Tag Archives: peer review

In the 9-minute Numberphile interview Why do people hate mathematics? – see yesterday’s discussion – professor of mathematics Edward Frenkel states, in minute three:

“Georg Cantor said: “The essence of mathematics lies in its freedom.” But I would like to augment this with the following: Where there is no mathematics there is no freedom. So mathematics is essential to our freedom, to the functioning of our democracy. (…) Our ignorance can be misused by the powers that be. And for us … as citizens in this Brave New World … we have to be more aware of mathematics, we have to know and appreciate its power – to do good but also to do ill.” (Edward Frenkel, Jan 19 2014)

We can only applaud this. In my Elegance with Substance (EWS)(2009):

“Mathematics is a great liberating force. No dictator forces you to accept the truth of the Pythagorean Theorem. You are free to check it for yourself. You may even object to its assumptions and invent non-Euclidean geometry. Mathematical reasoning is all about ideas and deductions and about how far your free mind will get you – which is amazingly far. But you have to be aware of reality if you say something about reality.” (EWS p9)

“Democracy is an important concept. The mathematics of voting is somewhat complex. It would be beneficial for society when its citizens understand more about the mathematics behind election results. Students in the USA have a Government class where such aspects can be indicated. Political Science as a subject has not reached highschool in general. Much can be said in favour of including the subject in economics, since the aggregation of preferences into a social welfare function is a topic of Political Economy. See page 59 and Colignatus (2007b) Voting theory for democracy (VTFD) for details and other references. Most economists will be unfamiliar with the topic and its mathematics though and thus it may well be practical to include it in the mathematics programme.” (EWS p48)

However, let us also look at key criticism:

  1. Mathematician Kenneth Arrow presented his “impossibility theorem” in his 1951 thesis. It holds, in his own words: “there is no social choice mechanism which satisfies a number of reasonable conditions”  Palgrave (1988:125) and quoted in Voting Theory for Democracy (VTFD)(2014) 4th edition p240. Thus collective choice would require us to be unreasonable. Mathematician Arrow continued in economics and got the Nobel Prize in economics for this and other work.
  2. Mathematicians, political scientists and economists have tried since 1950 to debunk Arrow’s result, but did not find real solutions. These areas of science have become a force against democracy. Collective choice would require us to be unreasonable, and this would be scientifically proven.
  3. When I showed in 1990 that Arrow’s words do not fit his mathematics, and a bit later that his result was either inconsistent or incomplete, hell broke out. My paper was suppressed from discussion and publication. A mathematician who was supposed to review VTFD (3rd edition) started slandering. See the journal Voting Matters (April 2013). See my point however that there is a distinction between “voting” (counting ballots) and “deciding”. And see VTFD for the more involved presentation (starting with matricola).
  4. It has been impossible to find someone in Holland to discuss this issue rationally. Here is a report in English on a working group in social choice theory. Here is a page in Dutch. On a website for highschool students,, deluded mathematician Vincent van der Noort, who did not properly study the issue, claims that “democracy isn’t entirely fair“, thus encouraging highschool students to use their ellbows. The editors refuse to correct this falsehood and selective use of sources (or mystery, since Vincent doesn’t define fairness).

I suppose that professor Frenkel discusses democracy in general, without thinking specifically about Arrow’s “Theorem”. Perhaps he doesn’t know about it, and would be surprised that it would be “mathematically proven” that some degree of dictatorship would be necessary. However, to some extent we can agree with him. Good education in mathematics will do wonders for liberty and democracy. But, my point again: the definition of “good education in mathematics” is subtle. See these quotes from EWS too:

“With respect to logic and democracy, Colignatus (2007ab, 2008b), updated from 1981 / 1990, considers statements by mathematicians that have been accepted throughout academia and subsequently society on the basis of mathematical authority. It appears however that those statements mix up true mathematical results with interpretations about reality. When these interpretations are modelled mathematically, the statements reduce to falsehoods. Society has been awfully off-track on basic notions of logic, civic discourse and democracy. Even in 2007, mathematicians working on voting theory wrote a Letter to the governments of the EU member states advising the use of the Penrose Square Root Weights (PSRW) for the EU Council of Ministers. See Colignatus (2007c) on their statistical inadequacy and their misrepresentation of both morality and reality.

Over the millennia a tradition and culture of mathematics has grown that conditions mathematicians to, well, what mathematicians do. Which is not empirical analysis. Psychology will play a role too in the filtering out of those students who will later become mathematicians. After graduation, mathematicians either have a tenure track in (pure) mathematics or they are absorbed into other fields such as physics, economics of psychology. They tend to take along their basic training and then try to become empirical scientists.

