Home > The Economics Profession > Reflections on the “Inside Job”

Reflections on the “Inside Job”

from Peter Radford

It’s depressing to watch the movie “Inside Job” simply because it is true. Shockingly true. It is also interesting to watch the comments come in from Europe where the movie is just now playing. I wonder whether it will alter public opinion of America. It should.

The American economic policy elite, by which I mean the academics, politicians, and business leaders that comprise it, is shamefully inadequate. In my more extreme moments I would call them irretrievably corrupt.  They all shift from one seat to the next. They all intermingle. They all attend the same schools. They all believe the same basic ideas. They are all out to enrich themselves. They all deny any wrongdoing or fault. They all work endlessly in the interests of the system.

In fact they are the system.

So, neutering bank reform was essential in order to protect their rent seeking ability. Shifting the focus of debate onto the national debt was essential in order to mask their collective culpability and graft. Imposing austerity on the rest of us was essential in order to avoid paying the consequences of their ineptitude and indifference. In order to protect themselves they had to stand together and spew out platitudes and patronizing homilies about how tough we all need to be in order to dig out from the crisis. A crisis that their ideas, their actions, and their greed caused.

All around the world everyday people are suffering a loss of wealth and, or, income as a direct result of the ability of this small group to impose its own agenda on us. Yet that group has emerged unscathed. They still rotate through the same jobs. They still teach at elite schools. They still control the academic agenda. They still run the same banks. They still staff the Treasury or the Federal Reserve Board. And they still dictate how our national wealth will be divided: 95% for them, 5% for the rest. Just the way it ought to be in a society where democracy has been weakened by decades of free market dogma, slipshod oversight, defunded government, and an extraordinary collapse in ethical standards.

No wonder the Tea Party is up in arms. Our social fabric is beginning to fray. Anger permeates debate. Reason flies out the window. Facts become opinions. Opinions become facts. We stopped being we. Instead we became them versus us. Turned in on ourselves by the needs of the system.

Only one group wins when society turns on itself: the elite in charge. That dark and amorphous group we dare not contest for fear of the unknown. Or at least that is what they tell us.

America is not what it was. It’s political system is horribly corrupted by the flow of money. Rich companies and individuals impose their views simply by dint of their ability to spend. The rest of us, those who object, are muted by the flow of cash that drowns out dissent. Supreme Court justices cavort in private jets and take cash sums for speaking to lobbyist groups. They then ask us to believe they are impartial. Politicians view fund raising as their primary task. They then ask us to believe they are impartial when they vote. Professors write papers supporting the objectives of their sponsors, and then see no conflict of interest. Business leaders pay themselves whether their companies succeed or fail. Boards of directors stand idly by as CEO’s leave with millions – hundreds of millions – even though they are unmitigated failures. Managers stay put even though they are manifestly incompetent. The concept of shareholder control is laughed at: the SEC actively prevents shareholder democracy. It might destabilize the system. So no one owns big business. There is no control. The system just is. It is a mockery of capitalism. It is a mockery of democracy. But especially of democracy.

And all the while they preach that this is the land of opportunity.

Their opportunity.

Once America embarked on its great experiment with illusion, back in 1980, it deliberately stepped away from a fact based narrative. It plunged into Hollywood. Or Disneyland.  Politicians realized they could cast balm across fears by talking in hopelessly unreal dreamlike terms. They also learned to demonize the opposition and the government. Words were recast with new and derogatory meanings. Alternative ideas and views were systematically eliminated or stifled. Their new way was simplified, black and white, and unrelentingly self regarding. Gradually the great utopians were able to kick away reality. They were able to shut out what Judge Brandeis called the disinfecting capacity of sunlight. In the shadows they constructed a version of laissez faire, updated and outfitted for the modern era.

They have persuaded regular people to vote consistently against their own best interests. They have led the country into decline. They have started wars on a lie and a whim. And they have shifted the national wealth in unprecedented amounts into their own pockets.

