… and we wonder why people ‘stupidly’ keep voting the populists to office

Comments I left on the FT article by Wolfgang Muenchau on the lies and arrogance at teh heart of the Eurozone politics

Hear, hear, Mr. Muenchau:

What is particularly shocking about these spurious narratives is not only the contempt and ignorance they reflect, but the casual way in which they are cobbled together. They are part of common folklore and judged to be true because everybody has been saying the same kind of stuff for years….

…. Italy’s populist government is not an electoral accident, as moderate Italian political commentators want us to believe. It is what happens when a prolonged economic downturn drives the electorate against the establishment.

In the second set of lines cited above, Mr. Muenchau, pulls his punches. It is not just the prolonged economic downturn that drives the electorate against the establishment. It is much more than that. His article provides examples of that – the commentator who called Italians, ‘beggars’. Not to mention the German politician who told a television interviewer that the markets will teach Italians a lesson.

It is a combination of insouciance, arrogance, intolerance and hubris – essentially, all ‘illiberal’ stuff in the garb of liberalism. Actually, who has been taught a lesson? The Germans. They ‘screwed’ Greece. In return, they have got  Hungary, Italy, Austria and Poland, etc. France was close. Yet, Ms. Merkel is still the ultimate visonary for many commentators.

Lessons remain repeatedly unlearnt, no matter how many times the Universe keeps sending reminders. That steadfast commitment and refusal to learn from the errors of one’s ego and intolerance strikes at the very foundations of neo-classical economics: human rationality.

Behavioural scientists knew that humans were reason-able. But, they almost always deploy it to rationalise their unreason-able positions.

Mr. Muenchau’s article is a reminder not just for politicians in Berlin, central bankers in Frankfurt and for bureaucrats in Brussels but also for some FT journalists that they may be wrong in their steadfast refusal to think, even once, that they could be getting it all wrong and that, may be, the other side knows what it is dong, even if we don’t agree with it. The hubris in some FT commentators is as breathtaking as it is in Brussels and Berlin.

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