Monthly Archives: June 2013

Last Tuesday, I found myself invited by the Rijksmuseum, to have some wine and stroll in the quiet of the evening, along its deserted corridors among its great paintings. The building has been restored magnificently. Paintings with romantic ruins in the background always look better when the walls and surroundings are perfect.

When I visited two months earlier to see the results of 10 years of remodelling at the cost of say $500 million, the first impression was how crowded it was. My companion at that moment got rather irritated by people using flashlights, while everyone should know that flashlights destroy the quality of colours, flash by flash.

This Tuesday, however, we were only a few hundreds, the “donators to the Museum”, and we had the corridors to ourselves. We didn’t need to flash since we had been donating ourselves and had been seeing the stuff for ages and will see them for ages to come.

This evening I didn’t bring a companion, but a 80-year old lady joined my table and provided good company. She confessed that she had donated her collection of some 700 modern drawings over some 60 years. The big regret of her life was that she once actually didn’t buy a Chagall, a regret that many of us can only be envious of. The widow of one of her artists happened to be present, recognized her and came up to thank her that the Rijksmuseum now had a decent overview of his work. She was working hard with the Museum on an exhibition.

After the departure of the grateful and enterprising widow, my new octogenarian companion expressed that she wanted to see the new Rijksprentenkabinet to check how her drawings were being handled. Negotiating with a map and some elevators we found it. Apparenly the kabinet has been moved from the Frans van Mierisstraat to the basement of the Rijksmuseum, with the library as its center.

Once my companion was satisfied that the $500 million remodelling also included proper care for her donation, we were free to roam the building. Naturally we paid tribute to Rembrandt and Vermeer and their illustrous confreres. At my plea, she came along to see a painting by Jacques van Looy (1855-1930), that had struck me two months earlier – ‘The wealth of Summer’ (1900). The picture below is taken from this website. She agreed that it is quite beautiful. The advantage of old ladies is that she also could identify the flowers that are depicted, and one of the people of the Rijksmuseum promised to check it out.

Jacques van Looy, "Zomerweelde", ca 1900

Jacques van Looy, “Zomerweelde”, ca 1900

Notwithstanding all this beauty and magnificence, boycott Rijksmuseum too, till the censorship of science in Holland is resolved. Forgive me for not being entirely consistent in this myself.

PM. The actual donator is my father, who gave a painting and some drawings by his grandfather to the Rijksmuseum. Because of his age he has transferred the contacts to me. See these works by my greatgrandfather (1951-1904) and see this book by his daughter Tine about the life of an artist family around 1895.

Time exists so that we humans do not get confused. When everything would happen at the same time then we couldn’t manage our economies. This solution isn’t perfect since there is an awful lot that still happens at the same time and that confuses us. We need a new dimension, perhaps one of those of string theory in physics, or perhaps better literature or vacation, where events are more orderly or even entirely absent. Secretary-time would help too, except when she is absent herself again.

One absent event was the visit of Paul Krugman to Holland on June 19th. I spent two thoughtful weblog entries on this promised visit but it didn’t happen. Following Paul on his liberal weblog we can see that he is for a conference in Paris, drinking wine and commenting on Europe’s depressed economy. But the website of the planned visit to Holland has disappeared and there are no reports on his enjoying Dutch cheese.

One cause might be the absence of a high-speed train connection between Paris and The Hague, given the Fyra high-speed train debacle. Dutch NS and Belgian NMBS ordered 19 trains from Italian AnsaldoBreda. This dream deal has turned into a nightmare of technical problems and subsequent litigation, and likely mismanagement on either side.

One thing that didn’t happen either occurred at this year’s Spinoza Prize presentation, on June 10th, organised by the Dutch organisation for science NWO. Last year I already reported that Spinoza himself would not qualify for that Prize. We can observe that nobody listened. For all that matters, the events of last year and this year are merged into one single party event. This train rolled onwards with all its defects but taking advantage of the absence of physical restraints.

One Prize winner was professor Michail Katsnelson from Magnitogorsk in Russia and now at Radboud university in Nijmegen, for his contributions to our understanding of graphene. In an interview he explains that he had to leave Russia after the fall of the USSR looking for a job, and how he pays a high personal prize for this indeed, for he misses mother Russia and the ability to do high level research in his native tongue. His website shows his interest in the philosophy of science, and in his speech he told that he had read Spinoza’s Ethics at a young age. There appears to be a Russian saying when a person does not understand something: “That person isn’t a Spinoza.”  

The economic theory presented in this weblog dates back to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, see my earlier weblog entry. There is also this memo of me jointly with Jan Tinbergen of 1991 on what the Soviet Union might learn from the OECD. In an alternative reality professor Katsnelson might still have worked in Russia though perhaps not on graphene. It makes me wonder whether professor Katsnelson would understand this.

But the SU isn’t there anymore of course. Another thing that is absent are Economic Supreme Courts, which absence causes a lot of failed economic policies.

Apparently the G8 summit in Northern Ireland June 17-18 was much of a non-event too.

