Home > Uncategorized > The essence of neoliberalism

The essence of neoliberalism

from Lars Syll

800x450The neoliberal utopia evokes powerful belief – the free trade faith – not only among those who live off it, such as financiers, the owners and managers of large corporations, etc., but also among those, such as high-level government officials and politicians, who derive their justification for existing from it. For they sanctify the power of markets in the name of economic efficiency, which requires the elimination of administrative or political barriers capable of inconveniencing the owners of capital in their individual quest for the maximisation of individual profit, which has been turned into a model of rationality. They want independent central banks. And they preach the subordination of nation-states to the requirements of economic freedom for the masters of the economy, with the suppression of any regulation of any market, beginning with the labour market, the prohibition of deficits and inflation, the general privatisation of public services, and the reduction of public and social expenses.

Economists may not necessarily share the economic and social interests of the true believers and may have a variety of individual psychic states regarding the economic and social effects of the utopia which they cloak with mathematical reason. Nevertheless, they have enough specific interests in the field of economic science to contribute decisively to the production and reproduction of belief in the neoliberal utopia. Separated from the realities of the economic and social world by their existence and above all by their intellectual formation, which is most frequently purely abstract, bookish, and theoretical, they are particularly inclined to confuse the things of logic with the logic of things.

Pierre Bourdieu

  1. Rob
    November 10, 2019 at 12:54 am

    How could we not make a special place among these collectives, associations, unions, and parties for the state: the nation-state, or better yet the supranational state – a European state on the way toward a world state – capable of effectively controlling and taxing the profits earned in the financial markets and, above of all, of counteracting the destructive impact that the latter have on the labour market. This could be done with the aid of labour unions by organising the elaboration and defence of the public interest. Like it or not, the public interest will never emerge, even at the cost of a few mathematical errors, from the vision of accountants (in an earlier period one would have said of “shopkeepers”) that the new belief system presents as the supreme form of human accomplishment. (Pierre Bourdieu, Visioning a supranational state, even a ‘world state’)

    .
    Many years ago in a rather obscure book I read that,
    .
    “If you take every form of modern mechanical armaments and all types of explosives away from strong nations, they will fight with fists, stones, and clubs as long as they cling to their delusions of the divine right of national sovereignty.
    .
    War is not man’s great and terrible disease; war is a symptom, a result. The real disease is the virus of national sovereignty. (UB 134:6-7)”
    .
    I think this is true; one only needs observe the wicked demagogue Trump and the division and hatred he is whipping up in the US to see a reflection of Germany under the Nazis in the 1930s.
    .
    The most succinct summary of our global situation I have ever read is contained in the Urantia Book’s Papers 134 and Sections 5 (Political Sovereignty) and 6 (Law, Liberty, and Sovereignty).
    .
    Given the recent trends in world history I am not very optimistic that humankind can avoid another global war, for I see little prospect for political progress towards a world government when retrogression is accelerating all around the world.
    .
    Yet, one must be hopeful, if for no other reason than our children’s sake. But we should not be naïve and assume progress is inevitable.

  2. November 10, 2019 at 4:57 am

    Yes, all those beliefs intended for a more efficient economy. It is totally cloud cuckoo land! Not a word about the external costs or unintended consequences. Unemployment is more expensive than employment. Fighting poverty is expensive. Fighting crime and homelessness is expensive. These figures are not factored into the calculations. But if they were their costs would far outweigh the social democracy version. Capitalism is for the wealthy. Socialism is for the costs. A study by the British government found the cost in 2012 was ₤30,000 pounds per homeless person per year rising to ₤400,000 [Quoted in “Utopia for Realists” by Rutger Bregman]
    Predatory capitalism [a k a neoliberalism] is the most expensive economic system ever. It is also the most destructive of the public good.

