The best exposition of capitalist economics I've seen

Oh, I do love to read some Economics pwnage now and then. Some of these quotes are just delicious.

In many ways economics plays the role within capitalism that religion played in the Middle Ages, namely to provide justification for the dominant social system and hierarchies. “The priest keeps you docile and subjected,” argued Malatesta, “telling you everything is God’s will; the economist say it’s the law of nature.” They “end up saying that no one is responsible for poverty, so there’s no point rebelling against it.” [Fra Contadini, p. 21] Even worse, they usually argue that collective action by working class people is counterproductive and, like the priest, urge us to tolerate current oppression and exploitation with promises of a better future (in heaven for the priest, for the economist it is an unspecified “long run”). It would be no generalisation to state that if you want to find someone to rationalise and justify an obvious injustice or form of oppression then you should turn to an economist (preferably a “free market” one).

I’ve always said that economics is as much of a science as theology.

The weakness of economics is even acknowledged by some within the profession itself. According to Paul Ormerod, “orthodox economics is in many ways an empty box. Its understanding of the world is similar to that of the physical sciences in the Middle Ages. A few insights have been obtained which stand the test of time, but they are very few indeed, and the whole basis of conventional economics is deeply flawed.” Moreover, he notes the “overwhelming empirical evidence against the validity of its theories.” It is rare to see an economist be so honest.

Indeed

This produces a market for economic ideology in which those economists who supply the demand will prosper. Thus we find many “fields of economics and economic policy where the responses of important economic professionals and the publicity given economic findings are correlated with the increased market demand for specific conclusions and a particular ideology.” [Edward S. Herman, “The Selling of Market Economics,” pp. 173-199, New Ways of Knowing, Marcus G. Raskin and Herbert J. Bernstein (eds.), p.192]

What an insight! The popular economics themselves are decided through market forces, i.e. those who better pander to the ruling class are the most succesful.

Read the rest of the thing. Hell read the whole of this Anarchist FAQ. The Anarchists as usual, hit the nail right on the head.

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47 thoughts on “The best exposition of capitalist economics I've seen

  1. it's not really a stunning insight: it's true of the intelligentsia class as a whole, including all capital-democratically-funded scientists. They say what the power elite wants people to hear.

    1. including all capital-democratically-funded scientists

      I'd say that this is a bit of a stretch. The scientific method is good precicely because it can avoid such partisanism. The most you could say is how the government "interprets" the findings of science, but that is another thing.

      1. Well there are two things to note: A) It's mostly the social sciences like economics and psychology that involve direct "pandering" since they are the least developed sciences, and B) Chomsky has pointed out that our economic system itself may unduly bias the results of scientific and mathematical reasoning in certain directions. This is not to say that the physics, math, and engineering being done in government-funded universities is wrong, but that it's slanted toward a particular style of technology (mass production) and organization of society (private ownership of productive capacity). For example Kevin Carson frequently speculates about micro-breweries, home-based auto and machine repair, and other such small-scale enterprises. If those are infeasible, he argues, it's only because technological development has been skewed to "big business" and away from "small business".

      2. Welllll db0, I know how much of a cheerleader you are for what passes for "science" these days, so I'm not gonna comment any further… let's just say I don't share your rather naively high opinion of modern scientists.

  2. "Most scientists do not stand to gain from the truth of AGW. "

    What the fuck? What do you think they do it for? MONEY!

    Are you not aware of how government-funded "science" works?

  3. Wellll Francois, I know how much of a denialist you are just for the
    sake of contrarianism so I'm not going to comment further…let's just
    say that I don't share your rather conspiratorial opinion of modern
    science.

  4. No, my argument is in the links. Not that I "refuse to give up"

    Oh, and I'm part of the conspiracy now am I? You're so lulzy Francois…

  5. Don't insult my position, I am not a "contrarian," I take the position because it's the truth. I held it years before the AGW conspiracy was exposed by Climategate. The fact it, it IS a conspiracy of the governments and intelligentsia whether you like it or not. But it's people like you who believe in "consensus science" (absolute conformity, suppression of opposition) instead of the actual evidence, who fuel that whole system and lend it credibility.

    Science used to be about looking at the evidence despite general consensus, it used to be about going out there and gathering data, battling viewpoints, etc. All of that is gone and dead, and your view of science is a romantic throwaway to those times when the governments and corporations weren't in control of what we call "science."

  6. Don't insult my position

    Really? You have the gall to get all offended after calling me a "cheerleader"?

    If you were all about evidence, you would have accepted the reality of the AGW. Of course it's not about evidence since there's plenty of it to support AGW in the first place. This is more likely a belief that stayed with you from your Objectivist/AnCap times that for some reason you've kept around.

  7. But it's people like you who believe in "consensus science" (absolute conformity, suppression of opposition) instead of the actual evidence, who fuel that whole system and lend it credibility.

