They Must Be Stopped

Next to mankind and his livestock, is there any animal more dangerous to the global ecosystem than this one:

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 9.38.27 AMEager beavers are rampaging across the Canadian wilderness, chomping down trees and creating enormous methane emitting manmade, er, beavermade ponds. The ponds currently emit 800 million tons of methane per year, out of a total global emissions of 6.875 billion tons.

[Update:  Randy pointed out that it was 800 million kg, and the total figure is CO2 equivalent. Two mistakes. Apologies to the beaver population.]

Modest, but not insignificant. But what’s scary is that this total keeps rising:

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada have found this methane release from beaver ponds is now 200 times higher than it was a century ago.

.  .  .

Whitfield said: “The dynamic nature of beaver-mediated methane emissions in recent years may portend the potential for future changes in this component of the global methane budget. Continued range expansion, coupled with changes in population and pond densities, may dramatically increase the amount of water impounded by the beaver.

“This, in combination with anticipated increases in surface water temperatures, and likely effects on rates of methanogenesis, suggests that the contribution of beaver activity to global methane emissions may continue to grow.”

And keep in mind that beavers don’t just menace humans, other forms of animal life are also affected by the changes to the environment.

What can be done to stop this threat to the planet? Environmentalists need to encourage people to wear beaver skin coats, a style that was popular in the 19th century, and which resulted in a dramatic reduction in beaver numbers during that period. Hollywood trendsetters need to take the lead—starting with Brad and Angelina. A worthwhile Canadian initiative would be to breed more wolves and set them loose in the beaver infested areas.

A small reserve for beavers should be set aside in northern Canada, but for God’s sake keep them away from civilization.

PS.  This post is not a joke, I’m deadly serious.

PPS.  I don’t have much to say about Russia, other than that they should let the ruble float.

PPPS.  People seem to want more opinions about Russia.  OK, they should ditch the statist model and adopt a neoliberal model.  They should pull out of the Ukraine and Georgia.  They should respect human rights within Russia.  They should stop voting for evil people like Putin.  They should kill beavers.  What other opinions do you want?



75 Responses to “They Must Be Stopped”

  1. Gravatar of am am
    17. December 2014 at 07:29

    We need to get somebody to talk to them thar beavers. The wildebeest migration in East Africa is obviously a moving methane emitting hotspot. We need more lions to save the planet or kangaroos.

  2. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    17. December 2014 at 08:19

    Part of the reason beavers are on the increase is due to man killing all their predators, so culling them is reasonable. More interesting is Sumner has no opinion on Russia, which is right in his area of expertise, yet he does have a strong opinion on wildlife management, the domain of a biologist. My theory is economists will not touch a hot topic for fear of getting it wrong. But something quaint and 20 years in the future? That’s fair game, no pun intended.

  3. Gravatar of cthorm cthorm
    17. December 2014 at 08:38

    Russia should let the ruble float. Causing a negative demand shock by tightening monetary policy is double plus ungood.

    The beavers are just being good patriots. Canada has a lot of arable land that would benefit from warmer seasons.

  4. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. December 2014 at 09:02

    Ray, I don’t think I’ve ever come across someone as totally without a sense of shame as you. It seems like you write things down without even thinking. A few days ago you implied I would be embarrassed by the fact that someone thought of NGDP targeting before me. Then I showed you that it’s widely known that NGDP targeting has been around for a long time, and that that person never even came up with it.

    Then you speculated that I had no FAQ section because I didn’t want to go on record with clear views. I told you I’ve had one from the beginning.

    And now you say I am afraid to offer any opinions on Russia, immediately after I wrote a post offering the opinion that Russia should let its currency float!

    Next week I expect you to accuse me of refusing to get into blogging for fear I would lose debates with people like you.

    For now I’m having fun shooting down your silly arguments, but shooting ducks in a barrel gets boring after a while. You better raise the quality of your posts above the Major Freeman level if you don’t want to be ignored.

  5. Gravatar of David R. Henderson David R. Henderson
    17. December 2014 at 09:47

    @Scott Sumner,
    Your comment is excellent.

