Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
One year ago today, Barry Ritholtz takes fully justifiable pleasure in informing us this morning, Donald Luskin, (dubbed by Brad DeLong “the stupidest man alive”), wrote “the single dumbest column ever published in The Washington Post”: “Quit Doling Out That Bad Economy Line.”
The column was, as Ritholtz documents, embarrassingly wrong on every single point of economic analysis and forecasting.
If you had a time machine, knew the future, and purposefully tried to write something where every word was literally wrong, you could not have done a better job.
Donald Luskin is an investment advisor who tends to pick fights with liberal economists, so there’s been no shortage of schadenfreude in the liberal blogosphere over his stunning achievement one year ago. But I wondered: If he was so wrong back then, what’s he being wrong about right now?
Luskin’s most recent column for SmartMoney.com looks at the price of gold rising over $1000 an ounce and tells us that this is a sign that investors fear inflation. Amusingly, just this morning I learned from investment advisor John Mauldin’s latest missive, “Elements of Deflation, Part 2″ that “the correlation between gold and inflation for the last 25-plus years has been zero.” In other words, for the past quarter century we have been able to learn nothing about future inflationary trends from the present price of gold.
I therefore invoke the Luskin-is-always-wrong rule of economic forecasting. If Luskin says $1000-an-ounce gold means inflation is coming, then prepare for deflation!
Luskin’s most recent blog post wades into the Krugman “How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?” freefire zone that the entire econoblogosphere has been wallowing in for the past week and a half. Luskin excitedly quotes a “devestating” (sic) reply” to Krugman from University of Chicago economist John Cochrane, (one of Krugman’s primary targets in his New York Times opus.)
Later today, I intend to address Cochrane’s assertion that Keynesian fiscal stimulus is just like Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. But it seems hardly necessary, when instead I can just invoke the Luskin-is-always-wrong rule of economic analysis. If Luskin comes in on Cochrane’s side, then Krugman must be right!
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.