    If that's what you think modern science is, then you don't understand modern science.

  8. The fact of the matter is, even if you don't care about the evidence and only care about ideology, how is the conspiracy NOT a good argument against the State? And you don't need the lie of AGW to care about pollution, either. So what do you gain from this belief?

    I find it humorous that a denialist is accusing me of not caring about evidence. I also find it ironic that your opposition to the truth is only serving the same corporate interests that you ideologically oppose since the denial of AGW only serves to allow the plutocracy to act as if nothing is wrong and continue with business as usual.

    I care about AGW because it's real and because it is an excellent example of a systematic symptom of the "Grow or Die" mentality that Capitalism cannot resolve without imploding. It also provides a sense of urgency to those who do care about it which might open them to alternatives outside the state apparatus once they realize that the state is incapable of resolving this issue as well.

  9. Um… no… it's a position based on the evidence of climate change on this planet that has been going on for millions of years, data models presented by unbiased sources, the fact that we are not experiencing a rise in temperature, as well as a rejection of the evidence presented by the conspiracy.

  10. Modern science is consensus science, yes. Those terms are one and the same. Even people who profess to support science with all their heart are stuck in the consensus science mindset (not talking about you here: I don't know how much you support science).

  11. Um… what in the fuck are you talking about? Do you seriously think I need AGW to be true to care about pollution? Or do YOU need AGW to be true to care about pollution, and project that callousness on everyone else?

  12. Um… no… it's a position based on the evidence

    No it's not. it's a position based on the denial of evidence. But we're not going to convince each other about this here as both of us think evidence is on our side, so what exactly do you want to achieve?

    as well as a rejection of the evidence presented by the conspiracy.

    See, this now is the crazy talk and only makes people roll their eyes at you.

  13. Modern science is consensus science, yes.

    *Sigh*. No, no it's not.

    Scientific consensus is the collective judgement, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Scientific consensus is not by itself a scientific argument, and it is not part of the scientific method. Nevertheless, consensus may be based on both scientific arguments and the scientific method.

    From Wikipedia

  14. I don't need AGW to care about pollution nor do you, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't care about AGW as well and give it the urgency it deserves.If anything, it can help our anti-capitalist arguments.

  15. How does the truth (that AGW is a conspiracy constructed by politicians and scientists to attack our freedom and keep the third-world behind industrially) not help our anti-capitalist arguments?

  16. Yes they are.It's ridiculous to claim that the whole scientific community just so happened to discard all their training and ethics just for this issue.

  17. Because it's a weak and unrealistic conspiracy that will get laughed out of the room and most likely paint the one claiming it as a crazy-person worthless of serious consideration.

  18. How is it "unrealistic" compared to most claims of conspiracy? There is obvious motive, there is evidence (now widely available), and the weapons have been used to bludgeon opposition for many years now.

  19. Most do not blindly play by those rules. If they did, society would have imploded.

    Furthermore it's the scientific method itself which is made to avoid such bias and you've no evidence that it's not being used other than the fact that you don't like what it has discovered.

  20. How is it "unrealistic" compared to most claims of conspiracy?

    It's not unrealistic compared to most claims of conspiracy because most claims of conspiracy are unrealistic as well.

    There is obvious motive, there is evidence (now widely available)

    There is not obvious motive any more than there was an obvious motive to claim that smoking does not cause cancer. Most scientists do not stand to gain from the truth of AGW. There is also no evidence.

  21. What do you mean I have no evidence? Just look at all the major scientific issues that come up in the media. AGW, secondhand smoke, obesity, seatbelt laws, fluoride, the schooling system, on all these issues the studies are always scrupulously ignored or lied about. To anyone who wants to look at the evidence, the track record is clear. It's not my fault if you choose to ignore it because you desire to stick to a romanticized, fantasy notion of science. Just like how I stuck to a romanticized, fantasy notion of capitalism when I was an ancap.

  22. What's an argument? Your argument is that conspiracists like you are not giving up and refuse to cry uncle. But why would they give up anyway? You certainly aren't.

  23. A lot of words and very little substance. All that you said is "I'm right and you just refuse to accept it. And I know I'm right because for all the failings of capitalism it's the state that's stepped in". Well, duh, obviously they are the ones that stepped in because they won't allow anyone else to do so. That doesn't mean that those issues aren't real or that they can't be dealt without a state.

    As for who is sticking to "romanticized and fantasy notions" ,well, I'm not the one with the track record of being fractally wrong.

  24. Government-funded science will continue to work whether there is, or isn't AGW. University labs will not close if the planet isn't warming. Furthermore, even if science is state-backed (a failure of capitalism to do it) it does not mean that it provides a motive to lie, as again, the scientific method prevents it.

  25. "I'm right and you just refuse to accept it. And I know I'm right because for all the failings of capitalism it's the state that's stepped in"

    What the fuck. are. you. talking. about.

