After 35 years of mass unemployment:
an advice to boycott Holland

 

Thomas Colignatus

http://thomascool.eu

Thomas Cool Consultancy & Econometrics

May 1 2004

 

 

Contents

 Introduction

*

The realism of my advice

*

George W. Bush and Iraq and the American economy

*

More on Paul Krugman

*

The Dutch tragedy of the murder of Pim Fortuyn in 2002

*

On the European Enlargement

*

Vote NO on the current proposals for a European Constitution

*

A humble note on my own position

*

Conclusion and summary

*

Appendix A: After 20 years of mass unemployment: Why we might wish for a parliamentary inquiry

*

Abstract

*

Summary

*

Appendix B: Curriculum Vitae or Resume

*

References

*

 

 

Introduction

 

This May 1 2004, the European Union enlarges with the new member states of Central Europe. This is a joyous occasion to celebrate, and it is also an occasion to look back at the past and ahead to the future to see what lessons can be learned.

One of the important issues to consider is unemployment. Unemployment is a horrible economic disease since it threatens the very existence of the unemployed person and his or her family, and it increases the stress in society as a whole. France and Germany still have unemployment levels of almost 10% of the working force, the new member states wish they were so lucky. It is not obvious that the Enlargement will generate the creative energy to resolve the problem, and some people fear that there will only be additional problems. Hence at the occasion of the Enlargement it is proper to try to determine what can be done.

In 1989-1990, I wrote Colignatus (1990a), "After 20 years of mass unemployment: Why we might wish for a parliamentary inquiry" as an internal note of the Dutch Central Planning Bureau (CPB). The summary is reproduced in Appendix A below and the full text can be found at my website. We are now 15 years further and this explains the first part of the title of this paper: "After 35 years of mass unemployment".

What remains to discuss is how we arrive from a wish for a parliamentary enquiry to an advice to boycott Holland. The point is that the 1990 paper contains the solution for unemployment, but met with censorship by the CPB directorate, and Dutch society has not been able to resolve that censorship yet. I have grown convinced that an outside influence will be of use, and in fact that only a boycott of Holland can help out. Hence, my advice to the rest of the world is to boycott Holland till the Dutch people resolve the censorship of science by the directorate of the Dutch Central Planning Bureau. The remainder of this paper is devoted to development of that argument.

It is useful to explain the following about the Dutch Central Planning Bureau. The CPB has a similar role in Holland as the Council of Economic Advisors to the President in the USA in the co-ordination of economic policy making. The CPB is a world renowned institute. When it was founded shortly after World War II, the first director was Jan Tinbergen who later received the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in econometrics. Other economists at CPB of historical fame are for example Theil, Koyck, Verdoorn, De Wolff (who is less known but for example coined the terms "macro-economics" and "micro-economics"). The CPB director who originally censored my analysis and who fired me with an abuse of science is Gerrit Zalm, now better known in European politics as the Dutch Minister of Finance. The current CPB director is Henk Don, who has internationally a high personal and professional respect, which I agree with except for the censorship. It must be noted that Henk was vice-director at the time when the original censorship took place, was not directly involved and does not know some details, but nevertheless firmly supports the censorship and abuse of science.

The key points of the censorship are as follows. The paper was blocked from internal discussion by the CPB directorate and eventually I was fired in 1991. The court observed an abuse of power but nevertheless allowed the dismissal, given the weak legal protection for Dutch public employees, while the court also did not properly distinguish between my position as an economic scientist and the other position of non-scientific public employees. Apart from the treatment of my person, the publication process itself was this: I intended the paper for publication as a CPB Research Memorandum ‘under the responsibility of the author’. The possibility of an internal discussion with interested colleagues seemed to me a necessary step before I could finalise the paper. The analysis is sound, but there can be questions and comments that contibute to enhanced clarity. This possibility however was blocked by the directorate. A committee on good scientific conduct, consisting of professor Köbben (Leiden) and professor Segers (Tilburg), observed that the directorate would have done better in permitting that internal discussion. My position is that I wait till that discussion is permitted indeed, so that I can finalise the analysis and let it be published as intended.

Many economists react that I could also publish the paper in an international journal. This however is both beside the point, while it also meets with practical problems.

I have tried various other ways to resolve the issue of censorship of science by the CPB directorate. For example, I published Colignatus (2000), "Definition & Reality in the General Theory of Political Economy" (DRGTPE). This is listed in the Journal of Economic Literature JEL 2000-1325, vol. 38, no. 4, December 2000. But I see no effect. (Currently there are problems of bankruptcy of Gopher Publishers, and I am looking for a new outlet).

