Thursday, June 11, 2009

JOHN BIRD AND JOHN FORTUNE ARE STILL DOMINATING THE LAUGHTER ALL THE WAY TO OUR POOR HOUSES—IF WE HAVE A HOUSE

JOHN BIRD AND JOHN FORTUNE ARE STILL DOMINATING THE LAUGHTER ALL THE WAY TO OUR POOR HOUSES—IF WE HAVE A HOUSE

By Kevin Stoda, Europe


In the past year comedians all over the world are satirically but accurately describing the problems of our economic system and how it has been encouraged to function for decades. Listen to John Bird and John Fortune’s explanations as they explained the system leading to the subprime mortgage crisis. They use the plausible language of economists and business to explain what kind of myths have developed to replace hard currency and investment products.

For example, hardheaded-stupidity is explained as the reason to bail out on banks. What???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzJmTCYmo9g

The sad punch line in this great routine is that our pension fund—as well as our homes—suffer if we don’t bail out stupidity.

Spin is what has oiled the machinery of economics for far too long. Spin is what economic and business pundits are practicing. The two comedians, Bird and Fortune also explain the credit crunch we are facing.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2008/oct/23/comedy-sketch-credit-crunch
Fortune and Bird tell truths as follows (cited and replayed/reported in The Guardian last autumn):

JF Yes. But isn't the real cause of this crisis the fact that for years the banks have been lending huge amounts of money to people who can't possibly pay it back?

JB That's very, very simplistic. A banker can't possibly know the circumstances of each individual borrower. I mean, if somebody comes for a mortgage, unknown to the bank he might have his grandfather living with him. And again, unknown to the bank, his grand-father might be incontinent. And then the borrower has to spend large chunks of his income on new underpants, on colostomy bags, on recarpeting the lounge every few weeks. And you see we have to come up with systems and ways of allowing for that.

JF And what systems have you come up with for that?

JB Well, our boffins have thought up some very complex financial instruments. Do you know what a collateralised debt obligation is?

JF No.

JB (Pause.) Do you know what a structured investment vehicle is?

JF No.

JB That's a pity, neither do I. Well, we have these things, these CDOs and SIVs and we put all the dodgy mortgages and the incontinent grandfathers in them. And then, hey presto, the credit rating agencies call them triple A.

In the past year comedian musicians like Merle Hazard have also become popular all over the world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtcnXLDnXvs

Comedians and musicians, like Merle Hazard, become the common man’s survival tool—as we become depressed that our children and grandchildren are forced out of their homes—and forced to move into living in our sheds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fq2ga4HkGY

They hint at the bigwigs, like Meynard Keynes and Adam Smith, become common names at the table—even the Arthur Laffer curve makes a comeback as a laugher.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8PwqQ5guYk&NR=1

Even Milton Friedman gets burnt to toast. Economic cycles and who flies free in booms and bust are discussed.

However, at some point the cartoons, the comics, and the funny tunes don’t come across so funny. Here is a description of deflation that is meant to scare you.

This storyline of cartoons is from ABC News:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4wHVkuuy78&feature=related

However, Borat reminds us that part of economics is related to the concept of slavery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdp21zzu41Y&feature=related


Meanwhile, translations of the best and humorous are now available in German and French.

http://www.merlehazard.com/Merle_Hazard/INFLATION_OR_DEFLATION.html

Lets all sit down and laugh or cry our way home from the bank. Note that now there are special humor sessions at the national economists seminars and meetings. Here is work from Yorman Brauman at the AEA (American Economic Association) last month.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9utlDdLhaTU

Brauman has been taking his PhD on the road for several years. Brauman’s 2007 explanation of ten secrets of economics is more than a bestseller.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9utlDdLhaTU

The dismal side of the social sciences—economics—has even been made into a comic book by Brauman and Grady Klein.

http://us.macmillan.com/thecartoonintroductiontoeconomics#biography

He began as a supply side economist. Now he just believes in low expectations and the laugher (laffer) curve—again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgB6mFmYEcM&NR=1

One final thought from Brauman is, “You may be an economist if you refuse to sell your children because you think they might be worth more later, you might be an economist.”

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