Stephen Long Doesn’t Know What Puerile Means
Otherwise this is a pretty good article about the problems with economics predictions, and the difficulty of developing policy on the basis of those predictions.
Stephen seems to think puerile means pointless, because there can never be any definitive answers. But it doesn’t.
Puerile means childish, immature, trivial. Debate about economic policy is certainly not that. Even if policy makers cannot be certain about answers and outcomes, history and common sense must inform decision making.
A brief excerpt:
The data from around the world at the moment is all over the shop and gives no clear guide to who’s right, other than Yogi Berra.
And if it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future, the whole game gets even tougher when it’s twisted by the force of political spin.
One reason Treasury’s economic growth estimates received such a sceptical, even scornful, response was that the Treasurer had been warning Australians for months that the world is in the midst of “the worst recession since the 1930s”. (Read, “we’re not responsible” and “prepare for a little pain in the Budget’). Did you notice how Wayne Swan tweaked the rhetoric on Budget night, talking of “the sharpest” downturn since the 1930s? No wonder it was hard for the public and many commentators to accept the idea that we’re back on track within a few months and recording stellar growth in a couple of years.
Yogi Berra, notorious for his (often intelligent and amusing) mis-speaks, said ‘It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.’
My favourite Yogi Berra quote is this: ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else.’