Sunday, May 31, 2009

Google Relents—Finally

At last Google has withdrawn its repeated description of this blog as “spam” and its accompanying threats to delete it.

Google seems to be a company that belongs somewhere in a world that might have been imagined by Franz Kafka, in that when dealing with it in a situation of this kind, a person is placed in a position in which he must confront a beast that is deaf, blind, and destructive, utterly impervious to all reason. The company has no email address that belongs to a live human being, or at least none that I could find. It has two listed phone numbers in its headquarters city of Mountain View, California. One of them offers five or six menu options none of which lead to a human being or any way to contact a human being. The second number does reach a human being, but that human being has no way to contact any executive and cannot deal with any such matter as a blog being threatened with deletion. Yes, it also has an 800 number, which duplicates the first of the Mountain View numbers.

A communication from the company promised an investigation by a human being “within two business days.” But no such investigation ever occurred. Between May 2 and May 21, in response to my requests to unlock my blog, I received the following three replies, all of them identical but for the date cited for the requests.


"Your blog is marked as spam

"Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

"We received your unlock request on May 2, 2009. On behalf of the robots, we apologize for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam.


"Your blog is marked as spam

"Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (
What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

"We received your unlock request on May 11, 2009. On behalf of the robots, we apologize for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam.

"Your blog is marked as spam

"Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

"We received your unlock request on May 21, 2009. On behalf of the robots, we apologize for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam."

At least a dozen of the readers of this blog went to the trouble of writing directly to the President of Google. One of them went to the trouble of also informing an extensive list of pro-free-market news commentators and bloggers about what Google was doing. It’s difficult to be sure what effect this had. To my knowledge, none of those who wrote to the president of Google ever received a reply. Nevertheless, I must assume that Google finally unlocked my blog in response to the strong reaction from these readers. I want to thank them publicly, for their support.

What this experience has taught me is that I never again want to be dependent on Google. Accordingly, I’ve spent much of the past few weeks reconstructing this blog in Word Press. The reconstruction is complete for 2009 and 2008, but has only just begun for 2007 and 2006. I invite readers to visit this new blog at www.georgereisman.com/blogWP/. (Please note that the last two letters must be capitalized in order to bring up the blog.)

It seems incomprehensible to me that Google, a company with possibly the most advanced search technology in the world, would somehow lack the technical expertise required for its robots to distinguish my blog, which has been in existence for over three years and has more than 140 postings on it, from a spam blog. It is equally incomprehensible to me why, if such is the case, and they know that their ability to identify spam blogs is “inherently fuzzy,” they would not have a human being spend five minutes looking at a blog they know is very likely a “false positive” for spam, and make a rational judgment about the matter in short order. And why they would not have a readily accessible system whereby they could be easily contacted and “false positives” for spam speedily corrected by that route.

Whatever the explanation, Google in this case has shown itself to be incompetent, grossly irresponsible, and cowardly. It apparently does not care about the consequences of its actions or show any readiness to correct them or willingness even to hear about them. Nothing less than a public campaign is required to get its attention. This is not a good performance for a company whose motto is supposedly, “Don’t Be Evil.” What Google has done in this case is evil.

***

If any reader knows how to port over links from Google’s Blogger to Word Press, I hope he will share his knowledge with me. The abundance of links to many of the postings on the Google version of my blog serve to keep me tied to Google. Please write to me at georgereisman@georgereisman.com.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Letter to Krugman

Letter to Krugman
May 4th, 2009

Dear Prof. Krugman:


In your NY Times column of today you write, “But if everyone takes a pay cut, nobody gains a competitive advantage. So there’s no benefit to the economy from lower wages. Meanwhile, the fall in wages can worsen the economy’s problems on other fronts.” You overlook the fact that the major benefit of a fall in wage rates is not any competitive advantage that it might give to one firm over another, but the fact that it allows the same total payment of wages in the economic system to employ more labor and the same total expenditure for consumers’ goods to buy more consumers’ goods at the lower prices resulting from lower wage rates.


You also write, “Things get even worse if businesses and consumers expect wages to fall further in the future.” That’s true, and because it is, the implication is that when wage rates fall to the level to which they’ve been expected to fall, there will be a substantial increase in the quantity of labor demanded and in total wage payments and consumer spending.


If you are open to a serious, detailed development of ideas on deflation and unemployment that are sharply at variance with your own, I’d like to recommend for your consideration two on-line articles of mine: “Falling Prices Are Not Deflation But the Antidote to Deflation” and “Standing Keynesianism on Its Head: as Employment Increases in Response to a Fall in Wage Rates, the Rate of Profit Rises, Not Falls.”


In the latter article, you can learn of the profound contradiction that exists between Keynes’ statement of the basis of the IS-LM analysis on p. 261 of The General Theory and his statement of the basis of the declining mec doctrine on p. 136 of The General Theory. The net upshot is that a fall in wage rates does in fact result in an increase in employment, in part because it is accompanied by a rise in the “mec” rather than the fall assumed by Keynes.


Cordially,
George Reisman, Ph.D.
Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics
Author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics
Web site:
www.capitalism.net
Blog:
www.georgereisman.com/blog/

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Friday, May 01, 2009

Injustice as Routine

I want to take note here of two outrageous injustices that have occurred within the last few days. One, reported in the main front-page headline of today’s New York Times is that the United Automobile Workers Union and its pension fund is to become the largest stockholder in Chrysler when the firm emerges from bankruptcy. This is the very same union that brought about the collapse of Chrysler in the first place. Its philosophy and policy of grabbing ever more in wages and benefits while doing almost everything possible to prevent the company from earning the wherewithal to pay those wages and benefits made it impossible for the company to survive in the face of competition not subject to such union bloodsucking.

A further aspect of this same injustice is the government’s naked overriding of Chrysler’s contractual obligations to its bondholders in order to place the U.A.W. and its pension fund ahead of more senior debtors in the Chrysler bankruptcy. Those bondholders who stood up for their contractual rights were denounced by President Obama for refusing to make “sacrifices,” i.e., of their contractual rights. Many of them then gave in, fearful no doubt as to how the government might use its vast array of arbitrary powers against them if they refused, e.g., how the IRS would treat their income tax returns, how the EPA, SEC, FTC, et al. would treat their application for permissions of this or that kind.

The second injustice I want to note is that in this age of alleged “diversity,” a young woman, Carrie Prejean—“Miss California”—who apparently was on the verge of being declared “Miss USA,” was denied that title for no other reason than that one of the pageant’s judges did not like her opinion that marriage was a union between a man and a woman. In response to a question asked of the contestants, she had answered, “No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think that it should be between a man and a woman.” The judge, one Perez Hilton, said "I was absolutely shocked and incredibly frustrated in her, and disappointed. That is not the kind of woman I want to be Miss USA.” So, to be Miss USA, a woman must comply with whatever beliefs such a “judge” wishes to impose. As of this writing there doesn’t seem to much anger and outrage over this travesty of justice.

NOTE: IF THIS BLOG DISAPPEARS, BE SURE TO FOLLOW MY POSTS AT WWW.CAPITALISM.NET (See my previous post for an explanation of this threat.)



Attempt to Silence This Blog

The enemies of free speech are attempting to silence me. Here is the notice I just received, supposedly from Google. Let Google hear from you about this outrage.



"This blog has been locked due to possible Blogger Terms of Service violations. You may not publish new posts until your blog is reviewed and unlocked.
This blog will be deleted within 20 days unless you request a review."