Pharyngula

Poe’s Law…confirmed again!

It’s amazing how powerfully predictive that little law is. I mentioned some similar activity a while back, but it’s still going on: kooks praying for lower gas prices.

For the past several weeks, Twyman has assembled a group at a soup kitchen in the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest Washington where he volunteers. They have driven to a gas station, locked hands, said a prayer, purchased gas and sung the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome,” with an added verse: “We’ll have lower gas prices.”

That’s ridiculous. Me, I’m humming the overture to Die Fledermaus and praying for dancing panda bears. I bet that will work before these clowns succeed in bringing down gas prices.

Comments

  1. #1 Mena
    May 31, 2008

    Instead of praying they probably should have considered not voting against their own self interests the past couple of elections. You just *know* that they are Bush fanatics…

  2. #2 Alcari
    May 31, 2008

    Well, it seems PZ’s prayers have allready been answered
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLLzCsOAeAg

  3. #3 Dan
    May 31, 2008

    I’m praying for pie.

  4. #4 Yoo
    May 31, 2008

    If they’re going to pray, they should pray for their cars to run without any fuel at all. If it miraculously works, they’d save themselves a lot of money, and if it doesn’t, well, it would be as effective as what they’re doing now.

  5. #5 David
    May 31, 2008

    But as soon as gas prices tick down 0.2c they will take credit.

  6. #6 Mike
    May 31, 2008

    Do they take requests? I want a flying pony!!!

  7. #7 raven
    May 31, 2008

    Prayer, they are doing it wrong.

    Instead of praying for lower gas prices, they should pray for all the oil fields to be refilled. And while they are at it, create a few giant fields in the USA, preferably in out of the way places or my back yard. Sweet light, parrafin based crude only.

  8. I’m humming the overture to Die Fledermaus and praying for dancing panda bears

    No no no no NO! How may times do I have to tell you: if you want dancing panda bears, the only thing that works is humming “Voi che sapete” from The Marriage of Figaro. The overture to Die Fledermaus is for bringing rain (or, if whistled rather than hummed, curing warts).

    And you say there’s no point to theology. Hrrmph!

  9. #9 Mike
    May 31, 2008

    Another thought. PZ, you deserve accolades for your skillful use of mockery to attack religion. Sure, there’s a place for the rational argument, but it’s preaching to the converted for the most part, pun intended.

    I’m reminded of two quips:

    “You don’t use your MIND to think about your RELIGION!” –Janor Hypercleats

    “He used… sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire. He was vicious.” — Luigi Vercotti (Michael Palin) in “The Piranha Brothers”, Monty Python’s Flying Circus

  10. #10 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    Humorously the laissez faire nature of prayer makes it more effective at lowering gas prices than interventionist measures promoted by economic philosophies like Marxism.

    In this case the interventionism was perpetrated by the Fed. Fiat monetary inflation leads to increased prices among other distortions to the economy, like stock and housing bubbles, trade deficits, recessions, booms, etc.

    Those in the know knew this was all going to happen years ago.

  11. #11 The Mighty Flea
    May 31, 2008

    It won’t work. God is an Englishman. Pray for lower petrol prices instead.

  12. #12 Techskeptic
    May 31, 2008

    “the laissez faire nature of prayer makes it more effective at lowering gas prices than interventionist measures promoted by economic philosophies like Marxism….In this case the interventionism was perpetrated by the Fed. ”

    Nonsense. I guess the fact that we are current living in a time when demand is higher than supply, out of whack oil speculation, unbelievable profits, poor energy policy, and the list goes on.

    To write off everything in terms of an utter fear socialism is naive, and just plain ridiculous. Certainly intervention can go wrong, but it isn’t all of the the problem all of the time as you seem to suggest.

    Get back to praying.

  13. #13 Brian X
    May 31, 2008

    Techskeptic:

    Well there you go then. Of course it’s speculation — if it was strictly supply and demand, the oil companies would be grinding out their profit margins just like the dealers they sell to. Now one could argue that interventionism created the current food crisis by encouraging widespread adoption of corn ethanol, but honestly I think a lot of us were suckered by that one because it really did seem like a good idea at the time. (“Wait, what do you mean you have to *cook* the stuff first?”)

    I’ve never really understood how in the world strict noninterventionism is supposed to prevent economic bubbles. I mean, with a very oil-friendly White House, we’re seeing exactly that result — ExxonMobil could publicly crucify recalcitrant employees and the Bush Labor Department would only point a half-hearted finger while writing up a fine that wouldn’t pay for a pound of coffee. All that’s resulted is record corporate profits while the oil companies jerk around the markets and tell the public with a straight face that there’s nothing they can do. Noninterventionism not only can’t prevent bubbles, it can’t do anything to stop them when they get out of control.

  14. #14 M. Robert Bond
    May 31, 2008

    Finite supply vs exponential growth. We’re just fucked, and stuff is probably going to look a lot different in 20 years. But I’ll tell you the way out of the oil crisis:

    What we all need to do is hibernate for 100 million years and start drilling again. We’ll have to hope that the bonobos haven’t evolved enough to use up all of our oil in the mean time. Actually, we should probably exterminate all of the class mamalia while we’re at it just in case. If we do this and couple it with some birth control, then there should be enough oil for even our great-grandchildren.

  15. #15 Brian X
    May 31, 2008

    Dammit, too quick on the post button.

    The economic philosophy that Brian Macker is talking about is nothing more than free market fundamentalism at its most paranoid. I mean, does he really think that the frequency of bubbles is reduced by being on the gold standard? If that’s so, what in the world happened in 1929? I’m pretty sure that could have happened with or without the gold standard.

    Besides, we’re stuck with fiat currency anyway — there isn’t enough gold in the world to back the currency floating out there.

  16. #16 Marcus Ranum
    May 31, 2008

    I prayed that prayers wouldn’t work, and my prayer was answered!!

  17. #17 Phil A
    May 31, 2008

    If I were a believer I’d tell these dummies that God has answered their silly prayers. There are many, many new emerging technologies appearing that can potentially provide clean and renewable energy. Obviously God doesn’t want us drilling for oil any more, so we’ll have to use these new fangled technologies like using algae or “green crude” (high yield, requires no farmland, consumes CO2, you can use dirty water with it, and the byproduct is animal feed). There are many other ways you can reduce oil consumption too. I don’t know – mass transportation or riding a bike? Not everyone has access to decent mass transit of course – probably because people didn’t demand it enough, or not at all.

    Look at it this way, if this crisis is forcing Americans to drive less and eat less, I’m not entirely opposed. But I do think that in 20 years people will be saying this was the beginning of the end of the era of gasoline, and they’ll say good riddance.

  18. #18 alex
    May 31, 2008

    Me, I’m humming the overture to Die Fledermaus and praying for dancing panda bears.

    stop! stop! you have no idea what you’re going to bring about!

  19. #19 thalarctos
    May 31, 2008

    Ask and ye shall receive, eh, Alcari?

    PZ, I have to send my regrets for attending your upcoming Seattle events. As much as I’d love to be there, anatomy class + finishing a book chapter deadline + intensive meds for very non-compliant cat convalescing from outer, middle, and inner ear ablation = lethal blow to any prayer (ha!) of a social life these days.

    Hope I’ll get to catch you the next time you’re in town.

  20. #20 Mikey M
    May 31, 2008

    Cardinal Mrs Tilton, Archbishop of Mecca wrote:

    “…the only thing that works is humming “Voi che sapete” from The Marriage of Figaro.”

    Now THAT song is stuck in my head! Thanks a LOT, Your Grace!

  21. #21 Steve C
    May 31, 2008

    Cynic. You probably have some inside info on pandas presently being trained to dance. And shouldn’t those Christians be praying to fat Buddha? I thought he was the Lord of the Gas. Maybe I’m thinking of a different kind of gas.

  22. #22 RamblinDude
    May 31, 2008

    The people regulating gas prices could have a lot of fun with this…

  23. #23 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “The economic philosophy that Brian Macker is talking about is nothing more than free market fundamentalism at its most paranoid. I mean, does he really think that the frequency of bubbles is reduced by being on the gold standard? If that’s so, what in the world happened in 1929? I’m pretty sure that could have happened with or without the gold standard.”

    That’s just because you are ignorant. Like the other folks and PZ too. You guys are economic creationists and you don’t even realize it.

  24. #24 SC
    May 31, 2008

    Not everyone has access to decent mass transit of course – probably because people didn’t demand it enough, or not at all.

    And then there’s this:

    http://environment.about.com/od/fossilfuels/a/streetcars.htm

    (Warning: internet source. I also read it in Fast Food Nation, but I don’t remember who he cited as a source.)

  25. #25 CleveDan
    May 31, 2008

    do seventh day adventists have a direct line to Alah???…….I would think he would be the god in charge of oil…………not the right wing American god that they are likely praying to

  26. #26 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    Techskeptic,

    You links are symptoms and not causes. Symptoms caused by monetary inflation. Just like in biology where one can look at fossils in economics we can look at past incidents of monetary inflation to see what happens. Try reading say this book on fiat monetary inflation in France. Same cause and same symptoms. Same with many other incidents in history but perhaps you should educate yourself on one first.

    The other book and this one have the complete text available on line so there really is no excuse for your continuing ignorance.

    What’s really hilarious is that you are so knee jerk in trying to discredit good information. You probably think Herbert Spencer was all about letting people starve in the streets. Probably due to your credulity. Your ignornace is appalling.

  27. #27 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “I’ve never really understood how in the world strict noninterventionism is supposed to prevent economic bubbles. I mean, with a very oil-friendly White House, we’re seeing exactly that result. … ”

    That’s right you don’t understand. So just read Rothbard’s book and then perhaps we can talk.

    “I mean, does he really think that the frequency of bubbles is reduced by being on the gold standard? If that’s so, what in the world happened in 1929?”

    Monetary inflation. We set up the Fed around 1915 and they proceeded to inflate setting the stage for the boom in the 20′s and then the bust.

    There are many ways to inflate the money supply. One can do so even on the “gold standard”. The means are interventionist.

    BTW, I’m against economic interventionism and not every form of government action.

  28. #28 True Bob
    May 31, 2008

    The game I like to play with guys like Brian* here is this:

    You’ll note that this country has what is called a Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Obviously, oil is a precious commodity, inherently critical to our national security. We can’t fly planes, drive tanks, and steam most ships without it.

    The logical extension of this knowledge is that oil is far too important to be left in the hands of profiteers. All oil companies must therefore be nationalized in the name of National Security. All that would effectively be removed would be the upper tier fatcats, who are retiring on truly vulgar settlements, and the dividends to stock holders, who could be bought out. Either the price would come down, or the “profits” would instead go into the coffers of the Treasury, but either way, our Fatherland Homeland would remain secure from the threat of oil based economic warfare.

    *Nothing personal, it’s just a chain I enjoy pulling. Really, we are going to see it get worse as more countries demand more fuel, in the manner seen as China and India are competing with all the rest of us for oil. Why did cheeses put our oil under all those blasphemers anyway?

    Aside, Brian, what (in plain language) is your explanation and solution? It isn’t like the 70s, when the gas was unavailable – you can buy as much as you want now, as long as you pay through the nose.

  29. #29 themadlolscientist
    May 31, 2008

    @ Brian Macker: Does Poe’s Law apply to economics too? It would seem so. Please tell us you’re a Poe!

    @ Mikey M: The surest cure for that is a generous dose of Der Hölle Rache from The Magic Flute. (Lucia Popp. best. QotN. evar.)

  30. #30 Nemo
    May 31, 2008

    I think believers and nonbelievers can agree that singing “We Shall Overcome” high gas prices is a disgrace to the civil rights movement.

  31. #31 Mejdrich
    May 31, 2008

    Let them pray. Eventually they HAVE to notice that it’s not doing any good.

    Then it’s either stop praying or move up to goat sacrifice.

  32. #32 Nemo
    May 31, 2008

    Let me rephrase that… “an insult to the civil rights movement”.

  33. #33 scooter
    May 31, 2008

    Don’t laugh, it’s WORKING
    Praise the Lord, gas dropped a couple of cents in houston this week.

    Explain that, you cynical bastards.

    Darwinism can’t even explain gasoline prices much less gravity.

  34. #34 SC
    May 31, 2008

    Why don’t they ritually sacrifice their cars? It would seem the modern equivalent of a goat.

  35. #35 True Bob
    May 31, 2008

    Gawds, SC, have you ever had Car Cheese? Yuck!

