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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Thinker

Oh, brother.. look behind you THE RED SCARE!

Comon, I live in Denmark and we have a social LIBERAL policy,
with free health care, roads, school etc. And we are one of the
richest countries (per capita) in the world. It works, but then again
I must admit we need something new.

Thinker

Oh, brother.. look behind you THE RED SCARE!

Comon, I live in Denmark and we have a social LIBERAL policy,
with free health care, roads, school etc. And we are one of the
richest countries (per capita) in the world. It works, but then again
I must admit we need something new.

Anonymous

"Creative Destruction" takes many forms. The horse and buggy industry had to be destroyed so that the car industry could thrive. Is Adbusters advocating a return to horse and buggy austerity? Here are a few more examples of creative destruction: alternative energy over coal and oil...hybrid and electric vehicles over combustion engines...personal computers/macbooks over chalkboards and hard to find library books...smart phones over rotary dials, etc. Sure, creative destruction has a nasty side, but so does child birth, and both create beautiful vibrant new ideas and environments. Adbusters, it sounds like you've never thought deeply about any economic subject, favoring instead to wax poetic about your top down agenda. Phonies.

Anonymous

"Creative Destruction" takes many forms. The horse and buggy industry had to be destroyed so that the car industry could thrive. Is Adbusters advocating a return to horse and buggy austerity? Here are a few more examples of creative destruction: alternative energy over coal and oil...hybrid and electric vehicles over combustion engines...personal computers/macbooks over chalkboards and hard to find library books...smart phones over rotary dials, etc. Sure, creative destruction has a nasty side, but so does child birth, and both create beautiful vibrant new ideas and environments. Adbusters, it sounds like you've never thought deeply about any economic subject, favoring instead to wax poetic about your top down agenda. Phonies.

Anonymous

You mean the Austrian school which rejects science... Or let me rephrase that, economics is not, never was, and never will be a natural science.

StevieLee

Ahhhh yes: The Government - as if it's some kind of wholly independent, monolithic entity that subjugates and imposes it's bureaucratic, mechanical supra-structure on any and all who reside within it's tentacled domains.

That definition might provide some a nice, tidy, bow-tided, cartooned rational for all the ills of this "modern economy": as in: Big Government with it's "socialistic", "paternal" practices and regulations - is the root of everything that we as a culture, country and global population ultimately suffer economically from. If we could just contain, starve/shrink and cage this beast into capitalistic submission, only then would we all finally have truly "free markets" with unbound, unhindered human enterprise that can fully flourish in all it's potential glory.
Such a fairy tale.....

In reality, the "Government" as it stands in the US is little more than a surrogate middleman (front company if you will) for oligarchical corporate control of all things relating to anything of economic "value". Every single elected political prostitute (yes, even the so-called "progressives" end up doing the dollar dance) is wholly bought and paid for by this oligarchical "Government" behind the cosmetic one that most everyone buys as actual. The true powers behind the thrown desperately depend on their "front company" to do their day-today bidding, bail them out when they inevitably tank every few decades, and to provide them with "official" cover, by effectively deflecting public anger and frustrations away from the source (them) and onto their hapless, whole-owned subsidiary: The Government Inc.. As we just saw in the dazzling display of disconnect and self-delusional scapegoating with the "million moron march" in Washington a few weeks ago - is it amazing easy to get legions of "invasion of the mind snatcher" "citizens" to catatonically parrot what they were designed to parrot and truly believe that the big bad government is the root of most of their actual, or perceived ills . Manufactured dissent at it's most successful and complete. "Pay no attention to the Oligarchs behind the curtain. Focus all your rage at "The Government", or amongst each other. The straw dog of a "socialist" government is the perfect foil for any malady that ails you. And the ultimate killing irony is that the corporate oligarchy adores socialism - as it pertains to them. No expense, treasury, or economy is to be spared propping them up from their excesses - over and over again. It's just that "socialism" would be far too expensive if it were applied - as it is with them - to the unwashed masses. Corporate Oligarchy's success depends primarily on having a very large pool of low wage, disengaged "citizens" who have little or no practical, or structural alternatives - but to submit to complete Corporate dominance (pee in a cup, credit and criminal background check..etc.) and miserly benevolence (US workers are the least compensated but most productive workers in the advanced industrial world) - in lieu of an any actual representational "government" that might protect them from the cyclical and inevitable ravages of their "free market" orgy.

