Thought Control in Economics

The New Spirit of Economics

Economics is entering a Nietzschean period of creative destruction ... tectonic mindshifts are underway.
The Subversion of Capitalism by Ian Spriggs

For Hayek, a market was a personal voyage of discovery. Malthus once told Ricardo to be wary of becoming too attached to abstract ways of thinking. Keynes believed in “animal spirits.” Schumpeter sensed a brutal dynamic of “creative destruction” at the heart of capitalism. Heilbroner sternly warned economists to abandon their “suicidal formalism” if they wanted to progress … but such crunchy, philosophical insights into the soul of economics have largely been lost on the last few generations of its practitioners. For 50 years they’ve been rationalizing human behavior, sanitizing their models and trying their best to turn economics into a mathematically driven exact science like physics.

Now the old guard is under attack by students and scientists from other disciplines for its profound disconnect from reality. The logic freaks of neoclassical economics are in retreat … the old certitudes are crumbling. Economists are being forced to admit that their understanding of nonlinear, real-world systems is frail at best and that their abstract models have limited value. Everything, from banking, financial regulation and credit, right down to the bedrock fundamentals – growth, freedom, happiness, progress – are now being rethought. The profession is entering an almost Nietzschean period of creative destruction. Here are some of the tectonic mindshifts now underway:

• A theoretical shift from free market back to Keynesian economics. The idea that governments should step aside and let markets regulate themselves has been publicly, viscerally discredited.

• An aesthetic shift in the tone, style and spirit of economics. The abstract number cruncher, alone in his tower, lost in the abstraction of models – that dusty Apollonian archetype – is dead.

• An operational shift: After years of self-imposed isolation, economists are finding inspiration in psychology, environmental science, design, philosophy and art.

• An existential shift: Before last year’s meltdown it was considered heresy to question the wisdom of growth. Now economists are coming out of the closet and doing exactly that: openly proclaiming infinite growth cannot be sustained on a finite planet. This is the most far-reaching, penetrating paradigm shift imaginable – a monumental mindshift on par with what Einstein’s relativity did to physics. It points to what is perhaps the most exciting and intractable problem of our time: how to create a sustainble economy that does not feed off nature. It heralds the beginning of a debate that will occupy the best minds on the planet for centuries to come: How to manage our planetary household – how to live and be happy – without crashing Gaia?

31 comments on the article “The New Spirit of Economics”

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RefusalToParticipate

Could not agree more about the mechanics of money manipulation and their role in the current state of things. Trying to engineer a planet wide revolt against the money masters is probably our best hope at a more egalitarian world. However, that being said, I can only imagine a handful of events less likely to actually occur. The policing machinery is so advanced and entrenched, torture has made a comeback in the first world with a vengeance, and most people aren't even aware of the issue. Any violent revolutionary action would probably be crushed before it even officially began. Even a non-violent and democratic movement is unlikely to truly redistribute wealth because of the ease with which people's worldviews and opinions can be distorted by clever sociopaths.

In my mind, the only answer is to give up. Economies of Solidarity, small, local, and extremely personal, give us the best shot of creating a social framework that can breed true fulfillment and equality. Just quit the money game. Our current system is predicated on the assumption that future generations will be inside the same institutional framework. If we all define our lives and spend our time on pursuits that are free of modern money framework entirely, the bankers have no salaries to draw their interest payments out of. Check out LETS.

RefusalToParticipate

Could not agree more about the mechanics of money manipulation and their role in the current state of things. Trying to engineer a planet wide revolt against the money masters is probably our best hope at a more egalitarian world. However, that being said, I can only imagine a handful of events less likely to actually occur. The policing machinery is so advanced and entrenched, torture has made a comeback in the first world with a vengeance, and most people aren't even aware of the issue. Any violent revolutionary action would probably be crushed before it even officially began. Even a non-violent and democratic movement is unlikely to truly redistribute wealth because of the ease with which people's worldviews and opinions can be distorted by clever sociopaths.

