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May 12, 2016


Luis Enrique

but doesn't counter-advocacy mean making people less likely to support the position you are trying to advocate? If so Farage might be effective advocate. Or does it mean detracting from what some elite regards as a good argument?


Good article spoliled by the use of the word "undemocratic".

In what way is an institution undemocratic if all laws are supported by ministers either in unanimity or with a super majority? Not to mention the EP


@ Luis Enrique -

I'd define counter-advocacy as advocacy that, while it makes x number of people view what is being advocated more favourably, also makes y number of people view it less favourably, and x < y.

I don't think the elite vs. non-elite angle enters into it at all; an argument popular with elites can simultaneously be popular with non-elites too.

Luis Enrique

Boursin, well right that's my point - Chris said Farage detracts from argument from his p.o.v, did not make case x < y


Right. Although he did say: "For me, this would detract..."

Igor Belanov

"Vote Leave’s unhappiness at their case being represented by Farage is, I think, justified. He is likely to put the case for Brexit as a means towards immigration controls rather than – as at least a few of its advocates hope – as a step towards the UK becoming an open free-trading nation. For me, this would detract from the Brexit argument."

To be fair, I would imagine that the vast majority of potential 'leave' voters hope to somehow gain more control and 'sovereignty' through leaving the EU, not immersing themselves in a global economy that would be more unstable and essentially replace Polish workers with cheaper labour from the wider world.

I think you forget that this is a national referendum rather than a university debating society, and unfortunately many people are impressed by the kind of demagoguery displayed by Farage and Johnson.

Dominic Cummings

I agree with most of this.
One interesting idea comes from Kahneman (someone else originally I think) - people on opposite sides writing a joint paper on the subject of disagreement, to force decisions about what they really disagree about. He did it with Klein (Sources of Power) on expert decisions.
I've thought of suggesting it to Will Straw - maybe I still should.
If you're interested in the issue of institutions you should read physicist Dirk Helbing who is doing some very original work on this.
Another major problem is that the predictions of mainstream economics cannot be taken seriously and its intellectual edifice is shaky at best - at worst, many of its leading advocates will not listen to the physicists who explain why their approach to modelling is flawed. I think the public = rational to ignore a group of people who can barely predict a recession after it has already begun but are very unwilling to acknowledge the problems with their discipline...
Best wishes
Dominic Cummings


Maybe economists should just stop signing group letters as if they have the authority to deliver the verdict on political decisions?


Interesting. I find most of the Lilico stuff you post links to on Europe to be daydreaming stuff, mostly missing that "mechanism" stuff you normally suggest is so important.


What is deeply concerning is the BBC's awful coverage which constantly allows the right winger Boris Bonkers or slippery Gove or the right winger Farage or Thatcherite Lawson full access to prime time News every time an organisation, institution, explains why Brexit is a likely economic shockwave coming soon. No one else no business leader, no Labour or Lib-Dem leader, no Euro-Tory, no leading Economist, no leading importer, no TUC leader, no CBI leader, no leading environmentalist, no human rights lawyer, no pensioner worried about his shrinking shares pension pot or any of the million+ or so Brits in Europe or Brits whose jobs depend on the EU or whose partner is from the EU, No just disproportionate Brexit stuff - distortion because every thing on the EU from any source must be counter balanced by the ex-mayor of London.

Churm Rincewind

@ Leslie48: I'm not sure why you consider the BBC's coverage to be awful on the grounds that from time to time it provides a platform for "Boris Bonkers", and "slippery Gove".

If these two gents are indeed bonkers and slippery, isn't it a good idea to allow voters to make this judgement for themselves?


The problem with Brexit is that no rational debate on the lines of comparing gains and losses is possible. The driver for the Referenda on this issue is right wing xenophobia, racism, Islamaphobia etc And Nationalism. There are many issues I would like a Plebiscite on but we are not allowed one as it would disrupt the consensus in the ruling class. The EU is unique in that it both splits the ruling class and the wider population. But that hardly produces rational debate. The supporters of EU membership for economic reasons also support it for political reasons such as the assumed ability of the EU to stop War or a future superstate on Federal lines. The supporters of the political project are just as guilty as the right of "disingenuousness" as they deny or refuse to justify their belief in the ever closer union. All the purely economic or financial arguments pro or anti are dependent on assumptions that are impossible to verify.

The result will not please either side or end the matter in a satisfactory way. It is part of a chronic upset in the body politic that will grumble on for decades with no one who cares finding satisfaction.


"He is likely to put the case for Brexit as a means towards immigration controls rather than – as at least a few of its advocates hope – as a step towards the UK becoming an open free-trading nation. For me, this would detract from the Brexit argument."

How come?

Maurits Pino

Just read that Osborne argued that Brexit would cause a drop in housing prices in the UK. Perhaps so. But he uses it as an argument to stay in.

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