The middle class "economy" (or the little "e" economy) has been in the crapper for quite awhile now - with real wages and purchasing power well below what it was some 30 years ago. The more important and worshipped "Economy" ( The Big "E" Economy that comprises the top 5-10%..i.e: Oligarchs) is what is most talked about, reported on and referred to when any discussions concerning "The Economy" - like the ones here - arise.
Welcome all to : High, Late Capitalism" in all it's glories in this first decade of the 21st century. Bask in the powerful global glow of it's supernova-ed heat, energy and light. Pay no attention to the dwindling core source of this economic bounty. Focus instead on what it is screened through. Damn ALL GOVERNMENTS!!!!!

StevieLee

Ahhhh yes: The Government - as if it's some kind of wholly independent, monolithic entity that subjugates and imposes it's bureaucratic, mechanical supra-structure on any and all who reside within it's tentacled domains.

That definition might provide some a nice, tidy, bow-tided, cartooned rational for all the ills of this "modern economy": as in: Big Government with it's "socialistic", "paternal" practices and regulations - is the root of everything that we as a culture, country and global population ultimately suffer economically from. If we could just contain, starve/shrink and cage this beast into capitalistic submission, only then would we all finally have truly "free markets" with unbound, unhindered human enterprise that can fully flourish in all it's potential glory.
Such a fairy tale.....

In reality, the "Government" as it stands in the US is little more than a surrogate middleman (front company if you will) for oligarchical corporate control of all things relating to anything of economic "value". Every single elected political prostitute (yes, even the so-called "progressives" end up doing the dollar dance) is wholly bought and paid for by this oligarchical "Government" behind the cosmetic one that most everyone buys as actual. The true powers behind the thrown desperately depend on their "front company" to do their day-today bidding, bail them out when they inevitably tank every few decades, and to provide them with "official" cover, by effectively deflecting public anger and frustrations away from the source (them) and onto their hapless, whole-owned subsidiary: The Government Inc.. As we just saw in the dazzling display of disconnect and self-delusional scapegoating with the "million moron march" in Washington a few weeks ago - is it amazing easy to get legions of "invasion of the mind snatcher" "citizens" to catatonically parrot what they were designed to parrot and truly believe that the big bad government is the root of most of their actual, or perceived ills . Manufactured dissent at it's most successful and complete. "Pay no attention to the Oligarchs behind the curtain. Focus all your rage at "The Government", or amongst each other. The straw dog of a "socialist" government is the perfect foil for any malady that ails you. And the ultimate killing irony is that the corporate oligarchy adores socialism - as it pertains to them. No expense, treasury, or economy is to be spared propping them up from their excesses - over and over again. It's just that "socialism" would be far too expensive if it were applied - as it is with them - to the unwashed masses. Corporate Oligarchy's success depends primarily on having a very large pool of low wage, disengaged "citizens" who have little or no practical, or structural alternatives - but to submit to complete Corporate dominance (pee in a cup, credit and criminal background check..etc.) and miserly benevolence (US workers are the least compensated but most productive workers in the advanced industrial world) - in lieu of an any actual representational "government" that might protect them from the cyclical and inevitable ravages of their "free market" orgy.