I have also hoped that other economists would find the same results that I have, so that the issues could be resolved in that manner. But no.

A key example is The Economic Journal, Volume 114, no 494, March 2004. There is the presidential address by professor Stephen Nickell of the Bank of England and the London School of Economics, and there is a special session on the UK minimum wage, with five papers by renowned authors. All these authors have my highest respect and their work is crucial for understanding the situation. But solution to unemployment isn’t there yet, while it is available for discussion.
I fully agree with professor Nickell and I thank him for his observation:
"Relative poverty in the UK has risen massively since 1979 mainly because of increasing worklessnes, rising earnings dispersion and benefits indexed to prices, not wages. So poverty is now at a very high level."
Professor Nickell suggests "reducing the long tail in the skill distribution", but in my analysis we should also consider the tax void and the dynamic marginal tax rates, so that more low-skilled people can start working, also because of ‘learning on the job’.

Since all these other ways have had little effect, I can usefully advise to boycott Holland to speed up matters.

Thus the line of reasoning is that if you want to resolve mass unemployment then you need the theory that is blocked from internal discussion by the directorate of the Dutch CPB. Since other ways fail, a boycott of Holland can be a good way to resolve the issue.

This thus is not an appeal, or so. I am not an activist, but a scientist. It is only sound advice for the citizen who wants mass unemployment resolved. This advice derives from the integrity of economic science. This advice is also stock and barrel of economics itself and can be included in every economic textbook.

If you don’t know where to start boycottting, it is not just tulips and Gouda cheese and the Van Gogh museum, but also think of Shell, Unilever, KLM, ING, ABN AMRO, Numico, Philips, Elsevier. Instead of Amsterdam, visit Antwerp. Many international companies also have a local branch in Holland or even have an official seat in the Netherlands because of tax purposes, and I would advice their inclusion. Be creative: locate the Dutch element, and boycott it. (They are everywhere, so look carefully.) (And I suppose it already had been wise not to get involved with Rebecca Loos.)

Of course, the Dutch need to eat, and I as well. I already have cut back on my Heineken at lunch, but that is tough since the cafetaria doesn’t sell alternatives yet. Hence the advice of the boycott is for the rest of the world, please do not boycott me and my publisher and internet provider, and my advice to the Dutch is to start thinking about that parliamentary enquiry.

The following discusses a number of angles of which the relevance will become clear in the discussion.

 

The realism of my advice

 

Some people wonder whether I have gone nuts in advising to boycott Holland, the country where I live myself. Well, the logic above is clear, and it is only an advice, so I presume that the concern about my nutsiness is about the realism of my advice. I don’t know much about that. Events often start with ideas, and it can be useful to air an idea to see whether it develops.

International contacts are a problem. Paul Krugman (2003), "The great unraveling", rightly criticizes ‘anti-globalism’, see Krugman’s chapter "Global Schmobal" and the injustice done to James Tobin and his "Tobin tax".

But there are now some who speak about ‘other-globalism’. I contacted some people in Amsterdam in that movement about my suggestion of the boycott. Last year, I and journalist Hans Hulst published a booklet, Colignatus & Hulst (2003). (The title translates as "The voter unchained".) They hadn’t heard of the book yet, but were willing to read it. After reading it, they responded, in fact a few days ago:

"I judge the most interesting aspect of your book the way how you approach the problem of unemployment and your conflict on that with the CPB. And indeed, the way how the CPB has dealt with your critique and your alternative is unacceptable."

("Ik vind het meest interessante van uw boek de wijze waarop u de werkloosheidsproblematiek benadert en uw conflict daarover met het CPB. En inderdaad, de wijze waarop het CPB is omgegaan met uw kritiek en uw alternatief is onaanvaardbaar.")

(PM. I always distinguish between ‘the CPB’ and ‘the directorate of the CPB’. The issues have not been discussed with my colleagues since the directorate blocked that discussion.)

It is up to discussion now how to proceed and we will see whether the Amsterdam people are willing to advise the rest of the world to boycott Amsterdam for a while.

Let me emphasize that I abhor the earlier violence of the anti-globalists, originally at Seattle. If anything like this violence or condoning happens, I will have nothing to do with it and I will report these people to the police. Note that there is a strange mixture in the anti-globalists that they sometimes say that they reject violence, but at the same time actually seem to accept it (from others) since it draws the attention of the media. This is muddled, immoral, and uncreative since there are also fun ways to draw the attention of the media.