  6. Gravatar of Charlie Jamieson Charlie Jamieson
    17. December 2014 at 11:27

    Despite your disclaimer, you must be joking, right. 🙂
    This story begs for some context.
    We’ve got 50 billion pigs, chickens and cows crapping every day and we’re worried about a few beavers?
    What’s next — an article about how the bison population has exploded by a million times since they were hunted to only a handful!

  7. Gravatar of Randy W Randy W
    17. December 2014 at 12:56

    Scott – the IBT report says beavers are committing 800 million kg. Much less than 800 metric tons…?

  8. Gravatar of James in London James in London
    17. December 2014 at 13:01

    Leave the comments on Russia to Lars!

  9. Gravatar of James in London James in London
    17. December 2014 at 13:04

    Even if it didn’t then work out quite right.

  10. Gravatar of Randy W Randy W
    17. December 2014 at 13:10

    That is to say, it’s 800mm kg rather than 800mm metric tons.

  11. Gravatar of Larry Larry
    17. December 2014 at 13:15

    Surely you must be joking. I hope so.

    Beavers do good: “With support and protection from people, beavers are once again changing the face of the continent and creating essential habitat for dozens””or perhaps hundreds””of other species.”

    And there are lots of other arguments in favor of beavors. Including saving water run-off. (See California)

    Surely, you are joking. If you’re not, please clarify. Otherwise it would change my opinion of much of what you argue.

  12. Gravatar of ABW ABW
    17. December 2014 at 13:26

    6.875 B tons is anthropogenic methane emissions, not global total. I couldn’t easily find a number for non-anthropogenic methane emissions but it’s substantial.

    800 M tons is still a lot. Freaking beavers.

  13. Gravatar of Jim Scheltens Jim Scheltens
    17. December 2014 at 13:47

    Best written post I’ve seen at your blog. For some reason as I was reading it I assumed I was reading Noahpinion.

  14. Gravatar of W. Peden W. Peden
    17. December 2014 at 13:54

    “The ponds currently emit 800 million tons of methane per year, out of a total global emissions of 6.875 billion tons.”


  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. December 2014 at 14:31

    Randy, Thanks, I updated it.

    Larry, I’m here to learn from better informed people like you. But first I need to know if any beaver special interest groups are funding your advocacy.

    Thanks Jim.

  16. Gravatar of John Hayes John Hayes
    17. December 2014 at 14:40

    Please keep in mind that the beaver activity is not incremental CO2 emission as those trees would have eventually died and rotted. The fact that it’s now slightly more likely to be beaver induced instead of blight or forest fire induced isn’t itself cause for concern.

    Really we should congratulate the beaver for predicting and profiting from this eventual outcome. Waiting for a tree to fall over for dam construction is a long and variable lag that the beaver has eliminated. Central bankers could learn something here.

  17. Gravatar of Bill Bill
    17. December 2014 at 16:09

    I was for beavers before I was against them.

  18. Gravatar of Roland Roland
    17. December 2014 at 16:10

    Do the math: 800m kg=800 thousand metric tons. That’s just over .01% of 6,875,000 thousand tons. Use to show the change in units is negligible. Cows produce 49 million tons of methane a year, over 60x as much:
    But hey, beavers!! Heh, heh.

  19. Gravatar of benjamin cole benjamin cole
    17. December 2014 at 16:14

    By one metric, the largest beaver pond is bigger than Hoover Dam. Check it out on Wikipedia.

  20. Gravatar of Jim Scheltens Jim Scheltens
    17. December 2014 at 17:04

    BTW, There is a graph over at John Cochrane’s blog “The Grumpy Economist” that might make one question the predictive value of markets for future FED interest rates.

  21. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    17. December 2014 at 17:15

    Wolves change rivers almost as efficiently as humans:

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. December 2014 at 17:44

    John, The problem is the ponds, not the trees that are cut down.

    Roland, You are comparing apples and oranges. The 6.875b tonnes figure refers to CO2 equivalent. Methane is far more powerful.

  23. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. December 2014 at 17:49

    Morgan, Nice video.

  24. Gravatar of Bonnie Bonnie
    17. December 2014 at 17:59

    In the photo the beaver’s face looks as if to say, “Who? Me?” It’s cute.

