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Monday, April 26, 2010

Economism: A Modern Religion

Fascinatingly, The Independent Institute has published a book, The New Holy Wars, acknowledging the religious nature of much that passes for economic science. From the summary: "Also, economists typically assume that psychological stress caused by an economic transition to a more efficient allocation of resources is negligible and not worth factoring in."

This was Karl Polanyi's great point: He acknowledged the ability of unfettered markets to produce goods and services, but also claimed that they produced change at a pace with which human beings just could not keep up. Unfettered markets will produce loads of stuff while destroying society and our natural setting in the process.

2 comments:

  1. Unfettered markets will produce loads of stuff while destroying society and our natural setting in the process.

    Are you saying that, or Polanyi? And does "unfettered" mean "unfettered by state regulation," or "unfettered by anything except narrow pecuniary motives"?

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  2. 1) Polanyi said, but I am suspicious he is right. (At this point just suspicious.)

    2) The fetters could be things like an ethos that makes companies very unlikely to, e.g., lay someone off. But K. Polanyi definitely sees a role for government regulation.

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