  36. #36 dsmccoy
    May 31, 2008

    Maybe the muslims are praying harder for higher prices.

    “Why don’t they ritually sacrifice their cars?”

    A bunch of environmentalists tried to do that back when I was in college. They buried a brand new Ford Maverick on campus. They probably would have rather buried a Cadillac, but they couldn’t afford it.

    http://tinyurl.com/4ct55d

    I don’t think the gods were pleased, since it was followed by the gas crisis of the 1970′s.

  37. #37 John B. Sandlin
    May 31, 2008

    I got 11 / 12. The problem for me… your criteria for choosing the interesting things as biological… they were all interesting to me!

    JBS

  38. #38 John B. Sandlin
    May 31, 2008

    Ack, got into the wrong thread!

    jbs

  39. #39 Mrs Tilton
    May 31, 2008

    Hey everybody, stop making fun of Brian Macker. After all, he does seem to have a half decent grasp of Econ 101.

    And maybe, one day, after he has finished high school, he will realise there’s a reason why an economist’s education doesn’t stop at 101.

    (Brian, dearest, if you’re still reading: I work in a sharply capitalist corner of existence. And I like capitalism; I like it a lot. But I can guaranfeckintee you that, if people like me were left to do what we do without regular and aggressive state intervention, civilisation as we know it would collapse within two weeks and you and I would be fighting hand to hand in the street for the corpse of a rat. And I’d win, because my living comes from people who don’t know as much about economics and finance as they think. Like you. Here’s a tip: Rothbard and people like him have nothing interesting to say about how markets really work. Their true function is as part of a noise machine, intended to keep people distracted. And, as we may see from you, it all too often works.

    Shorter Mrs Tilton: put a sock in it, Brian, you gobshite.)

  40. #40 thalarctos
    May 31, 2008

    *sniff* That’s beautiful, Mrs. Tilton, simply beautiful.

  41. #41 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “.. without regular and aggressive state intervention, civilisation as we know it would collapse within two weeks and you and I would be fighting hand to hand in the street for the corpse of a rat.”

    I guess you were all for Nixon’s wage and price controls then. Mugabe must be a hero of your’s too. They are fighting in the streets for rats over in Zimbabwe and exactly to the extent they went for the kind of interventionism I’m against.

    You’re just another economic ignoramous.

  42. #42 dwarf zebu
    May 31, 2008

    “He used… sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire. He was vicious.” — Luigi Vercotti (Michael Palin) in “The Piranha Brothers”, Monty Python’s Flying Circus

    Posted by: Mike | May 31, 2008 11:15 AM

    DINSDALE!!

  43. #43 rich (richmanwisco)
    May 31, 2008

    Mr. Macker is dug in, you’re not going to convince him otherwise.

    So many statistics and trends of the last 30 years compared to the preceding 60 years all point to the correctness of the decision to come off the gold standard that they are too numerous to detail here.

    And no, I’m no economic savant, but neither are you Mr. Macker. All I know is that the worst depression in world history occurred on the gold standard. That’s good enough for me.

  44. #44 dusty59
    May 31, 2008

    Scooter @ 33 (and maybe others I missed make the point:
    Gas almost certainly will drop some.
    Then the kooks will be able to proudly claim it was divine intervention. quite sick.

  45. #45 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “Nothing personal, it’s just a chain I enjoy pulling. ”

    Actually it’s more like your pulling on yourself, since nothing you’ve said bears any relationship to any argument I have or would make. Reading it struck me as some bizzare conversation you’re having with yourself.

    “Aside, Brian, what (in plain language) is your explanation and solution? It isn’t like the 70s, when the gas was unavailable – you can buy as much as you want now, as long as you pay through the nose.”

    Well in the 1970′s it wasn’t the case that “the gas was unavailable”. Our government put price ceilings on domestic sources in place that disrupted the markets. Price ceilings cause shortages. That’s eco 101 that even some of the worst economic theorists get. Price ceilings also causes far worse problems than increased prices. Problems like waiting on lines. You do know the difference between a shortage and scarcity, right?

    You’re very question shows your ignorance. The damage has already been done via that cause, inflationary monetary policy, and the effects are just playing out as they would naturally.

    Higher gas prices are a natural outcome of increasing the money supply. Unless you think that oil producers should just accept our currency at the old price structure when there were less dollars floating around.

    It’s not really that hard to get. If the government pursues a policy that increases the money supply you will get the same effects that happen when a counterfeiter does the same thing. If I had the ability to legally print up as much US currency as I wanted and I doubled the money supply do you think that the oil producers would just keep accepting the money at the old price structure? No they’d ask for double the price.

    The beauty of Austrian economics is that they recognized that this would not be the only effect, and that how the new money was injected and how it flowed would cause distortions. For instance, those who get the new money first have the benefit of being able to buy on the old price structure, whereas those who get it last are harmed most, especially those with savings. So those on fixed incomes are really going to suffer as the next stage unfolds further, consumer inflation.

    Furthermore, it causes distortions by altering the time cost of money, interest. This causes long term projects to appear more profitable relative to short term ones, which in turn leads to overinvestment in those long term project. A current example being housing.

    The solution is to stop inflating but that is politically difficult to do.

    We have been following very bad monetary policy for a very long time, thank you Alan Greenspan, and we are now paying the price. The mistake was thinking that the invisible hand couldn’t get the job done and had to be “corrected for”, ala Mrs. Tilton.

    Unfortunately, Greenspan didn’t take into account the deflationary effects of other countries shedding themselves of socialist interventionary policies. He tried to mute the deflationary monetary signals by stablizing prices. Make no mistake prices are the economies way of sending signals on how to act. He was successful and that prevented the economy from adjusting properly.

    All the features we’ve seen during this period are directly predictable by Austrian economics. They are predicted in a beautifully reductionists way. Commodity price increases leading consumer price increases, trade deficit, stock and housing bubbles, increased profits in industries furthest away from consumption, on and on. They are all predicted by the theory.

    You ask me to delinate the theory in a blog comment which is entirely unrealistic, and really a waste of my time. The books are online for those who which to understand. I’m not asking you to read the treatises I’ve read like “Human Action”, “Theory of Money and Credit”, or “Man, Economy, State”.

    The book I linked to is “What has Government Done to Our Money” and can be polished off in a weekend. It’s a classic like “The Selfish Gene” but for economics.

    I do have some minor points of contention with Rothbard on some issues which I would be willing to discuss with anyone who actually had some semblence of knowledge in the area. For instance, I do not believe in a 100% gold reserve standard, ala. Rothbard, but not all Austrians do.

  46. #46 Mrs Tilton
    May 31, 2008

    Brian @41 comes back for more:

    I guess you were all for Nixon’s wage and price controls then. Mugabe must be a hero of your’s too

    Wrong on both counts, dimwit. As I said, come back when you’ve finished high school and shed yourself of your cultish religion.

    Mikey @20,

    Now THAT song is stuck in my head! Thanks a LOT, Your Grace!

    Sorry about that. But you have to admit, if one absolutely must have an ear-worm nibbling at one’s brain, that’s not a bad one to have. And anyway: I could have used Pachelbel’s Canon! (Oops…)

  47. #47 Paul
    May 31, 2008

    And when their prayers fail, they can blame those damned atheist pumps!

  48. #48 Greg R.
    May 31, 2008

    Gas prices are $0.45 in Saudi Arabia, so maybe they should be praying to Allah.

  49. #49 dsmccoy
    May 31, 2008

    Mugabe must be a hero of your’s too

    Mr Macker is taking the discussion in a non-rational direction with that one.
    It’s pretty easy to see that Mugabe’s failings have nothing to do with rational regulation.

    “Government regulation leads to Mugabe” is just as bad an argument as “teaching evolution leads to Hitler.”

    While it is true that “to stop inflating but that is politically difficult to do“, that doesn’t mean that there is a simple answer.

    There’s not really much concrete evidence that the interest rate noodling which Greenspan and Bernanke do is anything more than a ritual to calm the bond traders.

    Economics is not yet a real science. Much economic theory is based on discredited models of human psychology.

  50. #50 Brandon P.
    May 31, 2008

    As I said in another thread, American gas prices are still way too low for people to be whining about it. They’re what, a little more than three US dollars? We pay much more than that here in Hong Kong, and we’ve never encountered any financial troubles. Furthermore, if people were sincerely troubled by rising gas prices, they’d a) call technological advances that would make oil extraction much more efficient, or b) NOT BUY SO MANY GODDAMN GAS-GUZZLING SUVS. I hope spoiled brats such as these aren’t typical of my compatriots.

  51. #51 Brenda von Ahsen
    May 31, 2008

    We have been following very bad monetary policy for a very long time.

    Depends, for a certain elite class it’s a veritable fountain of money. Which was the whole point.

  52. #52 Josh West
    May 31, 2008

    Reminds me of when the Georgia Governor told us to pray to end the drought. That sure worked out well.

  53. #53 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “It’s pretty easy to see that Mugabe’s failings have nothing to do with rational regulation.”

    Bull, same policies as followed by FDR. Oh, you didn’t know that did you.

  54. #54 amphiox
    May 31, 2008

    I must reluctantly give these people some credit. They chose their prayer question for which there are only two possible outcomes, and as such the chance that their prayer may be answered favorably is as high as 50%!

  55. #55 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “It’s pretty easy to see that Mugabe’s failings have nothing to do with rational regulation.”

    He inflates his money supply. Prices go up. So he decides to implement price controls. Perfectly rational if you are ignorant of economics. Not only that but these particular policies have been followed again and again not only to the absurd levels of Mugabe but to a lesser extent in the US and elsewhere.

    We inflated the money supply prior to the 1970′s gas crisis and when prices increasd as then naturally would we put in place price controls. Nixon was an economic idiot as was Carter. So was FDR and Hoover. They all went in for what you consider not to be rational.

  56. #56 JeffreyD
    May 31, 2008

    Mrs Tilton re your #39 – I think I love you.

    However re your #8, stop trying to mislead the masses. Humming “Voi che sapete” from The Marriage of Figaro will not accomplish the profusion of terpsichorean panda bears so desired. In reality, it requires a full throated shower rendition of “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot.

    Ciao, bella

  57. #57 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “Mr. Macker is dug in, you’re not going to convince him otherwise.”

    As is typical of the commenters on this blog you seem to be yet another into pop-psych. Are you a mind reader?

    “So many statistics and trends of the last 30 years compared to the preceding 60 years all point to the correctness of the decision to come off the gold standard that they are too numerous to detail here.’

    This sentence indicates you have absolutely no clue what you are talking about. Why pick the last 30 years verse the prior 60 when discussing monetary inflation? Hint: The gold standard is orthogonal to monetary inflation. One can inflate under a gold standard, duh.

    “And no, I’m no economic savant, but neither are you Mr. Macker.”

    Not only aren’t you an economic savant but you are barely familiar with the subject. You do however think that you are qualified not only to discuss it but to criticize those who do.

    Exactly how did you come to the knowledge that I’m not an economic savant, throwing bones? I guess that answers my prior question. You are a mind reader.

    “All I know is that the worst depression in world history occurred on the gold standard. That’s good enough for me.”

    Committed to willful ignorance are we?

  58. #58 JeffreyD
    May 31, 2008

    Jeebus H. Christmas, Kenny and J have a brother!!!!

    Ciao y’all

  59. #59 Scott Hatfield, OM
    May 31, 2008

    Speaking of Poe’s Law, I have found it necessary more than once to explain that this post is a joke!

  60. #60 Marshall
    May 31, 2008

    God won’t save you when you’re being persecuted, tortured, heading to the gas chambers, murdered, raped, or executed…but he might lower your gas prices for you!

  61. #61 Brenda von Ahsen
    May 31, 2008

    As is typical of the commenters on this blog

    Regular posters to any blog develop a group identity and tend to react with hostility to newcomers. This is especially true for a blog like Pharyngula which tends to attract some pretty nasty trolls. It can be hard to position yourself as merely a critic. Not flamebaiting helps, but watch out if the guys start painting themselves red and reach for their bows.

  62. #62 bunnycatch3r
    May 31, 2008

    We just had several tornados tear through our fair town. A few homes and businesses were destroyed. I think God’s too busy right now being a prick to listen to gas price prayers.

  63. #63 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “Brian Macker: Does Poe’s Law apply to economics too? It would seem so. Please tell us you’re a Poe!”