    When have I ever said the State should have stepped in anything?

    I was saying that these are all issues where "consensus science" has bullied all other viewpoints, against the studies and data available. I have no idea what the fuck YOU'RE talking about.

  26. "even if science is state-backed (a failure of capitalism to do it) it does not mean that it provides a motive to lie, as again, the scientific method prevents it."

    WHAT? People won't lie for money and to keep their jobs because of an old ideal they don't follow any more?

    Have you gone crazy? A "method" doesn't keep people from lying any more than a constitution keeps people from passing laws!

  27. You brought up all the "major scientific issues" which incidentally are all the things that have prompted the state to step in and deal with it via laws. This implied that science works to increase government interference.

    I was saying that these are all issues where "consensus science" has bullied all other viewpoints, against the studies and data available

    No. No it hasn't anymore than it has "bullied" the viewpoint of Creationism, Intelligent deisgn, Alchemy, Homeopathy and Astrology.

    1. "You brought up all the "major scientific issues" which incidentally are all the things that have prompted the state to step in and deal with it via laws. This implied that science works to increase government interference."

      Yes, of course. That's one of its functions. You get what you pay for.

      "No. No it hasn't anymore than it has "bullied" the viewpoint of Creationism, Intelligent deisgn, Alchemy, Homeopathy and Astrology."

      Nice ad hom to associate data-based positions with nonsense like ID, alchemy, homeopathy and astrology.

      You are a skilled liar, that's for sure.

  28. WHAT? People won't lie for money and to keep their jobs because of an old ideal they don't follow any more?

    If they lie, it doesn't mean that they will keep their jobs and if they tell the truth it doesn't mean they'll lose them. That might be the case in the private sector actually which is incidentally where all the "Skeptic" Scientists come from.

    Furthermore, if they lie, they won't achieve much because they need to ensure that everyone else refuses to call them out. And it's unlikely that hundred of peer-review magazines are going to do that.

    A "method" doesn't keep people from lying any more than a constitution keeps people from passing laws!

    It doesn't stop them from lying. It just makes their lying not accomplish anything other than loss of their status. The scientific methods does this. This is why it works.

    1. "It doesn't stop them from lying. It just makes their lying not accomplish anything other than loss of their status."

      Wrong. Their status is linked to how many papers they get published, and how much money they have. Both are linked to following the consensus and lying.

      "The scientific methods does this. This is why it works."

      Let me be clear: you are mentally insane if you believe that a centuries-old ideal is acting like a person, making some lose or win status. Only people act. People lie when the system makes them lie in order to "succeed." Your belief in the scientific method (which as I said is laudable but misguided in a world where no one else believes in it, not even scientists) has no influence on reality. Whether you would prefer people not to lie does not make them not lie.

      Scientists are liars, politicians are liars, and ultimately we are all liars, because we live in a system where we must lie in order to keep face/keep our jobs/keep our status. That's just a fact, whether you accept it or not. I don't know if you work or not, but believe me, when you start working, you'll understand.

  29. Yes, of course. That's one of its functions. You get what you pay for.

    .

    When have I ever said the State should have stepped in anything?

    Cheezus fucking Christ. Decide what the fuck your point is.

  30. Nice ad hom to associate data-based positions with nonsense like ID, alchemy, homeopathy and astrology.

    You don't even know what an Ad Hominem is do you?

    You are a skilled liar, that's for sure.

    Is that the whole of your argument?

  31. Wrong. Their status is linked to how many papers they get published, and how much money they have. Both are linked to following the consensus and lying.

    Yes, and how much they get published is linked to peer-review magazines which have an incentive to catch fraud. It's further linked to catching other people's mistakes and correcting them in their own studies. When someone refutes or modifies an previously accepted scientific theory, they gain status. Therefore scientists have an incentive to be honest, more than to lie.

    How much money they have is not linnked to their status, nor does it relate to them lying.

  32. Let me be clear: you are mentally insane if you believe that a centuries-old ideal is acting like a person, making some lose or win status.

    Francois calling others insane. Brilliant!

    Anyway, no, it's not an "ideal" which is making people lose or win status. It's the fact that the winning or losing of status in the scientific community is dependent on finding results which are true and that can only be done via the scientific method.

    Your belief in the scientific method (which as I said is laudable but misguided in a world where no one else believes in it, not even scientists) has no influence on reality. Whether you would prefer people not to lie does not make them not lie.

    The rapid technological and medical advancements of the last century beg to differ. Up until now you whole argument that "nobody uses the scientific method" is that you don't like the results.

  33. That's just a fact, whether you accept it or not. I don't know if you work or not, but believe me, when you start working, you'll understand.

    I've already explained why lying does not work in science, but I don't expect you to change your mind on anything.

  34. You know very well what my point is. Stop playing the idiot. I never said the State should step into anything; but that one of the functions of science is to justify State intervention.

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