What I greatly enjoyed, by happenstance in one of yesterday’s newspapers, was an interview with José Saramago, on his new book "Ensaio sobre a lucidez" (interview by journalist Cees Zoon, Volkskrant April 30 2004). That is the way to go, and it is the same way as Bob Dylan spoke of "The world gone sour" and this recent pop song "Where is the love?".

 

George W. Bush and Iraq and the American economy

 

For my American friends, let me discuss George W. Bush and Iraq and the American economy.

I was a foreign exchange student in Burbank, California, in the Youth for Understanding exchange programme, 1972-73. This has created strong ties. Last year when I visited my American Mom, and when we visited friends in San Clemente, we passed that military training field there and we felt sympathy for the marines training there. My Mom also had her anxieties for her neighbour who has been sent out for the US Navy; luckily he has returned safely.

It may be clear that the free world needs a strong defence, and that the US has a special responsibility and hence vulnerability here, and that the US must count on the world’s understanding for its difficult position. It may also be clear, though for some people less so, that the war in Iraq is a huge mistake and policy lie. I do not have to extend on this since the case has been put forward by others more eloquently. Personally, I still allow for the fact (since who are we to know ?) that US intelligence has spotted some WMD by now but is slow in making this public. This does not change the major conclusions on transparancy and due process.

What is relevant for the current discussion is the common factor of the policy lie.

Advised reading then is Paul Krugman (2003), "The great unraveling". I chanced upon this book only recently, and it is a pleasure to read many of my own thoughts in his much more eloquent words. It is also good to observe Paul’s development. Earlier, he uttered "sheer intellectual outrage" when he noted that his own theory was politically abused. Now he exposes the system behind it.

Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Samuelson advises the general public to read this:

"Paul Krugman’s is a lone voice, telling things as they are and debunking Washington policies that are neither compassionate nor conservative. Plutocratic democracy is in the saddle. Rx. Krugman twice a week. Buy. Read. Ponder. Benefit."

I fully support this.

When the censorship at CPB is resolved, it will be clearer how the policy lies can be averted. Hence, boycott Holland. (And Mom, drop your Dutch stock holdings.)

PM. Relevant texts from my website are:

(1) "Understanding 9-11 and its aftermath", November 11 2001, at http://thomascool.eu/Papers/WarAndPeace/Understanding911.html

It may be recalled that at CPB in 1989-1990, I was removed from the team that eventually published the long term projection 1990-2015, Central Planning Bureau (1992a), "Scanning the future" and (1992b), "Nederland in drievoud". Relevant here is the Global Crisis scenario where it is assumed that some particular events throw the world economy into shambles. My text "Understanding 9-11 and its aftermath" has been written with that in mind.

(2) "Economics and War & Peace" (general entry to other texts), at http://thomascool.eu/Papers/WarAndPeace/index.html

PM. This paper is neither the place to extend on my views on the failing peace process in particular. But it occupies people, so two remarks can help. (1) People have done suggestions that are neglected at our peril: translate ‘Allah’ as ‘God’, and don’t say ‘moslim terrorists’ but simply ‘criminals’. America isn’t in a ‘war on terrorism’ but is ‘trying in joint co-operation with the international community to arrest terrorizing criminals’. Stuff like that. Clean language really helps to focus on what you really want. (2) It is crucial that the EU is present in the US. Not by propaganda or whatever, but by simply being there. The EU should establish a HBO channel in the US to show the diversity of the EU by selections of what is broadcasted in the EU. The current American media situation has shown too unbalanced, and the world cannot afford that.

 

More on Paul Krugman

 

Krugman still is ignorant about my "Definition & Reality in the General Theory of Political Economy" (DRGTPE):

  1. the need for constitutional reform on the Economic Supreme Court,
  2. reform of the tax system and the return to full employment and growth.

The gap between me and Krugman is getting smaller though:

  1. Krugman abhors the current polical role of the CEA. Perhaps he sees the need for constitutional change towards an Economic Supreme Court.
  2. Krugman has a life-long aversion of taxation theory. But this is where the solution for unemployment can be found (otherwise he might have seen it already). Krugman advances the conclusion that income inequality furthered extreme right-wing conservatism. This provides fertile ground for my analysis on the tax void and the dynamic marginal tax rates.

I think that it is advisable that Krugman reads my work. Of course he is entirely free not to do so. We can even understand that since he hates tax theory so much. He is likelier to do so however when Holland is boycottted and when the circus draws his attention. Hence, boycott Holland. If Paul starts reading my work, he best starts with DRGTPE.

