Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monetary Apologists

Not so long ago in the United States and Europe, basic religious facts were considered to be unknowable. Some still are unknowable in our day and age, but other religious assertions have become increasingly absurd over the years. For example, there is evidence that the age of the earth is billions of years, rather than the thousands of years that it would seem from a literal reading of the Bible. The facts surrounding the birth of Jesus are hard to swallow in light of historic facts such as that many of the myths are plainly recycled from other religions. Inconsistencies in the Biblical text are readily identifiable and easily communicated in modern times.

Still, for the last several hundred years, Christian apologists have tried to reconcile the absurdities. Generally liberal, the apologists tried to make sense of the changing intellectual landscape, while reassuring the powers that be and the people that believe in them that the old beliefs are still valid.

Paul Krugman is an apologist for the increasingly implausible monetary theories that we are governed by. Obviously, sovereign governments create money at will. Yet we pretend that governments borrow money from the private sector to finance their expenditures. The fact that this is untrue, in all but the most manipulated and superficial manner, cannot be acknowledged, because the nation sees this as a moral issue.

People see the workings of the macro-economy as fundamentally unknowable. Common sense dictates that government finances are just like the finances of a household or business. A moment's reflection will show this to be untrue, but we are unwilling to openly acknowledge something that may have morally deleterious consequences. If government deficits are okay, then nothing is true and the forces of hedonistic anarchy will have won.


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