  25. Gravatar of Gordon Gordon
    17. December 2014 at 18:18

    Forget the hats. Take a look at this beaver dish prepared by renowned Quebec chef Martin Picard:

    I wouldn’t mind trying a taste.

  26. Gravatar of chris chris
    17. December 2014 at 18:45

    I wrote about beavers and bankers… Oddly the first currency of NYC was the MB: Or the Made Beaver

  27. Gravatar of wufwugy wufwugy
    17. December 2014 at 19:03

    I’m confused. Should Russia float or not float its currency? Scott has suspiciously silent on the subject. He should probably start a blog.

  28. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    17. December 2014 at 19:03

  29. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    17. December 2014 at 22:26

    “Modest, but not insignificant.”

    From beavers = 800 million kg = 0.800 million tons = 0.0008 billion tons.

    Global total = 6.875 billion tons.

    0.0008/6.875 = 0.000116

    That is highly insignificant according to the common definitions of significant and insignificant.

    What we should focus on is why the wants of people in warmer climates are more important than the wants of people in colder climates. People in colder climates would benefit from warmer weather. But the world’s political powers are in more moderate climate areas, so we are supposed to side with the warm climate people’s wants and pretend they’re objective values.

  30. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    18. December 2014 at 03:46

    Ah, my previous posts mysteriously disappeared…noted. Let’s see if this one sticks…RL

    Inconvenient Truths for Today …by Ray Lopez

    Sorry folks, but somebody has to shout “God is great!” at the Athiests Convention, or, conversely, “There is no god!” at the church, temple, or synagog. This is that person.

    1. Adopting gold as a standard for monetary policy is no different than a mechanical rule like the Taylor Rule, like Friedman’s ‘3% a year’ rule, and, dare I say it, like Sumner’s ‘Target NGDP’ rule. In the end, market forces determine whether the money supply is expanded or contracted, not the Fed, and not by how much gold is dug from the ground.

    2. In support of #1, that gold is neutral, consider that gold supply increased 17% from 1870 to 1879 and 11% from 1880-1889, yet, contrary to gold critics, this was a time of *falling* prices of about 2% a year (Source: Richard N. Cooper “The Gold Standard”, available online; Wikipedia:( – -2% (decrease) in prices over 20 years ):

    3. Raw data to support #2 (from Cooper’s paper):
    Year / Production of gold in mil.oz / additions to monetary stock / % increase of monetary stock in gold / end-of-period stock

    1870-79 54.6 22 17% 150
    1880-89 51.4 17 11% 167

    4. In support of #1, that the Fed follows the market, consider the teachings of the esteemed Fischer Black (who taught just that), and, consider this unorthodox but soundly reasoned book by a college professor, Mark Toma, who is endorsed by none other than Lawrence H. White, Professor of Economics, George Mason University:

    Monetary Policy and the Onset of the Great Depression challenges Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz’s now-consensus view that the high tide of the Federal Reserve System in the 1920s was due to the leadership skills of Benjamin Strong, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In this new work, Toma develops a self-regulated model of the Federal Reserve, which stands in contrast to a conventional discretionary model. Given the easy redemption of dollars for gold and the competition among Reserve banks, the self-regulated model implies that the early Fed could control neither the money supply nor the price level. Exploiting an untapped data set, later chapters test the thesis of self-regulation by focusing on the monetary decisions of individual Reserve banks. The micro-based evidence indicates that “Reserve banks really did compete” – and that Benjamin Strong as decisive leader during the 1920s is a myth.

    I know it’s upsetting when you find out the earth is not the center of the universe but revolves around the sun. But… get over it. – RL

  31. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    18. December 2014 at 04:22

    I wish gold guys would all become BitCoin guys

  32. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    18. December 2014 at 05:51

    @Morgan Warstler – I dabbled in bitcoin, but found that the storage mechanism was too much of a hassle. Yes, BTC fans, I am familiar with Armory and the deterministic wallet (where you write down your secret password on a piece of paper, and a program, if you have this password, can generate all your bitcoin you own even if your PC is destroyed).

  33. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    18. December 2014 at 06:06

    I can’t help but notice how much Dean Baker sounds like Prof. Sumner in this post…..