  3. EDWARD K ROSS
    November 10, 2019 at 8:07 am

    “From at least the last 25 years I have quoted this concept of KEYNES 1933
    He believed the evidence showed that free trade, the international mobility of capitalism and foreign ownership of national assets were more likely to promote war than peace (Keynes 1933)”. Ted Wheelwright cited in the Human Costs of Managerialism Edited by Stuart Rees and Gordon Rodley 1995

    Because from my humble background and lack of formal education I was able to think for myself and listen to my old uneducated friends experience whose experience and observation convinced them that ignoring Keynes ideas would lead to disaster. I n my opinion this observation contrasts with the neoliberal educational approach of telling students and others how to think. Thus I think it is great to see some constructive criticism of mainstream neoliberalism. Ted

  4. EDWARD K ROSS
    November 10, 2019 at 8:42 am

    As a fan of Keynes and his ” He believed the evidence showed that free trade ,the international mobility of capitalism and foreign ownership national assets were more likely to create war than peace (Keynes 1933)”
    My support for Keynes was based on observation and listening to old friends recounting their lived experience. On this basis I believe we were able to think for ourselves , whereas those studying or involved in economics succumbed to what they were told to believe in mainstream neoliberalism. Here in my simple mind recognising the major faults of neoliberalismm is the necessary first step in reforming economics.

    Way back in one of the early issues of RWER Bernard Gurrien and later Edward Fullkbrook(2005)0 PAE volL 32 P 34 expressed similar views. thus in my simple mind listening to the concerns of the people and conversing with them could begin to construct a foundation for a new economics.Ted

  5. November 10, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Thank you both for your insights and your humility, Ted. As an informally trained back-room scientist I share them. “Unless we become as little children …”. In the story it took a child to recognise that the emperor had no clothes.

    Will you then listen to and discuss my concerns about why, having already taken your “necessary first step” of “recognising the major faults of neoliberalism”, we have not moved on to “listening to the concerns of the people and conversing with them”? My experience of living for sixty years with a wife with an opposite type of personality (“opposites attract”, and rightly so in that they can make good each other’s weaknesses), is that the problem is lack of understanding, not good will. Our major difference is that she is a “sensory” thinker – seeing what’s there – whereas I am an intuitive thinker (seeing what that means). We see the sun moving daily round our earth – only we (or perhaps I) now know it doesn’t: the earth spins! She sees a mortgage as a debt to the bank; I see the bank having only given us a credit limit.

    I’ve just commented on the idea of a “serious joke”:

    https://rwer.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/in-search-of-causality-2/#comment-160659.

    Sensory people (most of us) are likely to see this as about a JOKE, intuitive people are more likely to recognise its meaning as a joking way of saying something SERIOUS (proverbially, “sugaring the pill”). Having just read a Nevil Shute novel about an Australian homestead covering a million square miles, I can’t resist G K Chesterton’s quip about “Three [English] acres and a cow” – all that was being asked post-World War I to permit some independence.

    How do you feel about the seriousness of neoliberalism being a joke? And what looks like debt becoming generally recognised as credit?

  6. Craig
    November 10, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    The thoroughly integrated parasitical financial ideology of individual income scarcity and thus systemic austerity.

    It is a dramatization of the curse of Adam, the obsessive dead letter of the law instead of its spirit, religiosity instead of spirituality and the denial-unconsciousness of grace.

    Let us have a Wisdomics via monetary grace as in Gifting.

  7. Econoclast
    November 10, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    I shared a copy of the original Bourdieu article (https://mondediplo.com/1998/12/08bourdieu) with a smart retired engineer friend who has long been confused about the term “neoliberalism”. He has a high level of common sense, his knowledge of economics is shaped by Econ 1a and a business class at a good university and career experience in the private sector, and his knowledge of politics is limited to 5th-grade civics. His confusion I find is widespread.

    In spite of the fact that Bourdieu’s article has some tough spots, he found it useful. Along the way I offered this paraphrase of the first paragraph (not the one Lars cites):
    “the dominant economic order is pure and perfect with predictable consequences that responds to its adversaries through its [financially and police-powered] “armed” institutions with these policies: reduced labor costs, reduced public expenditures [and I would add specifically privatization and plundering of public assets] and making work more “flexible” [meaning cutting perks and other job-security stuff such as pensions]; this is its scientific description of reality.” My friend found this helped clear up the rough spots he encountered.

    I went on to say:
    “stressing the focus on individuality that characterizes neoliberalism and economic orthodoxy, I think Bourdieu’s partly saying (correctly) that the ideology denies or omits the social aspects that are necessary in a truly functioning political economy. … his criticism about individuality is correct. So is the criticism about the focus on mathematical purity. It’s all an illusion that has come to dominate us.

