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Ambrose Jumps the Shark

We are seldom lost for words here at the JWC, but Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s latest attempt to demonstrate that a lucrative career in economics punditry can be forged using only Paul Krugman’s Wikipedia page and a primary school history textbook brought us closer to a cerebrovascular accident than it is safe to go. Under the heading ‘China-Japan rearmament is Keynesian stimulus, if it doesn’t go horribly wrong’, he writes that “we are clearly sliding into a new Cold War. While it is dangerous, it could have paradoxical and powerful side-effects. Rearmament lifted the world economy out of a slump in the late 1930s, working as a form of concerted Keynesian fiscal stimulus. It could do so again…[A]n Asian arms race would almost certainly tackle some of the underlying causes of the long malaise in the Western economies.”

It is no good asking this cult’s initiates whether they imagine that 1940s Londoners, huddling on Underground platforms while heavy ordnance pounded the stuffing out of the cityscape above them, were thinking, “Ah, excellent, this should finally put some juice into the old economy.” Their eyes just glaze over and they start to recite their mantra about the luiquidity trap, deflation, aggregate demand, volatile financial markets and the errors of ‘orthodox economics’, the great om mani padme hum of their saddhā. Through constant repetition, however, they have brought many normal people from outside the cult to believe that the War ended the Depression. We encourage those people to Engage Brain and consider the following. Read more

Quote of the Day

Our favourite kind of headline: “Judge rules for pragmatic trade-off between European and UK courts,” a fun consequence of which is that successful complainants will have to give an undertaking to return any compensation later in case the European Patent Office subsequently decides that it disagrees with the decision of a British judge. This is apparently designed to promote commercial certainty. Looking for something to say about the British lawyers’ collaboration with the deranged interlayering of our legal system with Europe’s, or indeed their American cousins’ contortions in favour of the constitutionality of everything from the income tax to Obamacare, one turns of course to Uncle Jack:

“The most eminent lawyers have been fee’d, to find mistakes and flaws in patents, granted for the security of the liberties of the subject, and which for ages have been esteemed not only valid but even sacred.” Read more

Khaki Bhangra: India and the Security State

Said the Mugger of Mugger-Ghaut, according to his biographer Mr R Kipling, “I am no faithless, fish-hunting Gavial, I, at Kasi today and Prayag tomorrow, as the saying is, but the true and constant watcher of the ford. It is not for nothing, child, that the village bears my name, and ‘he who watches long’, as the saying is, ‘shall at last have his reward’.” A fine paean to constant vigilance, to be sure, but one which would be more impressive had the Mugger of Mugger-Ghaut not been shot to bits with an elephant gun at the end of the story.

It is an ending worth the consideration of the Indian state, whose security measures we have recently been enjoying. The country’s government is apparently determined to demonstrate to startled visitors that it can blithely exceed its western counterparts in going berserk for security, but in an age when blameless American citizens are legally tortured by the police for standing oddly or, like Miriam Carey, riddled with bullets for driving too close to the Presidential Palace, and when innocent Brazilians are killed by British police for running-while-brown and every London lamp-post is a veritable hedgehog of CCTV cameras, India might do better to conclude that the old Anglophone powers have clearly gone glass-chewingly insane and strike out on a different path. Read more