The middle class "economy" (or the little "e" economy) has been in the crapper for quite awhile now - with real wages and purchasing power well below what it was some 30 years ago. The more important and worshipped "Economy" ( The Big "E" Economy that comprises the top 5-10%..i.e: Oligarchs) is what is most talked about, reported on and referred to when any discussions concerning "The Economy" - like the ones here - arise.
Welcome all to : High, Late Capitalism" in all it's glories in this first decade of the 21st century. Bask in the powerful global glow of it's supernova-ed heat, energy and light. Pay no attention to the dwindling core source of this economic bounty. Focus instead on what it is screened through. Damn ALL GOVERNMENTS!!!!!

weimpel.org

Here is an idea to study as an alternative means to fostering economic value. Study the models of OPEN SOURCE and how its volunteered labor powers its remarkable innovation and value! The communities birthed from the pre-web cyber-punks, hackers and phreakers reflected some of kind of future with PANARCHY traits. Open source DIY ethics and de centralized communities of volunteer labor reflects a perfect example and proof of how individuals* can quicken innovation within a hybrid collective where one can freely give new ideas, create, collaborate, and innovate without obstruction, regulation or rules. In this decentralized unspoken market of people from everywhere on the globe, without hinderance from any type of organized top down rules or any laws nor relevancy to gender, race or age- fostered a fast growing new market in which all past economic markets pale in size and impact.

This uncharted phenomenon continues to bring forth new innovations that are adopted and capitalized upon. Could our leaders ever imagine that a global community that rewards itself on social capital, where people contribute free labor without coercion, but rather for reputation and mutual self-interest. Could they recognize how the technological age advances leaps and bounds from these platforms without any help or regulations because the reward they seek is something intrinsic that they cannot provide. In these unspoken virtual communities without boarders, production is unhindered by any of our real world cultural wars or physical territory laws. In these renegade outposts is where new ideas are tested and technological innovation is birthed then released to all for improving the lives of all.

It feels like some sort of meta-colllective that's made up from individuals whom collaborate or contributes at his own volition within virtual post anarchy spaces, that possibly can be able to exist within the web's ethers connecting the participators. The fruits of all this freely contributed labor provides epic value for many people and created a massive shift in the way the world communicates to each other. We all reap the benefits from these frameworks of open source software and open standards that is constantly improved, mashed-up, debugged, freely traded and embellished upon every second.

This demonstrates the power of many to many when unfettered by rules. In contrast, centralized power and unnecessary bureaucracy hinders and stunts this innovation of our true potential. Open source DIY ethos compared with the history of the web fiasco guided by VCs and rigid economics steered the internet away from its un natural potential bringing along closed proprietary non standards, crappy coded browsers ( think : Microsoft IE with activeX's open door to drive by virus ) that almost destroyed the internets adoption with hype, ponsi styled IPOs and insider trading culminating a internet bubble and crash 2000 that hurt us all. While the Government was still trying to understand the web and its power, open source ethos and underground communities directed the internet back inline to its original roots for collaboration and social aspects.

YouTube, Google, etc., are now some of the largest valued economies in the world in modern history, all made possible from building upon the frameworks contributed from the back waters of the internet of coders, hackers, experimentalists, geeks and phreaks — people who volunteered their labor without any government coercion, propaganda nor without respect to any boarders, treaties, labor unions and further without contracts, without promotion or centralized management mining the leechers, flamers and n00bs. the most revealing aspect ? All the labor and creativity continues to foster without any sort of monetary compensation.

I learned that a ethos of this anarchy grows its value from which the participant deems desirable to obtain- guided by ones own self interest to gain access or make improvement upon something that he has already contributed. And at each completion one gains a reputation, much like a video game he scores for the better for more respect. We all can learn here that when man is left to his own devices even with language barriers and cultural bias - we don't move ourselves to destroy , kill, nor waste nimble time- but rather move to be productive, creative and contribute labor or knowledge to gain some recognized respect and reap the rewards of its shared materialization.

information wants to be free. knowledge is power. think for yourself. leave game theory for relic game boards.

*too bad ms. Ayne Rand died before seeing the epic innovation materialized by the unrestricted power of the internet, having aspects of her theories about the virtues from individuals liberated from bureaucrat chains.

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