The end of laissez-parler

These three weblogs in a row have titles “The end of …” and were inspired by Steven de Jong at NRC Handelsblad who was inspired by Carlos Lozada at the Washington Post who discussed The end of everything, and who was inspired naturally by Francis Fukuyama‘s The end of history 1989.

Steven suggests that “The end of …” is a catchy title to provoke debate. He prefers debate to the reasoned exposition that says it all and that kills debate. There is a distinction between publicists who have to gain attention since they live from the proceeds, and scientists who would put the truth in first place. It is a good bet that the form versus content distinction follows the motives. The distinction is tricky though since some scientific results apparently came with a lot of debate.

It so happens that I wrote about The end of laissez-parler in 1990, inspired by John Maynard Keynes’s The end of laissez-faire in 1926. This 1990 text provides the Core Argument of this weblog. I wrote it as an economic scientist but apparently followed Keynes in the choice of literary expression.

The phrase and its explanation can be found in the concluding paragraph of the 1990 paper After 20 years of mass unemployment: Why we might wish for a parliamentary inquiry, CPB internal note 90-III-38. It is this paper that got blocked from internal discussion and from the process towards publication, which constitutes the very censorship that requires the boycott of Holland to resolve it. The directorate then blocked all my papers anyway, and nowadays they are not interested whether the crisis confirms my analysis since I have been erased from relevance.

Key points to be aware of are:

  1. My appointment at the Central Planning Bureau was that of a scientific co-worker with a task to provide scientific advice on economic developments.
  2. I observed that Parliament got lost in mere talking while neglecting scientific advice. Twenty years of mass unemployment in 1972-1992 were caused not by lack of scienfic knowledge and proper advice, but by Parliamentary failure to respect science.
  3. This failure by Parliament also amounted to a form of abuse of power. On the one hand one asks for scientific advice, on the other hand one neglects it, and one creates a state of chaos so that voters are disinformed about the true state of affairs.
  4. Hence, I draw a line in the sand. As a scientist I cannot accept this maltreatment of science. The Trias Politica structure is finished, and we enter the new configuration where Parliament must come to respect that what it has said to do but doesn’t.
  5. The only thing that a scientist can do is write a paper and describe the situation. This became that 1990 paper.
  6. The paper explains that Parliament should start studying the advices given, the concepts involved, and investigate the processes how such advices got neglected. By this study, Parliament could confirm that it was creating unemployment itself, and by the method of neglecting scientific advice.
  7. Unfortunately, CPB director Gerrit Zalm blocked the paper, which is censorship of science. He dismissed me with untruths, which is an abuse of power too.
  8. The Trias Politica system might have had some self-correction, if my paper had been published and had caused a debate in Parliament. Now Parliament may investigate not only how it neglects scientific advice, but it may also investigate how that element of self-correction got sabotaged. We now rely on the external process of what we call free society. Apparently it takes a huge economic crisis to get some attention to the censorship, and apparently it requires an advice of a boycott.

In my analysis, there is no return to the Trias Politica model. In my analysis, we should only accept a Tessera Politica model with an Economic Supreme Court, with a firm foundation in the Constitution. Scientific integrity is to be respected, in the form of a veto power for the case that the national budget would contain wrong information that is misleading to voters.

Of course we are speaking only about conceptual models here. The reality still is the chaos at the national Parliaments where scientific integrity is treated as a floor mat.  But in the Core Argument, Parliament has lost the power to chatter an economy into chaos.


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