    Sure, Poe’s law does apply to economics. Marxists and Keynesians being examples. Marxist labor theory of value would hold that mud pies are as valuable as apple pies given the labor involved in both were the same purely on an hourly basis. Keynes is well noted for this asinine belief that throwing money from helicopters is good for the economy.

    Both theories were and are followed religiously despite the obvious bad outcomes that result from following such policies.

  64. #64 Aquaria
    May 31, 2008

    God won’t save you when you’re being persecuted, tortured, heading to the gas chambers, murdered, raped, or executed…but he might lower your gas prices for you!

    Silly wabbit, the fundies don’t think of those things as persecution. Persecution is when anybody prevents you from “bringing everyone to the Lord”–your way. The rest of that stuff (torture, murder, rape, “disappearances,” execution) is fitting punishment for brown people, furriners and heathens, and they want to make darn sure their options for employing them are wide open.

  65. #65 scooter
    May 31, 2008

    I’ve been in and out of the Gas and Chemical Trades for decades. Lemme tell you about the last big gas shortage. I think it was ’79.

    I was working on a 4 man towboat, pushing gasoline around the Intercoastal Waterways between Louisiana and TX.

    At the height of the crunch, when gas stations were closing down for weeks, we were feeling the crunch on the riverways. We had no barges to push. The tens of thousands of barges in the southern waterways were full of gasoline, and docked. Our company got paid if they sat or moved. We tied up the boats and did maintenance for nearly a month.

    Every tank at every terminal, every barge, tanker, railroad car and hole in the ground was filled to capacity. And then the flaring began.

    The refinery alleys along the intercoastals never went dark, it was like daylight, 24 hours. The flares were three and four hundred feet tall, I’ll bet you could have seen Southern Lousiana from space, it was lit up like a movie set.

    They just held on to that gas at EXORBIDANT storage costs until the price was right and then went back to business as usual at twice the profit.

    Supply and Demand my ass, I’m just wondering where they’re hording the stuff this time, and if the Bush Junta hasn’t arranged for the use of the big Salt Domes, i.e. strategic defense reserves to cache enough product for a ‘shortage’ of this magnitude.

    Nothing would surprise me with these assholes.

  66. #66 Mrs Tilton
    May 31, 2008

    Jeffrey @56,

    it requires a full throated shower rendition of “Nessun Dorma”

    That would have been true up to about 20 years ago. But “Nessun dorma”‘s power has been seriously eroded since then by overuse.

    Frex: you’ve seen Mar adentro (The Sea Inside)? (And if you haven’t, get to your video shop NOW.) I have a pretty clear memory that this tune was playing during the scene in which the protagonist dives though his window and flies to the shore. Thing is, I’m not sure if my memory is correct, because even if it isn’t, “Nessun dorma” is exactly the tune so many directors today would insert into that sort of scene.

    Mind you, it’s hardly something I mind hearing. In fact, I shall let it play tonight. But only after I have listened a few more times to Stereolab’s “Lo Boob Oscilator”; I am a bit obsessed with it at the moment.

  67. #67 Mrs Tilton
    May 31, 2008

    Wee Brian @63,

    Keynes was a spectacularly successful investor. How’s your account doing?

  68. #68 rich (richmanwisco)
    May 31, 2008

    Nice ad hominems, Mr. Macker.

    Sorry I can’t elucide my point with the eloquence and snarkiness that you can. I’ve done my reading, I’ve made my own conclusions. Just because they don’t agree with yours doesn’t make me an ignoramus. The gold standard is far more flawed, it didn’t work then, it won’t work now.

    It was exactly as I expected from you. So try to be a little less predictable and a little more rational.

  69. #69 JeffreyD
    May 31, 2008

    Mrs Tilton, re #66, oh my, another Refried Ectoplasm fan? Sadly, yes the heathens have overused Nessun Dorma, what it to be done to reclaim it?

    However, my head is not always in the rarefied clouds of Opera and Classical, right now I am chair bopping to “Aserejé” by Las Ketchup. Next up on the Winamp playlist – Sammy Hagar, “Marching to Mars”, then a little Wagner, unless I skip it.

    Thanks for the tip on Mar adentro, will look for it.

    Ciao, bella Mrs

  70. #70 JoJo
    May 31, 2008

    There are several problems with Austrian School economics.

    * It’s very axiomatic. Yes, I know that economics is hardly a precise science, but empirical testing can be done and general rules deduced. Von Mises claimed that the net possibility of gain is a more accurate measure of the cost of an action than opportunity cost. However, he failed to give any good means of measuring such gains against the risk involved. Gut feelings are not a solid basis for economic policy.

    * Austrians reject, on principle, the use of mathematics or econometrics. When an economist is denied statistical methods to the study of economics, then the dismal science becomes even more dismal. Ideology supplants any other known method to give empirical content to economic theory and to subject economic theory to potentially falsifying tests.

    * Austrians do not answer the question “should this policy be implemented?”, but rather “if this policy is implemented, will it have the effects you intend?”

    * Many Austrians, Rothbard being a prime example, do not actually understand the neoclassical economics that they’re attacking. This argument gets rather technical, so I won’t go into it. If you understand what’s meant by such terms as cardinal utility and monotonic transformation then we can discuss this further.

    * Laissez faire free markets have been tried in Western capitalism and soundly rejected. Oligarchies are great for the people on top, but lousy for every one else.

  71. #71 DaveH
    May 31, 2008

    Kinda related to Aquaria’s analysis up at #64, an essay in the Pinko, lib’rull, crooked-teethed Britisher Guardian today, about our fundie friends….
    http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2283072,00.html

  72. #72 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    Brenda,

    Actually, I’ve been commenting here a long time. One of my first posts were in defense of some commenters here against accusations that they were using nasty language against a commenter.

    I actually spent a fairly long time being polite with the folks here but they are pretty consistent at being nasty. It’s especially laughable when they are nasty about things they are completely ignorant about.

    I can sort of understand them getting nasty when I tweak them on global warming. After all they are true believers and it’s hard to hear that the full message they have consumed unquestioningly has big holes. It’s like talking with those guys running around with placards saying “The End is Near”.

    I comment on many blogs and this particular one does have a heavy dose of trolls of the kind that are abusive. The idea being to just be nasty and anyone with a differing opinion will leave your turf.

    I’m sorry but I don’t qualify as a “troll” in that I actually believe what I write. When I post a global warming critic for “balance” I really mean that. I do believe the net effect of more CO2 is naturally going to be warming all other things being equal, but I don’t buy the rest of the nonsense.

    Part of the reason I don’t buy it is because I do have a deep understanding of economics and global warming is a minor concern compared to the problems that will ensue from some of the “solutions” proposed for global warming.

    Of course, this deviation from the script has the locals howling. I get the same thing on every other kind of blog I comment on. Every kind of ideolog has had it in for me when I’ve criticised some aspect of their notions.

    The idea Myers expressed in a prior post that Marxism and Capitalism are some kind of equal footing with regards to evil consequences is quite ludicrious. That the locals find this intellectually acceptable is not my problem.

    I have noticed that quite a few including Myers are all about hunting for secret motives. Mrs. Polar Bear is an example. I thought she was a man for some reason and she wanted to spin that into some kind of motivational vice instead of a simple mistake. Myers jumped that bandwagon. In fact, it had nothing to do with the subject we were discussing.

    People with different educational backgrounds are going to assess things with different perspectives. That seems to be lost to some people here.

    It’s obvious to me that they are quite ignorant on the subject of economics and that has bearing on many issues discussed here. They need to broaden their horizons if they want to talk sensibly on the price of oil certainly.

    I find it humorous that they get so defensive of Myers on such minor tweaking when he is famous for being incredibly nasty in his criticisms, even in areas where he is an ignorant fool, like economics.

  73. #73 RT NZ
    May 31, 2008

    Stop your whining, here in NZ its over $8.oo a gallon .
    ps PZ i`ve just been to see shine a light ,and decided to accept MICK as my lord and saviour.

  74. #74 Michael
    May 31, 2008

    Mena said…”Instead of praying they probably should have considered not voting against their own self interests the past couple of elections. You just *know* that they are Bush fanatics.”

    Really? You think all people who pray are Republicans…lol…So what could have John Kerry and Al Gore could have done to solve the high gas price situation? Would that have demanded OPEC produce more oil like Hillary. Would they have installed price controls, taxed oil companies? One thing to note, China has price controls on coal, not long ago, 32 power plants had to shut down because they ran out of coal.

    There are solutions, but liberals generally have none, they are similar to that of China, their policies always tend to make it hard on the little guy as they become poorer and more depended on the government. The cost of oil not only affects gas prices but also raw material in general. The kooks are not the ones who pray, but the ones who have no viable solution to the problem.

  75. #75 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    Jojo,

    I agree. Problem is that the other schools are even worse. The austrians are in fact using empirical methods even though some deny it.

    The problem I have with mainstream economists is that they don’t get the Austrian’s positions either. Do you understand why they reject the use of the kind of mathematics they complain about. They are quite reasonable rejections.

    Do you think you can use mathematical formulas that imitate those used in physics to predict how the future of human evolution will unfold?

    The problem is those mathematical models have been horribly wrong for exactly the reasons that Austrians have pointed out.

    “Many Austrians, Rothbard being a prime example, do not actually understand the neoclassical economics that they’re attacking.”

    That’s a strange complaint to make about someone who is dead. Also I don’t understand Astrology, or the subtleties of Christianity. Are you making the cortesians reply? Once you understand why some of the mathematics can’t apply there is really no reason to bother with it. Especially when it has no predictive power.

    For example, Austrian’s hold that cardinal utility is a fiction. There is only ordinal utility. Which is true and is at the basis of the mistakes in the schools of thought that accept this fallacy. Mises, Rothbard and the rest have all written on this directly and the idea of Monotonic Utility if you read between the lines.

    Actually both concepts are quite silly if you think about how humans actually act. That’s the point that Mises makes. Unlike atoms ahd quantum particles we actually have an inside point of view on what it means to be an actor (in the economic sense). I don’t value anything monotonically nor do I value things in a cardinal manner.

    If theories based on these concepts are “scientific” then why are they constantly blindsided by empirical events. Stagflation being an example. Something quite predictable under Austrian theory.

    The fact that the underlying choices are in fact ordinal sorta blows any attempt to use the tools of physics.

    “* Laissez faire free markets have been tried in Western capitalism and soundly rejected.”

    Well actually no. If you read what was actually going on it wasn’t actually laissez faire. For example, the “robber barons” for the most part were not following a policy of “government keep your hands off”. The worst of railroad barrons were actually deep in the pocket of government and vice versa.

    Many others criticized as being “evil” actually did great good. I guess if you look at things from the distorted perspective of labor union propaganda they were all evil. Then again labor unions are themselves self interested and have hurt non-member laborers and consumers in addition to their ideological targets. They were in part responsible for the problems of the Great Depression.

    James Hill is an example of what the railroads look like under strict laissez faire. He built them without government handouts and experienced none of the problems associated with your typical railroad barron. You might read the book “Myth of the Robber Baron’s” to get a different perspective on that.

    “Oligarchies are great for the people on top, but lousy for every one else.”

    Well obviously you are not talking about laissez faire if you think it’s about oligarchies.

  76. #76 lauram
    May 31, 2008

    Congregants let’s bow our heads and recite: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spigot. Amen.

  77. #77 dsmccoy
    May 31, 2008

    @53: “It’s pretty easy to see that Mugabe’s failings have nothing to do with rational regulation.”
    Bull, same policies as followed by FDR. Oh, you didn’t know that did you.

    Oh Bull yourself.

    You mean like taking land away from farmers and giving it to cronies who have no idea how to farm? I don’t remember FDR pulling that one. The list goes on.

    Just because you have a lot of strong opinions Mr Macker, it doesn’t mean you are actually informed about anything. Comparing FDR to Mugabe is bullshit.

  78. #78 Eamon Knight
    May 31, 2008

    Come Labour Day or so, and barring another major Gulf hurricane a la 2004, gas prices almost certainly will come down by a few dimes as everyone finishes vacationing and demand eases. And these praying twits will take credit for it.

  79. #79 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    Dsmccoy,

    Actually I was thinking of the price controls he put in place. Taking land away from farmers to give to people who don’t know how to farm is interventionism the last time I looked in my book. Taking control of farms away from farmers and giving that control to bureacrats is equivalent. FDRs reign was the only presidency were the US remotely came to starvation.

    FDR told farmers how to farm which is the same as putting idiot burecrats in charge of farms instead of farmers. An example would be telling a farmer he was not allowed to grow corn to feed to his pigs.

