BTW the bridge to nowhere was in a period of corruption.While I use the colorful phrase in question, I use it to stand for all sort of infrastructure builds that aren't very useful (if at all) except maybe for their fleeting demand-side effect. Japan for 20+ years offers the most striking example -- I suspect they may have spent more on useless infrastructure than the rest of the world, without noticeable positive effects (and as a result their public debt as % of GDP dwarves other notorious debtors', like Italy).Of course there have likely been cases of corruption during Japan's huge, prolonged "useless-infrastructure splurge" (as essentially always when lots of public contracts are awarded and public money disbursed), but that was far from the motivation -- which was strictly one of misplaced belief in the magical effect of demand-side stimulus from infrastructure builds, ignoring the meager, non-existent, or negative supply-side of things.There is a clear difference in good policies and bad policies.In hindsight, sure; hindsight is, notoriously, 20/20. When decisions urgently need to be made, esp. in emergencies, not so much. Was letting Lehman fail a good or bad policy? At the time many pundits praised the Treasury and Fed for the courage of wiping out shareholders, management, and creditors, rather than doing a "bail-out". Now the consensus appears to be that it was a tragic mistake. Hindsight...We need long term higher GDP growth based on a rising middle class. That is demand side.Not exclusively. For example, reforming education to improve society's overall productivity is a supply side policy that many believe to be part of the mix (I concur up to a point but without subscribing to the enthusiasts' extremes, as I think they ignore the fact that some of the value of education is as a "positional good" which vanishes if everybody gets equally good education -- which they should anyway, for justice as well as for the social benefits, but won't be the hoped-for panacea).Policy is not the relations of supply and demand charts.Of course not -- it's the attempt to influence demand and/or supply in desired directions. That doesn't make the macro-economic models useless or irrelevant -- while far from perfect, they do come in useful in (to some extent) predicting likely effects of a certain event, phenomenon, or policy.
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