  34. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    18. December 2014 at 06:38

    Interesting stuff from Noah Smith on Roger Farmer:

  35. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    18. December 2014 at 06:39

    TravisV, excellent link. This is the Sumnerian part:

    “And just yesterday the Fed was debating raising interest rates to keep people from getting jobs and to keep workers from getting enough bargaining power to raise their wages. (Thankfully, it didn’t.) This is yet another place where the role of government in promoting the upward redistribution of income has been important. The Fed has kept the unemployment rate much higher since 1980 than before 1980.”

    MM has this ‘two-front war’ problem: the gold/hard money right and the “monetary accommodation favors Wall Street over Main Street” left.

    To the first group, just keep saying “Freidman, Friedman, Friedman” (and a dash of Hayek).

    To the second group, trumpet the Dean Bakers of this world.

  36. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    18. December 2014 at 06:41

    Which reminds me: does anyone know what has become of Sadowski? Did he get picked up by a bank or something?

  37. Gravatar of collin collin
    18. December 2014 at 10:23

    OK, Canada has too many beavers probably because there are not enough wolves.

    What no opinion on Russia? What do you think would happen if Russia simply got out of the Ukraine? I bet things would return to normal very quickly as the foreign and, more importantly, domestic investor would bring more into the country. (How much of the current London house price explosion is because rich Russians made Plan B to get out of Dodge.) The Russian example really supports Tyler Cowen’s the easiest way to grow the economy is get Foreign Policy relatively right. Or to simplify the argument follow Obama’s “Don’t do Stupid Stuff” as modern wars really hurt your domestic economy. (Also think about the two long term US Recessionary periods 1974 – 1982 or 2007 – 2014 both of which were made worse from an extended war.)

  38. Gravatar of Benny Lava Benny Lava
    18. December 2014 at 13:18

    This is an unfortunate post. I wish Scott would opine about deflation because it is topical and an area of expertise for him. Scott, what do you think of the talk of deflation coming? It makes sense that deflation would come with crumbling commodities. But economic growth is up and unemployment is down. The Fed hasn’t tightened. I figured we would see modest inflation but this gas slump is unprecedented and this reminds me of the nadir of the late 90s.

  39. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    18. December 2014 at 13:55

    Check out this graph of the equity risk premium since 1961!

  40. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    18. December 2014 at 13:58

    The graph in that post illustrates so beautifully that there’s an optimal range of NGDP growth and inflation. You don’t want NGDP growth or inflation to be too high (like the 1970’s) and you don’t want them to be too low (2009 to present).

  41. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. December 2014 at 17:36

    Bonnie, Appearances can be deceiving.

    TallDave, I was expecting that to be mentioned.

    Ray, Do you even realize how ridiculous you appear with these sorts of posts?

    Brian, Good comment.

    Collin, Did you not read my PPPS?

    Benny, Deflation is coming to Europe, but not America. And how dare you question decision to opine on beavers! 🙂

  42. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    18. December 2014 at 17:53

    Canada needs to export beavers to Russia.

  43. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    19. December 2014 at 02:58

    Sumner: “Ray, Do you even realize how ridiculous you appear with these sorts of posts?

    No, I am serious, just like you were with your beaver post. I could be wrong (just like your beaver post) but you or your loyal readers must rebut me. It’s your move.

    Fact #1: Gold production *increased* in the late 19th century for two decades, yet prices *fell* by almost 2% a year, and there was not only no depression, no lost decades like today, but a beneficial deflation where wages and prices were flexible with falling prices, albeit the ‘hard money’ did cause farmer distress and prompted US pres. candidate William J. Bryant to make his “Cross of Gold” speech, and, as Cooper shows in his gold paper, the public ex ante underestimated deflation ex post (deflation was worse than they initially thought).

    Fact #2: Fed is dead (there is no omnipotent Fed), even short term. Toma’s book for starters. This is a hard one so you can pass answering, but please answer #1.

    Those are the stylized facts. They may not fit your Keynesian priors and target NGDP models but actual history is a better model than some computer simulation. Check and mate.