    “I have my own explanation for this: I call orthodox economics the emperor’s clothes, and the habardashing intentional. I can even date it back to about 150 years ago, to about 1870, when the referenced Walrasian mathematics fascination really took hold. And the ideology is crafted to hide the naked brutality of the empire of corporate capital rule.From about 1890 we have evidence of intent, backed by big finance, to promote an ideology to counter the popularity of both Henry George and Karl Marx (interesting that George disliked Marxism). I was told explicitly in grad school (the 1960s) that alternatives to the orthodoxy were verboten and that one of them, called “institutional economics”, was passe.

    “I am happy to call this a conspiracy of deceit, and if such was even possible and I were younger with deep pockets I would bring a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) lawsuit against the entire economics profession for perpetuating this fraud.”

    I think some of the confusion about the term “neoliberal” may lie in the different meanings of the word “liberal” in the American versus the British systems. Although in both systems, patriarchal as they still are, the equality of liberty with property ownership still holds sway.

    I welcome any comments on these observations.

    • Craig
      November 10, 2019 at 7:32 pm

      They’re all interesting bits and pieces of the problem, but not its essence.

      The essence of neo-liberalism is the oppressively enforced monopolistic monetary and financial paradigm of Debt Only.

      Science is reductionistic and fears to declare a truth. Wisdom is scientifically informed integrative and wholistic thought.

      New paradigms being singular concepts that define new patterns are the quintessential integration of the opposites of mental essence and temporal pattern. Paradigm perception is thus thinking and observing with wisdom.

      • Econoclast
        November 10, 2019 at 8:09 pm

        What do you think “empire of corporate capital rule” refers to if it is a “bit and piece”? Where, if not there, do you think “oppressively enforced monopolistic monetary and financial” resides?

        In spite of my own consistent focus on the power of predatory corporate capital (a phrase i prefer to “capitalism”), I tend to resist ideologies that have “the answer”.

        And every time I hear the word “paradigm” I burst into a Gilbert and Sullivan tune. Can’t help it.

      • Craig
        November 10, 2019 at 8:37 pm

        Keep focusing on the FINANCIAL corporate power…and you’ll find the true mark.

        Paradigms hold the most power and create the most beneficial change. Don’t react to it…just look at it.

      • Craig
        November 10, 2019 at 9:29 pm

        That after all is what the scientific are supposed to do…and the wise do by self actualization and practice.

      • November 11, 2019 at 8:41 am

        Perhaps worth a comment on Econoclast’s resisting “answers” and ridiculing “paradigms”. The joke against the scientific word is perhaps about “the modern major-general, who lead his regiment from behind: he found it less exciting”. His problem with answers is perhaps because it is so obvious to him that that the sun goes round the earth that he assumes an answer would be similarly visible and not the different way of looking needed to see the earth spinning. (C.f. Asad Zaman’s gestalt example: seeing the young lady in the face of the old).

      • Econoclast
        November 11, 2019 at 6:05 pm

        To be clear, I am resisting “THE ANSWER”, not answers (lately I have been reading Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer, a relevant classic, and not a bad job for a fellow with virtually no formal education).

        I suppose I am not so much concerned with “ridiculing paradigms” as I am with how to carry on ordinary conversation about the all-important need for a cultural shift in patterns of both thinking and belief. Sorry for the misunderstanding, but I love Pirates of Penzance and that’s what the word “paradigm” brings to mind, not Thomas Kuhn. My sense of humor brings blank looks even in my own family. I tried the word out on my friend, referred to here, and needed to define it for him (and he’s scientifically trained).

        This thread began with a term that has long begged questions: “neoliberalism”. I no longer will use this term, preferring one I consider more relevant, “neofascism”, because that’s my current pattern of thought and belief.

        Now that Lula’s Back In Town, more relevant than ever. Oh, sorry, check this out from one of the more erudite journalists writing today, Pepe Escobar: https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/11/article/released-lula-in-for-greatest-fight-of-his-life/

        I feel we are fiddling with words while the planet burns, along with its diverse democratic paradigms.

      • November 11, 2019 at 11:04 pm

        Again, interesting. Anything to do with the policeman’s lot not being a happy one in David Lucas’s ’14th Paradigm Shift: E = AM2′ ? And yes, fiddling with words, but as I recall Chesterton saying somewhere, it is not unreasonable to be studying the theory of hydraulics when Rome is burning. At 82, anyway.

