A challenge to Brad DeLong on PEN-L

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Wed May 9 16:23:01 MDT 2001

If, for the purposes of argument, we assume all the growth data are
accurate and properly indicative, and restrict ourselves to the last 20
years, the neoliberal argument seems to fare much better if one takes China
and India as the rule, and Africa and Latin America as the exception, where
the anti side seems to fare better if one takes Africa and Latin America as
the rule, and China and India as the exception.  In the former case,
marketization seems to have dramatically improved the rate of growth in
living standards over the previous 20 years; in the latter case,
improvement on average looks closer to flat, with several dramatic cases of
reversal; and overall, several people have argued, rates of growth are much
less than they were during the years 1950-1970.  So in the first case, the
neoliberal approach looks to have succeeded, and the latter, failed.  Both
areas contain roughly the same amount of population.

Michael Pollak

Response (Jim C)

This is the same tired old stuff; the neo-libs keep rattling-off the same
old stats and statistical constructs that hide far more than they reveal.
For example, citing "growth rates" (measured in terms of percent change per
annum in real GDP or real GDP per capita), noting and then summarily
dismissing--in order to cherry-pick favorable data and constructs--all that
real GDP or real GDP per capita does not measure: negative and positive
externalities; types and qualities of commodities in GDP; de facto
distributions of real output/incomes; non-market/monetized activities;
underground activites; etc.

Using these same old stats/stat constructs allows these neo-libs to make
summary prouncements about the wonders of neo-liberal policies and
globalization/integration trends without actually having to visit/live in
the places about which they are making prouncements and/or without having to
actually leave the five-star hotels they stay in if they deign to actually
visit the places about which they make their prouncements. Further, in all
of the cases cited above, market-based processes and integration have also
brought rising incidences of AIDS, crime, divorce, child abuse, wholesale
commodification and alienation of people, cultural decay, rising
unemployment and homelessness--maladies that actually add to real GDP in
measureable ways and take way from real GDP in many unmeasured[able] ways.

In short, you may have supposed/asserted "benefits" of neo-lib globalization
(defined differently by different types for different reasons); but without
associated present and likely future real costs, you have zip, nada,

I am surprised that anyone deigns to answer this De Long; he is just another
two-bit hustler, legend-in-his-own-mind punk and not worth a response--or
even challenge. This creature, and read some of his shit, he is a real
narcissist and megalomaniac, and should be totally ignored which will send
him away than trying to duel with the intellectually unarmed and
disingenuous/dishonest like De Long.

Jim C.

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