  44. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    19. December 2014 at 03:29

    @myself–a famous pundit on Wall Street agrees with me. Excerpt:

    This slim volume describes a weighty and wonderful event. In 1920, the American economy entered what would presently be diagnosed as a depression. The successive administrations of Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding met the downturn by seeming to ignore it”” or by implementing policies that an average 21st century economist would judge disastrous . Confronted with plunging prices, incomes and employment, the government balanced the budget and, through the newly instituted Federal Reserve, raised interest rates. By the lights of Keynesian and monetarist doctrine alike, no more primitive or counterproductive policies could be imagined. Yet by late 1921, a powerful, job-filled recovery was under way. This is the story of America’s last governmentally unmedicated depression.

    Grant, James (2014-11-11). The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself (p. 1). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

  45. Gravatar of Daniel Daniel
    19. December 2014 at 03:58

    Ray Lopez,

    Yo moron – why exactly would it be desirable to tie the nominal stability of the economy to fluctuations in the supply&demand for gold ?

    And why gold and not copper ? Why not bananas ?

  46. Gravatar of Benny Lava Benny Lava
    19. December 2014 at 05:30

    Scott they really are talking deflation:

    Interesting times

  47. Gravatar of Dan W. Dan W.
    19. December 2014 at 05:38


    100% agreement with you about Russia. As for beavers …

    You need to pause for a moment and consider how much greenhouse gas is being produced by activities that we have no idea exists. Just because you learned about beavers does not mean you or anyone has any real understanding of how the natural world works. All we have is a data point. There are countless other pieces of data and we will never comprehend them all. Realizing this do you still think it makes sense to condemn the beaver?

    And yes, there is a corollary to the economic world. A great and deep understanding of one aspect of the economy does not make one expert in all the economy. Of course that does not stop many from pretending otherwise.

  48. Gravatar of Nick Nick
    19. December 2014 at 05:40

    It’s only inflation compensation thats declining, not inflation… Didn’t you listen to Ms Yellen???
    But, honestly, what does that mean? The median case hasn’t moved but the mean case has? She really only cares about core PCE? Or are surveys supposed to be just a better way to figure out the future than risk-compensation metrics?

  49. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    19. December 2014 at 06:02


    “Christmas in Germany will be that little bit merrier this year as positive business and consumer confidence points to a much-needed turnaround for the euro zone’s largest economy — one that veered dangerously close to recession just months ago.

    German consumer sentiment hits its highest level in eight years heading into January, according to the forward-looking consumer sentiment survey released Friday.”

  50. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    19. December 2014 at 06:03

    @Ray, under deflation, the rich literally get richer merely by sitting on their pile. So, maybe someone who finds himself in the 1% because he inherited money from Grandma might favor this, but not the rest of us.

  51. Gravatar of Cliff Cliff
    19. December 2014 at 08:22

    Ray once again you are completely clueless. Guess what happens when the gold supply expands 20% over 10 years (~2%/year) and productivity increases at 6%/year? 4%/year deflation. It is NGDP that matters. When you have steady 2% deflation and RGDP growth of 6% a year you are fine.

  52. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    19. December 2014 at 08:43

    @ Brian Donohue — it’s true I’m in the 1%, mostly from inheritance, though I did make almost a million dollars on my own in the USA before retiring around age 50 and now living in the Philippines (I’m a Greek BTW). But aside from that, the key to this debate is this: do you believe it is OK to favor borrowers, who typically use Other People’s Money, or savers? If the former –and that’s the majority view– then yes Keynesianism is good. If the latter, then Austrianism / Austerity / Gold Standard (read: a mechanical rule for monetary policy that keeps inflation low) is best. Do you favor Debtors or Creditors? Public corporations (OPM / limited liability and responsibility) or solo proprietors / partnerships (unlimited liability / responsibility)? Historically, since capital is scarce (Piketty’s r > g holds 66% of the time historically), most people have no capital and are debtors and hence favor Debt Jubilees as per ancient times. In short, the masses are asses and will want easy money: Keynesianism aids and abets these people. Are you one of them? Go on, please tell me you’re a mass! One last point: Keynesianism–and none other than L. Summers I think admitted this recently, though I’ve said this for years–favors the status quo. Keynesianism does not want to disrupt existing supply and demand channels; no ‘creative destruction’ allowed. So you perpetuate the existing power base, which is one reason big corporations / governments IMO like it: it keeps their hold on power. Creative destruction / deflation / depression is a time of change, new ideas, and change is bad for the existing elites, who profit from the ‘masses’ (or drop the ‘m’).