The result is comparable to what happens when mathematicians become educators in mathematics. They succeed easily in replicating the conditioning and in the filtering out of new recruits who adapt to the treatment. For other pupils it is hard pounding.” (EWS p10)

PM. See where Georg Cantor went wrong: Contra Cantor Pro Occam (2012, 2013).

After World War II most nations created institutes for economic planning. The Great Depression of 1929-1940 and the war effort of 1940-1945 taught the importance of economic science. The analysis by Keynes of 1936 had been confirmed, i.e. the huge investments for the war effort had pulled the US economy out of the Great Depression. New techniques had been developed like linear programming for military sea transports. Economic planning overtook the world and it is as common now as the weather forecast.

Forecasting the weather is fairly simple. You look at the satellite picture and figure out the direction and speed of the wind. Economic projections for next year have a similar structure. Businesses have to decide on their budgets and investments some time in advance and thus it is a good technique to sample them on their intentions. Also governments must decide on their budgets and appropriations, and thus the national economic planning bureaus provide the required integration and co-ordination of the various ministerial plans with the economic prospects.

The problem lies with looking ahead for more years, when also results for next year depend upon what people expect for later on. The economic planning bureau must be based in science, in order to respect the statistics of the past and the samples taken this year, and to separate reasonable expectations for the longer run from political dreams by the administration in power.

Europe has many countries and each has its national economic planning bureau. The EU has now 28 members and thus 28 planning desks. There is much double work and inefficiency as they all try to forecast next year’s outlook. This inefficiency doesn’t matter much. It is like 28 students in a classroom trying to solve the same math exam question: doing it yourself keeps you alert. People normally don’t mind 28 weather forecasters either, who have to translate to local conditions anyway. Variety also prevents group think. Still, it would be somewhat strange if, for example, Germany would forecast 0% and France would forecast 2% for EU growth. Thus there is co-ordination by the EU Commission and by a group like the Association of the European Conjuncture Institutes (with French abbreviation AIECE). Co-ordination of course re-introduces the risk of groupthink via this backdoor.

The Dutch Central Planning Bureau (CPB) is a member of AIECE. As the directorate of CPB has been censoring my analysis since 1990, we may presume that they have not been informing AIECE about it. Neither will they have reported to AIECE that the present economic crisis confirms my analysis. Earlier I explained where my work can be found and why it tends not to be present in “peer reviewed journals”. Hence the economic planning bureaus of Europe are likely to be blissfully unaware of the economic analysis that would greatly contribute to the resolution of the Great Stagflation since 1970 and the economic crisis since 2007.

Hence, I took the liberty to send the economic planning bureaus the email in the appendix below. I have editted the text for readability. The moment of sending the email is a bit awkward: I received various vacation absentee notices of contact persons. The weather forecast requires daily presence, even in sunny California, but economic planning still allows for vacations. Hopefully the AIECE secretariat takes proper care.

It is a moot point whether the other economic planning bureaus would have acted in the same manner as the directorate of the CPB: censoring my analysis and dismissing me with untruths. These institutes may not be immune to the bureaucracy-bug, and we may linger a longer while on the question which bureaus had staff members who issued warnings about a potential crisis before 2007. The suggestion of creating national Economic Supreme Courts would be relevant here.

Appendix: parts of an email

To: the UK Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), the German Sachverstaedigenrat, the French Commissariat general a la strategie et a la prospective (CGSP),  the Belgian Federaal Planbureau, the Italian ISTAT, the Spanish Direccion General de Analisis Macroeconomico y Economia  Internacional, the Swedish NIER, the Danish DORS, Statistics Norway, the Polish Institute For Market, Consumption And Business Cycles Research, the Greek KEPE, the Finnish ETLA, and AIECE, and CC the Financial Times
Subject: My solution approach to the deepening European crisis / Protest against censorship of science in Holland
Date: Tue, 30 July 2013

Dear fellow economists,

There is a serious risk that the economic crisis in Europe could develop into a much larger one. The euro works out as a gold standard and then consider what happened in the Great Depression.

You might therefor allow me to call your attention to my suggested solution approach in my book DRGTPE that I regard as a nice sequel to Keynes’s “General Theory”. […]  I invite [econometricians] to test my additional analysis in the paper “Money as gold versus money as water” (2013). This is supplementary to DRGTPE (2000, 2005, 2012). I refer to the internet links below. Please be aware that my internet site changed from to

You will generally not be aware of the censorship of science by the directorate of the Dutch Central Planning Bureau (CPB) since 1990. The Dutch government recently appointed per August 1 2013 as new CPB-director ms. Laura van Geest, who however is a bureaucrat and has no track record as a scientist. The same happened in 1988/9 when the government appointed bureaucrat and non-scientist Gerrit Zalm, who after his CPB-period till 1994 continued as Dutch minister of Finance (adopting the euro) and now is CEO of the Dutch bank ABN-AMRO. Regrettably, Zalm started in 1990 censoring my analysis on unemployment and dismissed me with untruths in 1991. Holland hasn’t been able to resolve the issue yet. I advise to a boycott of Holland till the issue is resolved.

