It goes back to the old Invisible Hand theory. Adam Smith claimed that competition in the marketplace would force producers to produce only what people want (so they can sell it). They would also produce at the lowest possible cost without undue profit to keep prices down (so competitors can’t steal their customers). These are… Continue reading Cooperation Through Competition?
We live in the midst of a grand contradiction. The earth is brimming with everything the human race needs. Yet those who have too much of everything think they don’t have enough. We live in a culture that takes abundance and turns it into scarcity. Actually, I discussed scarcity before in an earlier post. Look… Continue reading Scarcity Amidst Abundance
Is it morally acceptable for any individual to “look out for number one” in the marketplace — seeking maximum personal benefit at the expense of others? You might say ”no” but an economist will likely say “yes”. Why? Because economists have this theory that, if the economy is truly competitive, there’s nothing you can possibly… Continue reading The Market and Moral Accountability
When does trade become extortion? Economists say never, at least in principle. Free trade is a voluntary exchange between two parties who both stand to gain from the trade. Where’s the extortion? Let’s consider a criminal transaction in the airport of some backwoods country. A customs agent says you have to pay him a thousand… Continue reading When Does Trade Become Extortion?
I’ll do one more post on freedom — saving the real thing for last. You find my other posts on freedom summarized here. Now it’s time to call in the big guns — the spiritual argument. In the Anglican liturgy of my tradition, it says that to serve God is “prefect freedom”. What?? Service? Freedom?… Continue reading Perfect Freedom
Here’s the root problem with economics. To see the problem, you have to drill down to the very first assumpton it makes — at the very bottom of the pile — upon which the whole edifice is built. Let me pose it as a question. How shall we live? Shall we live a life of… Continue reading The Depravity of Economics
What? Why? Well, I’ve done several posts on freedom. The first was on empty freedom. Then degraded freedom followed by fake freedom and radical freedom. But why escape from freedom? Actually the idea came up in those previous posts. In Economics and Freedom, our addiction to empty freedom is seen as an impediment to real… Continue reading Escape from Freedom
Is consumerism a mental illness? Well, that depends on what it means to be mentally healthy. A paper from the World Psychiatric Association defines mental health as a state of internal and external equilibrium that produces a feeling of personal well-being. Let’s look at those pieces. Internal equilibrium is a matter of finding a satisfactory balance… Continue reading Is Consumerism a Mental Illness?
My complaint isn’t with the market. Try running a complex society without trade or money. My complaint is how so many never practice what they preach. It’s a matter of bait and switch. That means promising something good but delivering something else. Economists are masters of bait and switch. The bait of utopian capitalism is… Continue reading Bait and Switch
There’s no such thing as free markets. Never has been. Never will be. The Invisible Hand is a figment of economists’ imagination. Sure there’s a hand — on the levers of power — but it’s only invisible because the private sector doesn’t allow for transparency. There’s no such thing as non-socialism. There’s no country that’s… Continue reading Stop the Machine