      • Econoclast
        November 11, 2019 at 11:28 pm

        Dave Taylor, love this. And sorry for not acknowledging your earlier recognition of “Pirates”. Had not heard the “E=AM2”, that’s a good one. Where does it come from? At 84 my own theory of relativity would be E=AM2 + PM2. The poet Donald Hall wrote a book about being in his 90s and offered this paradigm: “In 80s I needed two naps a day. In my 90s, I’ve lost count”. Yes to Chesterton. “With constabulary duties to be done …”.

      • Craig
        November 12, 2019 at 6:14 am

        Steve Keen recently gave a presentation to the shifting paradigms conference at the Aberdeen Political Economy Group he called The Incredible Inertness of Paradigm Changes in Economics. It was both insightful regarding energy and yet also typically blind to why genuine paradigm change has not come to economics, namely the enforced de-stabilizing costs of the monetary and financial paradigm of Debt Only as the sole form and vehicle for the distribution of credit/money…..in effect for the culturally inured length of the entire history of human civilization.

        In other words the economic paradigm is inert….because the deepest and most longstanding ECONOMIC problem IS THE CURRENT MONETARY AND FINANCIAL PARADIGM. First things first. It helps with knowledge and perspective.

        Finance says it costs too much to have a stable economy, to have a stable empire and to survive ecologically (how f@%king insane is that?)….because there can be no other monetary and financial paradigm than Debt and its additional costs saturated before, during and after the productive process which actually ends at retail sale, but must be increasingly and parasitically extended beyond that point to keep private finance viable.

        But what if a new paradigm of Monetary Gifting were to be integrated into the productive process and became the new dominant force? Then you could have a secure psychologically rejuvenated populace in a system that was stably free flowing and prosperous for all competitive and ethical enterprise. Then finance could be utilized to beneficially assist all economic agents individual and commercial and be used to reduce costs at retail sale with a 50% discount/rebate monetary policy…and with an additional 50% discount/rebate policy at the point of note signing for all big ticket green consumer products and resources could be a bottom up way of hugely jump starting a consumer assist to the ecological problem.

        Finally, if excess costs and inflation are no longer ways that finance can enforce the sluggishness of the economy and the inertness of paradigm change then the funding of any and all mega projects to reverse the effects of the laws of thermo-dynamics, like the off planeting of most production where such wasted energy dissipates into the cosmos….could all be SANELY begun with post haste.

        Consider it.

      • November 12, 2019 at 11:05 am

        Econoclast, I found Lucas by googling for paradigm in Pirates. I want you to know that (my wife being familiar with Pirates if not paradigms) relating this to her led to the most productive discussion we have had in many years! I’m going to continue this discussion under Ikonoclast’s new post on Facts, Fallacies and Echo Chambers, but a few hints here in response to Craig.

        Craig, mathematically you are just saying that in our current way of thinking debt is a constant; but if gifting is to become the new FORCE you will STILL have a constant.

        Someone recently wrote here of the 19th century developing its understanding of a variable, i.e. thinking in terms of flows rather than quantities; but in economic terms, flows of what? Of heterogenous goods, or constantly of money, and flows equilibriating to a constant rate of interest? The point of a paradigm, surely, is that it is not merely a new way of doing things but a new way of SEEING things – like when Claude Shannon saw a physical telephone exchange performing logic, its variable paths conveying variable information, and its bits of wire representing bits of information about itself which can be mapped visibly into a flow diagram.

      • November 12, 2019 at 11:40 am

        Econoclast, I meant to add that I followed your link to Escobar on Brasil. That merely reinforced my judgement that we can’t win a war, so must sell a paradigm change which undermines the love of money and the power we are ceding to it. More happily, had a good laugh at that Hall joke, though it is getting a bit near the mark !

      • Craig
        November 12, 2019 at 6:02 pm

        Dave,
        I’m saying that the concept of Debt ONLY is a monopolistic paradigm. I’m not here to destroy debt. Debt will continue after Monetary Gifting becomes the new PRIMARY paradigm, Gifting will not become the new monopoly paradigm.