PM. Relevant texts from my website are:

(1) "Unemployment solved: An answer to Krugman, Phelps, Ormerod and Heilbroner", (ewp-get/9704002) at http://econwpa.wustl.edu/eprints/get/papers/9704/9704002.abs or http://thomascool.eu/Papers/KrugmanEtc/KrugmanEtc.html (though see also the improved text in DRGTPE).

 

The Dutch tragedy of the murder of Pim Fortuyn in 2002

 

In 2002, now already two years ago, Holland saw the political rise and murder of prof. dr. W.S.P. (Pim) Fortuyn. He had been a professor of Erasmus university and had been a long time critic of developments in Dutch society. He had been lecturing around the country, his lectures enjoyed some popularity, and he was well aware of the worries that were however neglected in official policy making by prime ministers Ruud Lubbers and Wim Kok. The events of 9-11 showed Fortuyn partly right, and this caused the mood swing that so surprised both foreign observers and the Dutch policy making elite itself. Holland, that always was so calm and tolerant, suddenly became the scene of turmoil, alleged racism, political murder, and a landslide change of the political landscape. After the murder of Fortuyn, his party got 17% of the vote, which is not much in international comparison, but it came from nil, and it had a huge impact on the median voter position.

(Saramago’s new book speaks about a town where 83% of the population decides, silently and without any voiced protests, to vote a blank. The number 83% is a masterly stroke since it sounds much more realistic than 80% or 75% or 51%. But, is there any link with Fortuyn’s 17% result or is it just coincidence ?)

Fortuyn has been systematically misreported, both in Holland and abroad. The best proper description of him is that he was a libertine – different from both a liberal and a libertarian. He valued personal liberty much more than a liberal, but still saw the need for a social framework where a libertarian does not. It comes to mind that Fortuyn followed Voltaire’s views here.

It is useful to clarify the distinctions. The best example still seems to be Fortuyn’s own homosexuality in relation to the new immigration into Holland. In Fortuyn’s view, people are free to denounce homosexuality as worse than being a pig. Some people indeed have this opinion, both some native Dutch and some of the new immigrants. Fortuyn valued the freedom of expresssion so that there could be scope to start a dialogue. If thoughts would be repressed, then this would cause them to go underground, and they might pop up in unpleasant ways. (Indeed, homosexuals might have better knowledge of repressed homosexuals who have difficulty dealing with the repression.) By consequence, Fortuyn himself should be free to comment on the outdated cultural conventions and the unnecessary unkindness to pigs if not people themselves.

What happened in this debate is that many commentators, particularly in Holland that still is sensitive to the discrimination of the Jews and the Shoa in World War II, feared that Fortuyn discriminated against moslims. This focus did injustice to Fortuyn’s position, for he did not target moslims, and he intended no discrimination but defended their freedom of speech. By misrepresenting Fortuyn in this way, attention also shifted away from his other proposals on government, the economy and for example also the public health system. All this caused a shallowness of the debate that fed on itself. Fortuyn protested that he was being demonised, and appealed to prime minister Wim Kok to protect him.

What is important to note, is that Dutch key politicians joined the demonisation, including Wim Kok whom he asked for help. Fortuyn was no racist and no fascist, the Dutch key politicians knew this, but they still issued statements that implied that he would be racist and fascist. It is important to realise that Fortuyn’s true ideas were known, for example from books that he had written over the course of years, and Dutch key politicians have the support of staff to research material. Their idea might have been that it was an election campaign, and that election campaigns are ‘dirty’. My idea however is that these Dutch key politicians crossed a line, and exposed themselves as liars. Even when Fortuyn protested that he was being demonised, they did not stop, and in that manner they contributed to the climate in which the gunman saw himself called into action. (Noteworthy, that gunman says that he did it to protect society, but he is an environmental activist and considers pigs to be members of society.)

Let us consider the evidence. The demonisation of Fortuyn consisted of the following:

  1. bad listening and wrong citation,
  2. the grapevine,
  3. suggestion and explicit false accusation,
  4. in words and behaviour,
  5. with mass demonstrations and pies in his face (mixed with vomit and excrements).

Let me quote the Dutch key politicians. My references are the Dutch sources AD Tijdsdocument (2002) and Volkskrant (2002), and I give my own translation with the original Dutch texts included.

