It Happened to Me

In Which Our Hero Pimp-Slaps an Economist

One of the best ways to get up my nose is to accuse me of not knowing what I’m talking about. This happens in my comments once in a blue moon, and I usually have to become the commenter’s Dad and “take him or her to school in the car of pain”. Hop aboard, Junior!

Normally, I’d take this up in the comments, but they’ve been buried in spam as of late. Besides, I’m the captain of this blog, and if someone wants to accuse me of ignorance, I reserve the right to spank him or her in a top-level article.

Here’s the comment that started it:

I think you either have the term wrong; you likely mean traders or some other creature of Wall Street but investment bankers do things like getting money for IPOs not give out stock tips to the media.

Do you really know what an investment bank does? I suspect this is not the case.

I replied to the little snot as follows:

You’re wrong and right:

WRONG: I know what an investment banker does. I’ve met a number doing dog-and-pony shows during the dot-com days. Some of them could use a smack on the head anyways.

RIGHT: I had a brain fart while typing. The term I’m looking for is investment analyst. I’ve met these too, and shall correct the entry.

Not happy with having lost some debating points, the commenter fired back:

You can acuse [sic] investment analysts of many things (I am an economist and the party line on them is that they must either be charlatans or they should not be talking to you) but they dont really shuffle wealth around, mostly they give their opinion on the value of an asset. that is they are Appreisers [sic] who happen to specialize on assets that pay dividends and which have payouts linked to the fortunes of some legal corporation.

I cant see how it could be true that “shuffling it [wealth] around.” is all they do without it being true of all people who work as appraisers, can you?

Whacked-out assumptions and failed analogies: this person really must be an economist!

Claiming that they are charlatans and then saying that they aren’t shufflers of wealth is contradictory. Shuffling wealth — into their pockets and those of their friends — rather than creating it is what charlatans do!

Secondly, I don’t think all appraisers are shufflers of wealth; some actually provide useful services, and those services are the creation of wealth. The commenter’s assertion is the classic “confusing the whole for the part” tactic from high school debating. Here’s an only-slightly-more-ridiculous statement using the same line of reasoning:

  • I have a dim view of investment analysts
  • Investment analysts are carbon-based life forms
  • Therefore, I have a dim view of carbon-based lifeforms

I shall close by addressing the commenter using the terminology of his/her field of “study”: the supply of your babble exceeds the demand.

Bonus reading: Economist Jokes!

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