Key points in my analysis are:

(1) Between net minimum wage income and gross minimum wage costs there is a tax void. This can be abolished without costs, allowing a reduction of minimum wage costs.

(2) The relevant marginal tax rate is the dynamic marginal tax rate, that comes about by using the total derivative that includes tax changes over time, instead of the partial derivative. Thus VAT be best at 1% (for statistical purposes and as an optional tool for the cycle).

(3) Modern economies require counter-cyclical national investment banks.

(4) When standard macro-economic models are adapted for 1-3 then we have an explanation for the Great Stagflation with its shift of the Phillipscurve since 1965. This stagflation was hidden by the economic deregulations since 1980 but now that we are re-regulating again the problem comes back into the open. PM. Note that Holland tries to solve its 1-3 problems by a low wage policy that exports its unemployment to other countries. Germany copied that policy, with the resulting trade imbalances in the EU.

(5) The lesson learned for the future: The Trias Politica system of government with subordinate planning bureaus fails, and requires the amendment of an Economic Supreme Court.

(6) Since the euro works as a gold standard, this requires a new treaty on an euro 2.0. However, we need not wait for the political process of adoption of a new treaty. European governments can already express their interest and commitment, and create acting national Economic Supreme Courts, so that the process can start fast.

(7) And naturally various details to complete the picture.

Note that DRGTPE 2012 with the PDF on the website consists of the 2005 edition that focusses on unemployment. It includes only summaries of my papers since 2007 on the present crisis. Those papers themselves have often PDFs at MRPA, and are collected in the book “Common Sense: Boycott Holland” (CSBH, no PDF).

I hope that you will study DRGTPE and CSBH, and that you also adopt my advice to boycott Holland till this issue of scientific integrity in Holland is resolved.

PM 1. […]
PM 2. My intention was to send this email to the planning agencies of the countries in the EU. Clearly there are a lot of those, and there is the issue of whom to contact. The above is a fair effort. Perhaps you can make sure that this email reaches the appropriate colleagues at your institute (e.g. the other members of OBR or Sachverstaendigenrat) and the other institutes, where you might perhaps ask AIECE to co-ordinate.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Cool / Thomas Colignatus
Econometrician (Groningen 1982) and teacher of mathematics (Leiden 2008)

[… omitted additional appendix …]
[PM August 19: I should have included the EuroFrame network but informed them separately now.]

The dictionary has: “A protective case of silk or similar fibrous material spun by the larvae of moths and other insects that serves as a covering for their pupal stage.” A combination of chance and causality makes that I now must write about Noreena Hertz and her cocoon in Holland, where she is protected from the harsh winds of criticism and where she can spin her yarn in cosy admiration. Will she once erupt as a butterfly to dazzle all of us with the beauty of science ? Or should we rather accept her as just another gifted woman who got lost in the limelights and who got abused by failing Dutch academics ?

Dr. Hertz wrote some bestsellers and got appointed at various Dutch universities, first Utrecht, then Rotterdam and now at the Duisenberg School of Finance at Amsterdam, where she holds the Chair of Globalisation, Sustainability and Finance. Contrary to common academics her web pages do not show lists of her scientific publications. Perhaps there is only her Cambridge thesis to show. A tentative conclusion is that the appointments at Dutch universities derive from her star status and from the desire of Dutch universities to suggest to their students that they are open to criticism of society.

I haven’t read her bestsellers. Thus I have every desire to remain mute on those works and their author.

However, I came upon the website of DSF because its dean Dirk Schoenmaker took part in a Dutch committee on the future of Dutch Banking. That committee produced a miserable report, that perhaps saves some Dutch banks but keeps the Dutch economy in prolongued recession. Below is my email to professor Schoenmaker. Given that Wim Duisenberg was the first President of the European Central Bank, we may hope that the DSF takes pride in proper scientific analysis. Professor Schoenmaker appears to be on holiday but perhaps there is a reply in the second half of August.

Looking at the DSF website I noticed that dr. Hertz is at the DSF. I might neglect that. On the other hand, people might wonder. Noreena Hertz has been in Holland regularly for the last decade. Would she have noticed the censorship of science there, its protest, and the advice to boycott Holland ? Would she not be perfectly placed to adopt that advice and send it out to the world ? For sure, she would be perfectly placed, but alas, Holland is her cocoon, and she doesn’t notice the problem.

