Central banking

Economists are famous for claiming that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Unfortunately (since I believe that is true), economists also think lots of things are free lunches. For example, I’ve written that the mainstream theory of free trade is that it is a free lunch, despite historical evidence that the effects of free trade are more nuanced.

The internet overflows with commentary from economists on how to run a central bank. One thing seems clear: mainstream economists seem to believe that running a central bank that borrows in a currency and prints the same currency is a free lunch.

If you print the stuff that your debts are issued in, you don’t really have debts do you? At least that’s the theory. Free debts for all! And since debts are just money that we print, we can have free money for all!

Prosperity ensued. Er, not exactly.

There has been at least one constraint on this free lunch for a while. The constraint has been that everyone agrees that too much money printing leads to inflation and that once inflation gets started, it’s very difficult to stop. IMHO, if everyone stops believing this, we’re screwed.

(Incidentally, I was looking around and I can’t find any discussion of whether it would be harder to stop inflation in modern welfare states. For example, the US debt/GDP is about 100% today. When Paul Volcker stopped inflation in the ’70s, the same ratio was around 30%. Today, if interest rates were pushed up to 18% to fight inflation, USG would almost certainly be unable to pay it’s debts as interest payments would surge – this was not really a concern in the ’70s when the amount of debt was much lower. Could we even fight inflation anymore?)

This brings us to the economic topic du jour: NGDP targeting. Modern central banks are supposed to keep inflation low and (sometimes) keep unemployment low. As discussed above, the main constraint on money printing is that once you start it’s hard to stop. Central banks therefore want to err on the side of keeping inflation in check. At least until a new academic theory came along.

As I see it, NGDP targeting is designed to remove this final constraint on printing money. Instead of targeting a low rate of inflation, NGDP targeting says you should target a level of NGDP. NGDP is GDP unadjusted for inflation. So, let’s say last period’s GDP is 100 and this period’s GDP is 90. NGDP targeting would direct the central bank to print money until this period’s GDP was 100. Until that point, the central bank should ignore the actual level of inflation.

(NGDPers don’t say how the central bank will do this beyond saying that it will "buy stuff" which seems woefully inadequate to me, but it apparently makes sense to them, so we’re all good.)

Note that this allows you to print a huge amount of money. Theoretically, you’d want inflation to be 10% in one period if there was a big drop in GDP.

What happens when everyone stops believing that once inflation gets started it will be hard to stop?

My guess is that the results won’t be pretty.

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26 Responses to Central banking

  1. DW says:

    From a technocratic perspective, inflation is closely related to money supply growth. Easy to start, easy to stop.

    But the fed’s a super duper conservative institution and doesn’t like messing around.

    Do you read Sumner?

    http://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=11353

    • Foseti says:

      Occasionally. I honestly don’t understand the details of his proposals. They always involve hitting a ngdp target by doing very odd things.

      • DW says:

        Hm, mind if I try a synthesis?

        I think his proposals involve hitting targets by doing normal things (increasing the money supply). Where he loses people is that he spends all his time talking about the optimal target. Targets are just rhetoric.

        His insight is that the problem with the (implicit) target of ~2% core inflation is that missing it by only a small amount on the downside is potentially catastrophic.

        But getting from 1.7% to 2% in this environment means an inter-galactic increase in the money supply and a credible promise to keep it there. Hard to do either under the current rhetorical regime (all that for 0.3% inflation? pshaw!).

        His targeting scheme would give us both.

      • josh says:

        “From a technocratic perspective, inflation is closely related to money supply growth. Easy to start, easy to stop.”

        The exchange rate of money is related to the relative supply and demand between money and other goods at the margin.. Duh.

        Hyper-inflation, the kind of inflation that is hard to stop, is demand driven. Settling on a single currency is a Nash equilibrium, over the past century more and more people have been settling on dollars and guaranteed dollar equivalents as currency, for completely historical and political reasons (I wonder if this wasn’t the real purpose of the Marshall Plan, and whether the Soviet Refusal to accept Marshall Plan loans, which had to be paid back in dollars, wasn’t the real reason for the Anglo-Soviet split). Hence we can have massive monetary growth with only relatively slow changes in the exchange rate between dollars and certain goods.

