Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Letter to the editor - refused by Newsweek

Normally, I am not very keen on writing letters to the weekly I read. But in this case, something rankled.

Many economists, I think, can be compared to psychologists or meteorologists. Very learned coves indeed and thus always ready and available for an exhaustive explanation. But when the events prove them wrong - that happens not infrequently - , don't wait for an excuse, you are wasting your time.

Thus I wrote a letter to the editor of Newsweek but they did not publish it. So I thought nothing should be wasted in these hard times. My letter might be worthwhile reading inside this wonderful blog.

All this is about Robert J. Samuelson's article "It's really a global crisis".

So, if someone needs to smile a bit, here is Georgyporgy's idea of how to save the economy pronto.

It might be a great help if one of these economics pundits would admit the fact that they are clueless, more or less. This recession will subside until people finally operate a change of mind and start spending again. Not before.

All those government induced spending programs won't change this situation. You could built new roads, you could even level the Mojave dcsert and cover it with a slab of concrete three feet thick: that would certainly boost the cement industry but not the manufacturer of toothpaste or the shipyards. Etc, etc, etc.

However, let yourself be inspired by Roosevelt's inauguration speech, back in 1933. He asked for special powers to tackle the problem at hand. "I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe".

Having achieved this, the incumbent president could vote to have the National Guard be equipped with axes or heavy clubs. Nationwide. Then these so armed recession fighters would enter every home and start destroying the following items in each household: 1 TV set - 1 car - 1 washing machine - 1 cell phone plus about 100 items of more or less value laying around.

Before leaving they should paste a written recommendation saying those goods have to be replaced by items manufactured inside the country. No need to boost those Asiatic economies, right?

These harsh measures would get the country humming in no time and once again the rest of the world would rush to imitate.

Here in France, however, we would start by going on strike, sure.


Your comments, please. As to me, I am busy these days with the chain saw and the log splitting machine. Hard work.


  1. What clever commentary!
    I truly think the solution is going to turn out to be: confidence...Until we have that, there'll be no spending(myself included!).
    Thanks for the great words(I think Newsweek is jealous of you, hence they did not publish you!).
    Peace, man.

  2. you should title your post as

    Letter to the editor of Newsweek --with the name and all the complete info, his correct designation, place etc -- these days journalists spend time hopping and skipping on their name on google and they will definitely read your post. it worked for me and it might work for you too.

  3. Gerog, why don't you try putting it as a comment in one or more of related articles on Newsweek? That way it will get published online though the viewership might be smaller.

    This National Guard idea seems to be pretty good!For all you know, a variant will be out soon, perhaps a non-violent one. How about an exchange offer? "Exchange your existing stuff with that made in the US and get 30% discount" or something like that?

  4. Thanks to all of you for answering the call.

    Well, I suppose when you said Newsweek is jealous of me you said that in jesting. In fact, they have good writer aplenty but they favor decidedly the serious spillout. In this they are like most people who think serious matters have to be treated seriously.

    To Anrosh
    You might be true, future will tell. Thanks to you I looked R.J.S. up in Wikipedia: he is a journalist and not the Nobel Prize winner with the same name as I thought. Thank you Anrosh.

    To Vinod
    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try next time. Glad to hear you liked the National Guard idea. It seems, we are both great economists but not yet recognized at our true value.


  5. http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=220252&title=cnbc-gives-financial-advice

    thought you might enjoy this :) american cable economic pundits.

  6. Hi George,
    Actually here in north America, just recently Ford asked the government (U.S and Canada) to encourage people to buy cars. They offer people to replace their old car by new cars and instead Ford is going to give them a major discount.
    I agree, at this time no one dare to spend big money, everyone wait, if they want to do home improvement or buy a new car, people prefer to wait for better time which is understandable.

  7. oh by the way nice change (your blog template) :)))

  8. Nice change Georg. I have particularly liked the edges of your photograph and the fact that your pullover blends nicely with the background colour of the blog!

  9. Clueless indeed they are.
    In America, we finally are waking up from Obama hypnosis and finding out this guy does not know much but giving speeches from a teleprompter.

    At least Bush did not pretend that he could talk.

    you are absolutely right government induced programs won't change this situation and this is exactly what our new administration is doing! God help us, that's why I have been watching Monty Phyton again!!! :-)

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Ok georg
    I did'nt understood evrey thing you said because of de translation (rather bad with my computer).
    You have better cut, or sew, a lot of wood.
    I have been said, next winter will be very hard.
    Is my english good?
    i dont think so!

