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The smokescreen of ignorance – Editor

The following extracts are from an article by John Kelly published in the AIM network [1]. He refers firstly to a recent statement from Prof Bill Mitchell in his daily blog, that “the media input into our lives only reinforces the smoke- screen of ignorance that we conduct our daily lives within.”

In the article, John Kelly continues: “For most of us, our ignorance comes primarily from whatever media report we hear or watch and it either reinforces our existing bias, or we exclaim ‘well, I wasn’t expecting that’.

“There is also another smokescreen of ignorance; a document that is issued overlooking previous errors. It is generally a media release, parading as a truism, tweaked to become a foundation stone upon which so many other ‘truisms’ are laid; even if it contradicts previous documents and stated positions.

“For much of the last five years the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Madame Christine Lagarde, has been preaching austerity and savage- ly ‘bullying governments to run pro- cyclical fiscal policy (aka austerity) at a time when non-government spending was weak and weakening’. ”

“It is no secret that millions of people around the world lost their jobs unnecessarily during that period. But it seems there has been a change of heart:

“Now, in a carefully guarded statement that ignores the recklessness of the IMF’s previous gospel of austerity, Madame Lagarde is now telling the world, ‘There is a strong case for domestic coordination across policies, with fiscal policy needing to do more in some cases’. ”


Madame Christine Lagarde

The document referred to by John Kelly is “The Managing Director’s Spring Global Policy Agenda Decisive Action, Durable Growth April 2016”. Lagarde relates within it that the outlook for the world economy has weakened further, risks have increased, the recovery in advanced economies (like ours) is moderate, emerging and developing economies are slowing further, risks to global financial stability have increased and a durable recovery is becoming elusive. John Kelly continues: “She now recommends, ‘those with fiscal space should commit to ease fiscal policy further, which would benefit them, and support global demand’.

“Which, in English means, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND. The very organisation that was telling the world to stop spend- ing five years ago is now telling the world to start spending.

“And what is this ‘fiscal space’ that she refers to? In the words of Prof Bill Mitchell, ‘The only fiscal space that has any validity for a currency-issuing government is the idle productive resources that are for sale in that currency’.

“It suits us to hear politicians talk about how ‘our taxes’ are spent. We like to think it’s our money. The ‘how govern- ments spend our taxes’ myth fits very nicely into the nonsense that is perpet- rated worldwide by the neo-liberal groupthink that commands the media’s attention.

“But what do we do when that same groupthink realises that their advice was nonsense and recommends a reversal? Do we dismiss them as frauds? The wording in the IMF statement shows they cannot bring themselves to recognise their failed former economic approach. ”

  1. The AIM network, 24 Apr 2016

John Kelly has a B Communic degree majoring in Journalism and Media Relations. He has authored four novels as well as an autobiography, is a regular writer for the AIM Network, and operates a website (the URL is:

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