The crisis did not hurt them at all. It hurt us. It was their mess. It is ours to clean up.

And we agree to do this, why?

Because we are told the system must be preserved. The nation is fragile and we must surely understand the need for tough austerity action. We must take our medicine. We must sacrifice those pensions.We must give up those immature dreams of rising wages. This is, we are told, a global economy. We must suffer the consequences of the dreams of the poor who aspire to be like us. Capital is free to shift around the world. Profits are to be found abroad. If that hurts us here, then that’s just the system at work. And we must never disrupt the system. Never, ever, disrupt the system. It is a work of nature just like the oceans or the mountains. The market is an artifact, not of humans, but of the natural world. It is invisible to us. But we are caught in its dehumanizing grip. If the mechanism requires that you accept a lower wage, please do, it makes the model work so much more smoothly.

And the corruption stinks. Yet it exists. The lack of ethics reeks. Yet it persists. Just recently the economics profession failed to come to grips with its ugly lack of ethics. Apparently market forces will impose some form of ethics. So economists don’t need to abide by the same rules that the rest of society seems to think are important.

When you have sunk so far down the free market rabbit hole that you believe it will fix everything, ethics becomes just another exogenous variable to be assumed away. When you assume that all social ends are best met by efficient outcomes from constrained optimization models, ethics is obliterated by the great machinery that guarantees that optimum. And when you become irritated by the niceties of reality and its inexorable muddiness such that you treat it as an unfortunate intrusion into the sublime order of your theory, you have left behind both humanity and the need to balance work with an ethical view. Mad science is mad, however complex or elegant its math.

All of this stems from my viewing of that movie.

I guess it put me in a bad mood.

My distemper stems from the grim truth the movie tells. It reveals just how far America has lurched from its earlier, more prosperous, trajectory. It tells us how hard it will be to get back, if we can, to a more balanced, less extreme, less unequal state.

And economics, at least its orthodox brand, isn’t helping. Indeed it has been co-opted, willingly so, by the system and those who benefit from it. Many of our most renowned economists are guilty of aiding and abetting the gutting of our democracy, and of feeding at the same trough as the bankers who destroyed the economy. There are some, well meaning, that claim economics is apolitical. Possibly. They claim the bourgeois values of capitalism are worthy of protection and nurture. After all we are all so much better off. Perhaps. But they ignore the ease with which orthodox economics has been turned into an ideological exercise. They ignore the inequality. They dismiss social remedies as pathologies eating away at the fine muscle of capitalism. Maybe they are right. But they are not politically neutral.

Democracy and capitalism are in conflict. The one protects the weak by giving them power. The other exploits the weak by concentrating that power in the hands of the wealthy. The two groups fight. Those who deny this struggle deny reality. They would prefer a pleasant world where the rich and poor cohabit in joint interest. Where labor and capital are equals. Utopia. Harmony. Quiet. And not the cacophony of the real world.

I do not seek the supremacy of either democracy or capitalism. Either, in extremis, can be volatile and unhealthy. I seek a balance. And when I watch the “Inside Job” I am reminded of how far from balance we are. Right now it is our democracy that is lost. We have a surfeit of capitalism. We are bloated by the corruption and lack of ethics that it has brought. We need to change.

In my world, that means economics has to change.

But you all know that already.

  1. paul davidson
    February 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    unfortunately “inside job” had practically no distribution in the USA It never never played at any movie house near me.

    Paul

  2. Keith Wilde
    February 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Radford just gets better and better. When can we expect the book of essays? This one I am taking the time to send to a large list of correspondents.

  3. February 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Excellent article.
    I took the liberty of posting it on my website/blog http://www.albertawest.info with links back to here.

  4. erik andersen
    February 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Thanks Peter for writing this article. For slavation think “small is beautiful”.

  5. Mark Friedman
    February 25, 2011 at 1:04 am

    I thought Ferguson’s “No End In Sight” was very good. Unfortunately, neither my college online library nor my local public library with its inter-library loan facility, has “Inside Job”-it might not be out yet. So, I bought a copy from Amazon ($14.49 total)!