        You’re quite right that a new paradigm is a new way of SEEING things. There is a always a cognitive aspect to a paradigm right along with its temporal effects. In fact, as I have posted here many times, a new paradigm is a single defining concept that changes an entire pattern IN THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE VIA THE ALIGNED POLICIES IT ENABLES. It is thus an elemental integration of both the mental and the temporal, and as wisdom is the very process of the integration of the particles of truths, workabilities, applicabilities and highest ethical considerations in apparent opposites, paradigm perception is thus wisdom in the body of knowledge/area of human endeavor the new paradigm applies to.

        Data gathering, mathematical computation and theoretical modeling are all well and good, but are all on a lower level of mental integration than the perception of paradigms.

        Why would we want to only use lower levels of integration when higher levels exist and will have larger, greater and more beneficial effects???

    • November 10, 2019 at 9:18 pm

      Very interesting, especially (given Craig’s interest) in light of your introducing Henry George.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_George.

      Some echoes of what I’ve been saying from a British perspective [on capitalists rubbishing Ruskin, but also Marx on rubbishing Owen as utopian and the Labour Fabians preferring the Jevons way to power]. As a free trader it is not surprising George disliked Marx and the Pope disliked him. The wiki section on George’s Views and Policy Proposals surprised me by how topical they have become again, though the need for his land rents is inconsistent with his Lincoln Greenbacks understanding of money creation when that is balanced by the writing off of credit that has achieved its purpose of permitting regeneration. Free trading for profit also needs to be rethought in light of Edward Fullbrook’s measure of Market-Value and the now evident environmental consequences of unconstrained mass production. Looking in George’s “Progress and Poverty”, he foresaw “how our modern civilisation [has] declined”, but fails to see the contradiction (contrary meanings) in the word ‘Liberty’ in the American constitution he appeals to and its perversion into Free Trade, Free Love and Free Riding. That is the way evil works: normalising corruption by changing the meaning of words, like marriage. Hence the one possible basis for positive thinking I found in the Bordieu article:

      “.what keeps the social order from dissolving into chaos, despite the growing volume of the endangered population, is the continuity or survival of those very institutions and representatives of the old order that is in the process of being dismantled, and all the work of all of the categories of social workers, as well as all the forms of social solidarity, familial or otherwise”.

  8. ghholtham
    November 10, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    You can’t beat something with nothing, even when the something is rubbish. Even when the emperor has no clothes, he’s still the emperor until someone comes up with an alternative. People will listen to a story, however often you tell them it is far-fetched, until they hear a better story.
    C’mon folks, we’re all on the same side but moaning isn’t good enough. We really do need to raise our game.

    • Frank Salter
      November 11, 2019 at 10:10 am

      Absolutely true but the problem is that economists seem to quote authority rather than think for themselves. I have pointed out that orthodox and heterodox analysis fails to recognise that the quantity calculus proves their analysis wrong. The only analysis available which is not disqualified by the quantity calculus is my Transient Development paper, RWER-81 but no one will discuss the merits or otherwise of this paper. My feeling is that apparently no one understands its significance. It describes abstract production theory. I have been unable to get a mathematician to say that the mathematical manipulations are right or wrong. Some economists have invented spurious reasons as to why it can not be valid despite the over whelming empirical evidence that it is not invalidated by that evidence.

      • Frank Salter
        November 11, 2019 at 10:31 am

        Unfortunately the page for discussion of RWER-81 is still not accepting any form of comment which would be the best place to discuss my paper.

  9. November 11, 2019 at 1:52 am

    “,,,prohibition of deficits and inflation…” This is of course part of Oz propaganda and has nothing to do with anything except propaganda.

  10. Rob
    November 11, 2019 at 2:47 am

    The neoliberal utopia evokes powerful belief – the free trade faith – not only among those who live off it, such as financiers, the owners and managers of large corporations, etc., but also among those, such as high-level government officials and politicians, who derive their justification for existing from it. ~ Lars

    .
    Don’t forget the self-serving, career building, foxhole jumping statisticians qua econometricians who move from hedge funds to predatory banks and back to think tanks all along earning their mere bread-n-butter at the expense of far weightier matters.

