1. Putting "American
Averages" in the crisis series
2. Keynes versus Friedman
Updated later: VERY good news about the DSM-5
I am still paying back my walk of over a week ago, but am doing a
better. Meanwhile, I will return ton the crisis.
Putting "American Averages" in the crisis series
This is just
as I said in my title: I have added the four pieces I wrote about "American
Averages" in the crisis series, because I do want a reference
to the real facts I and others are concerned about.
This required some renaming, but I think it all got done well.
2. Keynes versus
The reason to
put the above item first is that I wanted it to lead up to the present
In fact, the title is and isn't apt. It is apt, because that is what it
basically comes down to, intellectually. It is not apt, because Keynes
was mostly ignored, except by an academic few - and what is much worse:
He still is. And besiides, the intellectual issue only reaches a few
and not many.
As it happens, I wrote several issues about Keynes, in Dutch, right at
the beginning of the crisis series, in 2008. (For readers of
Dutch: here, here and here. There are two more with
"Keynes" in the title, all written in 2008.)
I did so, because I thought then that his approach to the Great Depression
of the 1930ies was the most correct one - and also I thought that it
might well be implemented by the new president of the USA, Barack
Obama, even though it was not a popular idea.
But it was and is a real crisis, and I thought a real crisis
requires real measures. Indeed, Paul Krugman
thought and argued likewise, but was mostly ignored, at least in
Now that was five years ago. We have now had five years
of crisis, and it is getting worse
rather than better.
So why is Keynes being ignored?
I think the reason is mostly ideological. It
is definitely not factual: There is no valid proof his ideas are true,
nor is there a valid proof Friedman's (Hayek's, others) ideas are true.
Economics just is - still - not enough of a real science to be
able to provide clear uncontroversial and valid proofs, at least where
the economy as a whole is concerned, which is what I am writing about.
The main reason Keynes is ignored, practically speaking, at least,
seems to be that he cared somewhat about poor people, while those who
are presently in power do not, at all: their feeling seems to be that
there are too many poor people, and that the best way out of the
problem is that the poor die, and the sooner, the better. See my Welfare state only for the rich,
of December 20, 2012, where I quote other's evidence.
Here it is to be noted that I am not making Keynes into
something he wasn't: He was solid upper middle class; he was a liberal,
not a socialist; he was not at all against quite large income
inequalities; and he was in favor of capitalism.
But then so are most people, and the issue is not between those who are
and those who are not, but between those who want to regulate
capitalism and those who do not want to do so: See my Crisis + DSM-5: It's deregulation, stupid!
As it is, those who do not want to regulate capitalism are in power:
Conservatives rule everywhere in the West, however they call
themselves, also in the United States.
So what seems most probable under that manner of regime is a further
destruction of the welfare state and a further built up of the
This is what has been happening now for some 12 years - and behold the
great social happiness this has brought.
And either there is no escape of this or - more likely, I stil think -
there is going to be some screw loose, possibly in Great Britain, and
some major changes are going to happen, that still need not involve a
total social collapse.
Updated later: VERY good news about the DSM-5
There just arrived some VERY good news about the
DSM-5: The NIMH-director Thomas Insel has decided to reject it:
Ah, Lord!! That is good
news! For more, see Transforming Diagnosis, but this is certainly quite a lot more
than I dared hope.
In a few weeks, the American
Psychiatric Association will release its new edition of the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This volume will
tweak several current diagnostic categories, from autism spectrum
disorders to mood disorders. While many of these changes have been
contentious, the final product involves mostly modest alterations of
the previous edition, based on new insights emerging from research
since 1990 when DSM-IV was published.
While DSM has been
described as a “Bible” for the field, it is, at best, a dictionary,
creating a set of labels and defining each. The strength of each of the
editions of DSM has been “reliability” – each edition has ensured that
clinicians use the same terms in the same ways. The weakness is its
lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease,
lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about
clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure. In
the rest of medicine, this would be equivalent to creating diagnostic
systems based on the nature of chest pain or the quality of fever.
Indeed, symptom-based diagnosis, once common in other areas of
medicine, has been largely replaced in the past half century as we have
understood that symptoms alone rarely indicate the best choice of
We need to begin collecting the genetic, imaging, physiologic, and
cognitive data to see how all the data – not just the symptoms –
cluster and how these clusters relate to treatment response.That is why
NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories. Going
forward, we will be supporting research projects that look across
current categories – or sub-divide current categories – to begin to
develop a better system.
More later, as this just came in.
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: