30 July 2018

Economic Theology - Obama and the Rise of the New International Elite

"Do we need weapons to fight wars?  Or do we need wars to create markets for weapons? ...In the privatization of everything, these companies have made the Indian economy one of the fastest growing in the world.   There’s only one problem – they exploit everything and everyone in its wake.  It’s a dream come true for businessmen – to be able to sell what they don’t have to buy.”

Arundhati Roy, The Ghost of Capitalism

Thurman Arnold wrote in The Folklore of Capitalism that  'Economic theology is the opiate of the middle class...Law, morals, and economics are always arrayed against new groups which are struggling to secure a place in an institutional hierarchy of prestige."

Arnold goes on to say in an essay in reply to a review of his book that "Philosophies, legal, ethical, and economic appear very different from the outside looking in than from the inside looking out. The inside point of view assumes that if reasoning men get their heads together, they can make the concept of a good life a workable tool.  From the outside it is obvious that reasoning men never agree. Their conflicts only create more literature."

What Arnold is going after is the very notion of the meritocracy, and the mythology of philosopher-kings. In the abstract reality is not captured, and therfore cannot be made workable.  There is no such thing as a perfect system, one that will solve all problems if you can only tweak it here and there.

A workable system requires practical and talented people, not necessarily the most credentialed and pedigreed, that are working with a genuine dedication  and focus to a set of first principles and priorities

It is a project doomed to failure to allow process to stand over priority,  the realization of the perfectly designed system for its own sake, because such a system does not exist, and is almost always a canard to promote some powerful interests for their own sake.

He means ideologically based systems like 'supply side economics.'.  It may have failed, miserably and spectacularly at every turn, but it still sounds pretty good on paper.  And so here we go again.

Or globalization, free markets and free trade—  these are all good examples of a misbegotten first principles,  tenets of economic theology that form the foundation of a system designed for process, rather than results.

If you wish to understand Obama, Clinton and the modern Democratic and Republican parties, which are both parties representing different segments of the affluent and the powerful,  I urge you to spend the time to watch the latter half of the second video.  The Democrats may speak the cause of the dispossessed and the weak, but tend to treat and view them not as constituents but as charges, with the kind of condescension and utility of neo-colonialism and 'the meritocracy's burden.'

Obama is every bit the narcissist as is Trump.  The difference is that Obama is more articulate in his expressions of it, in his appeals to those things that will provide him more of what he thinks that he deserves.

It is an analysis of our current situation by Thomas Frank. You may have seen it before, but I urge you to watch it through in light of everything that has occurred. Watch the entire video with the Q&A if you have the time.   There are some practical solutions discussed therein.  Basically the system is going to be changed from the bottom up, or not at all.