On third-columnists, deliberate or otherwise

I’m a Keynesian who believes in fiscal expansion in tough times, and I’m a market-favouring leftie who believes in progressive taxation (whilst trying to minimise disincentives to work at all levels).

However, I’m embarrassed by Richard Murphy of TaxResearch.org.uk, and the way in which the press tend to print his daft views as a serious example of Keynesianism economics and left-wing thinking.

He isn’t an economist, he’s a man who knows a great deal about the specifics of UK tax accounting, and has lots of other views that aren’t really based on much sensible – and are only paid any attention to due to the spurious argument-from-authority that his tax accountant background gives him.

It’s the equivalent of someone dealing with the (serious, real) debate on pharmaceutical companies pushing too many overpriced lifestyle drugs based on cherry-picked trials that don’t reflect real clinical benefits over generics or non-pharmaceutical responses, by interviewing a loony quack like Gillian McKeith.

7 thoughts on “On third-columnists, deliberate or otherwise

  1. I agree.

    If you listen to him on the radio or see him on the TV, he comes across as very patronising and self-righteous. I've never seen him smile or laugh.

    The way he responds to commenters on his blog makes him come across as very unpleasant man. Would you have a pint with him? I wouldn't.

    He is a Chartered Accountant from Southampton University. OK, so the ACA qualification is not be sniffed at but it's hardly like he's the only with the letters.

    He has no qualification to pontificate on economics, he has an economics degree but that does not make him an economist. He is just paid by the TUC to give them views they want to hear.

  2. I basically agree – devil's-advocating, though, the fact that he's patronising, self-righteous and unlikeable doesn't make him wrong. The fact that he's wrong does make him wrong, however…

    (and are you sure he's paid by the TUC? The TUC economics blog I read is generally less silly than Richard's outpourings..)

  3. he’s a man who knows a great deal about the specifics of UK tax accounting

    And that's quite important – if you look at his career history, he's concentrated on the OMB/sole trader/SME sector. Fairy nuff, it's a perfectly valid area to work on – however it does mean that he's not had much exposure to how multinational companies operate in practice – with understanding doesn't necessarily come forgiveness, but it does cut down on the howlers and the oversimplifications.

  4. I actually think he's a loony. I've had exchanges with him in which it was hard to credit I was interacting with a sane adult. He has zero capacity for amending his position in light of new information or ever admitting he's got something wrong.

  5. Yes, when him and Worstall get arguing its an irresistible force/immovable object type of thing, except the opposite, if that is possible.

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