        Our financial system has had to walk the fine line between jeopardizing its own existence by creating too much money, which can lead to a paradigm shift toward international demonetization of the dollar and to another good soaking up global monetary demand (the massive political power and prestige of our global financial system also ensures the continuation of the system), and enriching itself by creating new dollars (or financial instruments with guaranteed dollar exchange rates making them functionally equivalent to dollars). This can go on for a long time, but I’mm not sure it can go on forever.

        Like most of our modern institutions, a bureaucratic decrepitude has leaked into our financial system. Hierarchy has been replaced by committee and it lacks genuine adult supervision. What benefits and individual bank or banker or country can jeopardize the whole system and the banks control the fed just as much as the fed controls the banks. In other words all of the problems of democracy are showing themselves in our democratic financial system. And as Foseti points out, they have adopted a theory that is clearly self-interested in the short run, that they can print, print, print, and pay themselves handsomely for the effort with no long term consequences.

        We should really all be much more worried about this; I personally can’t even pull the trigger on a few ounces of gold.

      • Wm Tanksley says:

        Foseti, what do you mean “odd things”? As far as I know the economy-changing things he proposes are the same things the Fed does now. The only new things aren’t done to hit a target, but rather to establish one that can be hit: he proposes setting up NGDP futures, for example.
        Personally, I disagree with him on the advisability of that specific futures; the Fed doesn’t own NGDP and therefore can’t fulfill the futures it would have to sell. But the government DOES own tax revenues, and can therefore sell futures in that (they would take payment at a market rate, and pay as a fixed fraction of total revenues). Obviously and unfortunately, this could only work as a small part of a large taxation and budget restructuring.
        I’m not blind to the speculation potential of these tax futures in the presence of congressional authority to raise taxes (wow, a congressperson could make a LOT of money!), so I admit they’re not perfect; but perhaps the suggestion might move the discussion somewhere in the right direction.

      • Foseti says:

        I think the futures are one of the odds things I meant. Just read what you wrote – it’s a bit odd, no?

        I’m surprised how much my readers seem to like the idea. I’ll think about it some more in light of all the comments.

      • DW says:

        @Wm Tanksley “the fed doesn’t own NDGP”

        Oh, yes it does: it owns the money supply.

      • Wm Tanksley says:

        Using futures is normal for a long-cycle producer to know the correct amount to plan on producing. Farmers and oil wells use them. There’s nothing odd about that per se. There is a risk when you’re using them to set public policy, since it’s possible to manipulate them for a short term at a high cost; but I suspect that this problem will be easy to prevent.

      • Wm Tanksley says:

        What do you mean by saying that the Fed owns the money supply? They don’t own the money in circulation. They manage the money supply, but management is not ownership; and anyhow, their management is only at the margin of adding or retiring currency.
        Further, how can whatever explanation you give of their ownership enable them to settle futures accounts at the agreed date?

      • DW says:

        Ok forget ownership. It’s the wrong word. The fed can create however many trillions of dollars it needs to settle whatever accounts it needs to.

        Sumner isn’t saying that’s what the fed would do to settle its futures, but it could. And that’s what matters.

        The futures are only there for the fed to measure the effects of its policies. If they are starting to dip in price, the fed just announces a bunch more easing and the futures go back up.

        Simple. Except who would trade in such futures? Dunno.

      • Wm Tanksley says:

        DW, there are a lot of problems with this.

        First, as you observe, there’s no investment meaning of “futures” whose future is relatively certain to both original parties and under the short-term continuous control of one of them. There’s no reason to issue a future if the result doesn’t decrease the issuer’s risk, and there’s no reason to buy a future if the future can be steered by the issuer.

        Second, the Fed should not use a measuring instrument that has more effect on the economy than the size of its expected intervention. This constrains the amount of futures to be very small (since paying the futures is effectively inflation). But if the futures market is too small, it becomes too easy to manipulate it — and because the manipulation drives a massive short-term reaction by the Fed that itself affects the “commodity” being tracked, the manipulation will require even less careful timing than it does for other futures, allowing much more manipulation.

      • DW says:

        Agreed that it’s hard to see a natural market for NGDP futures, but “pragmatically implausible” is a lesser critique than “economically unfulfillable”.

        Having said that, they COULD work as a hedge against stock market beta or something.

        Your second point is more about the details of implementation which, to be honest, I’m no expert in. I’m just a Sumner fan.