The reviews of her books have never been inviting. Howard Davies, chairman of the FSA, is critical about her Silent takeover, The Guardian 2001:  “Breathless globalony”. Richard Adams, The Guardian 2004, has: “Noreena Hertz’s IOU makes for grim reading but contains little that is new”.  Writer Paul Kingsnorth finds: “Unfortunately, our Noreena is the Joanne Harris of political writing – and IOU, like its author, is all style and no substance.” Or see Diane Coyle in The Independent 2004. There is support however by 2009. By themselves these quotes might not mean much, since I would suppose that one could find similar quotes about my own work if one spends some time on Google. The point is that their descriptions of what would be the substance do indicate that there really wouldn’t be much of it.

Let me use a risky argument. If there had been substance, the exposure that Noreena has had would have been sufficient to change the world. We had the exposure but no change. Hence there isn’t much substance.

Her Cambrigde webpage claims: “For more than two decades Noreena Hertz’s economic predictions have not only been accurate and ahead of the curve, but crucial for the success of the world’s economy. In her number one best-selling book, The Silent Takeover, Hertz predicted that unregulated markets and massive financial institutions would have serious global consequences whilst her 2005 bestseller, IOU: The Debt Threat, predicted the 2008 financial crisis. Her books have been translated into 17 languages.” However, she does not feature in Dirk Bezemer’s “No One Saw This Coming” (2009). In itself this does not say much, see how Dirk disinforms Sweden. But we may agree that Noreena relied much on others without providing the key insights to resolve the crisis.

The Cambridge webpage continues: “Many have described Professor Hertz as a visionary, and she is one of the most influential economists on the international stage. Her unique, integrated approach combines traditional economic analysis with foreign policy trends, psychology, behavioural economics, anthropology, history and sociology. Her work is considered to provide a much needed blueprint for rethinking economics and corporate strategy.” If this crisis is the result of her influence, we should hope that she quickly comes to her senses.

Noreena’s website announces a new book in September 2013: “Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World”. It is a warning about listening to experts. Perhaps this book is a warning by a DSF expert about the experts at DSF ? I found Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes wide shut” already quite confusing, and I wonder about this new book that Noreena has spun from her cocoon. When you are in a cocoon, opening your eyes could be quite a horror. 

Appendix: email to Dirk Schoenmaker, dean of Duisenberg School of Finance (DSF), Amsterdam

Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2013
To: Dirk Schoenmaker
From: Thomas Cool / Thomas Colignatus
Subject: W.r.t. my criticism on the report of the commission on the Structure of Dutch Banks
Cc: Noreena Hertz, Judith Kohsiek

To professor Dirk Schoenmaker, dean of the Duisenberg School of Finance (DSF), Amsterdam

Dear professor Schoenmaker,

You were member of the commission on the structure of Dutch banks. The report of the commission is in Dutch, and my critique is in Dutch too. In my analysis, the report is inadequate and actually ill advised for the current economic crisis. It may perhaps have some limited benefits for some Dutch banks but it will not benefit the economy and the unemployed, which also reduces its effect on banks. I sent my critique to the secretariat of the commission, and I presume that my critique has reached you. It is also at this location:

I usefully inform you too about the censorship of economic science by the directorate of the Dutch Central Planning Bureau since 1990. The censored analysis is relevant for money and banking. The economic crisis confirms my analysis:

(1) I noticed that DSF had a discussion event on the report. I wonder whether the same critique was given as I put in my reaction above. Is there a report on that discussion at DSF ?

(2) I presume that the work of the commission of the report now is ended. I presume that you will be hesitant to discuss it, since it will be the role of chairman Herman Wijffels to defend it. Nevertheless you are an independent academic and you are free to respond to my criticism especially where you may be open to new insights that you were not aware of before. Such as my paper “Money as gold versus money as water” referred to in my critique, also available here:

(3) I wonder whether you would have a reaction to my protest against the censorship of economic science in Holland. I wonder whether you have a reaction on the appointment of a non-scientist to the scientifc position of director of the CPB, see (in Dutch):

(4) I kindly ask you to make sure that this email receives the attention of prof. dr. Noreena Hertz, DSF Chair of Globalisation, Sustainability and Finance. I am not sure about the contact form on her website or these alternative email addresses for her. It is possible that she would be interested in my critique on your work on Dutch banking, and that she would be interested in the (non-) reaction by Dutch academics on censorship of economic science and the appointment of non-scientists in scientific positions. My explicit invitation to you and to her is to discuss these points, not necessarily jointly.

