The Market and Moral Accountability

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?

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?

Bait and Switch

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

Stop the Machine

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

A Vertically-Radical Manifesto

The economy works relentlessly to ensure that nobody pursues a meaningful life. The central mission of a capitalist market economy is to persuade each and every one of us to suck in as much material pleasure (called “utility”) as we possibly can — and to serve others in the process as little as we possibly… Continue reading A Vertically-Radical Manifesto

Corporate Libertarian Socialism

We live in a bizarre world where we believe in libertarian free-market ideology, while we let the corporate sector practice socialism. Yet we don’t admit to either of them. “Wait”, you say. “I’m no libertarian. I believe in public parklands, and city street cleaning, and municipal firefighters and all kinds of other public services. The… Continue reading Corporate Libertarian Socialism

The Wendigo Economy

Indigenous mythology is usually dismissed as pagan, even though the wiser among us know that our own deepest wisdom is steeped in mythological roots. It’s just considered legitimate to discount indigenous narratives as naive, and glorify even our own dumbest mythologies as profound. But it’s even dumber when a culture fails to develop a crucial… Continue reading The Wendigo Economy

Nobel Economics Winner — Kept on Sidelines

The latest winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (oddly named because it was not on the original list of Nobel Prizes) is the American, Richard Thaler. He did good pioneering work on Behavioral Economics. But despite the accolade, every effort will be made — successfully — to keep him on the sidelines.… Continue reading Nobel Economics Winner — Kept on Sidelines