I want to discuss an article. I may be exaggerating, but I regard this article as the most sophisticated exercise in terminal naiveté that I have ever read. It is an intelligent article with respect to the problems that it lays out. It is dealing with the Ponzi scheme economics of the modern world. Certainly, I am in favor of articles that discuss modern government economic policies as Ponzi schemes. I have been doing this for over 45 years, and I see no reason to stop now, especially since we are 45 years closer to the end of the Ponzi schemes.
Yet at the same time, I am always dismayed to see an article written about the inevitable Ponzi scheme collapse of the modern economic world that begins with some version of this assurance: if we act now, we can solve this. It is not too late. The article begins as follows:
Fortunately, there is still time to act. But leaders from all social sectors–government, business, organized labor, environmental and other stakeholder groups–need to act decisively and quickly in order to secure future economic prosperity, social cohesion, and political stability. It is in the nature of Ponzi schemes to collapse suddenly, without warning. No one knows what event may send the developed world and the global economy as a whole back into crisis.
I have heard some variation of this assurance for over 45 years. In fact, if a book on Social Security, Medicare, and the unfunded liabilities of the U.S. government is published by a major publisher, or if an article appears in a journal aimed at establishment intellectuals, it will have the obligatory disclaimer. It will not be published unless there is this assurance somewhere in the article. There are no articles published by respectable scholars or respectable columnists on the Ponzi scheme economics of the modern world that do not include such an assurance. Anyone who insists on the fact that there is going to be a collapse, that these schemes will end in default, and that there is no possible statistically way of avoiding this, will not get his article published in a respectable magazine, newspaper, or book.
This is why I always look for the disclaimer. If there is the disclaimer, I know that I am about to read utter poppycock. It may be highly footnoted poppycock. It may have lots of charts. If it is written by somebody trying to get tenure, it will be filled with arcane mathematical formulas. But it does not matter what the content is, or what the structure is, the article is total poppycock.