Thursday, August 20, 2009

Asking About What's Going On


President Obama speaks of “stabilization of the economic system.” Those are his exact words from an internet broadcast I tuned into; Thur, August 20th. This is not really the right point for him to emphasize when talking about economics (since what appears to be stable at this juncture in history may be anything but, and since of course all the paranoid bankers and Fed chairmen are always assuring us that the economy is stable when they fear just the opposite) and my fear is that the president's understanding of economics is way off. Speaking of President Obama characterologically, he sometimes seems tp buy into a standard story --- or defaults to the mainstream logic. Looks like a character trait. But defaulting to the standard story for economics may not work so well. If the only method that occurs to you is to is to take what passes for the standard view -- the state of the art in the academic field -- you still are not there. The default, standard-issue view still does not give you enough to work with. In any case, capitalism is a difficult thing to understand -- OK, not unlike healthcare -- and highly ideological.

And the "ideology" is connected directly to the matters of economics. That is where it gets dicey. Here's my rather sophisticated view. Economics is, on the one hand, about the basic competition for resources, but, on the other (especially as things develop and we get more and more productivity), it is about the layers of ideology that get built up on that basic physical struggle for resources. It is a merging of ideology and materiality.

Now, most economists are more interested in their fantasies, which apparently appear to them as a rich saga. In other words, they're more into the non-physical or ideological side.

After all, they are not actually working for a living, are they? Do they work in the economy? No!! They claim to be hard at work on it. They are not working --- in the sense of doing work in the economy itself. Are they? So: ideology is easier! You can't be a lazy bricklayer and get the job done but you can be a lazy economist and "do great work." At any rate, I say that economic views are ideological. Since this is the case, what the views of economics do not reflect is an unbiased investigation into economics. Or: into economics in all of its depth or as to all of the matters related to the proper subject of economics. They basically miss a lot of material.

Let's get a bit more into this: If you did not accept standard views, would you get accepted in the typical corporation, or into our American culture of business? It's a good question, OK? And even if persons are independently wealthy they, too, sign on. Even then because they still need social acceptance. Obama goes with a standard set of advisors, remaining apparently unaware that anything else even exists.

And, in a sense, it doesn't. Another truth exists, but it isn't represented. Hey: is that Post-modern of me? This is possible.

Due to the structure of society one cannot get around the (wrong but) standard set of views. Let's be clear, then. Here's how it works -- not at Harvard Law Review but in the world of economic thinking in our society -- The coursework in economics departments bars anyone who has contrasting ideas from being able to pass because the wrong views are embedded to such a high degree. You have to actually do economics, and it's just too much. Persons today are no longer willing to torture themselves. I mean, not to this degree. It does not make sense. How much silly math do you really want to do? --- for nothing. Unless of course, you revert to orthodox Marxism. That is the other option. Not quite the only, but I think I am on target to say there is basically not much else out there. Other options are not very common, and also tend to be highly specific and if you do not like what you are seeing you will have to make your own school or economics ---- unless: you study it on your own, as I do. And why do I do it? Because I LIKE to, and also because, due to having myself seen through to a totally original point of view there really is something there to work with. (Now I am posting the original material. It is found in the material in the August 10 post and in the followup about six days later and will henceforth I hope be included in the posting practice I develop on this website).

So as good as he seems to be on health care, maybe the president is not so good when it comes to economics, and it is because what he is saying is, "hey, the economy seems to be recovering." That is very, very limited. You have to think outside the box. The problem is that President Obama wants the economy to look better on the outside. Which is, I suppose, something else again.

But this is much more important than that, and it deserves a better, deeper sort of attention. You have to understand the psychology of these bankers and these entrenched forces. The matter is deeply psychological. He rushes to fix up the obvious weak points --- like that Dutch boy standing by the dam, right?, and he has advisors. These are they who tell him just how to fix up the outside appearance or the weak spots in the dam.

What the president does not understand is the dishonesty of his own advisors. Economics is a big game. Attn. Mr. Obama: not everybody is what you are: an activist renegade whose career depends on being willing to break down barriers and thereby explore his own path to the voters and the White House. They got where they did differetnly. Am I right? Those advisors, like Geithner and Summers, did not come up Obama style.

They got there through working with very small entrenched groups selected out of the social elites. So that's different, isn't it? It's a weird thing, and it's psychological. The bankers? Who are even they? We have to make a basic decision. The decision that needs to be made is the decision to no longer trust the banking leadership. That's pretty simple, isn't it? There is a dirty little clique on top of the baking game. (Although this is my opinion, strangely, some of the more down-to-earth or lower-level regular career bankers, like the staff members of the World Bank, seem better: there are some books written by these guys. There are some great things to read from certain officers of the regional Federal Reserve banks. So where is the problem? Where is Paul Volker? Is he being held captive, in a cage somewhere?) We can easily see, for example, that Greenspan as it turns out, was poor. I am not giving the details, but there is a literature on this, and it is not so difficult to get the idea. I will note here thought that he seems not to have been able to see things that were right in front of his nose. Maybe that is the skill they need on that level. For example, he though the sort of half-secret shadow banking derivative industry was good, in Alan's mind. Good, because they "distribute risk." That kind of observation makes a dubious point, but moreover it shows that there are some other things that are not even remotely occuring to Greenspan. He simply thought, "derivatives, oh goody!" These people are freaks. It's real ominous.

This thinking that we are looking at here: it's economics; the reality of economics is a big deal, and it is social and it has to do with the fabric of society. What is at risk is the fabric of the society, and there is a right and a wrong way to do capitalism that has to do only with how we behave and never is something determined automatically or by "the market" without our intervention. Such thinking is simply senseless. Now we know that we do not relate to one another in a traditional, agrarian way anymore. So, Ideas count: and economics has the ability to tell us what to THINK. The monopoly on our thought by only a certain specific brand of economics has got to stop, at some point is has to: let's just hope it is not too late. OK?

There are structural weaknesses in the economic aspect of society. These are weak points for that society. This means for the society itself and it is not a matter of cleaning these up only in a superficial way. You have to dig down. you have to wonder enough. You have to ask questions. And I know enough to know that you have to investigate enough to embarass and flush out these liars in order to protect society and the world and all of us. The hypocrite bankers are too far gone. They cannot change themselves. That is not human nature and it is impossible. We are doing them a favor. They have to be helped. That is called governmental authority.

In economics, you have to ask about what is really going on deeper. Economics is about how the denizens or citizens of a country go about getting their access to goods and services. This is very important and it is about our human culture, as it exists for us at present. A giant, hypocritical banking machine does not serve the culture. And it is a unique and vital institution, not a sidelight.

Ask what's going on, Obama; ask yourself a few questions

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