    FDR was a great pig killer. He had them slaughterd on the dubious economic theory that raising prices was good for the economy. None of the meat was saved while millions were hungry.

    FDR was an economic idiot as much as Mugabe. The idiocy goes on.

    Show’s how little you know about FDR. He really screwed the country over.

  80. #80 Ignacio
    May 31, 2008

    Here is something that would do more at making me a believer: pray for a specific price of gas on all gas stations that starts on a specific date and lasts for a specific amount of time. Then predict the future of prices for a few years.

  81. #81 Mrs Tilton
    May 31, 2008

    JoJo @70,

    There are several problems with Austrian School economics

    Indeed there are. But this isn’t one of them:

    Austrians do not answer the question “should this policy be implemented?”, but rather “if this policy is implemented, will it have the effects you intend?”

    A question that everybody in a position to implement policy, whether of an economic nature or not, should ask themselves.

    Look, I don’t hate Austrians. Indeed, I’ve a fair degree of sympathy with them on some points. But to think those points (assuming they are indeed correct) should be the sole input in deciding on policy is precisely the 101ism for which Brian M. is so rightly mocked.

  82. #83 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “Roosevelt secured passage of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which levied a new tax on agricultural processors and used the revenue to supervise the wholesale destruction of valuable crops and cattle. Federal agents oversaw the ugly spectacle of perfectly good fields of cotton, wheat, and corn being plowed under (the mules had to be convinced to trample the crops; they had been trained, of course, to walk between the rows). Healthy cattle, sheep, and pigs were slaughtered and buried in mass graves. Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace personally gave the order to slaughter six million baby pigs before they grew to full size. The administration also paid farmers for the first time for not working at all. Even if the AAA had helped farmers by curtailing supplies and raising prices, it could have done so only by hurting millions of others who had to pay those prices or make do with less to eat.”

    You can read more

    here.

    You are aware that FDR was the bastard who interred the Japanese. He did other things that would put Bush to shame. Many things.

  83. #84 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    THe link for that quote was here.

  84. #85 Mena
    May 31, 2008

    Mena said…”Instead of praying they probably should have considered not voting against their own self interests the past couple of elections. You just *know* that they are Bush fanatics.”

    Really? You think all people who pray are Republicans…lol…So what could have John Kerry and Al Gore could have done to solve the high gas price situation? Would that have demanded OPEC produce more oil like Hillary. Would they have installed price controls, taxed oil companies? One thing to note, China has price controls on coal, not long ago, 32 power plants had to shut down because they ran out of coal.

    There are solutions, but liberals generally have none, they are similar to that of China, their policies always tend to make it hard on the little guy as they become poorer and more depended on the government. The cost of oil not only affects gas prices but also raw material in general. The kooks are not the ones who pray, but the ones who have no viable solution to the problem.

    Posted by: Michael

    I skimmed through and highlighted the parts that make me think that this is based on a memorized Fox-ish rant. Closer reading confirmed it. Can you, in ten words or less, explain to me (in your own words, if possible) why I should think that your opinion matters? Your comment looks like it could be a Turing Test.

  85. #86 Samantha Vimes
    May 31, 2008

    Brian Macker, I suggest you read Making Money by Terry Pratchett.

  86. #87 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “But to think those points (assuming they are indeed correct) should be the sole input in deciding on policy is precisely the 101ism for which Brian M. is so rightly mocked.”

    What gives you that idea? Mind reading again.

    I actually disagree with Rothbard and Mises on a great many things. I think for instance that we do have the right to require people within society to self-insure. I think it perfectly reasonable to ban CFCs. etc.

    What I don’t think is reasonable is to inflate the money supply causing all sorts of economic disruption and then to blame it on the oil companies.

    There is a whole mixture of issues in some of these problems. Government however should not get a break just because unscruplous actors take advantage of the perverse incentives put in place by well meaning but ignorant people.

  87. #88 dsmccoy
    May 31, 2008

    @ #83

    Yes, I’m quite aware of the Japanese relocation.
    I have friends who spent the war in Manzanar.
    While a serious violation of human rights, it was not part of FDR’s economic policy and the population involved was not large enough to have much economic impact and no land involved was given to FDR’s cronies.

    FDR’s policies were a mixed bag. It makes no more sense to vilify him than it does to idolize him. Comparing him to the corrupt kleptocracy that is Mugabe’s government is still ridiculous. There were serious excesses, but the country was in serious trouble. It’s easy to criticize errors of overregulation now, but the people engaged in it at the time were intelligent well-intentioned people. Not everything FDR did was good, but not everything he did was bad either. Everything he did was a serious attempt to help the country and the country managed to survive.

    Ok, you point at Lawrence W Reed’s book online. Funny how he didn’t find a publisher and had to put the pdf up himself. Look at the writing in that quote man! It is not unbiased journalism. It’s full of judgmental adjectives and sensationalism. There is more emotion in that quote than fact. That is not the way a historian writes unless he is ideologue with an axe to grind.

    You gotta get out more and read something besides these ideologue websites that get you all worked up man.

  88. #89 Brian X
    May 31, 2008

    Well obviously you are not talking about laissez faire if you think it’s about oligarchies.

    And you’re being willfully blind to the consequences if you don’t realize that oligopoly (and, depending on how corrupt the government is, an ensuing oligarchy) is a natural endpoint for a laissez-faire system. Without some kind of controls on the system, it’s inevitable that the biggest sharks in the pool can raise the barrier to entry as arbitrarily high as they wish, at which point neither the customer nor the laborer has any control over the market and Adam Smith’s invisible hand disappears. At that point the oligopolists’ only interest is feathering their own nests and they can charge any price they damn well feel like, up to and including indentured servitude (you do remember “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford, don’t you?).

    The point of table etiquette is to keep your elbows out of someone else’s plate. The point of government regulation is to put the force of law behind the rules of common decency. Considering the sociopathic tendencies shown by many at the top of the corporate ladder, you have to be stupid, willfully blind or outright deceitful to espouse strict noninterventionism.

  89. #90 Longtime Lurker
    May 31, 2008

    Brian, you really have a lot of free time on your hands now that Ron Paul has dropped under the radar… get over it. Why don’t you get out from under your various bridges, hook up with some other Paulists, and start an objectivist compound up in New Hampshire? You’ll be happier, and you may even meet a nice Ronette.

    Now, if you want us to take your economic arguments more seriously, a basic brush-up on spelling and grammar would help. This little tidbit had me sobbing with laughter:

    “James Hill is an example of what the railroads look like under strict laissez faire.”

    Mr. Hill must have had an interesting physiognomy.

  90. #91 Brian X
    May 31, 2008

    Lurker: Heh, interesting description, no?

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure New Hampshire doesn’t want his type either. The Ed and Elaine Brown case wore down a lot of nerves up there with the anti-government types.

  91. #92 bybelknap, FCD
    May 31, 2008

    Mud pies which are baked into bricks have plenty of value when there aren’t many trees around.

  92. #93 Richard
    May 31, 2008

    The big problem is that there’s a counter-pray-in, and God’s up against some stiff competition. So far, the Ghost of Norman Fell is kicking Yahweh’s ass…

    “Non-believers might as well face it. The Ghost of Norman Fell has changed all of our lives, and all it took was just one person praying to Him. Imagine what would happen if everybody prayed to him. What if we prayed to Norman Fell for moral guidance and for healing the sick?”

    http://vyoma108.blogspot.com/2008/05/norman-fell-is-your-god-now-deal-with.html

  93. #94 Epikt
    May 31, 2008

    Macker:

    Part of the reason I don’t buy it is because I do have a deep understanding of economics and global warming is a minor concern compared to the problems that will ensue from some of the “solutions” proposed for global warming.

    You’re being amusing, probably by accident. You sneer at others here for not having the profound understanding of economics that you claim, yet you blow off the consequences of climate change as “minor concern(s)” compared with what you allege will be problems with (nicely scare-quoted) solutions. Are you claiming to have a deep and profound knowledge of climate science as well as economics? Why should we believe that you understand the possible consequences well enough to glibly dismiss them? Why should we think you have any credibility at all on the issue?

  94. #95 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 31, 2008

    * Austrians reject, on principle, the use of mathematics or econometrics.

    How is economics supposed to ever become a science if there’s no math in it? No quantification?

    The worst math is no math at all.
    – Mark “Good Math, Bad Math” Chu-Carroll

    ———————

    The greatest force for capitalism in the world is currently the EU Commissioner for Competition. Capitalism has to be constantly protected from itself, because competition is selected against. If capitalism is left to itself, it leads to niche partitioning, where each corporation (or cartel, or megamerger) has a niche all for itself — a monopoly. As long as competition is kept alive, the Invisible Hand works…

    ———————-

    What is it with those Americans who want to reintroduce the gold standard? Don’t they notice that the whole world has fiat currency — worth exactly what people will pay for it — and for the most part isn’t drowning in inflation? And why don’t they seem to fear deflation at all?

  95. #96 noncarborundum
    May 31, 2008

    Cardinal Mrs Tilton, Archbishop of Mecca wrote:

    “…the only thing that works is humming “Voi che sapete” from The Marriage of Figaro.”

    Now THAT song is stuck in my head! Thanks a LOT, Your Grace!

    Consider yourself fortunate. I’ve had this lodged in my head for weeks.

  96. #97 Brian X
    May 31, 2008

    Oh, and to head off an objection on BM’s part that even an oligopolist has a vested interest in maintaining the market: no they don’t. The “owe my soul to the company store” scenario is a hair’s breadth away from straight feudalism, and is very close to a point where property and liquid assets become fungible. Feudalism survived in western Europe for close to a millenium — it may not be a very desirable sort of society given its inherent inequalities, but the stakeholders make off like gangbusters and it is nothing if not stable; it only began to disappear when merchants and bankers were able to wield more influence with money than fiefholders were with land and manpower.

    Brian M., if you are advocating an eventual return to feudalism, at least be honest about it.

  97. #98 noncarborundum
    May 31, 2008

    (Lucia Popp. best. QotN. evar.)

    Only if you discount Florence Foster Jenkins. Or am I thinking of some other superlative?

  98. #99 dkew
    May 31, 2008

    And why is the new troll here at all? PZ’s post doesn’t look like a red flag for an economics flame war to me. I agree with JeffreyD – Macker is J with an Ayn Rand obsession. Same arrogant, undemonstrated claims of superiority.

  99. #100 Brian X
    May 31, 2008

    David:

    I think the thing with goldbugs is that they can’t believe that something inherently intangible can be used as a stable currency. I mean, one could make the case that the combination of fractional reserve banking and fiat currency is a house of cards prone to hyperinflation, but frankly I’m pretty sure the Weimar hyperinflation in 1920s Germany was gold-backed too. I guess what it essentially amounts to is that if the currency collapses, there will still be gold around to trade.

    That said, a lot of goldbugs are evidently ignorant that the genie is so far out of the bottle by now that there is no way in hell that any major reserve currency could be put on the gold standard, due to a lack of available gold in the world. (One wonders how the value of a krugerrand or American Eagle would be reckoned with an extremely scarce supply and no reserve currency to serve as a reference, but that’s one of those things survivalist types tend to leave as an exercise.)

  100. #101 Jess
    May 31, 2008

    I love how the article describes them as “activists”. Doesn’t that imply some sort of… action? Not just politely requesting that God fix things?

  101. #102 noncarborundum
    May 31, 2008

    I agree with JeffreyD – Macker is J with an Ayn Rand obsession.

    He also doesn’t know the difference between “interred” and “interned”. There’s just no excuse for that.

  102. #103 JoJo
    May 31, 2008

    Folsom’s Myth of the Robber Barons (please note there is no apostrophy in the title) is a piece of libertarian revisionism. Folsom wrote an apologia for laissez faire free marketism, picking and choosing his facts. In his defense, Folsom doesn’t hide his biases. However, much of the book just critiques other books rather than attempt to justify his free market heroes’ actions.

    For example, Folsom says that Cornelius Vanderbilt became the richest American without government subsidies. What’s overlooked is how Vanderbilt manipulated his companies’ stocks to the detriment of almost every other shareholder. It was in response to shenanigans like Vanderbilt’s that regulatory bodies like the SEC came about.

    Organizations like the SEC aren’t created in a vacuum. They are ordered and maintained because of genuine, honest-to-goodness, happening in real life situations where one or two men became immensely rich at the expense of large numbers of other people. Nowadays activities like Enron’s are criminal. 150 years ago Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jay Gould could get away with their business practices because nobody would tell them not to.