Paul Rosenmöller (leading candidate of the green left, GL) calls him "not just right-wing, but extreme right-wing" (which implies fascism) ("niet gewoon rechts, maar extreem rechts").

Thom de Graaf (leading candidate of the liberal democrats, D66) refers to Anne Frank’s "Achterhuis".

Ad Melkert (leading candidate of the social democrats PvdA): "He crosses a line that you are not allowed to cross. Holland, wake up !" Later he adds: "You wake up, and you see Le Pen. You wake up, and you see Fortuyn." ("Hij gaat een grens over die je niet mag passeren. Nederland, word wakker !" and "Je wordt wakker, en je ziet Le Pen. Je wordt wakker en je ziet Fortuyn.")

Gerrit Zalm (leading candidate for the conservative liberals VVD) : "a dangerous man" ("een gevaarlijk man").

VVD chairman Eenhoorn: "the Mussolini type of leader" ("het leiderstype-Mussolini").

Marcel van Dam (influential columnist, both on national TV and in a widely read newspaper, also PvdA): "lower than a low-life" ("buitengewoon minderwaardig mens").

Wim Kok (PvdA): "sowing of hate and discord" ("haat en tweedracht te zaaien").

Evaluating the situation and these statements, the Dutch politicologist Cas Mudde concludes, see AD Tijdsdocument (2002:82):

"(...) can be documented that Fortuyn was demonised by politicians like Melkert, Rosenmöller and Zalm." ("(...) kan worden gedocumenteerd dat Fortuyn door politici als Melkert, Rosenmöller en Zalm werd gedemoniseerd.")

Nobody denies that Kok et al. were right to be worried about developments in Dutch society after 9-11 and the Dutch elections of 2002. Nobody denies their special reponsibility in terms of leadership. In their own view, they might well have been right in opposing Fortuyn. (I didn’t vote for his party either.) But they should not have corrupted the information.

(In the same way, Tony Blair had his responsibility of leadership towards Iraq. Where Blair saw danger, he was right to warn for it and take some action. But Blair said "there are WMD" while he should have said "I wholeheartedly believe that there are or will be WMD, even though the current evidence shows there aren’t and will not likely be there in the future as well".)

Kok, Melkert and Rosenmöller have left politics. Kok is now at the bank ING, and Zalm helped appoint Melkert to the position of Dutch representative at the Worldbank.

Have Dutch society and Dutch politics recovered from the Fortuyn ordeal by now ?

It must be observed that there were no other politicians who stood up to defend Fortuyn where he was obviously being demonised. It is basically this group that now has taken over command. Thus, the current Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende kept silent. It later turned out that he had a deal with Fortuyn not to attack each other, since they both wanted to replace the sitting coalition. But neither did he defend Fortuyn against the slander. The current leader of the social democrats, Wouter Bos, also gave his silent support to the lies by Melkert, though he now admits that some mistakes have been made, though he apparently still supports Kok and Melkert and apparently does not mind that they have tried to fool the public, and it has already been discussed in Dutch newspapers that Melkert might be a candidate to become a European Commissionar.

Some political commentators observe that the current Dutch government is slowly executing Fortuyn’s agenda. It is hard to judge this, since that agenda was also fuzzy and inconsistent at points. While immigration was not Fortuyn’s main point, Holland now seems to get the toughest immigration laws in Europe. The rest of the world is amazed over the events in Holland, that had such a fine reputation of liberty and tolerance and openness of mind, and that now uncritically follows Bush and Blair on Iraq, and talks about dress codes, the banning of books (even of medieval writers), the return of the death penalty, the closing of "coffee shops" (properly called hasheesh or mariyuana shops, but I am not familiar with that subject, I hope I write the words correctly, though I think that there indeed is a problem here). It may also be noted that some people are still demonising Fortuyn. And I would suggest that my analysis on unemployment is very important for the discussion on immigration and integration. Anyway, the real thing that the world should be amazed over is not so much the closing of the Dutch mind, but how it came about that this is mind is closing.

Thus, Holland still needs to focus on the real questions. If you agree, boycott Holland.

(PM. There is one thing about Fortuyn that needs retelling. After his murder, his party commissioned a statue. In proud demonstration, this statue was transported to its destination in an open truck while standing up. The driver however misjudged a tunnel, and in full speed the head was decapitated. There he was, his person and ambition murdered and his memory turned hilarious...)

(PM. That this story is hilarious means that we basically respect Fortuyn as a good man. Otherwise it would be ridiculous. That the story is worth retelling, will contribute to his memory.)