(5) I inform you and professor Hertz also about the analysis by Roefie Hueting on “environmentally sustainable national income”, that is maltreated by the directorate of the CPB too. I wonder how DSF discusses rates of return when you do not adopt the Tinbergen-Hueting measure of eSNI to determine the return on investment that is corrected for sustainability. Apparently you promote “impact investing”, where each researcher has to re-invent the wheel ? See:

(6) I am worried about the contamination of scientific integrity of scientists in the world, who are in contact with failing Dutch scientists, and who are under the impression that Dutch scientists are very kind and competent people and are not failing in integrity. The best solution here is transparancy. Thus my proposal is that you forward this email also to the foreign economists at DSF, so that they know about my critique on the banking report and about my protest against the censorship of science and on the non-scientific appointment at CPB. If they are in Holland it would be possible to discuss the issues too, otherwise they might be interested in my weblog with the advice to boycott Holland till the issue is resolved. They might start with this example of contamination:

(7) If you still publish DSF newsletters, then it would be useful to include some of the points of this email. I copy to Judith Kohsiek so that she can ponder that question too. She may note that the Alberto Alesina talk in the March 2012 newsletter is inadequate for the solution of the EU problem, as he tends to neglect that the Eurozone is effectively on a gold standard with failing banks. I am sorry to say, but we really need to resolve this issue of censorship of science in Holland.

Sincerely yours,

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

To people of ONO and some others
Subject: W.r.t. the ONO annual meeting and my advice to boycott Holland

Dear ms Margaret Sullivan, mr Jacob Mollerup, Jeffrey Dvorkin, Stephen Pritchard, Alan Stavitsky, A.S. Panneerselvan,

Last year I started my weblog

There is censorship of economic science in Holland since 1990 by the directorate of the Dutch Central Planning Bureau (CPB), under responsibility of the cabinet, now including Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chair of the eurozone group. Like we have “Greek statistics” there is “Dutch economics”. The economic crisis confirms my 1990 analysis but this is neglected too.

For the last 23 years, Dutch journalists have been neglecting my protest against this censorship of science. Dutch Ombudsmen in turn neglect my protest against this bad reporting.

Last year there were reports about the ONO annual meeting and I sent an email to mr Mollerup, see below. Unfortunately I did not get a reply. Perhaps the problem was that the weblog was still rather empty ? PM. Nowadays my own other website has changed from to

This year there were reports by Dutch Ombudsmen Sjoerd de Jong and Margreet Vermeulen about the meeting of 2013. Mr De Jong mentions his meeting of mr Panneerselvan in the bus. Not unlikely, mr Pannerselvan will have a good impression of mr De Jong. Generally people think that Holland is a tolerant and openminded country. However, impressions can deceive. Mr De Jong does not report about misleading and even plain false reports in his newspaper, even though I have called his attention to these.

Now that my weblog has been on the internet for a year, we can observe that journalists over the world may not have discovered it and very likely not have reported on it. My proposal is that you report on this omission and lack of focus. PM. The exception is Eric Bonse who took one of my texts:

A possible cause is that science journalists do not regard econometrics as a science. A possible cause is that economics journalists think that government officials cannot have a scientific status (as was mine). Overall, there is quite a lot of noise, and one must be prepared to search in the right direction, and start giving the benefit of the doubt to the scientist who reports a case of censorship. One possible cause is that people think that I could submit my analysis to a scientific journal, but then they neglect that the problem needs to be resolved at the Dutch CPB anyway so that there is no reason for me to do such an external submission. The proper process is an internal discussion at CPB, an exercise with the official model, and a publication as a research memorandum by the author; and only then it is upon the external peers to see what they think.

An important issue is the position of Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner in economics and columnist at the New York Times. It so happens that he will visit Holland in June. I wrote him that his analysis is erroneous on the issues of taxation and the framework of policy co-ordination, and that it was curious that he praised CPB director Coen Teulings who continued the censorship. He can find better analyses in my books DRGTPE and CSBH (see my blog for the full names). My email is here: Unfortunately I haven’t had a reply and of course a columnist has more freedom than a reporter. However, professor Krugman mixes his column with science and thus one would expect more.

Please be aware that Southern Europe is already in a state of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Unemployment is not a natural disaster but a sign of bad policy. The current structure of the euro was a political gamble and was scientifically unwarranted risk taking. The basic problem was already clear in 1990. There is a serious omission in the Trias Politica structure of national economic decision making. Advisable is the move to a Tessera Politica structure with an Economic Supreme Court. See this weblog entry:

I would appreciate it if you would look into this. I intend to include this email in my weblog. Perhaps it could become one of you bulletin entries or “articles about ombudsmen” (…).

