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Tonight's Presidential Candidate Debate...

 
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 01:34 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
It was a good night for Romney supporters and those who just want Obama to lose, and the victory can help him win if he follows up with the same themes in advertisements and on the stump, but he also can't lose in the next two debates as clearly as his opponent did. Not sure at all that he can pull off another result like last night but I'm confident he'll hold his own in the next ones.


This is a pretty good wrap-up of the evening. You never know how these things play out with voters - I remember Kerry winning all the debates with Bush and still losing the election.

Obama had better sharpen his game for the next debate. One loss followed by a win is a come-back story, two in a row is a train of momentum for the challenger.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 01:56 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
I too think that's pretty fair assessment of the situation. Next time around both sides will have invested energy and effort in correcting whatever weaknesses they say in their man's performance and whatever vulnerabilities they see in their opponent. The result will be interesting to see. Obama will also have to avoid a sequence of setbacks to stop the momentum to which Cyclo referred.

I think Romney's chief vulnerability is his reliance (correct in my view) in the greater economic growth that will surely result from reduced government spending and manipulation of the economy (i.e. greater development of domestic energy resources and selective reduction of intrusive regulations designed to pick winners in energy and social policy). It is easier to talk about the assumed workings of some government program, while evading all the venality, incompetence and corruption that usually attends them, than it is to address the natural workings of a free market for goods and services.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 02:25 pm
@georgeob1,
Well, the primary problem with Romney's (and your) argument there is that a reduction in government spending leads to immediate GDP losses. The theory is that these will then be followed up by larger rises in GDP in the future due to the new business environment, but that's certainly not guaranteed (thanks to a lot of different factors, not the least of which being incompetence and corruption).

The 'free market' doesn't guarantee a good outcome for our country in all instances. Reliance on it is important, but over-reliance on it is just as much an error as those countries who have no open market at all make.

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 02:30 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
The degree to which Romney presented growth as the answer to all the tough questions about the tough sacrifices he isn't willing to make makes it largely magical. It's the math-free, magical growth train.

Vote for me because of growth and jobs.

The part that is sad is that Obama doesn't even have a message even that good to give this time around. Just an "unfinished" grade, or rather "needs re-electing."
0 Replies
 
IRFRANK
 
  4  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 02:34 pm
@georgeob1,
You free market guys just won't give up. It's a shame it doesn't work like you think. Of course it's always the govt at fault. How'd that free market thing work for banking?
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 02:43 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

Well, the primary problem with Romney's (and your) argument there is that a reduction in government spending leads to immediate GDP losses. The theory is that these will then be followed up by larger rises in GDP in the future due to the new business environment, but that's certainly not guaranteed (thanks to a lot of different factors, not the least of which being incompetence and corruption).

The 'free market' doesn't guarantee a good outcome for our country in all instances. Reliance on it is important, but over-reliance on it is just as much an error as those countries who have no open market at all make.

Cycloptichorn


There's a lot of factual evidence out there to suggest that the long-term better economic performance of free market economies is far better than that of government-managed economies - and that countries that liberalize formerly government managed economies experience much improved growth and prosperity.

Right now the Europeans are providing us all with a vivid example of the stagnation that attends social welfare models, both in terms of economic performance and in the attendant willingness of the population to accept and constructively deal with the facts before them.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 02:43 pm
@IRFRANK,
Neither extreme is right, there is some point in the middle that is ideal and realistically it is not objectively identifiable.

Overregulation is bad. Underregulation is bad. Overtaxation is bad. Undertaxation is bad.

The differences are not that one side preferes government and the other free market, or that one side prefers regulation and the other does not.

The entire argument is one of "how much" and these appeals to extremes are just ways each side tries to tug the rope further towards their side.
Cycloptichorn
 
  4  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 02:49 pm
@georgeob1,
Quote:
There's a lot of factual evidence out there to suggest that the long-term better economic performance of free market economies is far better than that of government-managed economies - and that countries that liberalize formerly government managed economies experience much improved growth and prosperity.


Just for my edification, which countries are the prime examples of this? And, as a follow-up question, how much of this growth took place in the post-WW2 period?

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 02:53 pm
I think you need to get down to basics and ask O'George what he means by a free market economy. I know of no truly free market economy anywhere in history.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 02:55 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
There's a lot of factual evidence out there to suggest that the long-term better economic performance of free market economies is far better than that of government-managed economies - and that countries that liberalize formerly government managed economies experience much improved growth and prosperity.

Right now the Europeans are providing us all with a vivid example of the stagnation that attends social welfare models, both in terms of economic performance and in the attendant willingness of the population to accept and constructively deal with the facts before them.


hmmm

http://media.economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/full-width/images/2012/01/blogs/graphic-detail/20120128_WOC459_2.gif

some of that 'factual evidence' might be meaningful
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 03:03 pm
I really like how Germany is giving the rest of Europe the finger.