    Yes, the “best and the brightest” are rogues (I’m being very kind) but how will change come?

  6. merijnknibbe
    February 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Change will be hard.

    – Just recently, Standard and Poor’s adapted their ratings system: if a bank wants a favorable rating, it has to be able to show that it’s government can bail it out… There is logic to this, but that’s exactly the problem.

    – Just recently, bankers are, again, complaining that equity is ‘barren’ and lowers ‘return on investment’ and that (very mild) Basel III rules have to be adapted – read: “Why have equity when profits are for us and losses are for you”.

    How bad this all is is shown by Aegon, a Dutch insurer/bank which had been bailed out. It sells new shares and pays back the money early, DESPITE A 50% FINE, as this enables them to rig the ‘incentives scheme’ and pay dividends again (wait, did you read that right – selling new shares to pay fines and dividends? Yes, yes, yes. It’s not even an Ponzi scheme as people like Madoff at least tried to conceal their swindle). For those who are still in doubt: think of all the stock options these guys still have as part of their old incentive schemes.

    This not even ‘shareholders value’, it’s the ‘play it again’ sham. They (and politicians, and shareholders) have learned and important thing: you can get away with these kinds of outright fraud and you don’t even have to conceal it anymore: the state gets it share of the shambles.

    (By the way: these kinds of 50% fines as part of a bail out project were designed by very smart economists, to prevent financial companies to listen to the siren song again too soon and were part and parcel of Dutch government policies in 2008. It now shows, again, that these bankers really do not care about their company, their customers or employees – just about their stock options. Fine. Forbid stock options for bankers).

  7. Alice
    February 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Brilliant post Peter.

    I dont mind how bad tempered that movie made you. The US and its failed free market excessive mindless deregulation policies make me utterly bad tempered as well and I am not alone and Im not American – but they damn well exported these policies across the globe and its doing damage in a million different towns and cities, to a million different lives, including mine.

    Enough. Its over anyway. I dont think the monumental losses made by speculative banks can be hidden, even if they arent forced to recognise them and even with the action of the bailouts (a water pistol to put out a bushfire?).

    It hasnt played out fully. The bubble has a lot of deflating to do (despite bear market rallies) and I have the bittersweet joy of knowing that at least deflation will rob from the rich and corrupt as well. Do we, as members of once smart nations, have the guts to reverse the excessively generous tax cuts we gave the wealthy under the economics of corruption that has prevailed over the past thirty or more years?. We will see.

  8. Mike Burns
    March 1, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Thank you.
    You are spot on.
    The kleptocracy begun in the Reagan years has rolled on unchecked, sowing pain and destruction planet-wide.
    Economics is not known as the dismal science for nothing.
    That Bush, Cheyney and their hench-men are not behind bars together with the banksters boggles the mind.
    The good thing is their model can’t last much longer.
    A dead planet is bad for business.

  9. Derrick Cox
    April 20, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Okay, you’ve got me on your side. How does one help you?

  10. Nathanael
    May 13, 2011 at 1:41 am

    We have to establish social democracy and seize the money held by the bankers and other crooks. I don’t know how, though. I’m expecting bloody, violent, inchoate revolution before that happens. The only ray of hope is WISCONSIN.

  11. Celest
    July 31, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    The movie has shocked and scared me. I am an American living abroad, an expat as they say. An expat now as there were no jobs for us in America any longer. We have been abroad four years, and will be more.

    What also is so disturbing is that this corruption is not only limited to the financial sector. The state and quality of our food industry is appalling. I feel almost along the lines of the Chinese putting poison into baby formula. It is nearly this bad. This again is not the only limit. As our entire country has reeled out of control, the health and education industries have taken the fall. Our children (and I mean from the 1980s!) have had declining worldwide basic education statistics the entire time. We are becoming poorer, more unhealthy due to the food, more expensive health care, and less educated to the entire process. Shocking to the core.

