osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Krugeman on Alternate Reality

Krugeman has this op ed on how those opposed to government reregulation of financial markets construct their own realities to justify it, and to oppose any change.

I've seen this phenomenon up close, but it is not limited to the right. I also have more patience for it because often time data are incomplete, messy, and subject to multiple interpretation. Nor does the fact that something works out poorly mean it was an irrational choice at the time. Circumstances may change, invalidating original assumptions.

Finally, and most perniciously, people seem wedded to the One Big Solution. If we can have an open market at grocery stores, we can have it anywhere, never mind that grocery stores are rather different from telecommunications networks or financial markets.

Where it becomes a pathology, however, is when someone refuses to acknowledge the presence of contrary evidence or acknowledge clearly demonstrated behaviors and costs. And, while correlations are sometimes difficult to establish, clinging to some trivial datum or discredited correlation is another sign of pathology.

but the truth about policy is that most folks making decisions are rather like Cornelius Fudge from Harry Potter. Not bad people, but when confronted with mounting evidence of unpleasant realities they prefer to cling to happier conclusions and uncertainties.

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