I rest my case: The economic approach to confusion is to focus on things that are absent and do not happen.

The BBC had a troubling broadcast about Syrian refugees trying to move from Turkey into Europe via Greece, for example across the Evros river or to the island of Lesbos. These are mostly Christian Syrians who have no future in mostly Islamic Turkey and who see no point in waiting till the fighting in Syria comes to an end.

A disturbing scene is of Adib Hachach who can’t control his tears, “a Syrian who has lived in Athens for 12 years, [who] received a call from the coastguard at Lesbos, to collect the bodies and belongings of his brother Omar, his sister-in-law and their three young children, all of whom had drowned.”

The accusations are that the Greek coastguard pushes boats back into Turkey’s waters, and that sometimes boats may capsize.

We are reminded of the flow of refugees from Libya to Italian Lampedusa, that started in 2011. Or, indeed, much earlier, when Vietnamese fled when the North conquered the South. A google gives us even a website on migrants at sea, managed by law professor Niels W. Frenzen, of the Gould School of Law, University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.

There is a link to the issues in my own weblog. In a way it is simple. When unemployment is solved then there will be less need for people to migrate. In another way it is complex, with all the other factors and relations involved.

For Dutch readers there is this special discussion about rising racism in Holland, in relation to this protest against censorship of science. 

It may sound preposterous but to help the refugees around the Mediterranean it is a good move to start boycotting Holland. It will be too late for Adib Hachach and his family, but it will be important for many other people.

The police in Husby shot a 69 old man who wielded a knife. He died with five bullits in his belly and lay in his appartment for five hours. The police first told that he had died of his wounds in the hospital but later it appeared that there hadn’t even been an ambulance. Youths of Husby riotted and youths of other places joined in. The world never expected this of the Swedish welfare state. The photographers of travel over the world for their “stories on interesting issues in all areas – life, society, culture and conflicts” – and here we see a picture of two curious men dressed up as vikings ready for another ‘conflict’ with pillage and rape – but now they only needed to travel to their own suburbs.

NRC Handelsblad journalist Paul Luttikhuis interviewed sociology professor Ove Sernhede of Göteborg who wrote AlieNation is my Nation (2007) about hip hop culture and ‘symbolic violence’, see also here. A youth organisation in Husby is Megafonen who helped stop the real violence. This is my email to professor Sernhede and Megafonen.

Subject: An advice to boycott Holland w.r.t. censorship of science

Dear professor Sernhede and people of Megafonen,

A Dutch newspaper discussed the riots in Sweden. The Dutch reporter Paul Luttikhuis interviewed professor Sernhede about the situation.

Apparently a key problem is unemployment. It so happens that the Dutch government and in particular the directorate of the Dutch Central Planning Bureau (CPB) since 1990 censors my analysis on unemployment. Since 2004 I advise the world to boycott Holland till the censorship is resolved. The current economic crisis confirms my analysis but the Dutch don’t care.

For example, professor Sernhede might think that Paul Luttikhuis is a capable reporter, but it is useful to be aware that Luttikhuis apparently also neglects the censorship of economic science in Holland itself. I copy to NRC with the suggestion to forward this email to Luttikhuis, who could check that my analysis on unemployment would be relevant for Sweden too.

See here for a recent article about the deliberate lies by the Dutch government about tax laws:

For example, economist Dirk Bezemer had a contact with Swedish television, but he did not call attention to the censorship in Holland (I do not need to copy since he already knows about that link):

Below I provide some links to people in Holland and some Dutch texts. I presume that you in Sweden will have a language barrier to events in Holland. However, if you would consistently query what is happening here, they and these text might provide you with some starting points.

A point of departure in English would be this page:

My proposal to you would be to work together, analyse how unemployment is destroying the lives of people, indicate that there is a protest against censorship of science in Holland w.r.t. the analysis on unemployment, and propose to the Swedish government to start a full scale investigation. Econometricians and other scientists with a background in mathematics would be able to corroborate my analysis. 

Incidently, my analysis is in the line of Gosta Rehn & Rudolf Meidner of Sweden, and corrects for errors made in the implementation in Sweden itself.

Sincerely yours,
Thomas Cool / Thomas Colignatus
Econometrician (Groningen 1982) & teacher of mathematics (Leiden 2008)
Scheveningen, Holland

I copy to professer Jan Willem Duyvendak of Amsterdam, chair of the association of sociologists in Holland NSV. In 1994 a committee of NVMC / NSV established that there was a breach of proper scientific conduct. However, nothing is being done with that report. In case you find a Dutch translator, the report is here:

I copy to the editors of the Dutch Sociologie Magazine, and call attention to my earlier tekst in Facta, its precursor:

Facta also published a “signalement” of my book “De ontketende kiezer” that contains an accessible discussion of the censorship and its importance for understanding unemployment. However, they start slandering my person, like when the girl who has been raped is blamed for causing it:

CC. Prof. Duyvendak, Sociologie Magazine, NRC Handelsblad