31 thoughts on “Monday message board

  1. Ian,

    Just start at 1970 then. According to the table, total Australian govt outlays went from 25% of GDP in 1970 to 37% of GDP in 1996. That’s a 50% increase.

  2. The Cold War was started over an ideological power struggle between atheistic communism and democratic capitalism and because when it started no actual fighting occurred, it became known as a “cold war”.
    “The Soviets and Americans would continue to fight many cold battles in Africa and Latin America in an effort to influence the politics of these regions. The cold war turned hot in the Koreas, Vietnam, and Cuba.�

    The difference with this First Terrorist War of the current Long War is that it has turned hot within the democratic capitalist states themselves, and Australia has no reason to believe that hostilities are not planned for or will not succeed within Australia. It is not a cold war.

    Not all see our arguments as we do. Maybe we won’t be quite so fixated on what is the end state of rights either if they succeed in hitting us here.

    “While neocons and liberals, or however one categorizes one at this stage, argue over wagging dogs and other fine assortments of beasts and monsters, and while the debate over the merits of real politick vs. salvation politics rages on, there are parts of the world that are going to hell in a hand-basket, reflecting the new cold war climate created by this internal debate. It looks as if America is having a nice cold civil war by proxy over its own identity and future.

    The ideological components of this war might be taking place in the halls of academia and the congress and through US and international media, but the physical aspect is taking place in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, etc. Each camp here is producing, wittingly and unwittingly, its own allies there, both ideological and tactical. And like in all proxy wars, these allies are quite capable of furthering their own particularistic agendas by stoking the debate here….

    But first, this new American civil war, no matter how cold it happens to be at this stage, has to come to an end. Otherwise the war on terror can never be won and Iraq will be followed by Syria, then Lebanon then Sudan, then Saudi Arabia, then… You get the point�


    From Wretchard, who goes on to say

    “The political “civil war” described by Amaraji is hardly unique to America. The same kind of hesitation over how to deal with terrorism afflicts nations in Europe, Asia and Africa — almost anywhere in the globe…â€?


    “It might even be possible to argue that what Amaraji calls the ‘New American Civil War’, instead of driving events in Syria and Lebanon, is itself being driven by the structural shifts of the new century. It would go a long way toward explaining why the political structures of the late 1990s have been so deranged by September 11. The United Nations, transAtlantic diplomacy, the doctrine of deterrence which underpinned Cold War strategy, the entire multicultural and globalizing agenda — all of it — has been called into question not by a small cabal of neo-conservatives — that would be ludicrous — but by the pent-up force of thousands of events in a world now striding to the center stage of historyâ€?
    It does feel sometimes that the debate in the west is about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. However not to worry a clever chap has come up with a way to work it out.

    “What was once just a rhetorical illustration used to demonstrate the futility of out-of-touch theological debates is now a exciting science experiment you can conduct in your very own home!
    What you will need:
    · pencil and paper
    · one pin
    · a large number of angels
    Note: Seraphim and cherubim are most desirable, but almost any angels will do. The garden Anaheim variety of angel should be avoided.
    · One copy of “The Song That Doesn’t End (Extended Version)”
    Instructions: Insert the pin upright into a sturdy surface, such as a pin cushion or Styrofoam block. Begin playing “The Song That Doesn’t End (Extended Version)” and instruct the angels to step onto the pin and begin dancing. Count each angel, stopping only when no more angels can dance on the pin, and remembering to make sure all of the angels are dancing on the pin and not just hovering above it, so as to avoid a potential source of error. Repeat several times, removing all angels from the pin after each trial. From these trials, determine the average number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. “

  3. Ian,

    Are your trying to assert that the size of government (measured by spending and/or taxation relative to GDP) has not increased significantly in the last 100 years?

    Or are you just saying that you can’t find idealic data on the topic?


  4. Terje,

    I think the size of government in most western democracies increased dramatically between roughly 1930 and 1950 and has been broadly stable in most of them since then.

    The figures in the article you cite call that into question – including specifically the Australian figures pointed out by Dogz.

    I’m currently down with the flu (hopefulyl the non-avian variety) but I will try and look for further information when I’m feeling better.

    I know there are a number of professional economists who read this blog and any help would be appreciated.

  5. My understanding is that in the 1950s and 1960s taxation at all levels of government amounted to about 20% of GDP compared with about 10% before WWII. Today it is in the vicinity of 30%.

    We live in the age of socialism.

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