Sincerely yours,

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

Date: Sun, 27 May 2012
To: jacob mollerup
From: Thomas Cool / Thomas Colignatus
Subject: W.r.t. the ONO annual meeting and my advice to boycott Holland

Dear Mr. Mollerup,

Some Dutch newspapers have some reports by their ombudsmen about the ONO annual meeting.

However, Dutch media do not report about my protest against the censorship of science by the directorate of the Dutch Central Planning Bureau since 1990.

In 2004 I started to advise to a boycott of Holland till the issue is resolved.

The world is annoyed by the Greek statistics but the censorship of economic science in Holland is much worse.


When I inform Dutch ombudsmen about the failure of accurate reporting, they ask some economic journalist about the issue, who probably tells them that I would be some kind of lunatic, and there it stops. This is not a proper way to handle information.

My key book on the censored economic analysis is here:

After the abuse of power w.r.t. my dismissal at CPB, I had various jobs, also as a teacher of mathematics. A recent book of mine is “Conquest of the Plane”, see the PDF on my website and some reviews there:

Why don’t you call me ?

Best regards,

Thomas Cool / Thomas Colignatus
Econometrician and teacher of mathematics
Holland, [phone number]

PM. Ms Sullivan is the public editor at The New York Times, mr Mollerup and Dvorkin are at ONO,mr Pritchard is the reader’s editor at The Observer and mr Panneerselvan is the reader’s editor of The Hindu.

CC. Paul Krugman, the two Dutch ombudsmen, mr A. Robbins (ASNE), mr E. Bonse

Professor Bernd Lucke from Hamburg has started a new political party Alternative für Deutschland (Alternatives for Germany) with the objective to return to stable currency areas and possibly the return to the DM. Taking a leave from his job and turning from an academic into a politician, he doesn’t mind some power politics: Germany might refuse a contribution to the ESM to get its DM back. A few weblogs ago we could see him in the Maybrit Illner show on the European clown problem.

Taking a closer look at the AfD webpage I have been impressed by the people supporting the initiative. Their cv’s give a sample of quality citizenship, a fine selection of what Germany has to offer. When we concentrate on the professors, we see mostly professors of economics (“wirtschaft”), and we can understand that they, with their knowledge of the subject, are deeply troubled.

Since these professors have the civil courage of taking a stand in the public debate, I have taken the liberty to respond to the challenge, and have sent them the email below. First there is the list of professors, secondly there is the text of my email.

My analysis would allow the Eurozone to keep the euro without the austerity that is causing havoc in the EU, and my email thus runs counter to the AfD program. But it is good to see that people take a stand and let us see what the reaction will be. 

(1) To

Prof. Dr. Hans–Günter Appel, Beiratsvorsitzender Nationale Anti–EEG–Bewegung.
Prof. Dr. Ronald Asch, Geschichtswissenschaften, Freiburg.
Prof. Dr. Charles Blankart, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Berlin.
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Blum, Präsident des Instituts für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle a. D.
Prof. Dr. Ludwig Cromme, Mathematiker, Mitbegründer der Brandenburgischen Technischen Universität Cottbus und dort Universitätsprofessor.
Prof. Dr.–Ing. Thomas Albert Fechter, Maschinenbau, Wiesbaden.
Prof. Dr. Herbert Frohnhofen, Systematische Theologie, Mainz.
Prof. Dr. Andrea Gubitz, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Frankfurt.
Prof. Dr. Gernot Gutmann, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Rektor Universität zu Köln a. D.
Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Hankel, Präsident der Hessischen Landesbank a. D., Königswinter.
Prof. Dr. Burkhard Heer, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Universität Augsburg.
Prof. Dr. Ing. E.h. Hans–Olaf Henkel, Praesident der IBM Europa, des Bundesverbandes der Deutschen Industrie (BDI) und der Leibniz–Gemeinschaft a.D.
Prof. Dr. Carsten Herrmann–Pillath, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Frankfurt.
Prof. Dr. Stefan Homburg, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Hannover.
Prof. Dr. Jörn Kruse, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Hamburg.
Prof. Dr. Bernd Lucke, Hochschullehrer, Universität Hamburg.
Prof. Dr. Helga Luckenbach, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Gießen.
Prof. Dr. Lothar Maier, Verbraucherschutz, Stuttgart.
Prof. Dr. Dirk Meyer, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Hamburg.
Prof. Dr. Manfred Philipp, City University of New York.
Prof. Dr. Hayo Reimers, Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Gießen.
Prof. Dr. Christian Rennert, Betriebswirtschaftslehre, Köln.
Prof. Dr. Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider, Öffentliches Recht, Hamburg.
Prof. Dr. Peter Schneider, Erziehungswissenschaft, Paderborn.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schöhl, Wirtschaftsjournalismus, Darmstadt.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Seeger, Neurochirurgie, Freiburg.
Prof. Dr. Michael Stahl, Geschichtswissenschaften, Darmstadt/Berlin
Prof. Dr. Joachim Starbatty, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Tübingen.
Prof. Dr. Roland Vaubel, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Mannheim.
Prof. Dr. Adolf Wagner, Volkswirtschaftslehre und empirische Wirtschaftsforschung, Universität Leipzig.
Prof. Dr. Heiner Willenberg, Didaktik der deutschen Sprache und Literatur, Hamburg.