  11. ghholtham
    November 11, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Well, Frank I have tried to understand your point but I still can’t see how equations that are dimensionally homogenous can be violating a quantity calculus. The issue seems to be that economic relations do not relate physical quantities but monetary quantities. You insist you don’t have a model but for the life of me it looks like a model to me and you are trying to maintain a relation between a non-monetary quantity, labour time, and output. In practice output can only be aggregated in monetary terms (apples+oranges etc). You have derived a case where the relation is maintained but it is not hard to think of counter-examples where it will not be (my diamond example for example). Value is a system product, depending on social values and demand as well as production realities. If your point is that unless monetary aggregates can be reduced to physical quantities stable relations are not to be expected, you may be right. Let’s hope not, otherwise economics becomes impossible as a systematic discipline.

    • Frank Salter
      November 11, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      About homogeneity: I do not know of any quantitative analysis which produces homogeneous solutions. If you do please tell me about them.

      A model is an equation which is introduced to represent an artifact expected to be found in reality. I introduce no such equations into my analysis, only definitions of productivity and technical progress and the observation that equipment needs maintaining. Then by integrating the aggregate relationship is found for manufacturing industries whereas the algebraic solutions describes manufacturing projects. The relationships I found are independent of monetary values.

      You obviously find the concept of labour-time to represent abstract output difficult to accept. If you send me an email, I will send you a proof that abstract output is labour-time. It requires far better methods of writing mathematics than those available on these pages.

      As long as monetary values are affine translations of labour-time then they can be used to represent output. I show that is true for the Solow data. I have made no other use of monetary aggregates than that.

      Stable relationships are possible. I show that Kaldor’s stylised facts and many other relationships are consistent with my analysis. What I do not understand is why this consistency is apparently ignored. My analysis explains why many relationships seen as paradoxes are not paradoxical at all. If one applies Occam’s razor then my relationships are parsimonious. This is why you should see its significance.

  12. ghholtham
    November 13, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I don’t want to argue over semantics. Labour time is an abstraction because in the real world “labour” is not homogenous. People differ by the training they have undertaken and by aptitude. No one is going to pay to watch me play football, The same is not true of Lionel Messi. You make an abstraction and then define its relation to other abstractions: projects and aggregate production. That’s a model in my world but I won’t insist. The problem is the following. Production as measured in practice is product aggregated at market prices, not at abstract values that are unobservable. Whatever you say about affine translations there is no reliable relationship in practice between labour time and market prices. Marx had a labour theory of value but recognised use-values and exchange values could differ. Marxist economists spent a century trying to produce a useable theory of the inevitable relation between value as determined by labour and exchange value, ie market prices. They did not succeed which is why the labour theory or value is little used in positive analysis, though it still has normative appeal.
    If you read the thread on this blog about meritocracy, you’ll recall the author complaining that he got paid more for playing pop, which required less of him than playing jazz. Jazz players with more musical skill and perception were paid less than pop performers for the same labour time (and more past labour time embodied in training). That shows that market prices depend on demand patterns as well as labour supply, even quality adjusted. Those prices are used in aggregation, infecting any aggregate measure of production. It is possible, of course, to construct special cases where actually-observed aggregate production is a stable function of labour time. I won’t dispute that. What I call in question is your claim to generality. You have made the assumptions that make your conclusions true; I don’t dispute your maths, just the generality of the result.
    Correspondence with Solow data means little – as Nelson and Winter demonstrated. There is not enough data there to distinguish among different theories. Almost anything that generates a trend can be made to “fit”.
    Because prices infect all aggregates in economics, most relations used in macroeconomics do not try to relate monetary quantities to physical measures. They relate them to other monetary quantities. That means the units of measurement are the same on both sides of the equation. As long as people don’t get stocks and flows mixed up (some have!) such equations are fully consistent with the quantity calculus – monetary not physical quantities.

    I’ll read your piece another time but that’s how it looks to me.

    • Frank Salter
      November 13, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      I have offered to prove to you that the natural unit of output is labour-time based on the quantity calculus but the capabilities on these pages are insufficient to write the maths down. If you contact me by email I will send you the proof. It is provable. You are introducing productivity into what you are saying.

      Actually there have been papers based on labour time and they describe the data very well. That the relationship is abstract only means it is applicable to every possibility. Think of Newton’s gravitation law, F = G*m_1*m_2 / r*r. It is an abstract relationship describing every possibility.

      You are arguing about value which is irrelevant. Do you understand what affine means?
      It is impossible to prove a theory of value.

