Blog Archive

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Models and Maps

and what went wrong with economics

The problem I have with “fiscal conservatives” is different in some ways than the problems I have with the more Libertarian variety...but there are many more similarities.
The fundamental similarity, of course, is Certainty.
Both tend to enter into a discussion already completely convinced that their Belief is the only correct belief, and thus, fail to consider any flaws or inconsistencies that may be pointed out.
The Fiscal Cons tend to be less prone to Market Worship, but this is only a matter of degree.
Both have the unfortunate inability to admit that they were ever wrong, regarding their predictions and the reasoning behind them. Their Assumptions are, as a sort of unspoken Rule, never Examined.
As the Reagan Revolution, the Great Experiment in Supply Side, Monetarist, Deregulatory* and, ultimately, Corporatist Economic Policy ,has rolled on,there have been many opportunities to compare the Predictions and Expectations, with actual real world Results.
Reason...and the Scientific Method...demands such, often uncomfortable, scrutiny...
But, beginning with Reagan, this necessary Scrutiny of Results began to be seen as Heretical....”Mainstream”(that is, Chicago School/Neoliberal) Economics moved into the realm of Religion, rather than Science—without openly acknowledging the shift.
It became Taboo to suggest that the move had happened...and this, concurrently with the Mindfuck I'm always referring to, caused the transition to what we have today: Surreality, rather than Objective Reality.
Empiricism in Economics was abandoned without fanfare, and Belief became paramount.
The phrase “Free Market” became the new Faith...the new Religion.
In the meantime, the US and Global Economies stuttered and lurched and utterly changed.
Domestic Economic Policy became disconnected from what was actually happening, out in the world.
Economists scrutinised their Maps of the Economic World, and believed real hard in the applicability of those Maps, in spite of the apparent dysfunctions inherent in Globalisation....including Labor Arbitrage, and the movement of Corporations into a Supranational Cosmopolitanism.
The World had changed, but the Maps had not.
Rather than admitting to the Changes to the terrain...which would require acknowledging that they had not foreseen many of the dysfunctions...and that they had utterly and willfully Ignored many others...”Mainstream” Economists insisted that their opponents were delusional---just “Big Government Liberals”, and “Losers, bitter over their inability to compete”--in other words, folks who should be ignored....and who already had received their Just Desserts.
From the failure of Bretton Woods, due to Oil Shocks, the overwhelming success of the Marshall Plan, and the perceptions of many folks in the wider world that they were being forced to play a subservient second fiddle to US Corporate well as the Nixon Shock, and the resulting Stagflation...all the way to the Reagan-Thatcher Hegemony(TINA)...Economic Models consistently Diverged from Objective Reality.
A Dogmatic Orthodoxy prevented adaptation to new circumstances, largely due to the reluctance to leave the Necessary and Corollary changes in Power Structure and Distribution to chance: the Owners/Aristocracy liked the Power right where it much for the “Free Market”.
As with all Hegemonies, throughout History, Power corrupts inasmuch as it attempts to Arrest Change...for the maintenance of it's own narrow interests.(Popper)
Under the Battle Cry of Fiscal Responsibility, from Reagan onward, we entered a period of almost total Irresponsibility.
Privatisation...removing as much of the Commons from the Public Sphere as possible, and “Deregulation”...which amounted to Deregulating the Very Large, and effectively undoing the New Deal constraints on the Fire Economy, both contributed to repeated instances of Market Failures and the Grandest of Larcenies...all lain at the feet of the Remnant Liberalism, by this time relegated to ineffectiveness and compromise—weeping in the corner.
At each instance of Failure and/or Larceny, the Big Banks performed Thaumaturgy on ever greater scales...coaxing “Growth” from an already moribund and exhausted world system:
CDO's, Derivatives, Swaps of worthless paper backed by increasingly esoteric Acts of Faith—convoluted trading schema involving faster than light trades of fractions of a cent...increasingly internationally interlocked systems of Banking and Insurance and Reinsurance and deals and collusions....all designed, as near as I can tell, to Hide from Public Scrutiny the Machinations of Wealth, and the monstrous instability and dysfunction...let alone the criminality...of Modern “Capitalism”(which is really something else, entirely).
All through this period, the Mindfuck machinery was working overtime...the Great Wurlitzer of Confusion and Fear and Hatred ground on, obfuscating and distracting the them all manner of Red Herrings to chase and fight over....imposing Just World-ism, so that the Fish blamed themselves, rather than those who had poisoned the water...and always presenting those who opposed the System as Evil, of one sort or another:
Libtards...Commies...Soshulists...Lazy Poor..Lazy and Murderous Black People...Drug Addled Teat Suckers, and...once the Evil Empire crumbled to dust so unexpectedly....Terrists!
...Under every bed, shoving aside the corpses of the Commies who once resided there among the dust bunnies and night sweats.
