Saturday, March 7, 2009

Request for comments on the new intro for my book

I just completed a nearly final version of The Invisible Handcuffs of Capitalism: How Market Tyranny Stifles the Economy by Stunting Workers. I have put earlier versions here, but this one is very different. The second half is totally new.

I would very much appreciate any comments.

This site would not let me upload the file for some reason. I put here:

Thanks in advance.


Brenda Rosser said...

Pretty good, Michael! I enjoyed reading this intro.
(Of course, I was looking out for the inevitable error and false assumption. I had no luck this time round ;-)

You might find John Ralston Saul's book entitled 'Voltaire's Bastards' on topic and of interest. He had an interesting interview with Philip Adams on Australian abc 'radio national' in 1997 where he spent some time talking about 'corporatism' as the 4th major attack on society in the last 400 years (technocrats, then the industrial revolution followed by fascism and, in the last 50 years, corporatism). Economists have essentially become bureaucrats in the service of corporations just as the civil servant has done the same.

some notes I took from the radio interview (for my reference as well):

...a childlike society virtually incapable of disinterested thought. Power means occupying a position but what's done there doesn't matter all that much. What's done is done in the name of capitalism but doesn't have much to do with the ownership of the means of production or risktaking/entrepreneurship. The admired class in society are essentially administrators. 'bureaucrats in drag'

Policy is presented as's going to happen anyway. Responsible individualism replaced by pleasure, holidays, absence of dress codes, sex. Turning your back on society and walking away. Signs that people are being treated like domesticated animals that can be bought off with a bowl of food.

Short-termism, 'fabulation' (bureaucrats in drag telling us we're capitalists. You're not allowed to use your trained intellect in anything other than an interested way. We try to dream our way out of things.)

Passivity when faced by a crisis.

education - in spite of all the learning it simply doesn't work.

We're told that outside our areas of interest we really don't have anything to elite that feels astonishingly powerless before the crises that face us....

Humanist arguments are labelled as 'left wing' and they are then dismissed.

People are voting for social democrat governments that then do the same thing as the former conservative govt. That's because the argument is taking place inside the corporation.

We have a single party state. a corporatist stae. If the elite are 30% of the population we use our intelligence to suit the corproations and the rest are frustrated. there is an enormous internal dissent. There are very few people in the private sector where they are paid to think. A number, however, do exist in banking because the banking sector know how much trouble we're in. Ministers of fiance are in deep disagreement amoungst themselves but give the public the impression that they follow the acceptable formula.

On specific ECONOMIC matters he says that we need to re-consider our ideas of 'growth' because it's based on definitions and concepts that are extremely out of date.

INFLATION: When they say 'we've beaten inflation' what does that really mean? When 99.9% of money markets have no utility. These international markets have no utility. It is not investment in growth. Economic growth figures might look good but employment is down.

they've redefined 'unemployment' to deal with this new situation.

GOOD AND EVIL. In reality the real battle is between amorality and immorality. Amorality ... when actions are justified on the basis of efficiency alone.

Ralston Saul urges us to wake up and decide in what way we can participate in society today.

The Big Mook said...

My link to Econospeak is titled "Bearded Economists blog"
because the gallery on the Econospeak masthead is highly populated with bearded Economists . Did the Econospeak gallery influence your comparison of economists to Michaelangelos sculpture. "The bearded slave"?

Michael Perelman said...

On the contrary, we influenced Michelangeo. You may question that assertion, but remember that economics has no conception of time.

Brenda, thanks for the reference to Saul.