        Do I need to make a leap or two of faith to see NGDP futures working? Yep.

        Is there a plausible ‘incremental roll-out’ scenario for NGDP futures ‘we’ could implement to test out the ideas? Don’t see one, myself.

        You didn’t say this, but I feel the need to make the point that impractical ideas and useless ideas are very different things. Sumner’s ideas are incredibly useful.

      • Wm Tanksley says:

        DW, the thing is that I’m convinced as well. The more I look at Sumner’s work the more I’m convinced that the Fed’s fundamental error is that they are trying to operate without any measurement tools — or rather, they have a dual mandate, and both mandates are measured using extremely lagging and “foggy” metrics. Sumner’s advice is spot-on in every respect that I can see.

        The problem is that his specific proposal contains several serious security flaws, making it vulnerable to exploitation. And even if we could somehow make in unexploitable, it also contains an inherent reconciliation problem, such that it’s possible for the issuer (the Fed) to mistakenly issue too few or too many futures.

        Interestingly, Sumner has mentioned using tax futures; he’s also mentioned that the 5% NGDP growth target is purely arbitrary, and any other value would be fine. (In fact, he’s said that 0% would be ideal, although he had some caveats that I’ve forgotten.)

        My suggestion has some problems as well, but it starts out on the fiscally sound proposition that the party writing the future actually has full ownership of the contents of the future (that is, the IRS can promise a fixed percentage of tax receipts over a given fixed span). There are probably some other futures that could be written; in fact, it’s possible that the inverse form of the IRS future might be a Fed future (since as IRS receipts go down, the Fed will need to pump cash out, and the first people to receive the cash could be the owners of those futures contracts). Of course, that would only work if the Fed Board as we know it were abolished and replaced with an automatic system; the presence of humans making arbitrary decisions would make that a pure conflict of interest play otherwise.

        -Wm

  2. Red says:

    The problem with inflation is the secondary effect of people loosing confidence in the currency. Once you try to stop the value continues to drop because people have lost confidence in it and continue to avoid using the currency in greater and greater numbers which makes more and more currency available for the market thus increasing inflation even further. This is what happened in Wiemar Germany according to “When money dies: The nightmare of the Weimar collapse”.

    Think of it like this:
    1. Farmer A stops selling food denominated in dollars.
    2. Because farm A is no longer working in dollars more dollars are available per dollar using peoples.
    3. Farmer B raises prices because of the inflation caused by farmer A.
    4. Seeing how much more stable the value of the good farmer A is receiving farmer B opts out of dollars as well.
    5. Rinse and repeat and you can have massive inflation without any change in the over all money supply.

    The US vastly inflated the money supply during Nixon,Ford, and Carter to pay for the welfare state. Once we stopped printing(might have been under Carter) people continued to opt out of dollars thus continuing and increasing the rate of inflation. The 20% interest rates worked because suddenly it became worthwhile to trade in dollars.

    Eventually our low interest rates will cause inflation even without the extra printing by the fed.

  3. Handle says:

    Welcome back from your two-week hiatus. I wish I had already thought of a good and ultra-concise way to explain the persuasive logic behind NGDP targeting as the best stability strategy we can probably adopt within a Central Bank, Fiat Money, and Fractional Reserve Lending with Maturity Transformation system. I’m in the “greater, greater DC area” now, so perhaps I can do it in person at slightly greater length. Get with me on email.

    There are, of course, plenty of decent proposals for alternative money and banking systems, but if you agree with me that we’re highly unlikely to implement any of them anytime soon, but have real urgent problems in the meantime, then we should try to do the best we can with what we’ve got.

    I think you’ll agree that the current “dual mandate with a vague inflation range around 2% plus the option to do any radical and corrupt thing in secret to the tune of trillions” strategy is less than optimal. NGDP-targeting would be better than what we have now, and even if it’s only a stepping stone to an even better system – it’s a step worth taking.

    The best analogy I can think of for what NGDP does is kind of like a rolling national-aggregated-debts gentle bankruptcy process. If you lend money to an individual with certain expectation as to his future income, and it turns out that you’re wrong and he can’t pay in full, you’ll still get paid back something, maybe 98%, but not 100%, and bankruptcy coverts debt into something more like equity.