  103. #104 Longtime Lurker
    May 31, 2008

    “What is it with those Americans who want to reintroduce the gold standard?”

    You see, David, it’s virtually impossible to install functioning Radio Frequency ID chips inside gold ingots, plus trolls, like most denizens of the underworld, really enjoy a nice little horde of the stuff.

    Would it be appropriate to formulate a “Macker’s Law”, in which a person’s claim to any basic economic knowledge can be thrown out the window as soon as they mention the Gold Standard, RFID, Zionist Conspiracies, or the efficiency of completely unregulated markets?

    Lastly, the whole Ron Paul thing came to mind because of a young Paulbot who came to a presentation on our current ecological crises… he claimed that the IPCC was trying to use carbon emission limits as a way to lower Americans’ standard of living. Funny- I practically yelled at him that Reagan/Bush economics had already accomplished this.

    Nice kid, but kinda like Paul Revere’s ride, a little light in the belfry.

  104. #105 barkdog
    May 31, 2008

    I’m jumping in very late on this, but it bugs the heck out of me when people equate government intervention in market economies with marxism, as Brian Macker does at the top of this thread. Great FSM, but Marx and his posse never advocated any such thing. They expected capitalism to tear itself to pieces and were only too happy to watch it happen. The later generation of marxist were outraged that interventionists like FDR apparantly managed to ward off the inevitable revolution.
    I will grant, of course, that nominally marxist organizations like the Austrian Socialists, or originally marxist ones like the SPD did in fact turn to the kind of policies that BM excoriates.

  105. #106 Mike
    May 31, 2008

    Boy, I come back here for a little further enlightenment and all I get is Bozo the Clown arguing with Ronald McDonald.

    Last best comment @#42.

    Meh.

  106. #107 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “Organizations like the SEC aren’t created in a vacuum.”

    Who said I had a problem with legal measures to control fraud? You guys are not only paranoid. Your hallucinating.

  107. #108 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    Just get ready for that consumer inflation I was promising you. Not that the Fed doesn’t suppress the numbers already but it’s going to get so bad people won’t be buying their bull anymore.

    All that new economy stuff was nonsense as the Austrians have been saying all along. Called the stock market bubble for what it was. Foretold that the extra low interest rates after the bubble popped were a mistake and would lead to addtional bubbles in housing and commodities.

    All this despite the fact that gold can be demonetized. I argue that oil is up due to the the simple fact that our government has inflated the currency, give you some information on how that occurs, and you presume ever position under the sun to me.

    If all you have is spelling mistakes and straw man positions to accuse me of then I’m not going to waste my time. Greenspan screwed up royally and you are going to pay the price with inflation. Meanwhile the “gold bugs”, as you derogatorily refer to them, are cleaning up.

    When you figure out why the “math” didn’t predict that while the theory did then you’ll be part of the way there.

  108. #109 Longtime Lurker
    May 31, 2008

    “Just get ready for that consumer inflation I was promising you.”

    Uh, Mr Macker, where have you been for the last year or so?

    AUSTRIA?

  109. #110 Rob the Lurker FCD, BMWCCA
    May 31, 2008

    The only good thing about Austrian economics is that nobody practices it… for very long.

  110. #111 Brian Macker
    May 31, 2008

    “FDR’s policies were a mixed bag. It makes no more sense to vilify him than it does to idolize him.”

    So stop idolizing him. He turned what should have been a couple year recession into a ten year depression. Plus he managed to involve us in a world war.

    There are plenty of contemporary writers of the period who were published and did vilify him for his illegal activities. Flynn and Mencken come to mind. Some of his programs got reversed by the supreme court. He was a practically a little dictator and it’s a good thing he died so the country could turn around.

    Much of his crimes against US citizens were documented in that article. I guess since you don’t dispute them you recognize them for what they were. Stealing everyones gold being yet another crime. The list goes on.

    Like Mugabe he and his ilk screwed up an economy with their incredibly ignorant understanding of economics. Destroying food during hard times. What kind of idiot does that? The Mugabe kind.

    FDR even had roving bands of ideologs going around charging people with social crimes like the taliban. Can’t have people selling socks at the wrong price.

    The fact that you think “hard times” is an excuse for his actions shows you’re not too bright. Really, so when hard times come that’s a good excuse to destroy food?

  111. #112 Longtime Lurker
    June 1, 2008

    Got any other postdictions, Nostradumbass?

    Now, please tell us about how fantastic a job Hoover did, and how the unions hired Pinkertons to bash in the heads of plutocrats…

    “Plus he managed to involve us in a world war.”

    Apologies to Mr Godwin, but which Austrian are you really a fan of, Mr Macker?

  112. #113 Amplexus
    June 1, 2008

    On the subject of poe’s law:

    Christianity is the best religion because Christians like myself are so humble. PZ Lyers (see what I did there?) has blinded himself to design in the natural world. Redundant or non coding DNA is just an example of god’s brilliance because you see god gets paid by volume like Stephen king.

    Mutations are only harmful, If I had three arms the third one would just get in the way and i would have to cut it off, which would be inconvenient unless the extra arm had some sort of robot-like pincers which I guess would be kinda cool and strangely make up for the arm getting in the way… What was I talking about…? Oh yeah Bobcat Goldwhait

    Evolution is a false tautology of circular reasoning and fallacious literature. The bible has a perfect record of predicting stuff. Just look at Israel! The bible said all the jews would return someday and well… ]

    JESUS loves all the little organisms! It says so right in Genesis … And on the third day god created the phylum protista.. See?!?!

  113. #114 JJR
    June 1, 2008

    “FDRs reign was the only presidency were the US remotely came to starvation.”

    Tell that to those Americans who lived in ramshackle “Hoovervilles” (note the bitter Presidential name reference–and it not being Roosevelt) and voted for the man, and men like Huey Long, who actually gave a f*ck about ordinary people (and were demonized by moneyed elites because of it).

    As for the oil situation, etc, M. King Hubbert (geologist/geophysicist) had a thing or two to say about that, much more important than any economists’ writings.

  114. #115 BoxerShorts
    June 1, 2008

    Completely OT, just an awesome personal anecdote that I feel compelled to share, because it’s so awesome:

    My Dad had his 70th birthday party today. He doesn’t actually turn 70 for another couple of days, but the party was today.

    And something extraordinary happened: I heard him verbally identify himself as an atheist.

    I mean, it wasn’t a surprise. I’ve known for years. Science is, after all, one of my favorite topics, and it’s one of his as well. So it’s naturally a frequent topic when he and I talk. And during such discussions, it became quite obvious that he shares my views regarding the superiority of scientific materialism (which necessarily leads to atheism, or at least strong agnosticism, and the distinction is subtle enough to be mostly useless) to non-scientific worldviews.

    So, yeah. I’ve known he’s an atheist for a long time. I’ve just never heard him say it before.

    Probably because my mother — to whom he remains happily married — is very religious in a mostly-tolerable liberal Protestant kind of way. He goes to church with her every Sunday, and their social lives mostly revolve around church activity. So he has likely become rather accustomed to keeping his atheism to himself.

    I have yet to identify myself as an atheist to my family. Maybe I should one of these days. I strongly suspect my Dad already knows, for exactly the same reason I already knew about him.

  115. #116 Brian Macker
    June 1, 2008

    “I’m jumping in very late on this, but it bugs the heck out of me when people equate government intervention in market economies with marxism, as Brian Macker does at the top of this thread. Great FSM, but Marx and his posse never advocated any such thing.”

    Yeah, I guess that whole “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” thingy was some other guy.

    Those hundreds of millions that died while his disciples tried to implement Marx’s ideas, well, that just didn’t happen or those just weren’t Marxist.

    Lenin, well he didn’t have a clue about Marxism. All those evil quotes attributed to him are just made up.

    When Marx says things like “The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.” he doesn’t mean abolish. No as with all religious we must interpret the sayings of the prophet, and in this case abolish means to let whither away of its own accord.

    Really, how the hell do you abolish private property without interventionism? Why are countries that have Marxian inspired governments so predictably interventionist?

  116. #117 Amplexus
    June 1, 2008

    Comparative religion convinced me that religion is like mad cow disease, it originates in someone’s brain and everyone else eats it up and it spreads and spreads. Religion is like rabies it turns it’s host into a maddened vehicle for transmission

  117. #118 Brian X
    June 1, 2008

    Brian Macker…

    #107:

    Then what the hell are you advocating? Most of the business regulations — oops, I’m sorry, “interventionist policies” — are precisely to control fraud; the rest are to mitigate economic caveins and protect the people who don’t have enough control over the situation to help themselves. The free market solution has been to either ignore them, or, as Rand would have us do, throw them to the wolves.

    #108:

    The Austrians said this, the Austrians said that. Good for them; they weren’t the only ones. I knew the “New Economy” was a crock the moment they started making up irrelevant metrics to cover their lack of profitability, and it’s happened before. (VCs in good times throw around fundings like Edison tested light bulb filaments — throw money around and see what sticks, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. Nobody did their homework, and we got an ugly bubble that popped after all the COBOL programmers finished up their Y2K work.) And even if the goldbugs are currently cleaning up, and even if their nightmare scenario comes true, I’d love to see what they can buy with a bag of krugerrands in a barter economy. I suspect “sorry, can’t eat gold” would be a common response.

    In any case, by babbling about predictions that were in no way exclusive to your school of economics, denigrating the role of math in economic modeling, and making all-or-nothing straw men involving FDR and Marxist economics, you’re proving yourself to be the crackpot we’ve been calling you out as since the very beginning of this thread.

    Free market fundamentalists of any stripe == wankers with economic OCD. You haven’t shown me or anyone else here that you’re anything but. (Well, okay, puzzling out certain of your positions is like nailing jelly to a tree, but we get the general gist. It’s still ideologically stilted garbage.)

  118. #119 Brian X
    June 1, 2008

    You know, I just read the Wikipedia article. The Austrian School seems weirdly Aristotelian, and not in a good way.

  119. #120 bachfiend
    June 1, 2008

    Michae said…”Really? You think all people who pray are Republicans…lol…So what could have John Kerry and Al Gore could have done to solve the high gas price situation?” Well, hopefully Al Gore would not have invaded Iraq unnecessarily and pis*ed 3 trillion dollars up the wall. 3 trillion dollars would have gone a long way to developing other energy sources or at least building a public transport system that actually works.

  120. #121 Wayne Robinson
    June 1, 2008

    Michael said…”Really? You think all people who pray are Republicans…lol…So what could have John Kerry and Al Gore could have done to solve the high gas price situation?” Well, hopefully Al Gore would not have invaded Iraq unnecessarily and pis*ed 3 trillion dollars up the wall. 3 trillion dollars would have gone a long way to developing other energy sources or at least building a public transport system that actually works.

  121. #122 Wayne Robinson
    June 1, 2008

    Michael said…”Really? You think all people who pray are Republicans…lol…So what could have John Kerry and Al Gore could have done to solve the high gas price situation?” Well, hopefully Al Gore would not have invaded Iraq unnecessarily and pis*ed 3 trillion dollars up the wall. 3 trillion dollars would have gone a long way to developing other energy sources or at least building a public transport system that actually works.

  122. #123 dsmccoy
    June 1, 2008

    @ 111
    Yes, there was plenty of controversy in the day about FDR’s policy, but your pet ideologue paints a distorted picture of the Agricultural Adjustment Act. Yes, there was plenty of controversy around it, and yes it’s unfortunate that it has become the basis of long-term farm policy, but the picture your pal paints of all the baby pigs getting slaughtered (they were going to be slaughtered at some point, weren’t they?) leaves a lot out of the picture.

    People who can still get themselves in a lather over the politics of 1933 are a bit off kilter.

    And who said I idolized FDR? Saying he’s better than Mugabe is hardly idolization.

  123. #124 Autumn
    June 1, 2008

    @ Brian (and I’m sorry if, at this point, it appears that I’m piling on),
    Whenever I am confronted with the “hands off” argument by someone who has obviously never read his Smith, I ask if that person wouldn’t like to get rid of the single largest chunk of government regulation in existance.

    None are willing to abandon property laws in their zealous attempt to lessen regulatory interference.

    I am not saying that a market economy is not very good at what it does, but all that it does is establish a “market price” that approaches the “natural price”.
    That’s all.