 

On the European Enlargement

 

It is good to see the attention that the European Enlargement gets in the media these days.

Of special note is Timothy Garton Ash’s article that May 1 2004 is the beginning of a new century. (Dutch translation in NRC Handelsblad, April 29). This article strikes the proper balance between realism and the idea that we should have a big party. Ash’s jokes from the Sovjet period are a nice touch. Question: "Rebbe, is it possible to create socialism in one country ?" (Itself a theory laden question, since in Marx’s original theory socialism required internationalism, while it was the ‘great theorist’ Lenin who dropped that, creating ‘Marxist-Leninism’.) Answer: "Yes it is, but then you must go live in another country." Question: "Are the Soviets our friends or our brothers ?" Answer: "Our brothers – you can choose your friends."

The Books Supplement of NRC Handelsblad of May 1 2004 appropriately also discusses John Gillingham "European integration, 1950-2003", Christopher Booker and Richard North "The Great Deception", and Jacques Delors "Mémoires" (apparently French).

Interesting, and only available for Dutch people now, is Renée Postma (2004), the reporter of NRC Handelsblad for Central Europe. What strikes me from her account is the robber baron period after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the hurt that still exists. The reader is quickly confronted with suicides from persons who were brought in hopeless conditions. I am very moved by this, for my 1990 paper that was blocked from discussion by the directorate of CPB was intended precisely to prevent all this.

Dutch readers can benefit from Postma’s account. On page 113 she shows that the Dutch prime minister Wim Kok did not know what he was talking about when he promised Poland that Holland would employ 40,000 Polish nurses.

Job flows in the enlarged EU are a hot topic, but there are a lot of confused arguments like this. The best approach is that each economy targets full employment, so that only those people migrate who freely opt for it. Problems in the labour market can be solved in Holland too, so migration is second best and hides the real problems. Poland also needs lots of nurses. Foreign training of course is useful and so on, but if economic conditions force people to move permanently, then something seems to be wrong with the economy. John Kenneth Galbraith (1979), in his booklet on poverty, has forcefully shown that migration has historically been one of the best ways to fight poverty, but those historical circumstances were different. In the present situation, investments in Central Europe are the key approach, and that means that people are needed in Central Europe.

A key passage in Postma’s book is: "In Central Europe there is a romantic vision about the Dutch citizen. He would be the example of a successful relationship between government and individual, a rational being who decides on the base of both self-interest and the common interest and thus finds the social optimum. According to the Hungarian writer Pétér Nádas the Dutch have understood the importance of compromise. Only by co-operation at all levels it is possible to keep a dry polder." (p105).

Postma confronts this view with the events around prof. dr. W.S.P. Fortuyn. I can usefully confront it with the ideas in this present paper. Holland has 16 million inhabitants and may be regarded as a relatively small country. In a specialised professional field, everyone tends to know everyone else. Social control, biases, prejudices, stigma, and so on, can occur. As a Dutchman, I presume that Dutch society is admirable in many respects, but we also have a huge resource of natural gas, and perhaps we are also a bit spoiled.

What transpires from these discussions is that the EU has a quite some challenges ahead. It is also obvious that my analysis is not mentioned while it is the best way to meet those challenges. Hence boycott Holland.

 

Vote NO on the current proposals for a European Constitution

 

My advice is to vote NO on the current proposals for a European Constitution.

The reason is that these proposals are scientifically unsound. For example, they lack an Economic Supreme Court, and they do not satisfy the conditions explained in Colignatus (2001) "Voting Theory for Democracy" (VTFD).

Obviously, a vote is a political statement, and not something what science can determine. If people want a sloppy constitution, they are entirely free to do so. Science can only contribute to consistency between what is claimed for that constitution and what will be its true effect. Given the claims, vote NO.

My analysis on social welfare and voting is part of the censorship by the directorate of the CPB. Hence boycott Holland.

PM. Relevant texts from my website are:

  1. http://thomascool.eu/Papers/VTFD/Index.html

 

A humble note on my own position

 

I already expressed the hope that you would not boycott me, my publisher and my internet provider. These are my lines of communication with the world.

I have wondered whether I should also beg for such leniency for my family, friends and colleagues at work. This would turn into quite a logistical operation. Appendix B contains my CV or resume, and where I turn 50 this year, there is quite a trail. Also, where I already told that I contacted some ‘other-globalists’ in Amsterdam, the question came up whether they would be willing to ask their foreign friends to boycott Amsterdam for the duration of this project. Perhaps they should be absolved from harming themselves as well. Perhaps we can make a sticker or label "Don’t boycott me because I boycott Holland" and sell this, with the proceeds to the tropical rain forests (that also suffer from the censorship by the directorate of the CPB).