    Most institutions have an all-or-nothing before-or-after a “credit event” approach, or rely on “dilution” to wipe out existing equity claims, but there’s no reason you couldn’t structure the finances of a company with something like Contingent Convertibles (CoCos), to continuously revalue debts and equity according to the prospects and capitalization needs of the company.

    With debt denominated in dollars, during deflation the creditor wins and the debtor loses, and the converse during inflation, regardless of what’s going on in “real” terms which could be positive or negative in either case. But with NGDP-targeting, the balance between real and nominal is always kept constant.

    If the real economy booms, then debtors thrive, and it makes sense to lower inflation proportionately to increase the real value of the creditor’s claim to more in line with what both parties expected at the outset of the contract. Conversely, if the real economy stall or shrinks, the same “expectations-realization” is accomplished, and debtors are relieved of real liability automatically (and without the need for socially costly default and legal process) by more inflation.

    The question you ask is whether we should have any faith in the ability of a Central Bank to actually always hit its NGDP target, especially if there is an asymmetry in the ease of which it can create inflation vs suppressing it. The answer to that legitimate concern is usually, “If the Fed doesn’t get it quite right this quarter, it can always correct the under or overshoot in the next cycle through ‘level targeting’ to restore its set pathway. I find the argument persuasive, but I concede it’s a debatable point.

    The question relevant to overall Macroeconomic and Employment stability is “what happens when these expectations of the distribution of gains from credit relationships are not met, the prices of real objects and wages change, but the prices of debts remain nominally constant?” The answer is a boom/bust credit cycle in which debts get out of control, cannot be maintained, and then a cascade of failures, defaults, and liquidations throws everything in the ditch in a “debt-deflation” scenario.

    The question is “how do we keep all these things in balance now, and also credibly communicate to free economic agents that they can expect these things to remain in balance in the future?” (Obviously never perfectly achievable, but still, a lot further towards stability than where we find ourselves at present). The answer is NGDP-targeting.

    There are some other advantages to this system, the primary one being that it removes all Keynesian argument for the need for democratic-politics-controlled (read: “insane and corrupt”) fiscal stimulus and most bail-outs. Surely that enticing prospect deserves some respect. Also, the idea has only grudgingly and in desperation been accepted by the Krugman crowd, but actually has a pretty good pedigree on the right – including early support from Hayek and, arguably, Milton Friedman (with a different Quantity-Monetarist logical approach that, in the end, comes to the same thing in my view.)

    Bottom Line: Of the many possible places we can go from the awful place we are now – this is a step in the right direction that is also the best chance of achieving any improvement in the short-term.

  4. I think you are getting this wrong. NGDP measures total expenditures in the economy – it’s a measure of money flow. The change in NGDP is a function of the dilution of the money supply and changes in the demand for money. Did you ever read Moldbug’s piece on monetary dilution. Dilution is what the fed should be targeting, and NGDP is closer to a dilution measure than the CPI.

    Let’s say that a technological revolution plus an influx of immigration causes the prices of goods and services to fall by 5%. If you have a CPI target of 5% you would need to dilute the money supply by 10% to hit that target. But if you have an NGDP target of 5%, you only need to dilute the money supply by 5%. So the NGDP target is more responsible, less confiscatory, and less likely to blow asset bubbles.

    Conversely, imagine that a natural disaster causes the prices of goods to rise by 10% a year. A CPI target of 5% would call for the central bank to contract the money supply by 5%. This would send the economy in to a sharp recession or depression for absolutely no reason. An NGDP target of 5% would have the central bank dilute by 5%. Maybe not ideal, but better than causing a recession.

    I do have two big problems with Scott Summer’s program. First, 5% dilution is too high. Second, buying assets is the worst way to target NGDP. If the central bank buys assets at market prices, NGDP won’t budge. If the government buys your bank CD’s at market prices, are you going to spend more money? No, your net worth is the same. You cannot afford to spend more. No spending increases, then no NGDP increase. The only way to trigger NGDP inflation is to overpay in buying assets. And the easiest assets to overpay for is junk debt. Thus NGDP targeting ends up being the worst of welfare for the rich and irresponsible.

  5. One more thing to add-

    During most booms – such as the 2000’s boom – CPI inflation has been much lower than the NGDP inflation. If the Fed had been targeting NGDP, they would have tightened the money supply and the housing boom might not have happened. The CPI measures have also been altered to understate the rate of money dilution. The housing inflation measure does not include real estate prices, but an owners rent measure. The prices are adjusted for bogus measures of quality increases.

