Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gonzalo Lira: Why Democracies Will Always Go Bankrupt

The United States is going bankrupt—and economics cannot explain why.

In fact, a surprisingly large number of economists choose to ignore the problem of America’s looming bankruptcy altogether; or claim there is something called a “structural deficit” (a highfalutin way of pretending that it cannot be fixed, and therefore doesn’t need fixing); or else—as is the case of the fools backing Modern Monetary Theory—they make the claim that all deficits are just debts the government owes itself, so therefore the American government cannot go broke, so therefore—and let’s ring out the QED—the fiscal over-indebtedness is actually not a problem because it doesn’t even actually exist!

They really do claim that. And no, they are not high.

Of course, sovereign over-indebtedness does exist, and it is a problem—a terrible, life-or-death problem: As a lot of historians have pointed out, sovereign bankruptcy presages and ushers the collapse of great nations—often violent collapse. And this is something we want to avoid, no? 

Some schools of economic thought recognize that deficits are bad because they lead to bankruptcy, and that therefore fiscal budgets should be balanced so as to avoid them. But they do not explain why this is the case—they have no argument to explain why deficits happen in the first place. That these clever Austrians point to something that has happened before, and therefore infer that it will happen again if similar conditions are met is not an argument—it is an observation, like saying that the sun has risen countless times in the east, so it will likely rise again in the east tomorrow morning.

This is a true observation—but it doesn’t explain why the sun will rise tomorrow in the east. Since the Austrians cannot explain why deficits happen and eventually lead to national bankruptcy, they are simply positing them, much like tenets of a religion. These arguments might appeal more to our experiences in the real world—especially when compared to the a priori drivel of Neo-Keynesians, Monetarists, MMT weenies, and their ilk: Peddlers of arguments as unsound as atonal clamor. But a posteriori arguments based on intuition and “common sense”—gussied up in German though they may be, and attractive though we may find them—are of no help, because they are based on faith, not reason.


  1. How much time do we have...anyone???

    I am so confused.

    Please give me a estimated time line.....

  2. Jesus mary and joseph.
    The robinsonades
    Mary joins the men at the table to demonstrate the innate failures of american “democracy”.

    But , the missing sacred person at the table, not shown deciding spending is the untouchable military industrial complex that bankrupted America .

    supported by both republicans and democrats.


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