  53. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    19. December 2014 at 08:47

    @Cliff who sez: “Ray once again you are completely clueless. Guess what happens when the gold supply expands 20% over 10 years (~2%/year) and productivity increases at 6%/year? 4%/year deflation. It is NGDP that matters. When you have steady 2% deflation and RGDP growth of 6% a year you are fine.

    I’m glad we are in VIOLENT AGREEMENT that gold is not that bad at all; as you say, it seems to be neutral according to your stats (which IMO are suspect, I think productivity did not increase at 6%/yr, but most of the growth in the late 1800s was due to immigration of people into the USA from Europe and increased birth rates due to better sanitation, but let’s leave that aside for now).

    Glad we’re on the same team buddy. You, me and Major Freedom, an awesome triumvirate!

  54. Gravatar of Charlie Jamieson Charlie Jamieson
    19. December 2014 at 08:50

    Brian, if we have deflation, then the price level on financial assets will fall, which is bad for the wealthy, of course.
    Deflation is also going to lead to bonds failing, again, bad for the holders of financial assets.
    The wealthy — and the economists who often unwittingly represent them — want to see the price of financial assets to rise faster than both prices and labor.

  55. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    19. December 2014 at 09:02

    That beaver looks adorable

  56. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    19. December 2014 at 09:47

    @Ray, no, the key to this debate is my framing.

    @Charlie, investing money is not the same thing as sitting on money. The guy sitting on a lump of gold benefits from deflation. That’s not good- we want that guy to invest. A little bit of inflation is the ticket.

  57. Gravatar of Charlie Jamieson Charlie Jamieson
    19. December 2014 at 10:00

    Brian, the wealthy guy is sitting on a stack of stock certificates and bond notes, not gold. If you want him to ‘invest’ in more financial assets, that doesn’t help the economy.
    And remember those financial assets are a claim on other people’s production.
    The radical answer is to either tax him (for example, taking all of Warren Buffet’s holding in WalMart and transferring them to the people who work at Wal-mart would benefit the economy; or break him, so that capital holders have an future incentive to invest in labor rather than paper.

  58. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    19. December 2014 at 10:16

    Charlie, the wealthy guy has a decision. If there’s deflation, he doesn’t have to invest. We should encourage wealthy people to invest rather than sit on piles (which is an option!)

    Mild inflation as a nudge. There is a kernel of truth in the ‘paradox of thrift’.

  59. Gravatar of Charlie Jamieson Charlie Jamieson
    19. December 2014 at 10:46

    Brian — not communicating my argument here. Trying to make two points.
    1. Inflation makes the wealthy guy’s financial assets worth more. And right now his financial asset wealth is growing faster than labor or the economy as a whole.
    2. if the guy sells his Ford stock and buys Exxon stock, that doesn’t help the economy. It’s just wealthy people passing their assets back and forth.
    If you’re saying that the wealthy will spend more if his investment wealth rises, that’s basically trickle down economics. Warren Buffett and other wealthy people can’t possible ‘spend’ enough to boost the economy.

  60. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    19. December 2014 at 13:27

    @Charlie, I understand your point. You don’t understand mine, tho I made it twice.

  61. Gravatar of Student Student
    19. December 2014 at 13:30

    Its time for Ray Lopez to get the Major Freedom treatment. No need reply or even read his comments. Just skip them as you would any internet advertising.

  62. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. December 2014 at 14:07

    Dan, You said:

    “Of course that does not stop many from pretending otherwise.”

    I presume you are referring to Ray.

    Benny, Then buy the TIPS. No way will we have two years of deflation.

    Student, Ray is rapidly approaching MF territory. He still doesn’t understand that I don’t care about inflation or deflation, just NGDP. He’s still at the stage of attacking views I don’t hold. MF never left that stage, let’s see if Ray is smarter.