    No market economy will solve any problem that has external costs that are not able to be incorporated into the market. Adam Smith anticipated this when he argued that liquid capital, that is, capital not tied to the area or production sources, would always disrupt the free market.
    Costs, even unanticipated costs, will be paid.
    Government regulation is, so far as humans have experienced, the only way to mute the market in order to offset the unanticipated costs.
    This is especialy true when information is also being dictated by market forces. I believe that most of the economic downturns of the last half of the last century, as well as those of this century, were immeadiately preceeded by the deregulation of the sector of the economy which then self-destructed.

    Today’s housing situation is a good example.
    Credit interests insisted that deregulating the mortgage industry would allow more folks to buy homes. The fact that the regulations in place were there to make sure that those unable to afford homes would not be convinced by the unethical to put themselves into a debt they could not afford was precisely why the lenders wanted deregulation; they were cut off from getting money from those who could not afford houses.

    I agree that government regulation is only a kind of wall to be used to set the boundaries of commerce, but for a capitalist (unless he is willing to fight to the death for his capital with any who challenge him – true “hands off” capitalism) to claim it is hindering society, the burden of proof will lie with him.

  124. #125 Amplexus
    June 1, 2008

    I wonder if when nuclear fusion technology becomes available that fusing hydrogen together to make gold will cause that whole market to collapse in a few months.

  125. #126 Amplexus
    June 1, 2008

    I wonder if when nuclear fusion technology becomes available that fusing hydrogen together to make gold will cause that whole market to collapse in a few months.

  126. #127 Eli
    June 1, 2008

    PZ, are you on the IIDB at all? Just wondering.

  127. #128 DLC
    June 1, 2008

    The price of crude (which is not the price of gasoline)
    has more or less plateaued. Demand for gasoline is slightly down, but is expected to increase again over the summer.
    However, if demand continues to decrease instead of increase or remain constant, the price at the pump for gasoline could drop again soon. I wonder if the “pray for cheap gas” people have read the longterm outlook on petroleum products reports?
    Regardless, the price of gas is currently artificially high, and so is bound to drop again sooner or later.

  128. #129 commissarjs
    June 1, 2008

    @Longtime Lurker #104

    The best thing about trolls is that in addition to their gold they have 1d3 minor magic items.

  129. #130 Emmet Caulfield
    June 1, 2008

    I wonder if when nuclear fusion technology becomes available that fusing hydrogen together to make gold will cause that whole market to collapse in a few months.

    I doubt we’ll ever synthesise anything as heavy as gold. I know nothing about stellar nucleosynthesis, but AFAIR even very big stars don’t produce much of anything heavier than iron until they supernova.

  130. #131 Mike O'Risal
    June 1, 2008

    Don’t these idiots realize yet that Jesus has been pwned by the Ghost of Norman Fell?

    It’s over, Twyman. You lost.

  131. #132 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 1, 2008

    And why is the new troll here at all? PZ’s post doesn’t look like a red flag for an economics flame war to me.

    He isn’t new. He has been here for months. It’s just that his comments are mostly limited to climate and economy threads, and there haven’t been many of those lately.

    I agree with JeffreyD – Macker is J with an Ayn Rand obsession. Same arrogant, undemonstrated claims of superiority.

    Nah. He writes like someone my age. J writes more like a 12-year-old child (despite not being one).

    ———————-

    Just get ready for that consumer inflation I was promising you. Not that the Fed doesn’t suppress the numbers already but it’s going to get so bad people won’t be buying their bull anymore.

    And where is that inflation in the rest of the world? You know, those places, like, outside the USA? Do you think I’m not living in a country with fiat currency and more intervention than the US?

    All that new economy stuff was nonsense as the Austrians have been saying all along. Called the stock market bubble for what it was. Foretold that the extra low interest rates after the bubble popped were a mistake and would lead to addtional bubbles in housing and commodities.

    The housing bubble, too, is not a worldwide affair. It is limited to the US. Sure, because the banks worldwide all trade with each other, the effects of the collapse were felt worldwide, but neither the bubble nor the collapse have happened elsewhere. All I noticed was that I stopped getting “REFINANCE NOW!!! CHEAPEST LOANS IN THE WHOLE USA!!!” spam. (Never seen such spam applying to any other country. Like the pharmacy spam BTW.)

    I argue that oil is up due to the the simple fact that our government has inflated the currency

    It is AFAIK true that, due to Dubyanomics, the US$ is overvalued, and that therefore the price of oil, which is still measured in US$, is exaggerated. But elsewhere in the world the price of oil has increased, too. Over here a liter of gas used to be 1 ?, now it’s 1.5 or something (I have to check — no car). The demand is way up, and the supply is not.

    Plus he managed to involve us in a world war.

    For which I am grateful, because this was a major factor in ending the war.

    Apologies to Mr Godwin, but which Austrian are you really a fan of, Mr Macker?

    That’s what it lastly amounts to. I don’t see what kind of education would leave such a glaring hole in one’s knowledge.

    Well, wait. Maybe Stalin would have managed to win in the end — alone. Not a desirable outcome either.

    ———————–

    Uh, Mr Macker, where have you been for the last year or so?

    AUSTRIA?

    See comment 110. Austria doesn’t practice Austrian economics. It’s less Keynesian than it used to be, but still.

  132. #133 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 1, 2008

    I doubt we’ll ever synthesise anything as heavy as gold.

    Bah. It’s already feasible. Just take mercury, shoot a neutron on it, and wait. I doubt it’s economic, though. :-)

  133. #134 Emmet Caulfield
    June 1, 2008

    Bah. It’s already feasible. Just take mercury, shoot a neutron on it, and wait. I doubt it’s economic, though. :-)

    And where does the mercury come from? Did you miss the “by fusing hydrogen together” or do you think that tonnes of mercury are going to pour out of hydrogen fusion reactors? :o)

  134. #135 Nick Gotts
    June 1, 2008

    I’m sorry but I don’t qualify as a “troll” in that I actually believe what I write. – Brian Macker

    Difficult as that may be to believe!

  135. #136 mandrake
    June 1, 2008

    As entertaining as this thread has been, you’re all just avoiding the *real* question: where the hell in the Bible does it say that high gas prices are a sign of the apocalypse?
    (“Twyman, 59, a public relations consultant and Seventh-day Adventist who believes that high gas prices are a sign of the apocalypse drawing nigh.”)Must be in Leviticus…

  136. #137 Nick Gotts
    June 1, 2008

    first sentence from “Austrian economics” from Wikipedia:
    “The Austrian School, also known as the “Vienna School” or the “Psychological School”, is a school of economics that advocates adherence to strict methodological individualism.”

    Ah. So that’s where they went wrong!

  137. #138 Benjamin
    June 1, 2008

    Just think; it was only this morning that I prayed for waffles. And lo and behold, after mixing flour and eggs and sugar and baking for 3 minutes in a hot waffle iron, there were waffles!

  138. #139 Nick Gotts
    June 1, 2008

    Epikt@94 – Brian Macker doesn’t need any knowledge of climate science in order to know that global warming doesn’t pose a serious threat. You see if it did, that would mean the Free Market couldn’t actually solve all problems, and to a True Believer in the prophets Mises and Rothbard, that very thought is blasphemy.

  139. #140 barkdog
    June 1, 2008

    Brian M, can you read? I wrote that Marx was not interested in government intervention in a market economy. Extrapolating from the work of the Manchester school, he expected the free market system to transform itself into a net of closely held monopolies that would create an oligarchic planned economy. Eventually the proletariat would give the monopolists the boot and run things themselves. By the time you get to “from each. . .” there would be no market economy.
    As for the rest, who said that I was defending Lenin and Stalin? I simply despise the sloppy thinking epitomized by your first comment.

  140. #141 Pepper
    June 1, 2008

    Pray for American Pie at the Triangle Cafe – clears the mind.

  141. #142 Logicel
    June 1, 2008

    Autumn (comment #124):

    No market economy will solve any problem that has external costs that are not able to be incorporated into the market.
    _____

    Yup, that is the snag. How can free markets rely on the wisdom of supply and demand establishing marketplace reality if true costs are not/can’t be incorporated into the market equation?

    Instead of encouraging people to change, to think for the welfare of the group and its intimate connection to the environment, in terms of using public transport, it is much more practical to have the price of gasoline incorporate its true cost–that would provide a much more realistic and effective way of curbing the driving of SUVs in crowded city centers.

  142. #143 Matt Penfold
    June 1, 2008

    One thing that strikes me is that those people who claim to favour a free market without any intervention would not actually like the outcome in the event of that happening.

    Monopolies can arise in a free market and yet destroy the concept of competition free marketers trumpet. If there is nothing to stop monopolies arising, and if there is no state intervention there would not seem to be anything, then they can and will arise.

    They end up in a paradoxical situation where getting what they want will ensure they do not get what they want.

  143. #144 barkdog
    June 1, 2008

    Re #143 Of course! So Brian M, does that make Matt Penfield a marxist?

  144. #145 Matt Penfold
    June 1, 2008

    “So Brian M, does that make Matt Penfold a marxist?”

    I hope it doesn’t. Last few times I have voted, in the UK, I voted Liberal Democrat. They may be somewhat left of centre, but I think marxist would be stretching it!

  145. #146 Nick Gotts
    June 1, 2008

    Matt, to Brian Macker, Margaret Thatcher probably looks suspiciously like a Marxist. After all, didn’t her government levy taxes? Sign the Maastricht Treaty? Use nationalised, socialised, monopolistic armed forces to recapture the Falklands, rather than putting the job out to tender?

  146. #147 Gene
    June 1, 2008

    Macker seems to think that there were no booms or busts before “interventionism.” He also seems to believe in ghosts (the “invisible hand”). The only reason that the government intervenes at all is to keep the worst excesses of capitalism from leading to riots, insurrection and eventually revolution. Remember, the state is of, by and for the ruling class. It will even sacrifice some of its own in an effort to protect itself and the system overall.

  147. #148 barkdog
    June 1, 2008

    Right Nick. The Austrian school crowd even think both US parties look marxist, and the Tories are to their left.

  148. #149 Matt Penfold
    June 1, 2008

    Nick,

    Actually the Mastricht Treaty came about under Major rather than Thatcher, but otherwise, yeap, you are right.

  149. #150 Matt Penfold
    June 1, 2008

    Another impression I get from Macker is that the thinks the people are there to serve the economy, rather than the economy being the servant of the people.

  150. #151 Nick Gotts
    June 1, 2008

    Matt,
    You’re quite right – I was thinking of the Single European Act; or to be more accurate, I knew there was some important euro-treaty Thatcher signed on behalf of the UK, but neglected to check which one.

  151. #152 Matt Penfold
    June 1, 2008

    Nick,

    Can be an easy mistake to make. After a while all those acts begin to look alike.

  152. #153 Nick Gotts
    June 1, 2008

    Re #150. Verily. For it is written in the works of the prophet Rothbard:

    “The Market giveth, and the Market taketh away; blessed be the name of the Market.”

  153. #154 Epikt
    June 1, 2008

    Matt Penfold:

    One thing that strikes me is that those people who claim to favour a free market without any intervention would not actually like the outcome in the event of that happening.

    …except that their arrogance allows them to believe that they’ll be the ones running the monopolies, because they’re obviously so much smarter than everybody else.

  154. #155 gex
    June 1, 2008

    “Much economic theory is based on discredited models of human psychology.”

    Indeed! For one their model calls for informed rational beings. And as various car dealerships like to remind us, we have an 86% ignorant irrational majority in this country.

    Free markets are not the same as markets without interference. After Econ 101 you get to learn about market distortions, like externalities that keep the market from functioning like the well oiled machine so many believe it to be. It is a simplified model in a complex world, and we are constantly told that the world is wrong but the model is right by the pro-business “free”-marketers in America.

  155. #156 Longtime Lurker
    June 1, 2008

    To commissarjs #129… obviously, Mr Macker’s Horde has a “Mace of Beating Dead Horses” in it.

  156. #157 Longtime Lurker
    June 1, 2008

    Sorry… “hoard”.

  157. #158 Nick Gotts
    June 1, 2008

    Re #155 For one their model calls for informed rational beings.

    Actually, Brian Macker’s Austrian school gurus don’t use the Homo economicus model of the neoclassical school. The religion of The Market is as prone to doctrinal schism as any other!

  158. #159 Matt Penfold
    June 1, 2008

    “…except that their arrogance allows them to believe that they’ll be the ones running the monopolies, because they’re obviously so much smarter than everybody else.”

    I was being charitable and assuming a reasonable degree honesty and lack of partisanship. I am willing to concede that may have been a mistake.

