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August 17, 2015


Luis Enrique

good post.

I suppose the most generous interpretation of what they mean has to do with winning votes, in the sense that if a politician says "elect me and I will introduce policies A, B and C which will result in outcomes X, Y and Z" then a sufficient number of voters has to find that credible (believable)

if you wanted to be especially generous, you could say that your fourth meaning is recognising (not condoning) the lamentable reality is that voters are swayed by what emerges from the bubble, so being found credible within the bubble is important, like it or not.


The obvious alternative definition of "credible." And since I long ago stopped believing anything that Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson et al say, their warnings against Corbyn don't work.


Is one definition of it that it is whatever policies lie inside the Overton window? Then it comes down to whether politicians should only operate within the Overton window, or whether they should instead attempt to move the window so that includes the policies that they prefer.

Geoffrey Howe wrote "THE RIGHT APPROACH TO THE
ECONOMY: Outline of an Economic Strategy for the next Conservative Government " in 1977. This was before my time, but I'd be interested to know if this was considered "credible" at the time? I'm guessing it must have been fairly radical?

Dave Timoney

@Luis, you suggest that "the lamentable reality is that voters are swayed by what emerges from the bubble", but that presumes a degree of deference, not to mention close attention, that is hardly supported by the evidence.

To judge from opinion polls (risky, I know) voters appear to favour many policies that are considered anathema to the bubble, while the popular opinion of Westminster hovers close to contempt.

Institutional politics does not mean giving the people what they want, but what is considered to be good for them. As such, "credible" means in accordance with the tents of neoliberalism, rather than popular or believable.

Maurits Pino

Nice post!

"I don't like this word "credibility" because it's horribly ambiguous. It can mean four things."

1) "Credible" can be time consistent. But for 2), 3) and 4) you refer to "not credible", it seems (not credible because vague, bad or unacceptable to the WMB).

That fourth use of not credible should of course be "not serious" - always using quotation marks and ideally referring to Krugman.


"not least of which is that, with real interest rates negative, there's simply no need to print money."

Try telling that to the 'credible' crowd, who appear to think that eliminating the deficit will magically eliminate the £1.5tn debt on which we pay interest.

The People's QE has another virtue.


"People’s QE can work, whether or not it is radical new thinking; all that might stop it is a fear that bankers might not like it when its whole purpose is to exclude them from a decision making process on investment where they have very clearly failed."

Also QE is supposed to Monetary Substitute for a Fiscal Stimulus, with Peoples QE you can have both a monetary and fiscal stimulus.

People's QE in MV=PQ raises both M and Q and is not inflationary unless it exceeds the capacity of the economy currently going to waste. (Just for Tim, who is wrong)


The Telegraph has the clock at a minuite to midnight for the next global crash.


With interest rates at zero and £385Bn of QE on it's books, what are the options for the BoE and HMT in an imminent crash? More QE for the asset rich? QE failed, repeating it is not acceptable.

People's QE your time has come!

Peoples QE, has other virtues too, but that is a whole new can of worms.


A self-defined credible tax policy.


In a few words, do nothing...effective, just trim at the margins.

Luis Enrique

I more had n mind whether the media decide to treat the leader with respect or derision, which I think - with no evidence - sways voters.

gastro george

I tend to agree. The media's treatment of Foot was appalling, and it had an effect. Corbyn can expect the same.

Igor Belanov

I tend to be more optimistic. As FATE suggests, people believe less of the things that come out of Westminster and the 'commentariat', and the rise of UKIP suggests that any publicity can be good publicity for anti-establishment parties.

Certainly the constant attacks on Corbyn through the media only seem to have boosted his campaign.

Socialism In One Bedroom

WI have to caution Igor and FATE, looking at the polls over many years the Tories are always trusted more on the economy and the more sycophantic a party is to the 'wealth creators' the more likely it is they will be seen as economically sound.

And we should be very depressed by this fact because it means people believe themselves incapable of making decisions and that there is a need for a class of people to rule over us,a class paid at least 200 times more than everyone else and whose wealth increases even when real wages are being cut and public services are being decimated.

This special class of people live outside the universe of mere mortals.

When we are told there is not enough money anymore for things like decent health services this special class of people see their wealth increase.

When new technologies come to market this special class of people get all the praise, when the economy booms we are riding on the wave of their genius. But when productivity decreases we are told workers are lazy, when the economy is in depression we are told workers have too much.

When real wages increase we are told that it is the genius of this special class that we should thank, when real wages go down we are still told that this special class are cheapening commodity prices.

In a world of 6 billion we are told this small handful of people should get all the credit for every last drop of success and bear zero responsibility when things go wrong.

Even when this special class includes people who went bust 7 or 8 times before they finally hit upon something that worked, or includes people born with silver spoons in their mouth or includes people who simply took over daddy's business or includes peole simply in the right place at the right time we are told to view this special class as one thing, the thing that means the difference between having something to eat and starving.

And if you don't believe that people have swallowed this sycophancy hook line and sinker I say, look at the world, just look at the world!


This is probably quite similar to "acceptable to the Westminster bubble", but the meaning I ascribe to "credible" is "something people would vote for". As in, people didn't vote for Ed Miliband because they didn't see him as an economically credible candidate.

Dave Timoney

@SIOB, you're right that "people believe themselves incapable of making decisions", because that is what the ideology tells them. This is reinforced through the institutional obscurity of the financial system, the arcana of professional economics (excessive maths, a delight in paradox), and even pop-pyschology (from behavioural economics to CBT). Even Chris does his bit, over-emphasising the explanatory power of cognitive biases. People are taught not to tust themselves.

One of the central paradoxes of neoliberalism is that its emphasis on personal freedom and empowerment sits alongside an insistence that no individual (any more than a group) can better the information-management and decision-making of the market. In other words, we are urged to accept our innate incompetence and put our trust in the market as a higher power. This is why pollsters ask "who do you trust with the economy?", rather than "who would be most technically competent in managing it?". The implication is that Tories are less likely to go against the market, are therefore more in tune with its mysterious ways, and thus should be considered as more appropriate high-priests.

However, it does not follow that people thereby conclude "that there is a need for a class of people to rule over us". Some voters are certainly prey to deference, but that became a minor tendency as far back as the 1960s. It's equally plausible to conclude that this ambivalence - i.e. the conflict between a desire to take control of one's own destiny (as neoliberalism uges) and a fear that one may be incapable of doing so (because of the judgement of the market) - gives rise to resentment. The contempt directed at the bubble would seem to support that.

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