(2) The email text [… a bit editted here …]

Dear professors on the list of Alternative fuer Deutschland,

I am an econometrician (Groningen 1982) and teacher of mathematics (Leiden 2008).

I worked at the Dutch Central Planning Bureau (CPB) in 1982-1991. In [1989] the Berlin Wall fell, and this caused me to develop a new analysis on unemployment, where various pieces of the puzzle came together that I had been working on before. A key point in that analysis is that Holland had been running an export surplus, and thus been exporting unemployment. For Eastern Europe it would be important that they got export opportunities, whence Western Europe would need to adapt itself too, and Holland included. The analysis back then is also relevant for the EU now, as the surplus of the North is the deficit of the South.

The fundamental analysis concerns stagflation since 1970 and the failure of the Trias Politica government structure to deal with insights from economic science. The solution would be that each democratic nation takes an Economic Supreme Court. The notion of Buchanan of a balanced budget or Schuldenbremse is interesting but inefficient, since if the information is not sound then the budget is not sound anyway, and if the information is correct then there may be periods when the budget better not be balanced. In the present time we would need strong investment in Europe.

Unfortunately, the CPB directorate censored the analysis, and dismissed me with falsehoods. I have been protesting the censorship of science since then, now for 23 years. In 2004 I decided that my best advice to the world would be to boycott Holland till the censorship is resolved. The economic crisis since 2007 caused me to write some additions to the analysis.

It has been quite interesting to look up your cv’s and email addresses. I am quite impressed by your backgrounds. Perhaps, with your critical thinking about the euro, you will also be open to the idea that you are disinformed about key elements in the analysis from Holland, and that censorship of science should not be tolerated. Please note that I do not publish in scientific economic journals, partly for practical reasons such like that the analysis is somewhat complex and that editors from the academia apparently do not understand a protest against censorship, partly for the reason that the censorship better be lifted first before I take other steps.

I hope that some of you will have the time and interest to contact me, and discuss what can be done […]. I have contacted some German journalists in Holland (Schweighoefer and Birschel) and who are supposed to report to the German media about events in Holland. Apparently they do not consider censorship of science so important. Apparently “Greek statistics” has made it into the newspapers but “Dutch economics” not yet. […] censorship in modern bureaucracies is different from censorship in earlier brutal times, but I do hope that the European respect for science is still present, and can give an “acte de presence”.

Below are some key links.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Cool / Thomas Colignatus
Econometrician and teacher of mathematics.



(3) New article: Money as gold versus money as water:

(4) My sequel to Keynes’s “General Theory”:

(5) The link to the fall of the Berlin Wall:

(6) Mathematician prof. Ludwig Cromme might want to consider this paper:

The new World Economics Association (WEA, started May 2011) holds an internet conference on ethics. Since my advice to boycott Holland is based upon professional ethics I submitted this paper. I was happy when it got accepted but disappointed when I received an email that there had been some misunderstanding and that it was finally not included in the conference. The paper was also rejected by the the Real World Economics Review (RWER).

In both cases no arguments have been provided so I am in to the dark where the analysis misses out on ethics and relevance for the real world. Perhaps I miss some crucial points but there wouldn’t seem any harm in discussing the advice to Boycott Holland. Ethics is a serious topic and it is important that such arguments get the chance to be heard. Electrons are hardly the cost nowadays. Yet the conference organisers and editors of the RWER now have managed to create a window of disopportunity, where some economists might not consider the whole internet but only their own fine little portion again.

The paper refers to my earlier discussion “Economics as a zoo” (2005). The abstract of this reads:

“The world has 6 billion people, and rising, and we like them all to know a little bit of economics. This means that there is a huge market for economic theory, economics textbooks and teachers. As groups of economists have the objective to get a little bit of the action, a key strategy seems to be to label oneself differently, say X, so that all customers can be told that if they want the real thing then they need X. What to think of labels like “realistic economics”, “heterodox economics” and the “post-autistic economics network” ? If you don’t join, are you non-realistic, orthodox and autistic ? Economics is in danger of turning into a zoo. As the animals have taken over the zoo too, there is nothing to control them but common sense. Common sense can be taxed needlessly. The preferred strategy is to provide quality, and then add proper labels that advance understanding.”

