In response to my letter to the CBC’s new show on (neoliberal) economics, here is a thoughtful letter from host Mathew Lazin-Ryder. I certainly appreciate his response, though I’d like to emphasize, he appears to believe that “governments don’t exist.” Ponder carefully what he has to say. My response, which seeks to clarify his neoliberal position — that “markets” exist before governance — is below. We’ll see if he has the time to reply further. / tV
From: Invisible Hand <invisiblehand AT CBC.CA>
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2012 15:20:03 -0400
To: “tobias c. van Veen”
Subject: Re: Economic Examples without Consequence
Thank you for your email. Yes, things are always more complicated than time allows. As for economists not being one solid lump, that is quite true. Our research did find a broad consensus amongst mainstream economists about the economic principles behind anti-price gouging laws. There certainly are things over which economists disagree, but I’d put anti-price gouging laws below many others on the list.
I also understand that our simulation was an over-simplified version of reality, which is exactly as we intended it to be. Sure, there are what-if, and comparisons of laws and economic structures, which is why we reduced the variables. 1 city, 1 law. Price-gouging, non-price gouging. We also, of course, removed the variable of personal wealth. While this is indeed a simplification of reality, we found the judgement that if a person had 1 dollar, they might also have 10 dollars, an acceptable one.
Indeed, I heartily agree that there are better scenarios – an efficiently run government that operates purely in the interest of the populace. Unfortunately for the world, I’m not sure that government exists – it certainly did not in our simulation. There are deeper implications, there are further considerations, there are caveats and what-ifs. The idea behind our show is that before we can even begin to talk about those as a society, we need to know how the basics are supposed to work – or at least, what a significant, if not major portion of an academic field believes to exist.
All the best,
CBC Radio Vancouver
From: “tobias c. van Veen”
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2012 12:52:28 -0700
To: Invisible Hand <invisiblehand@CBC.CA>
Conversation: Economic Examples without Consequence
Subject: Re: Economic Examples without Consequence
Thanks for your response, indeed.
> Indeed, I heartily agree that there are better scenarios – an efficiently run
> government that operates purely in the interest of the populace. Unfortunately
> for the world, I’m not sure that government exists – it certainly did not in
> our simulation.
This is troubling. Your entire model of economics is dependant upon *not having a government* ?
Who provides the currency in your model, then?
> There are deeper implications, there are further considerations, there are
> caveats and what-ifs. The idea behind our show is that before we can even
> begin to talk about those as a society, we need to know how the basics are
> supposed to work – or at least, what a significant, if not major portion of an
> academic field believes to exist.
I’m in that field, and many of us would say that what exists first are social relations of power, and thus the primacy of politics, over economics. That is why policy is set by governments.
Of course, I effectively understand what you are saying is the opposite: that the “basics,” for you, means economy before government, capitalism before democracy. That governance is secondary to finance, in short.The proposed amendment loans payday Avenue Raja Court and Raja Terrace at Mission paid throughout the life of the loan. Payday Loans Day Wit The Homies loans payday l oans Red Dogs in the league.
In short, you are a neoliberal capitalist and an anti-democrat, correct?
Ie, you believe that “society” exists in the “market” before there is political organisation or representation of the “society” in a State?
I’m just curious, as this is, of course, a basic tenet of neoliberalism, which privileges the “market” before governance. (As the radicals would put it money before human rights, profit before people.)
I’d say many people would find the idea that we should imagine economic scenarios without governance deeply problematic. As deeply problematic as imagining that people all have the same amount of money. It all sounds like a fantasy to me. The question is, who does this fantasy benefit?
I think it’s fairly easy to see whom: those with the most amount of money.
At least, unlike Thatcher, you find that there is such a thing as “society.” However, in your example, there was none. Only individuals — with money. So I take this as a bit of an error on your part.
If governments “don’t exist,” why should “society”?
I look forwards to further shows either questioning these troubling, anti-democratic assumptions, or, more likely, continuing to espouse neoliberalism as “basic tenet” — a core ideological operation if there was one.
You don’t mind if I quote you in an article saying that “governments don’t exist,” do you?