Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Our Decade Of Derpitude


Economics these days is drenched in derpitude. If you're unfamiliar with the term, Paul Krugman provides some context:

"Derp" is a term borrowed from the cartoon “South Park” that has achieved wide currency among people I talk to, because it’s useful shorthand for an all-too-obvious feature of the modern intellectual landscape: people who keep saying the same thing no matter how much evidence accumulates that it’s completely wrong.

He then goes on to provide some American examples of economic derpitude:

The quintessential example is fear mongering over inflation. It was, perhaps, forgivable for economists, pundits, and politicians to warn about runaway inflation some years ago, when the Federal Reserve was just beginning its efforts to help a depressed economy. After all, everyone makes bad predictions now and then.

But making the same wrong prediction year after year, never acknowledging past errors or considering the possibility that you have the wrong model of how the economy works — well, that’s derp.
And there’s a lot of derp out there. Inflation derp, in particular, has become more or less a required position among Republicans. Even economists with solid reputations, whose professional work should have made them skeptical of inflation hysteria, have spent years echoing the paranoia of the goldbugs. And that tells you why derp abides: it’s basically political.

It’s an article of faith on the right that any attempt by the government to fight unemployment must lead to disaster, so the faithful must keep predicting disaster no matter how often it fails to materialize.

In Canada, we have endured an epidemic of the same kind of derptitude. We are constantly being told that austerity and a petro economy are the boulevards to economic salvation. But, lately, we have witnessed strange omens. Alberta -- until recently the seat of economic derpitude -- just elected a government which claims to believe in social (as opposed to neo-liberal) democracy. And the latest surprising surge in employment is rooted in the manufacturing economy, as the Canadian dollar dipped below 80 cents U.S.

It just may be that our Decade of Derpitude is coming to an end.


Steve said...

welll said Paul and Owen

Owen Gray said...

Let's hope we're about to be liberated, Steve.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Derpitude! I like it. As in Harper's epistemology consists of only one constant derpitude process.

Steve said...

The G7 Derpitude summit summarized.

Owen Gray said...

There isn't an uglier example of derpitude than the Harperian response to the growing body of evidence about climate change, Steve.

Owen Gray said...

Derp is a terrific word, Pam. And I'm sure you've noted that it rhymes with "twerp."

Mogs Moglio said...

We used to call it lying Harper Fuhrer is extremely well trained at it.


Owen Gray said...

He simply refuses to admit what is painfully obvious, Mogs.