  159. #160 dsmccoy
    June 1, 2008

    @ mandrake #136

    As entertaining as this thread has been, you’re all just avoiding the *real* question: where the hell in the Bible does it say that high gas prices are a sign of the apocalypse?

    Dunno that one. I do know that the fundies are fond of pointing to the book of Nahum for prophesy concerning cars.

    Nahum 2:4
    The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.

    Most people don’t even know there is a book of Nahum and few people find much use for it other than conflating chariots with cars.

  160. #161 qedpro
    June 1, 2008

    they never want to pray for anything of real value, just things that will help them.

    everytime a christian says they’ll pray for me I shove it back in their face by asking them to pray that no child be raped and/or murdered instead, that i would gladly burn in hell if this prayer were answered.

    that shuts them up real quick.

  161. #162 qedpro
    June 1, 2008

    sometimes i add, and remember, every time you pray for something stupid like lower gas prices or me, a child is raped and/or murdered. don’t be so selfish.

  162. #163 Matt Penfold
    June 1, 2008

    Given that a major reason for the current high price of oil is the increasing demand from China and India as those two nations improve their living standards can be take it that in praying for lower prices these Christians are asking for a reduction in demand, and thus a reduction in the living standards of Indians and Chinese ?

    Only if so that does not strike me as something Christians would want to be seen praying for.

  163. #164 Longtime Lurker
    June 1, 2008

    “See comment 110. Austria doesn’t practice Austrian economics. It’s less Keynesian than it used to be, but still”

    David, my comment to B.M. was pure sarcasm. The real reason Mr Macker wasn’t aware of the extent of inflation over the last few years is because his mom buys all of his Cheetos for him, and leaves them at the top of the basement stairs. When the house moves into foreclosure, and the bank refuses to let him keep his room, he will surely go gently into his dark night, as he knows that the market forces arrayed against him are benevolent, and dying of exposure is his sacred duty to Ayn Rand.

  164. #165 Ignorant Atheist
    June 1, 2008

    OT

    I had a point I wanted to make, but before I could articulate it, I realized I am way too drunk to make sense. Therefore, I will wait til I am more sober to comment (Of course, when I’m sober, I’m too shy to coment.) LOL: Not actually LOL, more like CI (chuckling internally). My rambling on about stuff that makes no sense is more proof that I am way drunk, just wanted to point that out. BTW, I am watching Wrath of Kahn, great flick. Any of y’all seen a great flick I should see? Or cool vids I should watch? Or funny jokes? Or great internet links? Or just ignore me cause, since I’m drunk, I’m gonna forget to check reposnses. CI.

  165. #166 Tokoloshe
    June 1, 2008

    eish… it always amazes me how “westerners” laugh at “primitive” tribes when they do rain dances etc… but then have their own “rain” dances… well oil dance in this case…

    And eventually the oil price will tank (the cure for high price is high price… substitution will start taking place, demand will start falling away etc) …

    and then when it tanks these people will take all the credit for it, so quickly explain to them the broken clock syndrome… at least right twice a day…. and if they happen to get their timing right they will probably haul out the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy..

    O well, bring on Jesus take II and please turn water into petrol/gas this time, thank you in advance.

  166. #167 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 1, 2008

    Dennis. Meds, take them.

  167. #168 andrew
    June 1, 2008

    Are we beating the creationists or something? No new posts!!! wtf!!

  168. #169 Dan Kuehling
    June 1, 2008

    Oh, look, it’s Dennis Markuze (nee Dennis Mabus) Back to throw around more accusations and libel, are we?

    ::gets on the PA::
    PZ to the Poe’s Law thread with the Plonk-o-Matic. PZ to the Poe’s Law thread with the Plonk-o-Matic, thankyou.

  169. #170 dkew
    June 1, 2008

    132:

    [Macker] isn’t new. He has been here for months. It’s just that his comments are mostly limited to climate and economy threads, and there haven’t been many of those lately.

    Happy to have missed those! I know they bring out the whackjobs, and I don’t have the patience to wade through them. David, and others: I particularly value the perspective from those of you living outside the US. The room gets really stuffy when there’s no breeze from outside.

  170. #171 Matt Penfold
    June 1, 2008

    Of course the reason Macker denies climate change is that there is no financial cost placed on damage to the environment that those damaging it are forced to pay (*). In Macker’s world the only things that matter are things that have a price attached to them. Health and Safety clearly does not matter, as that would be government intervention, and dealing with odious regimes should be allowed preventing that, and telling companies that selling arms to genocidal maniacs who happen to run a country is not a good idea would also be government intervention. What would letting Bangladesh disappear under the sea matter, as long as there was still money to be made ?

  171. #172 Matt Penfold
    June 1, 2008

    (*) This is not strictly true. There are increasingly schemes that place costs on the most polluting companies and reduce costs for those who invest in green technology. However these do involve government intervention and thus not recognised as valid by Macker.

  172. #173 guthrie
    June 1, 2008

    Brian Macker would have a better argument if he actually stopped making stupid statements like
    “Keynes is well noted for this asinine belief that throwing money from helicopters is good for the economy”

    Apart from Keynes dying just as helicopters started production, such a stupid statement deserves ridicule.
    As for MArxism, at no point does Marx say “Kill everyone who opposes you, and try and collectivise everything under an all powerful state. Heck, if Macker actually knew any history, he’d know that the Bolsheviks were only one of many left wing groups in the USSR, but due to the chaos, they were the ones whose ruthlesness enabled them to take over. Any resemblance to Marx is besides the point- after all, FDR fiddled with the money, so has BUsh, and neither of them get called anti-capitalist, do they?

  173. #174 Peter Barber
    June 1, 2008

    From the WaPo article:

    “I think it’s [the praying for lower gas prices] a wonderful thing,” said Mirrine Thorne of Northwest Washington, who pulled in to gas up her Chevy Impala as Twyman’s group prayed. Thorne, a mother of four, said gas prices have limited the activities she can do with her kids on the weekends.

    No, you muppet, it’s your choice of a car with a huge engine. 3.4 L minimum, according to my research – assuming you’ve got a late model and chose the smallest engine, of course. Our car has a 1.2 L engine, and seems to manage fine on days out with our nephew and niece, including car seats and paraphernalia, or shifting 400-kg loads of old plaster to the tip. How big are your children, or do you have a dozen?

    (sorry to go all European on you there)

  174. #175 Owlmirror sees a crazy person
    June 1, 2008

    Currently #167, timestamped “June 1, 2008 1:36 PM”. Somebody still wants a million dollars from James Randi, and his psychic powers tell him that posting enraged rants here (among other places) is the best way to go about this.

    Possibly my favorite quote about psychics and such:

    “I’ve gone into hundreds of [fortune-teller's parlors], and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her.”
    – New York City detective

  175. #176 commissarjs
    June 1, 2008

    So Dennis @ 167, what’s it like being crazy? Does it constantly amaze you that you see patterns in the world involving Depeche Mode and Nostradamus but noone else can see it?

  176. #177 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 1, 2008

    Owlmirror

    Awesome!

  177. #178 Fernando Magyar
    June 1, 2008

    Brian Macker, re: #108,

    I argue that oil is up due to the the simple fact that our government has inflated the currency, give you some information on how that occurs, and you presume ever position under the sun to me.

    Ok, I might be able to forgive your typos and bizzare gramatical shortcomings, I myself am often guilty of that. However your argument that the price of oil is up due to government produced inflation is almost as laughable as the bunch of bozos holding hands at a gas station praying for god to lower the price if gas.

    You might start by reading this post “Why oil costs over $120 per barrel”over at theoildrum.com http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/4007 while you are there you might want to educate yourself about peak oil. Though if you don’t consider anthropogenic climate change to be an important issue, I can’t imagine you will be able to grasp the implications of this other inconvenient little truth. I do hope you can ride a bicycle.

  178. #179 uncle frogy
    June 1, 2008

    I am a some what slow reader OK I do not always have time to read to the end and see if I want to make a comment or if some one else has said what I would say. first I am the frogs uncle not the frog so as not to be confused with anyone else.

    Economics is not science as it seems to be practiced it sounds much more like philosophy
    and politics to me. Though there are some who use mathematics to analyze economic events. I see very little agreement between economic theories or economists. How does it go? Put 3 economists in a room and you will get 5 theories about what is going on.

    Like religions who do not seem to agree much either. They make their pronouncements and when it does not work out as they predicted they can come up with many conflicting reasons why!

    You might as well get some of your friends and go to a gas station and pray.

    they both pick and chose which factoids to pay attention to, pick how much history they use to make their points.

    Science does not have that freedom to pick and chose what part of reality to include in its evaluations or considerations

    I have “talked ” with some others who think that the global warming does not seem to have a cost. They can not understand that if you increase the energy input of a system beyond a certain point that things will seriously change try driving through the desert and see what you think about, the earth or nature or what ever you call it “the Creation” does not have a vested interest in our part of it any more than does the “Market” care about any one player in it.

    ask all the questions and stop all the useless prayer and preaching.
    what is going on ??

    Lets try some reason, lets get all the facts first, what are we doing ? Do we really want that to happen that way? What is the whole purpose of any of it any way?

    uncle frogy

  179. #180 The Devout Atheist
    June 2, 2008

    It’s okay. I live in Petworth and I have been praying for higher gas prices. I’m pretty sure my god can beat up their god.

  180. #181 Brian Macker
    June 3, 2008

    Jojo,

    It got nice out so I didn’t have time to cover all the mistakes being made by the posters here. You say.

    “For example, Folsom says that Cornelius Vanderbilt became the richest American without government subsidies. What’s overlooked is how Vanderbilt manipulated his companies’ stocks to the detriment of almost every other shareholder. It was in response to shenanigans like Vanderbilt’s that regulatory bodies like the SEC came about.”

    “The Cornelius Vanderbilt covered in the book didn’t earn his riches by stock manipulation. There are stories surrounding him about stock manipulation but it was the other way round. Other people were trying to swindle him via stock manipulations. He actually won in court because, ya know, there were laws against that sort of thing back then.

    Not sure which story you got confused on. Perhaps it was this one:
    “In 1857, Drew became a member of the board of directors of the Erie Railroad and used his position to manipulate the firm’s stock price.

    In 1864, Drew once again struggled with Vanderbilt, speculating on the stock of the Harlem Railroad. Drew was selling the stock short, but Vanderbilt and his associates bought every share he sold, ultimately causing the stock price to rise from 90 to 285 in five months. Drew lost $500,000.

    In 1866-1868, Drew engaged in the Erie War, in which Drew conspired along with James Fisk (financier) and Jay Gould to issue fraudulent stock to keep Vanderbilt from gaining control of the Erie Railroad. Vanderbilt sustained heavy losses and conceded control of the railroad to the trio.

    In 1870, Fisk and Gould betrayed Drew, manipulating the stock price of the Erie Railroad and causing him to lose $1.5 million. The Panic of 1873 cost him still more, and by 1876, Drew filed for bankruptcy, with debts exceeding a million dollars and no viable assets. He died in 1879, dependent on his son for support.”

    Perhaps you got Vanderbilt confused with some other person? Maybe Andrew Carnegie?

    Thank’s for pointing out a missing or added apostrophe. I didn’t bother to check which to show you how important I think that is.

    Of course you entirely missed the point of the book, not having read it.

    BTW, Enron is a story that is all about using government to make money. Didn’t know that did you? Enron was one of the main players that helped set up the price controls (government intervention) that made it easy to clean up in that market.

  181. #182 Brian Macker
    June 3, 2008

    BrianX,

    “Considering the sociopathic tendencies shown by many at the top of the corporate ladder, you have to be stupid, willfully blind or outright deceitful to espouse strict noninterventionism.”

    Says “Brian X” forgetting the sociopathic tendencies by many at the top of the political ladder. If Vanderbilt, a guy who revolutionized the steamship industry bringing low cost transportation to the masses, is the worst because he amassed the second greatest fortune ever then well I guess Hitlers slaugher or FDRs ruination of an entire countries economy just isn’t all that bad. After all they did it for the good of the people whereas Vanderbilt was doing it merely on his own principles and not the collectives.

    Actually one could say that “You’d have to be to be stupid, willfully blind or outright deceitful not to know what non-interventionism is before you’d open your mouth in such a nasty way”, to paraphrase someone here.

    Your beliefs about capitalism are archaic and humorous, and sound like they came out of a Marxist inspired union handbook.

