The Institute of Public Affairs Negative Response to the Real Classical Theory of the Trade Cycle

Greg Byrne

 I emailed Gerry Jackson’s article The Real Classical Theory of the Trade Cycle to the Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs John Roskam, IPA Review editor Chris Berg, Quadrant editor Keith Windshuttle and On Line Opinion editor Graham Young — and,  of course, Steve Kates. For those of you have not read Gerry Jackson’s article it is a complete refutation of Steve Kates presentation of his so-called classical theory of the trade cycle.

Kudos to Steve Kates for a prompt and polite reply. The others played true to form. The fearless Chris Berg refused to acknowledge the article. To have done so would have required a modicum of tellectual integrity that he is incapable of mustering.  Berg and Professor Sinclair Davidson co-wrote an article* on Australian manufacturing which Gerry Jackson promptly eviscerated on Rather than accept Gerry’s offer of full right of reply they courageously scurried off to John Humphreys’ site to whine about what a horrible meanie that Gerry Jackson is. This is the same Chris Berg who said, “the more free marketeers, the merrier—a sentiment which, interesting, Jackson himself does not appear to extend to others”. (I added the emphasis). He then ridiculously claimed that Gerry had engaged in “self-marginalisation”.  Both these gents have made it clear that offering people they smear right of reply is not in their playbook.

That this pair sought safe refuge on John Humphreys’ site is illuminating. Humphreys wrote and incredibly shabby and dishonest paper for the Centre of Independent Studies promoting the destructive carbon tax. Berg and Davidson refused to attack it. They still do even though they both assert that they are opposed to a carbon tax. The only person to attack and demolish Humphreys appalling paper, which he no longer defends, was Gerry Jackson. The only person our right attacked was Gerry Jackson. You will find neither courage nor integrity in the Institute for Public Affairs, which explains a lot.

Of course, it was inconceivable that John Roskam would have the decency to respond, just as it was inconceivable that he too would attack John Humphreys’ carbon tax. Roskam’s role is not to defend free markets but to ensure that only one version of the story gets out. Any free market-based view that contradicts or refutes the IPA’s party line is to be immediately marginalised. Therefore, Steve Kates is to be protected at all costs, along with Sinclair Davidson and Julie Novak.

This pair announced that commonwealth spending cuts got Australia out the Great Depression. Now that this is the established line the IPA will make sure nothing will be allowed to contradict it. Clearly, the notion that the IPA should countenance an open and honest debate is an anathema to them. Therefore it is only to be expected that the IPA would refuse to even recognise the existence of any evidence that they have committed serious error. (Boy, wait till they see Gerry Jackson’s article on Australia and the Great Depression!)

Graham Young’s response was particularly nasty. He basically accused Gerry Jackson of being a liar (the IPA has done the same thing) because Gerry had never read the classical economists. How the hell would Graham Young know what Gerry Jackson has read? My guess is that Young’s mates at the IPA spoon-fed him this malicious rubbish. This genius then claimed to be something of an expert on trade cycle theory (sic) and that is why he knows Gerry Jackson is wrong. The man is utterly, utterly pathetic.

I had only the faintest hope of getting a positive response from Quadrant, despite the fact that it bills itself as Australia’s “leading general intellectual journal of ideas”. Steve Kates frequently writes for the magazine and because of that I consider it extremely improbable that the editor Keith Windshuttle would even think of referring to an article that thoroughly debunks Kates’ views on the classical economists and the trade cycle.

 Now for Steve Kates response:

I got the paper from Prodos where you may have received it yourself. I thought about replying but to tell the truth, there are only so many fronts I can engage on at one time and this seemed for the moment less important than others. Good luck, though, in trying to fit the monetary school of the trade cycle into the recession that followed the oil shock in 1973. And unless all recessions in the world are related to the Federal Reserve in the United States, even the GFC is not entirely a story that can be told using his kind of story. Imbalances happen for a range of reasons, some monetary and others not. Why restrict your range? But regardless of which way you look at it, his or mine, the policy that follows the downturn does not include public spending your way out. As for crafting policy in which recessions never occur, good luck again. The great moderation was supposed to have ended business cycles forever and how well did that work out?

 What in the Lord’s name does any of this have to do with Gerry Jackson’s critique? Gerry categorically stated that he was not dealing with general economic fluctuations but a “specific phenomenon” called boom and bust.  What he did was to show that what Steve Kates is saying about the classical economists and the trade cycle is 100 percent wrong. Gerry argues that the classical theory was a monetary theory. Kates says it was not. They both cannot be right.  Gerry points out that the currency school formulated the real theory of the trade cycle and that Kates is confusing it with the “Took-Mill” theory that the banking school adhered to. These are important points that Steve Kates adamantly refused to address. As Gerry Jackson said: “If you are not prepared to defend what you write, then don’t write it”.

 Trade cycle theory is extremely important when it comes to economic policies. This makes the difference of views between Gerry Jackson and Steve Kates also extremely important. Unfortunately the Institute of Public Affairs and Catallaxy have decided, as expected, that no debate will be permitted. And this is the same crowd that sneers at the left for being close-minded.

 *The odd thing about this article is that Chris Berg is not a professional economist. I raised this point because Sinclair Davidson said he only deals with professional economists and that’s why he won’t have any exchanges with Gerry Jackson. But he doesn’t mind his “very, very good friend” John Humphreys acting as his attack dog. Davidson is not exactly what you would call a profile in courage.