    I am American and optimistic. I see the lack of education of the American people, and have coined it confident ignorance. You can rarely tell and American what is right other than what they believe – usually based on opinion only.

    I believe we can still turn around and rally our country together. It will take an act by the people for “We the people” in order to force change in Washington. They are too together and feeding each other to care about us “We the people” any longer.

  12. July 30, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Ok, l watch the documentary and read your article, how does it help me?

    Business running as usual and the sun still hot and warm.

  13. ghholtham
    January 22, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    A huge problem is the complete subjection of the US political system to the power of money, aided by a reactionary Supreme Court. Democracy has become plutocracy. Alongside that is a complete breakdown in the belief that the state can solve problems. When FDR proposed the New Deal and LBJ the Great Society voters thought that politics could help. Starting with Reagan’s crack “the most frightening words you will hear: I’m from the government and I’m here to help”, there has been a loss of faith in politics and a loss of self confidence on the part of politicians in the power to change things. Electoral law needs to change to confine the ower of money. How that happens I don’t know.

    • Craig
      January 22, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Precisely. However, the conservative/libertarian irrational generalization that government is always problematic and tyrannical would immediately become an obvious falsehood to everyone if the monetary and financial paradigm of Direct and Reciprocal grace as in Monetary Gifting were implemented by a universal dividend and a 50% discount/rebate price and monetary policy at the point of retail sale.

      Solve the real and deepest problem and you’ll have a paradigm change. Plant the seed of the universal solvent of graciousness in the money system and acculturate that same natural concept intelligently and in a few generations you might even begin the process of changing the present zeitgeist from Power to Grace as in sovereign and benevolent power.

  14. ghholtham
    January 22, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    Perhaps I should have said the power of wealth, rather than the power of money. it is command over resources that is the key, in whatever form the assets are held. Political power should be equally distributed in a democracy and that provides a countervailing balance to economic power, which under a capitalist system – and most preceding systems – is unequally distributed. If economic power is able to buy the political system then the countervailing balance is lost and society operates exclusively in the interests of the rich. That seems to have happened in the United States. I daresay direct and reciprocal grace would solve the problem but that is not a political programme. How do we soften men’s hearts? It seems more to the point to help the voters see that a reform of the political system to limit paid advertising and the need for campaign “donations” is required if they are to assert their interests.

    • Craig
      January 23, 2020 at 4:03 am

      “I daresay direct and reciprocal grace would solve the problem but that is not a political programme.”

      If it were implemented into the economy in the policies I suggest it would be incredibly politically powerful. Social Security which is an old paradigm reform was a powerful enough political policy that it resisted regressive attempts to destroy it for over 90 years. If you give everyone a more than 100% raise in their purchasing power and simultaneously more than double the business revenue for every enterprise’s products and services that not only integrates the normally opposed political constituencies of labor and management it integrates their self interests. Such is the unitary power of the natural philosophical concept of grace.

      “How do we soften men’s hearts? ”

      By contemplating the aspects of grace until one self actualizes them. And if the economic system which vitally impacts everyone numerous times each day were a continual reminder of its power and benevolence…..?

      All we really need is a mass movement to get the political apparatus herded toward the wisdom, sanity and power of the concept and its economic policies.

  15. ghholtham
    January 23, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    If you give everyone a more than 100 per cent rise in their purchasing power and double business revenue you are requiring the economy to more than double output in short order. Good luck with that. A real output increase of 100 per cent normally takes about 20 years in a modern economy. I gather you don’t believe there is any need to balance supply and demand so as well as contemplating aspects of grace you might contemplate the history of the Weimar Republic.1922-23 or Venezuela since 2015.

    • Craig
      January 23, 2020 at 5:52 pm

      “If you give everyone a more than 100 per cent rise in their purchasing power and double business revenue you are requiring the economy to more than double output in short order.”