    Overall, NGDP targeting will lead to lower levels of dilution and more responsible finances than CPI targeting.

    • Wm Tanksley says:

      Devin, your explanation is great; but anyone who sells their assets to the fed is doing so because they want the cash, either to spend or to hoard; either way, that amount of cash is put into circulation. Yes, no new wealth; but that wasn’t the point.

  6. Matthew C. says:

    It appears to me that Scott Sumner is rearranging deck chairs with his proposal. I don’t see any possibility other than hyperinflation and the destruction of the dollar, given the way our financial system works, where it is at, the unpayable debts, and political incentives to keep kicking the can.

  7. Wm Tanksley says:

    Matthew, Sumner doesn’t just have a proposal; he has a model for how it works (although not one original to himself). His model neatly explains some things that the several conventional models don’t. His proposal taken in full is also considerably more full-bodied than can be accounted for by your metaphor of rearranging the deck chairs (even his proposed first step is more like installing radar than rearranging deck chairs); but he’s only pushing the first step (NGDP futures targeting) because he doesn’t want to fight for the last step (decentralized banking, AKA “free banking”) until we have a stable, accountable currency.

    To me the most important problem that his model explains is the persistent presence and relative stability of fiat money (yes, it’s not perfectly stable – but considering the continuous and obvious incentives to ruin it, it’s been amazingly stable in most countries). Mises explains how fiat money can replace a commodity-backed currency, but its only approach to an explanation for how fiat money would persist in value is essentially that people are fooled by it because it used to be backed. Yet even Mises doesn’t claim that every fiat currency arises from a backed currency (he simply ignores the question; a fine attitude for the originator of a science, but not so good for his followers). Sumner, on the other hand, points out that a fiat currency is normally and naturally accompanied by a forced demand for it, usually in the form of taxes; thus, people need to keep some of the fiat currency on hand, and the issuer of the currency has a non-obvious reason to not debase it (because debasement will reduce the real value of taxes). His proposal fits into that by providing the issuer of the fiat currency with tools to measure the usefulness of the currency.

    Finally, I do agree with you that our current federal finance system is _crazy_. But Sumner’s immediate proposal can’t change that in the least, so it’s not a valid point of criticism. You could raise the same criticism against any proposal ever made for anything EXCEPT reforming the way the feds issue debt.

    -Wm

    • Matthew says:

      “To me the most important problem that his model explains is the persistent presence and relative stability of fiat money (yes, it’s not perfectly stable – but considering the continuous and obvious incentives to ruin it, it’s been amazingly stable in most countries”

      WTF?!

      Losing 95%+ of its value over 100 years is NOT stable.

      If you want to see stable monetary value over time, look at the purchasing power of the dollar BEFORE the Federal Reserve started overissuance of paper money in 1913.

      We are, clearly and obviously in the endgame for the unpayable fiat debt ponzi. Rearranging the deck chairs is exactly what Sumner is proposing.

      • Matthew says:

        Oh, and in my previous comment I didn’t even mention the dozens of national fiat currencies that suffered spectacular debacles over the past 100 years.

        It’s clear to anyone who studies the matter that investing in fiat currencies, or fiat debt instruments, leads to eventual disaster. And “eventually” has arrived for the Euro and the dollar.

      • Wm Tanksley says:

        Your claim of stability is based on a data item that has little to do with stability. A loss over 100 years is not instability; a loss or gain over a year is.

        Here we begin to have a problem. The collection of data with regards to currency stability is extremely complex and difficult. A price increase that looks like currency instability may have other causes (such as war); while a narrow price increase or decrease may result in later instability without directly associated currency manipulation.

        Another problem is that although central banks cause a set of currency problems, decentralized but centrally regulated banks also cause problems.

        BUT, with those problems noted, we can turn to what data we have, and what we find is that prior to the Federal Reserve’s implementation, CPI inflation was normally no more stable than during the Fed’s tenure; the main thing the Fed did was replace the risk of negative inflation with a certainty of positive inflation.

        Here’s one attempt at a table of inflation since 1800: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/community_education/teacher/calc/hist1800.cfm

        This certainty of positive inflation is what’s devalued our currency over the last 100 years; and based on a superficial reading of the data, it’s caused not by a higher inflation, but by a lack of negative (correcting) inflation. After all, it was more common for inflation to be high before the Fed than it was after, according to this data.

