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I Too Loathe Centrist Technocrats

November 10, 2010

Interfluidity writes:

There is something poignant, but also a little blind, in the fact that DeLong’s agitation was aroused by Robert Rubin, who, when elevated to speak ex cathedra from the pages of the Financial Times, had nothing worthwhile to say. To DeLong, Robert Rubin remains a pontiff of the “bipartisan technocrats”. To the rest of us, Rubin has become an icon of self-delusion, corruption, and arrogance…

The moral foundation of the old technocracy — that monetary and financial dynamics would be managed, but in a manner both stable and fair — has been discredited. Gold may have its flaws as a putative currency. But at least it doesn’t conspire to steal pennies from paupers in order to pay off well-situated cronies. As existing monetary authorities most certainly have done, on multiple occasions.

That’s as eloquent a statement of Olsonian public choice applied to monetary theory as I’ve ever heard. Hat tip Arnold, who also waxes eloquently against centrist technocrats.

  1. November 11, 2010 2:56 am

    It doesn’t sound like Waldmann really loathes centrist technocrats. He says his views are similar to Delong, but view the public’s moralized opposition to more efficient policies as inevitable and something public policy advocates must take into account.

    • Mike Gibson permalink*
      November 11, 2010 2:12 pm

      You’re right. I was referring to Arnold Kling’s post, not Waldmann’s. I should have made that clearer.

      That said tho, I read Waldmann’s pleasant overtures to Delong and Krugman as attempts at negotiating a position away from the so called centrist view to a more reality based view. (To use Delong’s favorite phrase.)

      The horror Waldmann expresses about genuflecting to Rubin characterizes the real position. All the honey he pours on the genius of Delong outside of that main point is to get the Berkeley professor to come to terms with that.

      • November 12, 2010 4:26 am

        It sounded less like he wanted a more “reality-based view” than that he wanted more persuasive rhetoric.

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