Laughing
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 03:04 pm
@ehBeth,
China and India always throw those charts off - they have so many people who live at such a poor level, that they can improve their GDP 5% a year simply by spreading 40-year old technology farther and farther out into their undeveloped areas. It's growth, but not based on innovation or new products.

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 03:05 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
That, is a very confused statement.

Edit: it simplifies hugely significant industrialization and economic development into "just a rollout of old tech" and seems to contrast economic development with innovation for no good reason (industrial economies are not going to be as innovative as service-oriented or tech economies are).
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 03:15 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

That, is a very confused statement.

Edit: it simplifies hugely significant industrialization and economic development into "just a rollout of old tech" and seems to contrast economic development with innovation for no good reason (industrial economies are not going to be as innovative as service-oriented or tech economies are).


The point is, the US can't increase it's GDP on a year-over-year basis in the same method that China and India can. It's far more difficult for a developed country to increase GDP on a year-over-year basis than partially developed countries. So, I find charts like the one above to be misleading - they aren't really a direct comparison of the actual activities taking place inside countries.

I read an interesting paper the other day that posited a future end of growth -

http://www.cepr.org/pubs/PolicyInsights/PolicyInsight63.pdf

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 03:20 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
The harder to grow the bigger/better you get part. Yeah that kinda goes without saying. Works that way for almost anything, companies, countries exercise etc. The plateau.

But economic growth and innovation in a country's culture aren't all that related. For example, America can both become much more innovative as well as see its economy shrink in theory.

The GDP of a country has more to do with its civic, culture and infrastructure than just the cultural subset of innovation.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 03:44 pm
@ehBeth,
georgeob1 wrote:
There's a lot of factual evidence out there to suggest that the long-term better economic performance of free market economies is far better than that of government-managed economies - and that countries that liberalize formerly government managed economies experience much improved growth and prosperity.

Beth wrote:
hmmm (snip graph of GDP growth) some of that 'factual evidence' might be meaningful

Mmmmm --- almost.

You need to distinguish between levels and rates of change. GDP growth, a rate of change, is a measure of short-term economic success. But GeorgeOB1 was talking about long-term success. Year-to-year GDP growth tells us nothing about that. The default measure of choice for long-term economic success is the level of GDP per capita (and, optionally, hours worked). If you made a similar table of the correct measure (and The Economist may well have done it somewhere), you would see a different picture. Mostly-unfree economies like China and Russia would be way behind, whereas libertarian economies like America's and and Social-Democratic economies like Western Europe's would be joined at the top.

But contrary to what GeorgeOB1 might expect, you would not see a big difference between North America and Western Europe. Americans make more money; Europeans have longer paid holidays and work shorter hours; GDP per person and hour worked is comparable. His argument would have been valid during the Cold War, when the competing economic system was Soviet communism. But it doesn't work against the Social Democracies of Western Europe.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 03:46 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

I really like how Germany is giving the rest of Europe the finger.

Laughing

Yes, and the difference is that seven years ago (interestingly under a Social democrat government) Germany significantly reduced the regulation of its labor market and many of the subsidies for non-working people. That and much sounder management of government finances appear to have made all the difference for them. Right now it is the European governments with the most far-reaching management of employment and working conditions and greatest expansions of government that are in the deepest trouble, led by Greece , Spain, Italy and increasingly, France.

On the chart you posted (which with only two year's data aren't a very good test of the point) China and India led the world in contributionsd to world GDP growth. Both are experiencing the rapid growth which attends the introduction of free market economies in formerly government planned or managed ones. The relative distributions of contributions among the European countries also illustrates my point.
Cycloptichorn
 
  3  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 03:51 pm
@georgeob1,
India was formerly a 'government managed' economy? I thought the giant GDP growth they are experiencing was due to a large variety of other factors, the largest of which being a rapid rise in standard of living amongst much of their gigantic population. Are you sure you want to stick with this statement?

I'd still like to see some examples from you that support the point you are trying to make. I think it's far less cut-and-dry than you propose here. And that would make the economic prescriptions you and Romney are putting forth for our country's problems equally less cut-and-dry.

Cycloptichorn
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 03:51 pm
@Thomas,
Quote:
His argument would have been valid during the Cold War, when the competing economic system was Soviet communism.


Exactly. The drivel O'George was peddling was straight out of the cold war era--as though the only contrast were between so-called "free market" economies and command economies. There is no economy which is not regulated both "internally" (by the businesses themselves) and "externally," by government regulatory bodies. What O'George is offering is not economic commentary, it's political polemic.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2012 03:56 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
India was formerly a 'government managed' economy?

Yes it was. India didn't get serious about liberalizing its economy until the 1990s. I'd have to look up the details, but I'm pretty sure George has this particular point basically right.
 

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