      It doesn’t REQUIRE anything of the sort. It WILL enable people to quite quickly pay off large amounts of their debt and/or save a very good percentage of their income while maintaining or even improving their lifestyle. As I’ve pointed out here numerous times before the 50% discount/rebate policy resolves the paradox of thrift.

      “A real output increase of 100 per cent normally takes about 20 years in a modern economy. I gather you don’t believe there is any need to balance supply and demand so as well as contemplating aspects of grace you might contemplate the history of the Weimar Republic.1922-23 or Venezuela since 2015.”

      Number one most producers don’t operate at 100% capacity. Number two that’s an irrelevant criticism anyway because supply and demand is a hoax and the 50% discount/rebate mathematically resolves inflation…because it handles the OPERANT causes of inflation, namely an austere system, a (smallish) cost inflationary system and because given the above two facts it appears to be the best option for business decision makers to increase their prices, so its a self reinforcing problem….unless of course you make the system monetarily abundant for all agents and resolve inflation at the same time.

      Last, hyperinflations never occur before several disastrous circumstances take place first, none of which are remotely liable to happen to us. If you’d like to educate yourself on the Weimar Republic hyperinflation read Stephen Zarlenga’s excellent history of it on pages 579-588 of his book The Lost Science of Money.

      Venezuela isn’t a true hyperinflation and is a combination of domestic political stupidity and US financial domination. C’mon, you know this…or should.

      Contemplate grace ghholtham, you’ll be better off personally and with a little logic you’ll see the concept’s efficacy for the economic system as well.

  16. ghholtham
    January 23, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    “Supply and demand is a hoax…”.
    You seem to be saying there are no supply constraints at all. So why stop at giving people a 100 per cent rise in their purchasing power? What’s wrong with 500 per cent or 1000 per cent? Why be mean? Where’s the limit?

    • Yoshinori Shiozawa
      January 23, 2020 at 7:37 pm

      Craig may have hear say that “supply and demand is a hoax.” He may not have thought what it means.

      If “supply and demand” means “law of supply and demand” and this law means the price mechanism of the market that prices are determined at the crossing point of demand and supply curves, it is really a hoax. It exists in the theoretical core of the neoclassical economics, that almost all people here deny. However, this only stands that there is no valid logic that attests the existence of demand and supply curves. To derive the existence of supply curve, the standard theory had to assume decreasing returns to scale, which is ridiculously contradictory to the reality. Almost all industrial firms are operating at the constant returns or increasing returns conditions.

      Money is an important entity in market economy, but money alone does not explain all market phenomena.

      • Craig
        January 24, 2020 at 6:52 am

        “Money is an important entity in market economy, but money alone does not explain all market phenomena.”

        As I already posted the new paradigm won’t solve or explain ALL market phenomena…only the the deepest and seemingly unresolvable ones. That fact makes it a paradigm change. Should we ignore that and go back to puzzling over those problems as if the new paradigm policies do not resolve them????

    • Craig
      January 24, 2020 at 6:46 am

      “So why stop at giving people a 100 per cent rise in their purchasing power? What’s wrong with 500 per cent or 1000 per cent? Why be mean? Where’s the limit?”

      The limit is understanding the integrative of opposites nature of grace as in both abundance and prudence. Now go back and contemplate grace some more until you see that.

  17. Craig
    January 24, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Why should we allow the business model of private banking to have not only a monopoly on credit creation, but also a monopoly on the form and vehicle for the distribution of money, i.e. DEBT ONLY? It’s TOTALLY FRIGGIN’ STUPID….especially when one considers the problem solving proclivities of monetary gifting both directly to the individual and directly and reciprocally at the point of retail sale.

  18. davetaylor1
    January 24, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Gerald, I’m glad you have got back to this,.

    You say “Electoral law needs to change to confine the power of money. How that happens I don’t know”. I would say, not [just] the Electoral law but the Constitution, since crooks and Hitlers get themselves elected and change the law to suit themselves. I agree where you come back on money: “Perhaps I should have said the power of wealth, rather than the power of money. it is command over resources that is the key, in whatever form the assets are held”.