27 thoughts on “The Institute of Public Affairs Negative Response to the Real Classical Theory of the Trade Cycle”

  1. About bloody time. I thought youd gone on strike. Glad to see that greg knows how to tell it like it is. Katesy’s none-reply is obviously an admission that gerru’s right.

  2. “If you are not prepared to defend what you write, then don’t write it”. Well said.

  3. Looks like Kates was trying avoid answering Gerry. If Greg is rigtht about the Institute of Public Affairs then it looks like Kates could try to brazen it out.

  4. That was a funny response. Very funny. Gerry Jackson writes an article that seems to completely refute Steve Kates views on the trade cycle and kates acts as if Gerry had written about the weather.

  5. I’ve worked in PR and I reckon that Steve Kates knows he’s been cornered. I’m not qualified to decide who is right but Kates response is typical of those who have been exposed for some deed or another and are trying to weasel out of it.

  6. Your to polite, Margo. It’s obvious that kates knows he;s had it. if Gerry Jackson had made a real blue katesy and his mates would have nailed him.

  7. sherlock’s on the button. Kates has had it and he knows it.What got me was the rest of greg’s stuff. Blacklisting someone is one thing but blacklisting any work that exposes your mistakes is bloody dishonest. Im not accusing Kates personally but Chris berg and Sinclair Davidson look like a real rotten pair.

  8. I know from my experience in PR how hard it sometimes is to keep the personal from the business side. But the Institute of Public Affairs is not a business, it’s supposed to be a free enterprise think tank. This means it is expected to supply its donors with the best defence of free enterprise that it can. Its staff is not there to engage in personal vendettas. If what Greg says is true then the IPA’s behavious is a disgrace.

  9. Margos on to something. what got me was Chris Berg accusing Gerry Jackson of trying to restrict economic debate. Berg is the editor of the IPA revew and has all the right connections. Gerry Jackson gave him right of reply, which he refused, and then he accuses gerry of trying keep people out of the debate and of being unfair to him!!! Are they really that dense?

  10. I think it is very important for people to understand that our establishment right is not about free and open debates and never has been. Gerry criticised Alan Moran’s approach to the rental resource tax. Moran threw a tantrum and told me he would simply “ignore him in future”. Davidson smeared Gerry’s work as being a mere “rant”. He also told Catallaxy readers not to put any “store in Jackson”. After Humphreys launched a veritable avalanche of personal abuse at Gerry, Davidson congratulated Humphreys for being civil. Gerry, of course, was stabbing the right in the back.

    Davidson says Gerry is not on their side. I don’t see how any decent person could ever be on their side.

  11. every posting exposes something nasty about our right. They come across as a right nasty bunch.

  12. blah blah blah blah blah jackson and his mates are jealous because the right wont publish him. boo hoo hoo.

  13. John Humphreys is off his meds again. What is it like, Humphreys, being Professor Sinclair Davidson’s classroom pet?

  14. I’m getting the feeling that this nastiness from the right is designed to intimidate people into not ‘competing’ with them. Graham Young’s offensive response to Greg is explicable if we look at the situation in this context. The same goes for John Humphreys’ viciousness and the protected status that Sinclair Davidson has afforded him. I think Gerry Jackson’s real crime was to go on the net and with admirable regularity present a forceful argument for the free market that was far superior to the product that the Institute of Public Affairs has been selling.

  15. How can davidson accuse Gerry Jackson of treason when gerry is defending free enterprise. After I read the first article i looked gerry up. he’s bloody good.

  16. gerry jackson is not an economist. He’s a fake and a liar. he deserved to be blacklisted we don’t need people like him on the right. everybody at the ipa knows that.

  17. Greg is right about John Humphreys, he really is off his meds. Please, Mr. John Humphreys, come and tell us why the Institute of Public Affairs and their friends are right to blacklist people like Mr. Jackson.

  18. HOW MANY TIME HAVE I GOT TO TELL YOU I AM NOT JOHN HUMPHREYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Nobody is listening, John, so why don’t you just let those nice men in white jackets give you those lovely coloured pills?

  20. I reread Gerry’s article. I am completely unable to see how Steve Kates could have possibly misunderstood it. Greg is on the right track, there is something very wrong with our right-wing.

  21. I think greg might be over doing it a bit. It sounds like a conspiracy theory thing to me.

  22. It’s not a conspiracy but an attitude they automatically swing into when it comes to outsiders. To them, outsiders are not potential allies but potential competitors and that’s why they must be ignored. Tim Blair is an editor with the Sydney Daily Telegraph and a nasty example of what I means. He has never written a thing to defend free markets but he did call for Gerry Jackson to be blacklisted and for Brookesnews, which Gerry ran, to be shutdown. And this clown calls himself a libertarian.

    Blair gave the game away when he said his friends were doing a better job than Gerry Jackson and that’s why Jackson should be driven out. In other words, Blair and his pals at the Institute of Public Affairs were upset that an outsider was effectively defending the market. Sometime later they sent the even nastier John Humphreys out to personally abuse and discrdit Gerry.

  23. I just had a scary thought about little timmy blair. Maybe he is so stupid he really thinks our right are doing a great job!

  24. I’m back – I’m so excited to see you’re all back. it’ll be like the old days when you were calling yourself Douglas Bignall.

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