or full of Jargon, or Obscure and Unclear when you write about economics, society or History.
from his ongoing blog The Conscience of a Liberal.
" Political scientists who write clearly for a broader audience are upset with Nick Kristof for saying that political scientists no longer write for a broader audience. I'm not going to get into that fight. I do want to register one point, however: In my field there is indeed a problem with abstruseness, with the many academics who never even try to put their thoughts in plain language.
" And what is the nature of that problem? It's not that laypeople don't understand what the academics are saying. It is, instead, that the academics themselves don't understand what they're saying.
" Don't get me wrong: I like mathematical modeling. Mathematical modeling is a friend of mine. Math can be a powerful clarifying tool. So, in some cases, can jargon, which used right can both save time and add clarity to the discussion. If I talk about Dixit-Stiglitz preferences, or for that matter the zero lower bound, technically trained economists immediately know whereof I speak, where plain English would both take longer and leave room for misunderstanding.
" But it's really important to step away from the math and drop the jargon every once in a while, and not just as a public service. Trying to explain what you're doing intuitively isn't just for the proles ; it's an important way to check on yourself, to be sure that your story is at least halfway plausible."
The usual baffle-gab economists are often simply purveying their own private fantasies about the economy which they haven't tried to explain properly to anyone, let alone tried the ideas out in the real world.
For examplem perhaps 1/3 to 1/2 of Karl Marx is intelligent, insightful writing on economics and society. The rest is fantasy football about how things would be wonderful under his new rules.
Well, Karl didn't get to advise an actual regime in implementing his ideas. And rather than occurring in an advanced industrialized society like Britain or France or Germany or the US as he predicted, Communism was imposed by a whole bunch of dictatorial SOB's who were mostly from the graduating classes of various Czarist prisons and work camps. They couldn't step back far enough from their hatred of the crushing agricultural feudal system that was Russia, the Ukraine and Siberia, to properly evaluate the effects of their policies and actions, which were more what used to be called "revanchiste", or the politics of vengeance exercised upon another economic or social class.
Moving from that historical analysis which I think you'd find almost any non-Heritage/Cato/Americans for Progress/American Eterprise related economist or historian would agree with, what has been going on in the US under most of the Administrations since 1980 is the reverse of that "revanchisme".
It is the pissed-off 1% who have convinced themselves that they are all-good and entirely entitled to every penny of their gains, ill-gotten or not, and that they owe the country and the government and the remainder of the American Public NOTHING WHATSOEVER for providing an encouraging, stable, wealthy country to do the work and to buy the goods.
They feel they don't owe the country all the employment they can provide (to their own benefit. Indeed they're so blind they don't see that a happy, reasonably well paid workforce would increase their wealth), nor do they owe the government any taxes for the support of all the institutions they depend on, Law Enforcement, Fire Services, the Interstate Highway system for shipping resources and goods, the Interstate Railway system for the same purposes and the Armed Forces who protect American interests both at home and abroad, the safety of food and medicines and the water we all depend on. What they want is to be left untouched by reality in their expensive gated communities and to offload the costs from which they benefit to a disproportionate degree, onto the shoulders of the Middle Class. To phrase it rather awkwardly I think that the Uppermost Privileged Class are the top 5% of income earners. Middle class begins at 95% and goes down from there to an as yet indeterminate point where Poverty kicks in. In my own crude estimate, I think that the bottom 25% to30% live in Poverty.
The US worked fine in the 50's and 60's and 70's though we took a number of hits from the quasi-Mafia called OPEC and the American Petroleum Industry. But Ronnie decided all of that wasn't good enough for the 1%. He wanted them to keep every dime, and to offer them handouts besides.
If taxation were to return even to Clinton Era levels, the situation in the US regarding its economy and indebtedness would resolve itself in less than 10 years. If the taxation level was returned to Carter era it might well resolve itself in 6. And I'd guarantee that 95% or more of the American people would be far happier and far better off. I'd also guarantee that the 1% would be just as nasty, tight fisted and mean spirited as they are now, and that a goodly portion of the intervening 4% from 95% to 99% would be equally unhappy.
All people delight in success of some form or another, and for the !% or the 5%, that delight comes from coming home saying, "Damn, I feel good and at least I'm not like those other "zhlubs". The Hoi-polloi, the great undifferentiated Middle. I'm above all that." And deeper down they're thinking "I'm American Nobility", even though America used to think of itselve as classless.
The question is, to whom does America belong? Does it belong to the 1% or even the 5%, or does it belong to the 100% of people who live in the US? (I rule myself out of that group, because I reside elsewhere and most of my taxes are paid up here.) It belongs to the whole of its people regardless of what crypto-fascist Konservatives or Tea Party Delusionaries think. America is for everyone, even the losers, because the loser's children may be the next Edison, or Jefferson, or Tom Payne or Joseph Stiglitz or Bill Gates, or any other successful person you may choose. My own bias as you know is toward Health Care, the next Jonas Salk or Alfred Sabin or Alfred Blalock or Vivien Thomas. (Look him up,)