Monday, March 14, 2011

I don't understand the cynicism

I knew there would be some libertarian jumping on some non-libertarian's comments in the aftermath of the Japan disaster. Russ Roberts provided it. I don't quite understand why libertarians feel the need to twist things other people say. Is it to fit their straw man image of the rest of us?

Russ thinks that because Larry Summers happened to note that in the aftermath of Kobe there was a mini-boost to Japanese GDP that therefore all economists of a Keynesian bent are proposing wars and man-made disasters in order to raise GDP.

For crying out loud - the man simply said the obvious - that rebuilding has to count as economic activity and may thus lead to a positive increment to GDP eventually.  Why the need to go any further?

UPDATE: Another savvy libertarian blogger has got on the case with this, Ryan Young.  He simply wafts uioff on a major tangent based simply on the fact that Larry Summers said there might be an increment to GDP as Japan rebuilds, to go on and suggest that "if this were the case" we should flatten countries repeatedly and rebuild them for maximum economic stimulus.  This, simply, is putting words in peoples mouths.  

Summers does not in any way say "isn't it great Japan needs to rebuild", he simply points out that there will be an increment to GDP.  What is it about this that gets libertarians off so much?  Don't understand.  Summers is not encouraging destroying things to rebuild them, he is simply pointing out an economic fact: The rebuilding will contribute to economic activity.  That's is.  If Young and Roberts think that's not the case, then I think they are the smart economists saying dumb things - what they both accuse Summers or doing.



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