All this is rather complex and one can imagine that people ask why I don’t simply emigrate. But I hope that you agree that the censorship by the CPB directorate shouldn’t force me to depart from my loved ones.

It is decidedly simplest to boycott all Dutch. My loved ones might suffer, but the rational gamble is that the boards of Shell, Unilever, KLM, ING, ABN AMRO, Numico, Philips, Elsevier and so on, and also the mayors of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Leiden, Delft, Maastricht, and even the rather sleepy mayor of Groningen wake up before that, and send out their envoys to Parliament to do something about this rather weird situation.

Yes, I have really tried everything else possible. My efforts have been listed in the Dutch book Colignatus & Hulst (2003), but a selection for an international audience is:

The censorship of science now takes almost 15 years. This year I turn 50, and that is a good moment to take stock. Institutions are stronger than people, what resources remain ? I see no other prospects. So, alas, I must advise you to boycott Holland.

 

Conclusion and summary

 

Jan Tinbergen helped creating the Dutch Central Planning Bureau after 1945 and Dutch society has benefitted enormously up to this very day in 2004. The Dutch situation has also been an example to the world. But there is a down side when the CPB adopts a wrong theory and when policy becomes misguided. Economic theory is created by people, the behaviour of people can also be described by Public Choice theory, and good theory need not get properly adopted. Dutch society suffers huge problems, which problems do not exist just by themselves, but they can also be judged from the angle of the failure of co-ordination. It can be established as a fact that the directorate of the CPB has been censoring economic science for almost 15 years now, so that society is in a suboptimal state. The mechanisms in Dutch society apparently are too weak to solve this issue. The stress in Dutch society even causes the breakdown of the mechanisms that might work otherwise. That stress in Dutch society is highlighted by political landslides and political murder so unexpected of this country. With 9-11 there is the new terrorism that increases the stress in Dutch society. The censored theory originally provided a solution to Stagflation, but it can also help to resolve the social and economic problems following 9-11. The censored theory would be relevant for other nations as well. For theoretical and practical reasons the censorship must be resolved at CPB itself. Given the weak mechanisms in Dutch society to protect the integrity of science in the preparation of policy, it becomes rational to advise an international boycott of Holland. Economic sticks and carrots are strong incentives to motivate people to stop and think. An international boycott of Holland would likely induce the Dutch to restore the integrity at CPB as intended by Tinbergen.

 

Appendix A: After 20 years of mass unemployment:
Why we might wish for a parliamentary inquiry

(Abstract and summary only)

http://thomascool.eu/Thomas/Nederlands/TPnCPB/Record/1990/12/18/index.html

 

Thomas Colignatus * December 18 1990

CPB internal note 90-III-38

 

Abstract

A synthesis of economic theory is presented, the solution to unemployment is restated, the intellectual need for a parliamentary inquiry is established, and as an example to such inquiry the performance of the Centraal Planbureau is evaluated.

 

Summary

In Holland, mass unemployment persists already for about twenty years, and will continue to do so for many years to come. Economists agree on the obvious solution, the reduction of labour costs. But for some reasons our decision making process doesn’t generate that decision. Policy measures that are taken, actually are troublesome, like the creation of a Centraal Bureau voor de Arbeidsvoorziening (CBA), or the recent ‘temporary and red tape’ ten percent subsidy on minimum wages (WLOM). The policymaking situation is analyzed in a more formal manner, to allow for more abstract reasoning. This requires a social welfare function, an income redistribution function, and a production function (for the unemployed cq. subsidized workers). In fact, we might attain the goals of high growth, price stability, full employment and a just income distribution, by means of monetary, fiscal and subsidy instruments. The conclusion however is that the present policy sclerosis derives from insufficient interest in and information about the form and location of those mentioned functions, and lack of interest In optimization itself; and this again may be caused by institutional weak spots. A review of the issue and of the policymaking process could be beneficial and actually logically needed. Among others, this would include a review of the Centraal Planbureau (CPB), that has not properly endogenised government behaviour in its models, projections and analyses. It is suggested that such review would be a task for parliament; and the logic for a so-called parlementaire enquete is compelling. Clarity on the issues is essential too for the European debate and our advice to the Eastern European countries.