    You say of Craig’s solution: “I daresay direct and reciprocal grace would solve the problem but that is not a political programme.” His is “a mass movement to get the political apparatus herded toward the wisdom, sanity and power of the concept [grace] and its economic policies”. His way of motivating that I entirely agree with: ” How do we soften men’s hearts?
    By contemplating the aspects of grace until one self-actualizes them”. Unfortunately he then puts the cart before the horse: “And if the economic system which vitally impacts everyone numerous times each day were a continual reminder of its power and benevolence…..?” Exactly. But what we have now is his “Debt Only”, not his Douglas-inspired “universal dividend and a 50% discount/rebate price and monetary policy at the point of retail sale”.

    From Craig’s talking this through here, I’m a bit clearer on how he sees this influencing people. Both customers and distributors/producers are constrained by shortage of debt money, so by relieving the constraint he sees people buying only what they need, and producing only what’s needed. That does not resolve the problems either of buying to show off or to intimidate others, nor does it address humanity’s global need for austerity in use of resources and of work helping to regenerate them. A “Credit-Card Only” system does just that. Until one has earned one’s keep by productive or distributive work, one’s credit card account keeps reminding you of how much in debt you are to other people. Basically all that is needed for the mass movement is to teach people to see it that way, and the possibility of reducing banks and governments to primarily accounting systems to keep us informed of what needs doing and how to do it. For pricing in a non-profit economy we might be looking at Fullbrook’s valuation system, while until they die the rich can continue to live well by selling off their fraudulent-system-gotten assets.

    Yoshinori’s comments on the “supply and demand” hoax (Marshall’s scissors?) move us away from the economy to the implications for teaching this in economics. It seems to me this needs to go through a transition phase in which it is necessary to reassess the history of economics in light of the paradigm change (theoretically justified in my own PID version of BinLi’s Algorithmic Framework Theory), thereby not only re-educating academics but reassuring them that their quack economics has been much like doctoring was before the discovery of germs. They can do better, understanding “complex truth and honest money”!

    • Craig
      January 24, 2020 at 5:34 pm

      Dave, Thanks for the acknowledgement. However you miss the potential for wisdom in a system economically and culturally based on grace as in the thorough integration of the truths in opposites. Thus you make economic policy on the integration of greater abundance of potential consumption and/or saving so as to reduce the tendency/compulsion to only borrow …and the wisdom of ecologically sane macro-policies. Like for instance my SECOND 50% discount/rebate policy at the point of note signing for all big ticket and green items like electric autos, solar and battery powered housing products etc. A Wisdomics-Gracenomics is the integrative alignment of the ultimate integrative and ethical concept of grace AND its policy ACTIONS. In other words Wisdom is its own PID system.

      • January 27, 2020 at 12:57 pm

        Craig, my acknowledging your ambitions is not my endorsing your achievements. Quite the opposite. When I remind you of your saying “And if the economic system which vitally impacts everyone numerous times each day were a continual reminder of its power and benevolence…..?” , and that what we are still actually reminded of is the power and vindictiveness of the “debt-only” paradigm, I do wonder whether you can even read when you ignore this and continue to regurgitate the same old rubbish. Do you not understand the opposing effects of dis-empowerment by fear of loss, and empowerment by graceful giving? of earth-destroying abundance of human production and grateful recycling of earth’s production? between “selling” the imagined value of commodities and giving credit to those credit-worthy merely by being human? One can charge rationally to account for costs, and tax to indicate scarcity, but thinking of money as a commodity with positive value, merely having rather than spending it leaves one in debt. Short of regurgitating excess via taxes, you can’t both have your cake and eat it: rely on sale of commodities and give credit to those with nothing to sell.

      • Craig
        January 27, 2020 at 5:34 pm

        Dave,

        Grace is BOTH the pinnacle unitary AND ethical concept, the highest and most refined integration of BOTH the spiritual AND the pragmatic. Apply it to economics…and trust in its beneficial characteristics.

