192 definitions by Abu Yahya

a false allegation of murder; the term refers specifically to a recurring rumor from 12th century Europe that Jews were kidnapping Christian children and using their blood for ritual purposes. A famous example of the blood libel is recounted in the "Nun Prioress's Tale" from Chaucer's *Canterbury Tales*. In this and other versions of the story, the events are absurd and feature perverse miracles.


Frequently occurrences of the blood libel were accompanied by a wave of mass murder of Jewish residents of the city. In many cases, the zealots would force the authorities to try random Jews for the alleged crime; these trials were, naturally, travesties.

The last case of a blood libel resulting in murder was the Kielce pogrom of 1946. 200 Jewish survivors of the Final Solution were being transported back to Poland when a boy (who had disappeared for a couple of days) told the police he had been kidnapped by Jews. The police went to a hostel where returning Holocaust survivors were staying, and massacred 37 of them.

Sometimes the phrase "blood libel" is used to refer to similar allegations against primarily non-Jewish groups; for example, many nationalities have been accused of kidnapping children to harvest their organs and sell them to rich patients in the developed world.
Although the details have changed over the last millenium, the blood libel retains core elements of sadistic fantasy, psychological projection, and crass opportunism.
by Abu Yahya February 15, 2009

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*noun*; a school of economic thought prevalent after World War 2; around 1980, Keynesianism was supposedly superseded by monetarism, and then by the rational expectations hypothesis. Theory is named for John M. Keynes (1881-1946), who argued against the then-mainstream view that the economy was "self correcting." Keynes' book introducing his economic theory was The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936).


*Basic Concept*
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The basic concept of Keynesianism is that each economy has a level of aggregate demand, which does not respond to price or income levels in the same way that classical economics says it should. Rising income, for example, *does not* lead to a matching increase in consumption or business investment. Business investment is driven by investment opportunity, not {only] by interest rates. Savings is driven by liquidity preference, not only by interest rates.

Keynes suggested that, for any economy, there was a marginal propensity to consume that was less than one. Hence, if the national income rose by 10%, consumption would rise by something less than 10%. This would lead to some production not being consumed, waste, and unemployment.

*What Keynesianism Says We Should Do*
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In 1936, when Keynes wrote *The General Theory*, most of the world was suffering from the Great Depression. Keynes recommended that the national government stimulation aggregate demand through a policy of deficit stimulus. In other words, the country should create adequate levels of aggregate demand by spending more than it took in as taxes (fiscal policy).

Also, Keynesianism held that aggregate demand could be stimulated *up to a point* by lowering interest rates (monetary policy).

*Application*
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In the USA and other large industrial countries, fiscal and monetary policy has been attempted often. After 1980, the Federal Reserve chair (Paul Volcker) was a monetarist, who claimed to reject Keynesianism. Nobel laureates in economics almost unanimously attacked Keynesianism as outmoded and wrong-headed, but governments continue to use fiscal stimulus and interest rate cuts in response to recessions.
Keynesianism held out the prospect that the state could reconcile the private ownership of the means of production with democratic management of the economy.

Adam Przeworski, *Capitalism and social democracy* (1986)
by Abu Yahya March 03, 2009

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Political movement in the USA that combines numerous conservative or rightwing movements into a surprisingly cohesive whole. The Conservative Movement (CM) successfully established a dominant role in the Republican Party, and nearly all GOP officials are affiliated with it.

Members of the Conservative Movement are known as "movement conservatives."

In the USA, political parties themselves are very weak and nebulous; historically, they are not bound to any particular ideology or constituency. Instead, parties take their ideological guidance from movements, which endorse candidates based on their commitment to the goals of that particular movement. Movements also marshall fundraising and organizing networks, binding candidates to elected officials and to affiliated thinktanks. The CM is distinguished because it captured an entire party, and tied it to an emphatically rightwing ideology.

The three components of the CM are the neoconservatives (neocons), religious right (theocons, "Moral Majority"), and the AEI-affiliated business conservatives (money cons).
More important, conservatives who embraced conspiratorial thinking shared a sufficient set of complaints, assumptions, and common enemies that united them with their more "respectable" cohorts in one movement. They swam in the same ideological waters as the broader conservative movement... and. above all, participated in building one mobilization out of their common grievances against American liberalism.

Lisa McGirr, *Suburban Warriors* (2002)
by Abu Yahya May 29, 2009

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an overwrought public anxiety that evil things are afoot. The term seems to have been coined by Jock Young in 1971.* The most obvious example of an ancient moral panic is the blood libel.

Other famous examples of moral panics include the 1955 Boise scandal, in which three cases of lewd conduct between men and teenaged boys, plus a noxious editorial, triggered a general war against homosexual men. In the early 1930's, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) launched a public relations effort to have federal laws passed banning the use of marijuana; it was driven by a jurisdictional struggle between Harry Anslinger (FBN) and J. Edgar Hoover (FBI). The campaign was a success; it not only achieved the desired legislation, but created a wave of mass hysteria about the "threat" of marijuana.

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* Goode & Ben-Yehuda, *Moral Panics* (1994), p.12.
In the movie *Quadrophenia*, set in Brighton, UK in the late 1960's, a recurring theme was the contemporary moral panic over the clash between Mods and Rockers.
by Abu Yahya February 14, 2009

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A problem faced by a person with specialized expertise in any area, in which the implications of the opinion are unpopular and likely to be rejected by those who need that expertise. For example, economists may be likely to know that, in some cases, a "market solution" is inherently impossible, but proposing an alternative is an exercise not merely in futility, but career suicide among those who employ economists. It arises because the expert knows more about the field than her employers.
The statistician was asked by his boss to make a case for risk homeostasis, but knowing better, he faced an expert's dilemma: telling the truth would get him tarred as a 'socialist.'
by abu yahya June 23, 2008

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(FINANCE) a contractual obligation to buy or sell a fixed amount of a thing at a set price, at a specific time in the future.

Same as a futures contract.
SALES AGENT: I have this awesome product made in the USA I want to sell in Europe. It's cheap now, but what if the euro goes down against the dollar? I could lose a lot of money on inventory.

BROKER: No problem, just buy a future for the amount of US dollars you'll need to pay your suppliers.

SALES AGENT: You mean, a futures contract for dollars?

BROKER: Yes, a euro-pegged future for dollars. When the contract comes due, you pay the euros, they pay you the dollars, and BOOM! You're good to go. No risk.
by Abu Yahya April 04, 2010

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*noun*; a method of representing the economy as the sum of many identical individuals and firms, each represented by a system of mathematical equations. The Rational Expectations Hypothesis (REH) takes its name from the premise that economic actors, i.e., everyone, do not make consistent errors about the present or future behavior of markets.

REH was devised mainly as a rebuke to Keynesian economics, and in particular, the strategy of fiscal policy or monetary policy.

According to the REH, fiscal policy does not alter aggregate demand because the "average" person recognizes that her lifetime income is not increasing--so she needs to save rather than spend the stimulus money, in anticipation of higher taxes in the future.

At the same time, monetary policy does not work because it relies on lowering interest rates to make more money available; more money means inflation, but people have to be deceived into thinking prices for their product are going up, so they will expand production. According to REH, people or firms will figure this out, and see increased demand as mere inflation. Instead of increasing output and employment, they'll want to raise prices so they can meet their future bills.

According to REH, both monetary and fiscal policy rely on illusions to work; and since people (on average) will make rational estimates o the future, they will defeat these illusions.
The rational expectations hypothesis states that we can break the realization of a return into an expected return that depends on the current information set and an unexpected component that depends only on new information.
by Abu Yahya March 03, 2009

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