    Criticize Marx and his interventionism and all the sympathizers come out of the woodwork. We have Mrs. Tilton the supposed arch capitalist getting all upset about me criticizing the interventionist policies of Marx, some other dude who thinks Marx was all about “hands off” and now you, who doesn’t even know let alone understand the arguments of your opponents.

    I’ll give you a hint. Non-interventionism isn’t about getting rid of the law. I don’t recall reading anything by Milton Friedman, Herber Spencer, or any other non-interventionist suggesting that we do away with law let alone government.

    There are other subtleties you have to deal with too. Even those furthest from you position who would like to get rid of government completely still imagine that the law could be organized without government. I don’t share their fantasies but you need to attack them from a different angle.

    The whole reason I brought up Marx for criticism was precisely because Myers gave a false equivalence between Marx and Adam Smith. Yet, here apparently Marx is sacrosanct. It’s actually true that praying is less harmful than Marxist interventionism. Apparently that’s surprising to some.

    “Feudalism survived in western Europe for close to a millenium”

    Feudalism was about as close to socialism as you can come. The lord was in charge of the “welfare” of all his subjects. There are many other parallels. In fact, part of the hostility of Europeans to capitalism as it emerged was exactly their being wedded to the paternalism of their prior social order.

    “Brian M., if you are advocating an eventual return to feudalism, at least be honest about it.”

    You, as I have stated before are an ignoramus about economics. It’s not a crime to be ignorant but to sling around the word stupid and to make ridiculous claims like this while being so ignorant doesn’t make you look so bright.

    “Then what the hell are you advocating? Most of the business regulations — oops, I’m sorry, “interventionist policies”

    Interventionist policies are things like price controls. Rules against swindling stockholders have been in effect for much longer than you imagine. Non-interventionist have no problem with such rules, or improvements on them.

    “And even if the goldbugs are currently cleaning up, and even if their nightmare scenario comes true, I’d love to see what they can buy with a bag of krugerrands in a barter economy. I suspect “sorry, can’t eat gold” would be a common response.”

    This is one of your more ignorant of statements. I really can’t cover them all because they are so numerous so I’ll have to pick an choose here. If you read that book you would understand why.

    A barter economy is one in which money is not used. Human beings use a biological strategy of specialization, which is efficient for reasons I will not get into. That specialization means that they usually produce one or few goods they have to trade for others. Directly trading good for good is highly inefficient because the person who produces what you need often doesn’t want what you produce.

    There are a whole slew of reasons barter doesn’t work. For instance the value of the items may not match. It’s hard to trade eggs for cows. You may be trading away a perishable item and the person receiving may not have proper storage requirements. Your item may be indivisible like a whole cow, or perishable once divided. It might require maintenance like feeding. Etc.

    Now if you had actually read the book I recommended instead of spouting off like an ignorant fool then you would now that these problems were solved by … money. I said money, not currency because there is a difference which again you’d have to read the book to know. Now money naturally has the kind of properties that solve the issues involved in trade. Because money can be easily divided, assessed, stored, is durable, is a store of value, and doesn’t grow on trees, has low transaction costs, etc. it naturally fills the role of a medium of exchange.

    There is no need for a government to make the money it just arises naturally. I know creationists hate this idea of spontaneous order but we also see it in other types of fundamentalists who just can’t see market order arising spontaneously.

    The money can be anything gold, shells, silver, hell even rocks under the right conditions. Even otherwise useless pieces of paper as long as the proper conditions are met.

    Gold naturally has every single one of these properties under prevailing conditions on earth without government intervention. The only reason gold isn’t being used right now as a medium of exchange is that it is in fact illegal to do so.

    It just so happens that under nightmare scenarios a natural medium of exchange is exactly what you want, but that’s not why people hold gold. They aren’t all waiting around for the sky to fall. Some may be but not the vast majority.

    Now all that said let’s go back to your statement: “I’d love to see what they can buy with a bag of krugerrands in a barter economy.”

    Well obviously the answer to that is “Anything they want to that they have enough gold to buy”. Certainly gold is better than any other available good as a medium of exchange because by definition there is NO MONEY? Feeling foolish now?

    Your suspicion that they would be rejected with “sorry I can eat gold” is pure speculation based on total and absolute economic ignorance. You are an ignoramus on the subject and you are not aware of it because you lack the very mental tools you need to make that judgment.

    You state, “I suspect “sorry, can’t eat gold” would be a common response.” In fact, gold is the least likely good to be rejected in a “barter” trade, for all the reasons I outlined before. Do you think you can eat shovels, cars, and the whole host of other goods we produce? Even for goods you can eat you are very likely to get “Sorry, I already have all the eggs I want”. It’s precisely because gold is the most like to be accepted that it became the medium of exchange, money, in the first place. That’s an empirical test unlike your ignorant fantasies.

    I put the scare quotes around barter in the prior paragraph because once you use gold on one side of the trade it is in fact no longer barter, until and unless the government intervenes and forces you to use some other medium of exchange. In your scenario this is not a possibility since, as you stated, it’s a barter economy.

    “In any case, by babbling about predictions that were in no way exclusive to your school of economics”

    You are too ignorant to even know the predictions of the various schools of economics. All you did is smell a rat and ad-hoc explained it on anything you wanted. You have no cogent theory of why there is a business cycle for instance. Hell you don’t even begin to understand money.

    “… denigrating the role of math in economic modeling,”

    More ignorance. Austrian economics does use mathematical principles. Last I heard propositional logic and ordinal math are mathematics. It only rejects certain types of math for certain problems to which it is inapplicable. It’s perfectly reasonable to reject Cartesian math for ordinal processes.

    Electrons don’t orbit around the nucleus in a continuous fashion. Are you going to start denigrating physicists for their failure to average all excitation states of a homogenous gas to get the emission spectra? They say that the electron shells are quantum and thus in a sense ordinal and not cardinal. We don’t get emissions from electrons half way between shells, only when the fall from one shell to another. That’s why you don’t average.

    To criticize them of “not doing math” because they understand what you don’t is quite silly. I know this may all be confusing to the ill informed, what with having to rely on second hand descriptions of other people’s understandings and all. Perhaps you should drop the middle man, Wikipedia. You are getting confused.

    There are problems with the Austrian theory but you wouldn’t know about them. You are like a creationist in this regard. There is more to learn after Darwin but fundamentally he got it right. Same with Mises.

    Perhaps you should read the entire Wiki article and get to this:

    “Austrians respond by claiming that econometrics is fundamentally based on mathematically and logically invalid summation and averaging of demonstrably non-additive personal utility functions, and therefore is also subjective. Austrians also argue that neoclassical economists are innumerate and do not understand the mathematics they rely on.[12]“

    I’m not sure you’d understand it even if you did read it given your lack of background.

    Actually, the Austrian criticisms of neoclassical “equilibrium” and “perfect competition” theories are quite devastating, but again, you wouldn’t know that.

    Not only do they have criticisms but they actually have theory, which you also are blissfully unaware of. Theory that predicted stagflation of the 1970′s which we are going to be experiencing as a result of our current policies if maintained. Neoclassic theory totally failed on that prediction. It failed empirically and therefore scientifically. Care to explain what your pop-eco has to predict? How exactly do you derive your prediction from theory?

  182. #183 Nick Gotts
    June 3, 2008

    “Feudalism was about as close to socialism as you can come.”
    And, the prize for most ridiculous statement of the thread goes ONCE AGAIN to Brian Macker! [Prolonged and stormy applause.]

  183. #184 Brian Macker
    June 3, 2008

    “Yes, there was plenty of controversy around it,”

    What are you a politician? It was an ignorant move. Price controls are stupid and lead to shortages, or surpluses. In this case he was trying to put a floor on the price of food to “help the farmers”. In the process he, of course, had to destroy the food or it would have went on the black market. Mugabe uses price controls too and they also have bad effects in his country.

    “… and yes it’s unfortunate that it has become the basis of long-term farm policy, but the picture your pal paints of all the baby pigs getting slaughtered (they were going to be slaughtered at some point, weren’t they?) leaves a lot out of the picture.”

    Fill us in. Don’t make trite statements.

    “People who can still get themselves in a lather over the politics of 1933 are a bit off kilter.”

    I guess then you are all happy with the politics of Germany around the same time. I’ll be laughing if you every have a discussion with a holocaust denier and he uses that line to get himself off the hook.

    I brought FDR up to make a point about your conceptions about “rational regulation”. That I’m more familiar with FDRs bad side than you is just a indication of your ignorance.

    “And who said I idolized FDR? Saying he’s better than Mugabe is hardly idolization.”

    I said you idolized him. I could change my tune but I don’t see you admitting what you need to. Note too that you are moving the goalposts. You said, “Comparing FDR to Mugabe is bullshit.” not that FDR was “better”.

    Hitler was better than Stalin if you do a body count. You wouldn’t see me saying “Comparing Hitler to Stalin is Bullshit”. I’m sure you’d accuse me of being an idolizing him if I then started talking about how he came to power in time of emergency and got the trains running on time.

    My point was and still stands that FDR followed interventionist policies, price controls, that Mugabe is using to destroy his country. In both cases it was destructive of resources. FDR purposely destroyed food when people were hungry.

    What other reason to defend him other than idolatry? Give me a good reason and I’ll switch my personal opinion. At this point I think you are under the mistaken impression FDR was “good for the country.” He ranks as one of our worst presidents just like Bush or Nixon.

  184. #185 Brian X
    June 4, 2008

    Damn, I thought this thread had faded off.

    Macker, you’re not only a fanatic, you’re an asshole. (And last I checked, socialism doesn’t promote a rigidly stratified society like feudalism. Don’t piss in my ear and tell me it’s raining.)

    Do yourself a favor: stop putting words in other people’s mouth, stop blaming everything you don’t like on Karl Marx, and stop using my first name. You’re an embarrassment to Briandom.

  185. #186 Brian Macker
    June 5, 2008

    Why is global warming such a minor problem in comparison to suggested solution of seriously reducing carbon emissions through government intervention?

    Well according to global warming extremists global temperatures have risen an entire degree in the past century. Yet no one has died from the climate warming during this period.

    On the other hand government intervention has caused tens of millions to die during the same period. Were all our governments dedicated to completely stopping any additional carbon emission today billions would die. Without fossil fuels the carrying capacity of the earth for human populations would be drastically reduced.

    There have been documented cases of people dying from natural climate changes, the Vikings in Iceland from global cooling for instance. Europe suffered greatly during the Little Ice Age. Climate change did result in areas of northern Africa becoming less habitable.

    However trouble from warming climate has never been a global phenomenon. It tends to be compensated by better conditions in other areas. That’s because crops grow better with extended seasons. I know, I’ve been gardening since I was a kid.

    Any predicted harm from global warming is distant and speculative. Restrictions on use of fossil fuels today would be immediate, known, and would effect the poorest of countries. This would happen even if the restrictions happened in the “rich” countries. Why? Because that is where the capital structure exists for processing these fuels, from which the poorer countries indirectly receive benefits.

    There are many know effects of governmental interventions that results in economic inefficiencies. Putting in place trading schemes would lead to resources being wasted by economic actors jockeying for the more limited resources. Resources would also be funneled to actors based on political instead of economic factors. Economics is about economy, meaning efficient use of resources. Politics is a poor way to achieve economy.
    So the process of trying to reduce drastically emissions would cause an increase in the amount of resources used per life saved.

    In fact the schemes I’ve seen are so bad it would be better to just directly tax fossil fuels if the true aim is to reduce consumption with minimal but real harm.

  186. #187 Brian Macker
    June 5, 2008

    “Socialism doesn’t promote a rigidly stratified society like feudalism”

    Communism is a form of socialism and yes socialist societies do produce rigidly stratified societies. To the extent the government controls the means of production there will be a tendency for those in political power to be static and at the top of the heap, permanently.

    It’s socialist societies concessions to capitalism that make them less stratified or even competitive at all.

  187. #188 Brian Macker
    June 5, 2008

    Here’s even some more balance on global warming. People certainly shouldn’t be panicing.

    BrianX, Sorry the thread petered out but I do have to work on my garden and yard in the spring and I do have a job. It was raining here in NY when the thread started so I had some time on my hands. Sorry if differing opinions gets you so upset that you have to resort to name calling.

    BTW, I’ve planted many a tree in my lifetime and their growth is very much limited by factors like dry springs and overly hot late summers than rises in average yearly temps as are expected from global warming. Weather is a much bigger factor than long term climate. Using local tree ring data to try to figure out global temps seems supremely foolish.

  188. #189 Zach Morgan
    February 22, 2009

    Hallelujah!