        This is a fundamental bias in the Fed’s program that is NOT PRESENT in Sumner’s proposal, as a basic and non-removable part of the design. It’s the direct result of level-targeting: when hitting the target requires a deflation you must deflate.

        “We are, clearly and obviously in the endgame for the unpayable fiat debt ponzi.”

        Those last three words have absolutely no meaning placed back to back. You’re replacing rational thought with knee-jerk insults. Seriously, “fiat debt”? “Debt ponzi”?

        “Rearranging the deck chairs is exactly what Sumner is proposing.”

        There are no chairs to “exactly” rearrange; I have explained already why your sentence doesn’t fit as a metaphor (metaphorically, Sumner is recommending radar). You have provided no concrete claims to discuss, but rather depended on an overblown metaphor.

        -Wm

      • Matthew says:

        Wm,

        Apparently you aren’t paying much attention to what has been happening since 2008.

        I have.

        “Unpayable fiat debt Ponzi” fairly well describes what has been going on since then — you might want to pay particular attention to what is happening in southern Europe and beginning to happen in Japan.

      • Matthew says:

        In case you have trouble understanding the concepts I described, I will elucidate:

        Fiat — money with no inherent value, sanctioned by government
        Debt — the particular fiat system we use creates new money by the issuance of debt, either by the sovereign or by fractional reserve banking
        Ponzi — an unsustainable financial arrangement where prior investors are paid off by newcomers. This arrangement continues until confidence is lost, or by the failure of sufficient new participants to fund drawdowns by the previous subscribers. Sovereign debt, for example, is a Ponzi — there is insufficient real productivity to pay back principal and interest in real terms.

  8. Wm Tanksley says:

    Snark is fine, Matthew; but repeating definitions misses the point of my response. I find it disappointing, though, that even the substance of your definitions are almost uniformly wrong, even ignoring that the problem with your words was their use together, not their meanings when used alone.

    As a student of Mises, I know that value is not inherent, so your definition of “fiat” falls flat (since there’s no such thing as money with inherent value; all value is subjective). Worse, though, your use of “fiat” as a modifier for debt is simply useless; unlike dollar bills and such, US debt is not simply fiat, but rather is fully market priced.

    Our system — assuming that you’re talking about the Fed, like Sumner is — creates new money by the RETIREMENT, not issuance, of debt. That is, the Fed injects currency by BUYING Federal debt and storing it. So you have this precisely backward.

    Ponzi — here your definition is correct, but the applicability to the actual situation is doubtful. I’m trying to think of any way this could actually fit — who are the old investors, who are the new, and so on.

    Look, Matthew; you’ve got a decent starting understanding of economics, and you’re obviously interested. Finish reading Mises; his works are online (although I recommend a paper copy of Human Action). Then think about what Mises didn’t know, and what more there is to be discovered (reread his section on money, and notice that together with the careful thinking there’s a good amount of storytelling disguised as law). It’s not sacrilege. Mises, like yourself, has no explanation for why fiat currencies are long-lived, aside from a claim that people must be fooled by their origin with a non-fiat currency.

    Your evidence that fiat currencies are not long-lived is laughable — “dozens of national fiat currencies that suffered spectacular debacles over the past 100 years.” Dozens? Out of how many fiat currencies? Worse, it doesn’t even occur to you to look at my data (as limited as I conceded it was) to see whether a relatively backed currency does better in practice. (Hint: it doesn’t, except in terms of long-term preservation of money value, which won’t buy a 1776 farmer an iPod or freedom from cholera.) And “paying attention since 2008” is not sufficient. A monetary explanation has to explain the exchange rates of dollars, LETS, yen, cowrie shells, pieces of eight, tally sticks, and Ithica hours. You’ll have to do a lot more reading.

    There are laws of economics, and laws of currency management. One currency can be better or worse than another. Ask yourself — what makes it better or worse? The answer is not simply “it’s not controlled by a central authority”, because some centrally controlled currencies appear to do very well because they are relatively sanely controlled. At the same time, we know the myriad temptations of central control cannot be good — how do the incentives balance out?

    This is stuff to think about, not spout platitudes or invective about.

    -Wm

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