I still think so. I consider myself a neoclassical economist and I think that we can tackle the economic crisis building upon the work of Keynes and Tinbergen. This tradition and approach in economics has been very succesful and the conclusion for an Economic Supreme Court is based upon that success. If you think differently you need some very strong arguments. I wonder whether WEA and RWER have those arguments. The RWER is at the website of the post-autistic network and it seems that the WEA has some links to that. So I took some risk in sending in a paper to economists who should reconsider their branding label. But without communication there is no advance.

One of the editors at the conference now has an entry referring to say Alan Greenspan: “Given the extraordinary level of incompetence shown by these economists, one may ask. . . .” It seems to me somewhat shortsighted to discuss this. So what, when economists A, B, C think that e.g. Alan Greenspan was too optimistic about market processes ? This approach entirely misses the point. It remains in the realm of opinion and it neglects fact. The point is that in the case of the Dutch Central Planning Bureau we have the fact and can prove that there is censorship. The Dutch people and a fortiori the world gets wrong information.

The WEA and RWER are just as impervious as the IMF. I haven’t yet received a response to my email to the IEO of the IMF either. When there aren’t arguments and when there is no discussion then it isn’t science.

My suggestion to fellow economists is that you can refer to my books and working papers. If you want peer review then such references generate that peer review.

My papers have not appeared in peer reviewed journals and there are no citations in peer reviewed journals, except for a favourable review of The Economics Pack by Ron Shone in the Economic Journal, and this friendly reference to me by Olivier Blanchard, since I reminded him that the terms “macro-” and “micro-economics” were coined by Pieter de Wolff. The introduction of those terms is historically not unimportant since it caused a move from Political Economy.

Let me explain this lack of peer review and citation.

Since my dismissal with false accusations from the Dutch CPB in 1991 I have had only short temporary jobs. Each time a different kind of subject with the need to be up and running at some level of complexity. With difficulty some time could be found to write, as was also needed to understand the new subjects. Time for a publication channel was generally lacking.

There was no fixed station with “working papers” from such an institutional environment. Fortunately Bob Parks at St. Louis EconWPA provided an archive, until that was ended by his management. After some years the MPRA archive in Muenchen was created and has become the safe haven. Those papers are basically linked from

My own page basically mentions the books and papers arranged by subject However, the current economic crisis caused some memo’s that have not been developed into full papers, and those can be found on the crisis page:

When I graduated in 1982 it was still the custom in Dutch universities that a Ph.D. represented a serious study by a mature researcher. While I worked at CPB in 1982-1991 this custom was changed so that a Ph.D. became a second stage of education for a younger researcher, and the conclusion of graduate school, and it became the criterion for employment at a Dutch university. Since I lack such a degree, Dutch universities are, basically, closed to me.

In the beginning around 1991 I submitted some papers to economic journals but the referee reviews contained errors and miscomprehension. See for example this paper and its appendices: Labour market specialists do not understand enough about taxation, tax specialists do not understand enough about labour, and so on. Since it was futile to try, I stopped submitting to journals, and concentrated on my books. Since it was hard to find publishers, I basically published those myself though some with help from Dutch University Press.

Because of the economic crisis it seemed fair to try again to submit a paper to a journal. I did this with my paper on the Economic Plan for Europe. This also is the base for my newspaper article in the English / Greek newspaper eKathimerini. It still is the best road that Europe could take. Nevertheless, the editor of that economics journal blocks a decent refereeing process, and dismissively states:

“Dear Thomas,  The paper rather looks like a political paper than a research paper. No clear hypothesis is dicussed via empirical testing or theoretical modelling but a bundle of statements are made. Even if some of these statements are interesting this will not be sufficient for a research paper. Kind regards, Jens Boysen-Hogrefe.” (September 27, 2011).

It so happens that dr Boysen-Hogrefe wrote an article about the German labour market “miracle”, which “mircacle” can better be understood as a disaster, for it involves predatory pricing with respect to other EU nations, and causes an unbalanced export surplus. Germany here copies Holland, see my See also Gartner & Merkl at

Thus dr Boysen-Hogrefe (a) does not follow proper editorial processes, (b) misunderstands the labour market and consequences for macro-events, (c) misunderstands what science is. An appeal didn’t have any effect.

This explains why my work cannot be found in the peer reviewed journals. Not for lack of quality but because of censorship and because our society has insufficient mechanisms for correction.