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When Adam Smith and Karl Marx agree...
May 9, 2013 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Ha-Joon Chang on why separating politics from economic policies is bad for democracy. What free-market economists are not telling us is that the politics they want to get rid of are none other than those of democracy itself. When they say we need to insulate economic policies from politics, they are in effect advocating the castration of democracy. (Related FPP.)
posted by asnider (13 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought Bullingdon boys were expected to pay for the cost of the damage they cause. I guess once you graduate from trashing restaurants to trashing whole nations, the willingness to absorb the damages doesn't exactly scale.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:40 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


__________________
Thomas Jefferson:

"Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils, and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, & nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance."

To George Wythe, from Paris, August 13, 1786
Excerpted here from The Quotable Jefferson, collected and edited by John Kaminski, Princeton University Press, 2006, p. 84
____________
Tom Paine:

“… Whatever wisdom constituently is, it is like a seedless plant; it may be reared when it appears, but it cannot be voluntarily produced. There is always a sufficiency somewhere in the general mass of society for all purposes; but with respect to the parts of society, it is continually changing its place. It rises in one to-day, in another to-morrow, and has most probably visited in rotation every family of the earth, and again withdrawn.

“As this is in the order of nature, the order of government must necessarily follow it, or government will, as we see it does, degenerate into ignorance.

“ … by giving to genius a fair and universal chance; … by collecting wisdom from where it can be found.

“… As it is to the advantage of society that the whole of its faculties should be employed, the construction of government ought to be such as to bring forward, by a quiet and regular operation, all that extent of capacity which never fails to appear in revolutions.”
—————————————–
Tom Paine, The Rights of Man
posted by hank at 1:47 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.

- John Maynard Keynes
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 1:48 PM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thank god someone is saying it. But who is listening? Do conservatives read the Guardian? I doubt the Australian ones will get the memo. Zombie Thatcherism lives and walks among us and is supposedly about to be elected here in Oz come September.
posted by Coaticass at 1:49 PM on May 9, 2013


Well, no shit.
posted by Foosnark at 1:55 PM on May 9, 2013


Put "foreign policy" in place of "economic policy" and the FPP still works!
posted by Jimbob at 2:14 PM on May 9, 2013


"[Cash Rules Everything Around Me]."

- John Maynard Keynes
posted by azarbayejani at 2:18 PM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thank god someone is saying it. But who is listening?

Oh, they're listening, alright. They hear loud and clear. As Chomsky says, the Quakers are wrong in their slogan that we need to speak truth to power. Power knows the truth. And the true situation is exactly the one they want — or at least, it's the one they have absolutely no incentive to want to change.
posted by cthuljew at 4:55 PM on May 9, 2013


Sex, Economics, and Austerity: The real meaning of Niall Ferguson’s John Maynard Keynes-was-gay jibe—and why Keynes is so threatening to conservative economists and moralists alike.
posted by homunculus at 7:22 PM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is a difference between fiscal policy and monetary policy. Monetary policy should not be beholden to the whims of the electorate. Budget deficits are one thing, rampant inflation or deflation are an order of magnitude worse.
posted by gjc at 1:17 AM on May 10, 2013


Monetary policy should not be beholden to the whims of the electorate.

So instead it should be beholden to the whims of the wealthy?

What else is too important to be decided democratically?
posted by mary8nne at 3:23 AM on May 10, 2013


What else is too important to be decided democratically?

To play devil's advocate: civil rights.

When the majority of the electorate votes in favour of denying (or repealing!) rights from minority groups, things have gone off the rails. Of course, one could argue that such cases would be an example of tyranny by the majority rather than true democracy.
posted by asnider at 10:37 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


What else is too important to be decided democratically?

To play devil's advocate: civil rights.


Exactly. There are some concepts that are more important than democracy. A system where the majority can vote to diminish the rights of the minority is nice and democratic, but neither just nor fair.
posted by gjc at 8:22 PM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


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