        “One can charge rationally to account for costs, and tax to indicate scarcity, but thinking of money as a commodity with positive value, merely having rather than spending it leaves one in debt.”

        Money is not a commodity. It is however an excellent tool and utility and it perfectly facilitates exchange….especially when the problem for the vast majority is scarcity thereof. So let us have a gracious abundance of it…and the appreciative attitude that it will foster in all but those most damaged and/or self deceived.

        I neither ignore nor fail to confront any relevant information. I simply integrate it as much as I possibly can….because integration is the very process of wisdom and hence the route to personal and temporal grace. Free your mind from the vestiges of compulsive duality and integrate opposites to the point of trinity-unity/thirdness greater oneness. It’s the ethical and pragmatic thing to do.

  19. ghholtham
    January 25, 2020 at 12:17 am

    The fact that Craig cannot say why 100 per cent is ok but 1000 per cent might not be shows his proposition is vacuous. He is wasting everyone’s time.

    • Craig
      January 25, 2020 at 2:30 am

      Wisdom as an answer has always been a waste of time for those who apparently do not know it.

  20. ghholtham
    January 26, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    So in your wisdom, why not answer the question? Why is 100 correct, rather than 87 or 129 or any other number? What is the basis of your quantification?

    • Craig
      January 26, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      The idea of a 50% discount/rebate policy at retail sale is to make up for the last 50+ years of income stagnation and to establish abundance WITHOUT tempting profligacy. We’re talking about ECO-nomy after all. And by the way you couldn’t have more than a 100% discount or everything would be free and you would indeed have excesses of all kinds. Proof positive that you haven’t really looked at the policy or visualized its effects.

      Now go chastize yourself for your lack of looking…and wisdom.

      • Meta Capitalism
        January 26, 2020 at 11:08 pm

        Now go chastize yourself for your lack of looking…and wisdom. ~ Craig’s Arrogance and Ignorance on Full Display

        .
        Gerald is right. Craig cannot answer a simple question without displaying his presumptive arrogance proving his idealism is devoid of balance, grace, and wisdom. Craig rightly perceives that the ends of economics aught to serve human needs and not the other way around, he fails to distinguish the value of science (along with other disciplines) in addressing the means of accomplishing those goals and therefore, his idealism is divorced from reality and cannot answer a simple pragmatic question.
        .
        The acid test of any science, any philosophy, any religion (new age or traditional or humanist) is its ability to balance pragmatism with idealism and to distinguish between the realities of the material, moral, ethical, and spiritual ways of perceiving and contemplating the world and their unification in intellectual striving and in social serving. A sound philosophy does not confound material things of this world with the moral and ethical meanings embodied in our value-perceptions that are able to wisely distinguish between means and ends; to recognize that persons are ends in themselves and not means for one’s own self-gratification for pleasure and/or profit.
        .

        Nobel laureate Sir Peter Medawar said, “Catastrophe apart, I believe it to be science’s greatest glory that there is no limit upon the power of science to answer questions of the kind science can answer.” (P. B. Medawar, The Limits of Science, p. 87)

        .
        It is equally foolish to think that science can answer all questions including questions of human values (i.e., ends) or that there are no other means by which humans obtain knowledge and insight about their world of things, meanings, and values.

  21. Craig
    January 26, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    You’re last statement is true. The rest of it, if you’ve actually read my posts, is either a re-statement of exactly what I advocate or completely false accusation. For instance your statement of:

    “The acid test of any science, any philosophy, any religion (new age or traditional or humanist) is its ability to balance pragmatism with idealism and to distinguish between the realities of the material, moral, ethical, and spiritual ways of perceiving and contemplating the world and their unification in intellectual striving and in social serving.” …sums up precisely what I advocate and nicely defines the philosophical concept of grace.

    “Craig rightly perceives that the ends of economics aught to serve human needs and not the other way around, he fails to distinguish the value of science (along with other disciplines) in addressing the means of accomplishing those goals and therefore, his idealism is divorced from reality and cannot answer a simple pragmatic question.”

