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04/24/2013

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Clyde

So, where do economists go when they die?

Oliver

@Clyde - Economists don't die, they keep growing and growing. With no limits. Forever. :-)

Dave Cohen

Well, outside of jokes from you two Brits, no one else (including Americans) seems to have anything to say about this post.

Perhaps they have been stunned into silence ;-)

-- Dave

Ben

Economists are dangerous. They misinform politicians to the point that they have no concept of reality, which can have very serious implications for the most vulnerable people in our society — I hope everyone understands what I'm saying here, because I'm becoming emotional (angry) thinking about Washington's anti-human economic policies and it would be best for me to end this comment here.

Jim

There are points where education merges with indoctrination, and economics is a clear case.

I lean towards Chomsky on this, who writes that modern economics is a twisted form of its original roots, bent to serve the interests of just the elite class:
http://www.chomsky.info/books/warfare02.htm

Although certainly many economists claim to be helping "all" people with notions like trickle-down economics.

There was an article a few days ago that I found both funny and incredibly sad:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22223249

The article is horribly written, but the message is plain. The high priests of the global economy have absolutely no clue what to do, because they've been trained for decades under false assumptions. In other words, there is no captain at the wheel - we're just drifting on the tide.

Dave Cohen

@Jim

I read the first few pages of that Chomsky text. He's talking about what Adam Smith actually wrote, as opposed to the mythologization of what he wrote. As Chomsky says, Smith was an Enlightenment figure who would have abhorred what we have in the 21st century.

And that is the point. We have moved well beyond Adam Smith, and economists have assumed the role I described today.

Beyond that, I have little or no use for an old leftist like Chomsky, who also believes that human Progress marches on just as deluded economists do, if only the proper reforms were implemented.

Your second article -- economists are clueless -- is simply another example of the kind of confusion I was talking about today.

That said, I like there to be an indication in comments on DOTE that the commenter has understood what I wrote, even if he does not agree with it.

Of course, if you have truly understood it, you could not help but agree with it ;-)

-- Dave

Ken Barrows

From a book "The Experts Speak:" Economics: Dismal, yes; science, no.

Petros

That Friedman quote must be one of the most anti-scientific approaches I've ever come up against and it just goes to show how most economists prostitute their understanding to their own interest. It is so absurd that it borders superstitious rituals, dressed up in scientific jargon to fool the gullible.

But what can we expect from social "sciences" (more like ideology than science). Shamans masquerading as scientists. How sad that those who chose to heed the charlatans aren't the ones paying for their choices.

And so castles made of sand melts into the sea, eventually

Jim

Ha ha. Yes, but I wanted to write something other than just, "I agree." And I do.

I find Chomsky very instructive on where we've been to where we're at. Chomsky is an old-school leftist in that his ideas seem to indicate a form of democratic socialism could chart a brighter future, though. I think that might buy us some time, but that's it, and besides that we're already too far down the rabbit hole.

Diogenes

Hi Dave

Fascinated - and pleased - by your opening quote. My initial search of his book found that Loy's introduction begins with a Koestler quote. Koestler often comes to mind while reading your posts. Also found that the book is subtitled "Studies in Lack". Hmm...now I'm interested & curious. Have you read this book? Do we share an interest in Buddhism?

As Ever...

Wheelerlucas

Dave,

If you have not already read Christopher Lasch "The True and Only Heaven Progress and its Critics" you need to do so. http://www.amazon.com/The-True-Only-Heaven-Progress/product-reviews/0393307956/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1.

Before reading Lasch I was a true-believer in one of the more heretical economic sects{at least in what was once referred as "the Free World"} -- Marxism -- afterwards I could start to think for myself.
Here is a quote from Lasch:

"Now we can see what was so novel about the eighteenth-century idea of progress ... Its original appeal and its continuing plausibility derived from the more specific assumption that insatiable appetites, formerly condemned as a source of social instability and personal unhappiness, could drive the economic machine -- just as man's insatiable curiosity drove the scientific project -- and thus ensure a never-ending expansion of productive forces. The moral rehabilitation of desire ... generated a new sense of possibility, which announced itself most characteristically ... in the hardheaded new science of political economy." {p.52}

Yes, of course Progress is a religion, because like all other invisible cosmic beings, that men have created, it never dies -- Progress is eternal. Like other religions before it, Progress promises its believers eternal life, in that a progressive society is incorruptible without end.

As Lasch puts it:

"A positive appraisal of the social effects of self-gratification made it possible for interpreters of the new order to exempt modern society, in effect, from the judgment of time -- the judgment previously believed, by Christians and pagans alike, to hang like a sword over all man's works." {p.53}

We have indeed raised up a great golden beast and worship it.

The beast calls us its "children".

We are proclaimed to be the apple of the golden beast's eye.

The beast then tells us: "Children you are free!"

We say: "Free? Free for what, O Creator?"

The beast replies: "Why, my children you are free to want what you will."

We say: "But what should we want, O our parent?"

The beast smiles slyly and coos: "Children, children just look into your hearts and you will know".

We grow very quite, a glint comes to our eyes, a roar rises in our throats, the shout goes forth: "WE WANT MORE!"

With tears in its eyes the beast says: "Thus, you give me life and I to you."

A hui hou ...

Lucas

Dave Cohen

@Wheelerlucas

I posted about Lasch's The True And Only Heaven years ago, I assume that stuff now, but perhaps I should bring it up from time to time.

For example,

http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2012/04/the-failures-of-progress-what-has-been-lost.html

And before that in

http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2010/08/the-law-of-civilization-and-decay.html

-- Dave

Ryan Brooks

ahh yes! Economists have run out of any other options at this point. It seems this may have been left out of Ben's Ivy league curriculum: http://mises.org/books/inflationinfrance.pdf

Such a fascinating read with freaky resemblences to the present. history may not repeat, but is sure as hell rhymes.

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