  12. Comments to comments, starting with Betmo:

    To Betmo
    Thanks for the link, Betmo. Instructive, indeed. Thank you.

    To Hiva
    Yes, the car business is thriving in many places. In Rumania, French Renault owned Dacia works round the clock to satisfy German demand for super cheap car. Unfortunately it's our money and it has to be paid back, someday, by someone.

    As to my template, I'll talk about this when commenting Vinod.

    To tell you the truth, Vinod. This was an emergency measure, nothing more. I have made a post about wood cutting and splitting and could not get it landed correctly. Finally, on a forum, through Google, someone suggested in case of this error bX-59z3vw one should change the template.
    So I did my best but I prefer the previous one, even if the blue color matches my pullover.

    To Frieda
    Long time I did not have the pleasure to hear from you.
    As to your present President, well, as you know, I am a foreigner and I don't vote in the USA.
    However, I think I am not going too far astray when saying N° 43 left a big mess worldwide. Even in case Mr. Obama would do absolutely everything right, it would take years and years to get things straight again.
    Thus I consider it is far too early to judge him. BE PATIENT, what about drinking some tea?
    Yesterday they had Monty Python's "Graal" here at ARTE. Splendid.

    Inutile de te stresser outre mesure
    avec le traducteur mécanique de Google. Mais merci quand même pour la visite. Je te téléphonerai dans les prochains jours (en français), cad ni en anglais ni en latin.
    Quand au bois, je suis dedans jusqu'au cou. Tu appréciera car ce sera Cantalien à 100 pourcent!


  13. Now that's one unique strategy Georg! You know how the American media like to play safe so it is no surprise that Newsweek chose to not print this interesting take on how to resolve the current economic crisis.
    Good one!

  14. To Id

    Thank you Id. That warms my heart. Last time I wrote to Newsweek that was about Dick Cheney's hunting accident. In fact he accidented someone else and I proposed to let him have a fortnight in Iraq to get some real action. Prowling around there with his silver studded rifle among other hunters eager for game might have done him a world of good. Was not published either...


  15. Had Newsweek actually printed that, and Cheney done what you suggested, it might have saved my country millions of dollars because that prowl in Iraq would have been his last! hehe

  16. Dis donc! tu as fait du ménage sur ton blog! c'est bien comme çà!!!
    Tu sais les Cathares, personne n'en parlait avant c'était presque tabou. J'ai commencé à m'y intéresser avec mon père et ensuite j'ai continué à farfouiller un peu partout et on me prenait pour une folle! maintenant on affiche partout "pays cathares... fêtes cathares... " et tout et tout!
    La mode ou pas la mode!
    Bonne soirée

  17. Hi Georg--just checking back in with you! Love the photo you've posted. Very distinguished.
    And when I commented above, I was SERIOUS--I truly DO think Newsweek is jealous. Sure, they have great writers--but that is all the more reason to be jealous, because one of "theirs" did not write your letter-YOU did!
    Thank you again for your eloquence, and wit!

  18. Dear Georg
    Happy new Norooz
    be your destiny with good end
    be your heart happay for good
    Happy Iranian new year

  19. Hallo Sterile Translator,

    Thanks for those wishes. Yes, I know Norooz is your biggest day in the year, beginning at Spring.

    I went to your site but unfortunately, I am unable to read Parsi, so sorry.

    Best wishes to you, too.


  20. Hallo Georg,
    You're right there, of course. Politics can be such a psychological game sometimes. :o) It doesn't help that somehow the old republicans here seem to very much hope that the Americans consumers won't do what is necessary to turn the economy around just so that they can then blame the 'failure' on Obama (and therefore win the next election?). :oP

    What troubles me is that many average citizens here don't seem to think much about things. I was looking up some photo of the yachts docked in San Diego marinas with a marine-carpenter friend the other day down in the lobby when another lady who lives in the building turned up.

    She peeked at the monitor and started ranting about how wasteful the rich people are and how disgusted she is at them throwing money away spending on the boats. I asked her why did she think it such a bad thing that the rich spend their money on their boat and taking cruises... and she said that 'they ought to set a good example of being frugal with their money'.

    It was rather hard for me not to laugh just then (really, who ever look to the rich to be shown how to spend their hard earned cash anyhow?). So I just asked her what would our marine carpenter friend do for a living if the rich no longer buy and keep boat and taking cruise... and also what would happen to the small businesses that cater to boaters and cruisers. Apparently economy isn't very well taught here in school. :oP


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