    For someone who advocates unifying the truths in opposites how could I ever not be four square for science. The only thing I have ever complained about science is its unconscious use by those who don’t realize that it’s current paradigm is Science ONLY.

    • Meta Capitalism
      January 27, 2020 at 12:01 am

      You hubris exceeds your wisdom as it does for all zealots. You have a one-size-fits-all solution for a complex social problem that requires a pluralism of approaches is a form of idealism based upon if-pigs-could-fly assumptions every bit as much as the assumptions exposed by Lars and others regarding mainstream and even some so-called heterodox economists. You have isolated money and debt as being the root of all evil and proposed a one-size-fits all solution and are impervious to reasonable doubt. You are in my view one more example of the Terrible Simplifers syndrome.

      • Craig
        January 27, 2020 at 1:49 am

        Not correct. My policies fit seamlessly within the complexities that everyone here obsessively posts about. Accounting conventions are accounting conventions and accounting is the infrastructure upon and within which the entirety of the economy exists. The accounting operations of debits and credits I suggest as policies effect the new paradigm mathematically and temporally. It’s apparently too simple for you to look at and comprehend. As I have posted here many times before the actual operations of historic paradigm changes have always been simple and yet strikingly deep in the changes they create. The Copernican Cosmological paradigm change was at base nothing more and certainly nothing less than the simple inversion of the positions of the earth and the sun.

        I don’t and never have rejected complexity, I just happened to be lucky enough to have the right adult interests that enabled me to see how the new monetary paradigm could be transcended and how that would tremendously benefit the economy.

  22. ghholtham
    January 27, 2020 at 12:03 am

    The 100 per cent Craig quoted was an increase in purchasing power not a discount. I’m sure he remembered what he wrote but misrepresented it to avoid exposing his intellectual nakedness. Clusters of abstract nouns and an inability to explain spurious quantification show we are deep in bullshit gulch here. But I give up – over and out..

    • Craig
      January 27, 2020 at 1:01 am

      Again not correct. A 100% discount at retail sale would make every consumer item free. A 50% discount at that point indeed would double everyone’s purchasing power. Who’s the one
      with the inability to comprehend quantification?

    • Craig
      January 27, 2020 at 2:02 am

      And again my answer to you was valid in that increasing everyone’s purchasing power by 500 or a 1000% would tempt profligacy and over consumption. You apparently can’t see that as true or inadvisable.

  23. ghholtham
    January 27, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    I really shouldn’t but one last try (one more once as Basie used to say). Increasing purchasing power by 500 per cent is inadvisable you say but increasing by 100 per cent is fine. Can you not see those statements require some justification? How do we know 100 is ok? Perhaps it should be 50? And if we can go to 100, what about 110? You can’t just suck numbers out of your thumb. What determines, in your story, how much is enough and how much is too much?
    Most economic analysis accepts there is a limit to the amount of goods and services that can be produced at any time and the monetary system should respect that limit (which the present system is not always good at doing). If you reject that proposition are you really arguing production can be infinite? And if you don’t reject that proposition, we are back with the question – how do you know when enough monetary expansion is enough?

    • Craig
      January 27, 2020 at 5:58 pm

      I’ve already explained that the human PID system of human consciousness AKA the integrative discipline of wisdom is the balanced reasoning behind the numerical percentage so stop “whipping the dead steed” of your covert attempt to invalidate with irrelevant straw man hypotheticals.

      And as I have also advocated a second 50% discount/rebate policy at the point of note signing, which would reduce the price on green and big ticket items by 75%, it shows that I’m not hung up on some “magic” number, but rather simply looking for a more pragmatic attempt to do the wise thing considering the dominance of the paradigm of Debt Only and a looming climate crisis. You should quit before you loose even more validity.

  24. ghholtham
    January 27, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    “the human PID system of human consciousness AKA the integrative discipline of wisdom is the balanced reasoning behind the numerical percentage ”

    comment is superfluous

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