In my mind, the only answer is to give up. Economies of Solidarity, small, local, and extremely personal, give us the best shot of creating a social framework that can breed true fulfillment and equality. Just quit the money game. Our current system is predicated on the assumption that future generations will be inside the same institutional framework. If we all define our lives and spend our time on pursuits that are free of modern money framework entirely, the bankers have no salaries to draw their interest payments out of. Check out LETS.

A Consumer

Who is discrediting the economic ideals of the past? What economists are shifting theories? Which schools are turning out new generations of economists with any of the ideas and qualities that should be characteristic of this shift you so boldly call

"a monumental mindshift on par with what Einstein’s relativity did to physics."

This is not an article. It is not a statement about our society. It is a journal entry in a fiction magazine.

We all want, need, change, but false prophecies are nothing for a revolution.

A Consumer

Who is discrediting the economic ideals of the past? What economists are shifting theories? Which schools are turning out new generations of economists with any of the ideas and qualities that should be characteristic of this shift you so boldly call

"a monumental mindshift on par with what Einstein’s relativity did to physics."

This is not an article. It is not a statement about our society. It is a journal entry in a fiction magazine.

We all want, need, change, but false prophecies are nothing for a revolution.

Anonymous

YOU ARE KIDDING RIGHT? "• A theoretical shift from free market back to Keynesian economics. The idea that governments should step aside and let markets regulate themselves has been publicly, viscerally discredited." What we are experiencing is the direct result of Keynesian economics. It is the coup de grace! Cheap credit, tons of government spending, federal reserve artificially low interest rates, a centrally planned economy, all have created this chaos--these are the holy tenets of Keynesian economics. For anyone with a basic knowledge of economics can see through your misdirection. Were getting really tired of this FAKE opposition that acts anti-establishment but then prescribes the most dangerous and suicidal solutions, namely more centrally planned economies. People, please stop worrying about tattoos and hipster fashion and please educate yourself in economics. READ ROTHBARD! A real anarchist who actually talks about anarchy, peaceful, free, non-hierarchical anarcho-capitalism. READ. READ.

Anonymous

YOU ARE KIDDING RIGHT? "• A theoretical shift from free market back to Keynesian economics. The idea that governments should step aside and let markets regulate themselves has been publicly, viscerally discredited." What we are experiencing is the direct result of Keynesian economics. It is the coup de grace! Cheap credit, tons of government spending, federal reserve artificially low interest rates, a centrally planned economy, all have created this chaos--these are the holy tenets of Keynesian economics. For anyone with a basic knowledge of economics can see through your misdirection. Were getting really tired of this FAKE opposition that acts anti-establishment but then prescribes the most dangerous and suicidal solutions, namely more centrally planned economies. People, please stop worrying about tattoos and hipster fashion and please educate yourself in economics. READ ROTHBARD! A real anarchist who actually talks about anarchy, peaceful, free, non-hierarchical anarcho-capitalism. READ. READ.

marcus cunaligu...

agreed...international and national socialism is responsible for all the regulations and minipulations that have created such imbalance. and then they blame free markets. bush and obama are the same pieces of socialist shit. american and western world economics are regulated in every way imagined through laws and taxation. if you want to witness some sembilance of freedom look at the underground industries like canabis or barter co-op's. taxation,subsidies,entitlements, and grants are the death of freedom. The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground..... "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; BUT THOSE WHO TORMENT US FOR OUR OWN GOOD WILL TORMENT US WITHOUT END , for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C. S. Lewis

marcus cunaligu...

agreed...international and national socialism is responsible for all the regulations and minipulations that have created such imbalance. and then they blame free markets. bush and obama are the same pieces of socialist shit. american and western world economics are regulated in every way imagined through laws and taxation. if you want to witness some sembilance of freedom look at the underground industries like canabis or barter co-op's. taxation,subsidies,entitlements, and grants are the death of freedom. The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground..... "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; BUT THOSE WHO TORMENT US FOR OUR OWN GOOD WILL TORMENT US WITHOUT END , for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C. S. Lewis

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