 

*) The author is an econometrician at a government agency that has some involvement with the economic policy making process; the article expresses his own views only. This paper is adapted from a presentation at a parallel session at the conference in honour of prof. W. Albeda "The future of industrial relations in Europe" June 7-8 1990, Maastricht, The Netherlands

 

Appendix B: Curriculum Vitae or Resume

May 2004

 

Name Cool, Thomas (preferred science name Thomas Colignatus)

Address Rotterdamsestraat 69, NL-2586 GH Scheveningen, The Netherlands
http://thomascool.eu, cool@dataweb.nl

Business add. Dept. of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam

P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Professional Positions

2002-present Researcher at Erasmus University, now merged into Erasmus MC, on the cost-effectiveness of screening programmes for the prevention of cancer

1997-2001 Teaching position in mathematics and operations management at the International School of Economics Rotterdam (ISER) and Hogeschool voor Economische Studies (HES). Independent consultancy (Mathematica).

1995-1997 Adviser on quality of life and freight transport, Transport Research Center, Ministry of Transport (AVV, V&W). Among other, manager and editor of The Netherlands Freight Projections 1997-2002

1994-1995 Not affiliated. Publications, workshops, software development, thesis

1993 Independent consultant at the Anti-Fraud Unit (UCLAF) at the Secretariat General of the European Commission in Brussels

1992-1993 Senior researcher at the Government Dept. of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment - DG of Government Buildings Agency.
The projects concerned policy indicators and long run policy issues

1982-1991 Researcher at the Central Planning Bureau. First as specialist for the paper, printing and publishing indrustries; later as multisector analyst for the national economy. Participated in projects like Europe 1992, the multisectoral model Athena, the National Environment Plan, and a survey of economic prospects for 1990-2015

Other Positions

Memberships Professional organisations KVS, NVMC, ESR, EEA, RES, EAEPE, IHE

Present positions Candidate for President of the European Union. Chairman Sociaal Liberaal Forum (SLF). Secretary of the Samuel van Houten Genootschap (SvHG).

Past positions Groningen Econometrics Institute council and board. University Newspaper board. Board of a local section of a political party. Chairman of a local section of a computer club. Chairman SLF

Other Professional Data

Bibliography Six books, congress contributions, institutional reports, newspaper articles

Computers Proficient in Fortran, Pascal, TSP, Excel, Word for Windows, Mathematica, and computers and operating systems in general

Languages Dutch, English, German, and some French, Spanish, Italian

Professional Education

Degree Master of econometrics, Groningen University 1982
Program: mathematics, mathematical statistics, general economics, business economics, operations research, international economics, public finance, econometric methods, mathematical economics, mathematical logic, philosophy of science, graduation paper on lags in multisectoral models

Planned degree Working on a thesis on economic systems, employment and inflation

Personal

Birth August 5 1954, Jakarta, Indonesia
School Gymnasium Beta, including Spanish, 1966-72
Foreign exchange program, Burbank Highschool, California 1972-73
Hobbies Computers, writing, singing, gastronomy

 

 

References

 

AD Tijdsdocument (2002), "Fortuyn. De opkomst, de moord, de nasleep", Het Spectrum

Colignatus, Th. (1990a), "After 20 years of mass unemployment: Why we might wish for a parliamentary inquiry", CPB internal note 90-III-38, see http://thomascool.eu/Thomas/Nederlands/TPnCPB/Record/1990/12/18/index.html

Colignatus, Th. (2000), "Definition & Reality in the General Theory of Political Economy", First Edition, March & June 2000, ISBN 90-802263-2-7, http://thomascool.eu/Papers/Drgtpe/Index.html

Colignatus, Th. (2001), "Voting Theory for Democracy" , First Edition, January/February 2001, ISBN 90-804774-3-5, http://thomascool.eu/Papers/VTFD/Index.html

Colignatus, Thomas and Hans Hulst (2003), "De ontketende kiezer", Rozenberg publishers, http://thomascool.eu

Central Planning Bureau (1992a), "Scanning the future", SDU, The Hague

Central Planning Bureau (1992b), "Nederland in drievoud", SDU, The Hague

Galbraith, J.K., "The nature of mass poverty", Harvard (Dutch: "Armoede", Elsevier 1979)

Krugman, P. (2003), "The great unraveling", Norton

Postma, R. (2004),"Midden-Europa achter de schermen", Prometheus / NRC Handelsblad

The Economic Journal, Volume 114, no 494, March 2004 (various papers)

Volkskrant (2002), "Het fenomeen Fortuyn", Volkskrant