  63. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    19. December 2014 at 18:46

    SS: “I presume you are referring to Ray. Wow, such concern over a new poster? You overreact the same way North Korea did over a comedic movie. But there’s a bigger problem here than Ray, it’s your apparent selective memory of the gold standard (I don’t think you’re that stupid not to know). A few days ago you choose not to realize there’s a difference between the pre-WWI Gold Standard and the interwar Gold Standard. Yet this is well known; for example B. Bernanke et al’s paper “The Gold Standard, Deflation, and Financial Crisis in the Great Depression: An International Comparison” (January 1991):
    “The classical gold standard of the prewar period functioned reasonably smoothly and without a major convertibility crisis for more than thirty years. In contrast, the interwar gold standard, established between 1925 and 1928, had substantially broken down by 1931 and disappeared by 1936. An extensive literature has analyzed the differences between the classical and interwar gold standards. This literature has focused, with varying degrees of emphasis, both on fundamental economic problems that complicated trade and monetary adjustment in the interwar period and on technical problems of the interwar gold standard itself.”

    I’m surprised BTW you’ve not banned me from your forum. Am I not the boy that cries ‘The Emperor has no clothes!”?

    @ Student: “Its time for Ray Lopez to get the Major Freedom treatment. No need reply or even read his comments. Just skip them as you would any internet advertising. Haha, spoken as a student who’s life revolves around a fraternity. Get a life. And when you’ve made my money, you’ll appreciate my point of view.

    @Brian D: “Ray, no, the key to this debate is my framing.” What does that mean Brian? You’ve made it clear you are a friend of the working class, like the Fabians, why? Do you really know how these working people think? They will strip you of your hard worked wealth in an instant if you let them. I have lived overseas and in poverty (PH, even GR) more than you, and I doubt you really understand the earnest, hard-working guy in overalls with a wrench in his hand. If you’re wealthy, he’s probably not your friend. BTW in most major US cities that guy is known as a master plumber and he makes well into the six figures, no need to worry about him. For the rest, if US citizens, I do support a guaranteed minimum income, but I would make it so low (less than USD $10k) that these folk would have to immigrate from the USA to places like Africa or the Philippines if they want to survive. If you can’t make it in America, on your own, and are not retired like me, you have no business being there. It’s like admission to MIT, it’s a privilege, not a right, economically-speaking.

  64. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    19. December 2014 at 19:40

    “You better raise the quality of your posts above the Major Freeman level if you don’t want to be ignored.”

    Ray, what Scott Sum-man means here is that by exposing flaws in what he writes, he’ll nitpick side issues in what you write until he justifies in his own mind that ignoring you is due to something other than you having exposed those flaws.

    He wants NGDPLT followers.

    “He’s still at the stage of attacking views I don’t hold. MF never left that stage, let’s see if Ray is smarter.”

    This is Sumner’s way of trying to convince his other readers that my exposition of the contradictions and flaws in his writings are all somehow strawmen.

    He doesn’t seem to handle very well obnoxious commenters. At least I never called him names or personally insulted him, but he has and so have a number of his supporters here, to me. Unlike them I can easily take it.

    I’ve been knocking down his posts for a while now, and it hasn’t gotten old. It likely got old for him, hence the absence of engaging the ARGUMENTS, and making this a personal thing instead.

    I find it incredibly interesting how he can, after being refuted over and over again, still cling to his views. I suppose I enjoy conversing with the insane.

  65. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    19. December 2014 at 22:23

    MF: I find it incredibly interesting how he can, after being refuted over and over again, still cling to his views. I suppose I enjoy conversing with the insane.

    Hey you just called Scott a name, violating your rule! lol. I will give Scott Sumner credit for popularizing targeting NGDP, with help from GMU’s Tyler Cowen at MR, where I usually post. Unlike Krugman, who does not respond much to his commentators, Sumner does, which makes it more interesting. I think Sumner’s easy money policy is worth a try. I can’t see how it is any worse than whatever is being done now, and it would show that monetary policy is impotent, as is fiscal policy (see Japan), and we are, as T. Cowen says, probably in a structural recession / structural undergrowth. IMO the lack of innovation is the cause of this structural undergrowth, since we don’t promote patents. Long term only innovation matters, as the Solow model predicts, and we’re in the long term now (and since the early 1970s when productivity stagnated). Monetary policies are snake oil, and that’s why I prefer a ‘mechanical’ rule like 3% growth in money supply every year (Friedman), or J. Taylor’s rule, or even Sumner’s target NGDP rule, as long as we don’t overdo printing money, which will cause inflation as every schoolchild knows save the ones that post here. Thanks for reading!

