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March 18, 2009

Political / Econ Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Has the Israel Lobby finally overplayed its hand?

* Nathan explains why it can be helpful to think of conservatism and capitalism as two very different forces.

* What are some of the advantages of gold?

* Maybe more credit isn't what the economy needs. Maybe what the economy needs is more savings.

* Does Keynesian economics deserve to be called a science?

* Will today's financial travails make economists more modest about their powers?

* Sheldon Richman argues that government should be doing much, much less than it has been doing to solve the financial crisis.

* Better to rip the band-aid off the banking system in one go, or do it bit by bit?

* Or maybe it's time for a mercy killing.

* MBlowhard Rewind: I wrote about how much I've learned from wrestling with rightieness. Main point: I'm amazed by how little most urban lefties know about conservatism.



posted by Michael at March 18, 2009


Wilhelm Rhopke:

“[T]he market economy is not everything. It must find its place within a higher order of things which is not ruled by supply and demand, free prices, and competition. […] Individual responsibility and independence in proper balance with the community, neighborly spirit, and true civic sense — all of these presuppose that the communities in which we live do not exceed the human scale.”

That's my type of Capitalism, Bourgeoisie Capitalism. Godless capitalists and socialists be damned! Conservatism is living one's life according to the higher order of things.

Posted by: slumlord on March 18, 2009 5:03 PM

I like the ripping of the band-aid analogy. It's pithy and it communicates the trade-offs quite nicely.

The only problem is that there is a lot of uncertainty about whether we can survive the band-aid being ripped off (as opposed to dealing with low levels of pain for the next 25 years) and now that we're facing that stark choice, nobody wants to take the risk.

So far, the choice has been take the certainty of diminishing the future of the next few generations for the possibility, however remote, of permanently destroying the United States as a functioning entity.

It's not a responsibility I'd wish on anyone.

Posted by: Tom West on March 18, 2009 6:43 PM

"Does Keynesian economics deserve to be called a science?"

So much wrong with that article, starting with "I'm an experimental physicist and I know about empirical data". Yuh-huh...

"I'm amazed by how little most urban lefties know about conservatism"

As opposed to redneck conservatives who know a ton about liberalism?

Posted by: Upstate Guy on March 19, 2009 10:39 AM

Upstate Guy, if you want to experience some real cognitive dissonance, go to Atlanta and get to know some liberal rednecks. Yes, they do exist. When you mix ignorance, gullibility and politics, you're liable to get anything.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on March 19, 2009 11:08 PM

Of course they do, I've met quite a few in NYS as well. I've also met a larger percentage of sub/urban conservatives who still think the definition of socialism is "taxing the rich".

"When you mix ignorance, gullibility and politics, you're liable to get anything."

Yup, we call them Republicans. :)

Posted by: Upstate Guy on March 20, 2009 9:39 AM

I do not think that capitalism itself is inherently the problem here. I think what destroys communities is the need for people to move every time they get a new job. I think that much of the moving is a corporate thing. People who are self-employed or who work for small business tend to stay put. Entrepreneurs also tend to stay put. The businesses may come and go, but the people remain in the same location.

I think much of corporate America exists not as a result of unregulated free markets, but due to regulation that protects big corporations from competitive start ups. Even Chomsky has admitted this, yet still believes that protecting corporate America is a good thing.

I believe those that want to encourage and protect stable communities should work to eliminate the regulation that favors large corporations and penalizes small business. I believe a true free market system will necessarily consists mostly of small to medium sized companies because the larger an organization is, the more bureaucratic and less competitive it is. An economy based on small to medium sized businesses will be more stable and more conducive to community because people will not have to move as often. They can start new businesses at home.

I also think “conservatives” should promote biotech and especially the DIY biotech movement. Most biotech companies I know tend to be small (10 employees or less) and, thus, more conducive to small-town community environment. The DIY biotech movement will do to medicine what the PC/Internet did to information. It will move biomedical innovation from the giant pharmaceuticals to smaller organizations.

When people talk about decentralization, crunchy con, and the like, perhaps they could use some assistance from the decentralization of technology. I'm talking an Army of Davids:

Posted by: kurt9 on March 20, 2009 2:08 PM

Nobody serious claims that capitalism is intrinsically conservative. It is more conservative than the typical coercive progressive/socialist program, but only because it is willing to let people choose tradition, where that is economically viable (or irrelevant). Nineteenth century capitalists were "liberals" - opposed to the old order of aristocracy, established churches, and the like. Capitalists are of course opposed to the confiscation and redistribution of wealth, which put them in alliance with the old landholders.

As for the "Israel Lobby" - Freeman fell on his own deeds: his long history of shilling for Arab money, his apologetics for the butchers of Tianmen. Any number of opposing Senators and Representatives have said they heard nothing from the dreaded Israel Lobby, much less marching orders. Freeman has long been part of the very-well-funded "Arab Lobby"; his insistence that opposition to him must be a plot reeks of "projection".

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on March 22, 2009 9:30 PM

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