But then!...
Some minor functionary at Bear Stearns left a door ajar, and the Blazing Light of Reality flooded in...and the whole edifice of Nonsense fell apart.
This coincided with the deepest penumbra of the Bush Darkness, when the Lumpenbillies and “fiscal conservatives” and their fellows in the Rabid Choir of Right Wing Pseudo-Xianity, had everything they had ever dreamed of in a government, and began to realise that things were not at all Utopian...that, indeed, it was all built on Hot Air and empty promises.
Enter Tea...and then the soon stamped down Occupy...and the Confusion grew exponentially...right in time for the entrance of a Black Constitutional Law Professor, with mad rhetorical skills.
Obama continued the nascent Bush “fixes”...bailouts of the Very Large Banks whose gambling habits and hubris had all but invited the Goddess Nemesis into the halls of worldly Power....and a paltry and weak not-really-a-bailout of Mainstreet, who were the real victims in all of these shenanigans.
Soon, the Casinos were at full tilt, again...Trillions of Dollars in Secret Bailouts, on top of the already ridiculously generous Bailouts in Public, fueled more and more excessive risk taking(with other people's money, of course)...and now, today, we are at the cusp of yet another episode in Dysfunction and an even Grander Larceny.
Meanwhile, across the Pond, Europe is experiencing the entirely predictable fallout of implementing the very same Neoliberal, Casino-Style Economics...first, Iceland, whose People had the foresight and the Stones to actually jail the Banksters, and flip the bird to the International Money Cartel.
Now, it's Greece...soon, Italy, Spain, and many of the Eastern European Periphery...Trickle Down has failed again, and the attempts to shore up the rickety pile of sticks by “Austerity”(that is, on the backs of the Poor and Middle Class, so that the Very Rich can continue their Parasitic Largesse), have only served to further depress economic activity, while filling the streets and neighborhoods with Righteous Anger.
We are reaching the bleeding edge of a Crisis unlike any since so many ways, with the very real potential to be much, much worse than that Benchmark of Stupidity and Hubris.
With Climate Change and all the disruptions that go with it, and the looming Resource Shortages...both Realities bad enough to finally slip out from under the Rug of Mindfuckian denial...we're all in for a rough ride.
China, too, is having difficulties...after 35+ years of being in possession of America's Manufacturing Sector, the Workers there are ever more demanding of the Baywatch and “Friends!” Lifestyle they see on TV. Their lack of environmental controls are making the air a cancerous soup...and Revolution is in the very air.
Right Wing Populism, in Europe and especially in America, threatens to undo the Enlightenment Project, once and for is still unknown if the would be Masters will pick that ravening beast to ride.
At the same time, a Resurgent Left...both in Europe, where it's not all that unusual...and in the USA, where the Left was thought to have been utterly making waves.
Bernie Sanders, the Greek Syriza and even the Pope! Are attempting to rehabilitate Socialism, sans the Totalitarian much the same way that Scandinavia did, after World War 2(the Nordic Model is in a lesser degree of trouble, only due to the recent machinations of their own would be Neoliberal Masters, but their Public is much more leery of such fantasizing).
The Death Star of Derivatives and Debt that can never be paid...amounting to some orders of magnitude above the level of actual, tangible wealth in the entire de-orbiting ominously.
This is where the Masters of the Universe parked all the dysfunctional ridiculousness whereby they propped up their Casino. When it crashes, at last, Reality will intrude...and the Neoliberal Casino System will collapse.
There's nowhere left to Hide their Incoherence and Paper Fixes.
I expect this in the near term...which we have all said before,lol...
But it looks very real, now.
Collect what Materials you reckon you will need, now....and prepare for the inevitable Lashing Out of our Right Wing brethren.
They will blame all things Liberal, and...if the Masters choose that Beast...there is a very real chance of a new Dark Age, and a reanimated Feudalism, mixed with an even more opaque and hard to delineate Fascism.
If the Left, and therefore the People, manage to take back control...and do not succumb to the Neoliberal-Lite of Hillary and her European analogs...there may still be some small chance of a managed decline to a lower level of Human Activity.
The Laws of Carbon and a Finite Planet demand this, and we'll have to very quickly figure out how to live with, at best, Steady State...but more likely, Decline.
Humans have never attempted either on such a grand scale; only in small, reluctant and regional crises. Our very DNA compels us to Expand.
Since this no longer obtains on our little world, Humans have three choices: to go out into the stars, at great enter the harsh reality of Limits...or some combination of both.
The fourth, unspoken choice...and still the most likely(especially given a new Dark Age) Extinction, and a Hell on Earth that will please no one but the most hard-core Fundamentalists of the Abrahamic Faiths.

I find that I am ever so weary of attempting to “debate” with the Lumpenbillies, so I have abandoned my various “debate” groups.
Life is too short for such Troll Wrangling, save in the interest of science.

No comments: