There are socio-historical depths to that option lying beyond all facile comprehension.

July 1, 2016admin 14 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations


14 Responses to this entry

  • Brett Stevens Says:

    When success is measured by the degree to which others approve of your actions, and not their results in reality, this is how people think.

    Of course my response is “Why not both?”

    Democracy contains this fatal flaw and can never overcome it, as the downfall of the American Constitution shows us.

    Guess the South was right after all. #secede


    Posted on July 1st, 2016 at 3:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • Ur-mail Says:

    You’re seeing the result of politics being placed above economics on a smaller scale with Ethereum right now.

    The DAO became an insane speculative bubble that was incorrectly risk assessed by amateur investors looking for a quick payday. When that exploded the core developers chose to listen to the community – the same community of amateurs that enthusiastically threw money into a high-risk blackhole – and now we’re seeing a series of disasters as they try to create some solution that allows these bad investors to get their money back.

    Anyone observing from the sidelines, such as myself (an Ether holder but not DAO investor), can see the community seems to have a pretty bad track record and probably isn’t a reliable source for determining what should be done. Yet pandering to them still seems to be the winning (but insane) option.


    Erebus Reply:

    >”Yet pandering to them still seems to be the winning (but insane) option.”

    Winning isn’t quite the word I’d use. I’d call it expedient. The politics of pandering to the howling mob always optimizes solely for what’s expedient… very often to the detriment of what is right and good.


    Ur-mail Reply:

    Appreciate the clarification. Expedient is a much better term. Essentially, pandering to the mob is high time preferences (expediency) prevailing over low ones.


    Posted on July 1st, 2016 at 7:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • cyborg_nomade Says:

    never learn French.


    Grotesque Body Reply:

    The more memes change, the more memes stay the same. 😉


    cyborg_nomade Reply:

    indeed (but I won’t pretend I got the reference)


    Xoth Reply:



    Posted on July 1st, 2016 at 8:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • Stebbing Heuer Says:

    Why didn’t he just do what every other politician does – cover up their ignorance of economics with: memorisation of stock phrases; recitation of dot-points and statistics prepared by an economics graduate; and, in extremis, outright falsehood conveyed with a straight face ( a la August 15, 1971)?

    You could say there is a positive correlation between these behaviours and political success, arising from the fact that when the politician pretends to talk sensibly about economics, the voting public pretend to understand what she is talking about.

    The correlation between understanding economics and political success is weak. And the correlation between conscientiousness and political success is negative.

    He actually made the right choice: women are much more impressed, tete-a-tete, by French than economics, and vice versa for the voting public. And it’s easier to fake an understanding of economics than an ability with French.

    He just doesn’t realise it.


    vxxc2014 Reply:


    What economist isn’t faking it?


    Johan Schmidt Reply:

    Victor Aguilar has the right idea.


    Posted on July 1st, 2016 at 10:39 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    How many Frenchmen does it take to change a light bulb?  One.  He holds the bulb and all of Europe revolves around him.


    Posted on July 2nd, 2016 at 1:25 am Reply | Quote
  • Outliers (#12) Says:

    […] Autophagic democracy. Brexit. Sharia (plus size edition). Terrorism insights. Comedic insight. Economics undiscovered. Weekly round: here and here plus […]

    Posted on July 3rd, 2016 at 5:02 am Reply | Quote

Leave a comment