  66. Gravatar of Ben J Ben J
    19. December 2014 at 23:15

    The test of ideas and their purveyors is whether people can be convinced those ideas are good. By that measure, MF’s work here over the years has been a total failure. But his task is eternal…

    It seems clear from this thread that Ray’s gentle concern trolling has devolved into old fashioned pleas for the gold standard, so I expect him to have a similar level of success.

  67. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    20. December 2014 at 00:05

    @BenJ – I would not say Sumner’s task is a total failure, despite Sumner’s hysterical tone in these comments (he reminds me of Linus Benedict Torvalds, the creator of Linux, who has done more than any other person to disgust fellow programmers with his strident tone, I digress). Rather, Sumner has the ear of chess-master and economist Tyler Cowen, an influential blogger, and earlier last year there was even an echo in a Federal Reserve statement that implied they were targeting NGDP, or looking into it (nothing came of it). So Sumner’s targeting NGDP is still on the back burner, simmering.

    As for I being a gold bug, you will note I reference what I say with ANTI-gold bug writings. Both the R. Cooper paper and the B. Bernanke et al. paper (which was brought to my attention by T. Cowen, to drop a name), are *anti*-gold. But they are worth reading for the facts therein. Similarly, I have read the book by Eichengreen “Golden Fetters” which is also anti-gold, for the teachings therein. The gold standard, like indeed Bitcoin, can work, but it’s not necessarily any better than a soundly administered fiat money scheme. The trouble is, as this week’s RU ruble collapse showed, fiat money is not soundly administered. Argentina defaulted in Dec 2001 on its debts. Russia did so around 1998 and is likely to do so again. Greece, where I come from, holds the modern record for defaults and would have defaulted again but for German bailouts. If these countries were on an iron-clad gold standard (sic), would they default as easily? No. It’s not a coincidence that when parties don’t trust each other, as in dumb or blind barter (Google this), they deal with hard metals like gold. Gold is the universal store of value since the beginning of time, and will outlast the ruble, the peso, the drachma, the euro, and dare I say it, the dollar.

  68. Gravatar of Daniel Daniel
    20. December 2014 at 02:01

    A moron who inherited a pile of cash favours a monetary regime that would result in a transfer of wealth from the rest of society to those like him.

    Those who’d find themselves on the sharp end of such an arrangement (that is to say, most of society) ? They’re a bunch of lazy bums, so who cares about them ?

    Congrats, Ray – you’ve reached Major_Moron levels of stupidity and total lack of self-awareness

  69. Gravatar of Daniel Daniel
    20. December 2014 at 02:04

    Gold is the universal store of value since the beginning of time

    Because, as we all know, time began two centuries ago. In some places (say, China) it never began at all.

    What a total imbecile.

  70. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    20. December 2014 at 23:51

    @Daniel–why should we listen to you? I’m in the 1%, I have proved my worth in society. What have you done but call people names, like a schoolboy? Re China and silver: gold, silver, platinum, all good stores of value. Even lead was a store of value in prehistoric days, archeologists say, until primitive man figured out it is common.

  71. Gravatar of Daniel Daniel
    21. December 2014 at 01:31

    As far as I’m concerned, you’re a random moron spouting nonsense on the internet.

  72. Gravatar of Daniel Daniel
    21. December 2014 at 01:33

    And regarding your shameless agenda – we’re not going back on a gold standard any time soon, so you’ll have to find other, more subtle ways of extracting rent from lesser mortals.

  73. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    21. December 2014 at 05:32

    @Daniel–nobody cares what you think. Money talks, you walk. As for rent seeking, in my professional career as an engineer I’ve brought to market a product found in nearly every home today…more than you’ll ever do. Vamos! RL

  74. Gravatar of Daniel Daniel
    21. December 2014 at 07:16

    I used to think Major_Moron was the epitome of stupidity and lack of self-awareness.

    But then Ray Lopez came along 🙂

  75. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. December 2014 at 11:09

    Ray, That’s funny, I could have sworn the pre-war gold standard broke down in 1914. I guess not.

Leave a Reply