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08 February 2018


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Telling lies and more lies about the status of our economy needs political solution from rare people with bright ideology. when our democracy is heading towards disaster we need peaceful revolt to change the status quo.

When are we going to learn to elect good leaders. We people are part of the problem by electing bad leaders who are supporting the capitalist creating gap for the rich and poor.

The quickest way to deflate the economy is to blame a natural disaster or to have a war.

Both horrific instances can then be blamed rather than accept responsibility for the actual problem.

As Louis the 15th of France is quoted as saying: 'After me the flood'. Obviously if you can put off the inevitable until after you disappear, you can escape responsibility.

You only need to follow the money trail to find out where the bolt hole has been located.

Some years ago, I read a book called "Weasel Words" by Don Watson. Amongst other things, Watson worked as a speech writer for former Prime Minister Paul Keating.

Watson's book is both an entertaining and disturbing review of how perfectly good words can be stripped of their real meaning and rendered into what Watson called "empty husks".

A weasel word is an informal term for words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that a specific or meaningful statement has been made, when instead only a vague or ambiguous claim has actually been communicated. This can enable the speaker to later deny the specific meaning if the statement is challenged.

Weasel words are now used in the world of politics as a matter of routine. They allow the speaker to seem authoritative or to be saying something important or profound when, in practice, nothing of substance has actually been said.

The impact of weasel words can be reinforced if the speaker uses technical language as well, so creating an impression of mastery over a difficult subject area.

The use of technical language relating to economics is especially important given that governments usually claim, quite erroneously, that they somehow manage the economy.

Mr O'Neill's speech is, in its way, a masterpiece of the weasel words art form.

In it, many fine words are spoken in the correct order, spiced with the required technical terms, thus creating an aura of competence, understanding and insight that is, in practice, a mirage.

As the writer observes, substance and reality are two very different things and, in this case, the audience knows it only too well.

Any competent and honest economist will tell you that, at best, governments can only influence economic outcomes to some degree and certainly not manage them in the literal sense of that word.

History shows that, with few exceptions, the ability of governments to do harm to the economy is much greater than their ability to do any good.

Partly, this is because politicians have a strong tendency to not make policy based upon an accurate appreciation of the real world. Instead, they tend to make decisions or statements that will resonate well with those whose support they need to be re-elected.

Also, it must be apparent to any reasonably intelligent observer that no-one really understands what "the economy" actually is, let alone how it works.

Of course, theories abound about how the economy could or should work, many of which are often hotly contested by economists.

But, so far at least, there is no widely understood and agreed grand unifying theory of economics that provides the required knowledge to truly manage the economy.

So Mr O'Neill's speech is a master piece of weasel words about a subject which is, at best, inadequately understood, especially by politicians.

This would be amusing were it not so serious.

PNG has become part of a much bigger problem, which is the accumulation of unsustainable levels of debt by both state and private entities across the globe.

This has been justified, in part at least, by the efforts to avoid economic calamity as a consequence of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007.

Unhappily, the world economy has become, in effect, hostage to a gigantic experiment in which vast amounts of money have been created in an effort to prevent the world's financial and banking system from imploding.

Basically, the gamblers in the great game that we call neo-liberal capitalism have been encouraged to spend up big like there is no tomorrow and they have done exactly that, acquiring assets at ludicrously high prices that cannot be justified by underlying value. History shows that this is a recipe for disaster.

Make no mistake, there is literally no-one who knows how the gigantic asset bubbles that have now been created can actually be safely deflated. We are collectively venturing into the unknown and PNG is coming along for the ride.

In a way, it is possible to understand why Mr O'Neill, in common with so many other political leaders, keeps on repeating the same tired weasel words about the state of the economy. To admit the truth may precipitate the very thing that they fear most.

We truly live in interesting times.

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