Alasdair Macleod: Out of the mouths of babes. ...


By Alasdair Macleod, St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands
Thursday, January 21, 2016

Parents will tell you the most difficult questions to answer sometimes come from their children.

Here are some apparently innocent questions to ask of economists, journalists, financial commentators, and central bankers, questions designed to expose the contradictions in their economic beliefs. They are at their most effective using a combination of empirical evidence and simple, unarguable logic. References to economic theory are minimal, but in all cases the respondent is invited to present a valid theoretical justification for what invariably are little more than baseless assumptions.

A pretense of economic ignorance by the questioner is best, because it is most disarming. Avoid asking questions couched in anything but the simplest logical terms. You will probably get only two or three questions in before the respondent sees you as a troublemaker and refuses to cooperate further.

The nine questions that follow are best asked so that they are answered in front of witnesses, adding to the respondent's discomfort. Equally, journalists and financial commentators, who make a living from mindlessly recycling others' beliefs, can be great sport for an interrogator.

The game is simple: We know that macroeconomics is a fiction from top to bottom; the challenge is to expose it as such. If appropriate, preface the question with an earlier statement by the respondent, which he cannot deny; i.e. "Last week you said that..."

... For the remainder of the commentary:


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