      You accept my maths but not the result. Every known relationship is described by my maths, Kaldor’s stylised facts Okun’s law, the Verdoorn relationship etc. Please read all the examples in my paper. You say I have made assumptions, What are they? I made only one assumption of returns to scale.

      I suggest you read the section on the Solow data. I keep saying that any arbitrary equation can be made to fit a data set. My relationship fits over the whole range of possible values. It is that fact, the full range of possible values not invalidated by the quantity calculus, which is significant.

      Your penultimate paragraph is false to fact. There are no conventional equations which pass the requirement of the quantity calculus.

      Why do you ignore all the empirical evidence I present in the paper. By all truly scientific standards my analysis is not invalidated by the empirical evidence. You are letting your opinions blind you to the facts.

  13. Ken Zimmerman
    November 14, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    From a technical paper presented at a 2008 conference on the conditional necessities for markets.

    It is common for supporters and opponents of the neo-liberal “sociotechnical agencement” to claim that this agencement (see below) is essential to ensure that markets are strong and effective. I propose to show that not only is this position wrong but in fact the neo-liberal sociotechnical agencement impedes the creation and effective functioning of markets.

    This position is based on three characteristics of neo-liberalism. First, neo-liberalism opposes government regulation of markets, tariffs between nations, market standards set outside the market itself, and restrictions on capital flows and investment. But markets cannot be strong and function effectively outside the context of these factors. Markets require framing which make prediction, control, and calculation possible and repeatable. But this framing is never complete, frequently fails, and must be repeated. It is these “outside the market factors” that allow the framing to function effectively and be renewed when it fails. This is simply the recognition of the non-market factors which allow markets to be created and function. There must be an “outside” through which markets are framed, for however long that framing lasts. Otherwise markets could not and would not exist. Second, as with any single framing, whether economic, governmental, military, religious, etc. the framing of markets cannot encompass all the agents and actions of all sociotechnical agencements. Markets constitute one, and only one framing formed in the ebb and flow of actor networks. The market framing is thus limited in both form and scope. Also, like all framings, market framing often fails and must be done over. Neo-liberalism cannot change these circumstances. Finally, since markets must fail, how are we to address these failures and their consequences? Neo-liberalism claims that markets do not fail so long as they are left to design and oversee themselves. But since markets can do neither of these things alone, markets cannot figure out why they fail, and, more importantly, cannot create ways to figure out or remedy problems they create in areas outside existing market rules, e.g., unfair distributions of wealth, harm to the physical environment, angering some nations while doing the bidding of others. Finally, I conclude that neo-liberalism’s economic failure can be traced directly to these and several other sets of arrangements that are not viable. In other words, neoliberalism is like all sociotechnical agencements; not only a failure but cannot within the bounds of its assumptions fix such failures. The agencement is always beholden to other agencies outside itself. This is mostly hidden in practice through mathematics, some philosophical razzmatazz, or unquestioned axioms.

    (Sociotechnical – From historian of technology Thomas P. Hughes’ book Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930. Hughes describes sociotechnical in relation to this electrification process. “Men and institutions developed characteristics that suited them to the characteristics of the technology. And the systematic interaction of men, ideas, and institutions, both technical and nontechnical, led to the development of a supersystem — a sociotechnical one — with mass movement and direction. An apt metaphor for this movement is “momentum.” So reinforced by a cultural context, and interacting in a systematic way with the elements of that context, the universal system, like high momentum matter, tended in time to resist changes in the direction of development. Development proceeded along lines that could be extrapolated. The universal system gathered a conservative momentum. Its growth generally was steady, and change became a diversification of function.” I apply the term broadly here to refer to an actor network encompassing both technical and non-technical actors (in the usual sense those terms are used in the west.)

    (Agencement — Assemblage (from French: agencement, “a collection of things which have been gathered together or assembled”) is an ontological framework developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, originally presented in their book A Thousand Plateaus (1980). Assemblage theory provides a bottom-up framework for analyzing social complexity by emphasizing fluidity, exchangeability, and multiple functionalities through entities and their connectivity. Assemblage theory asserts that, within a body, the relationships of component parts are not stable and fixed; rather, they can be displaced and replaced within and among other bodies, thus approaching systems through relations of exteriority.)

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