Is economics a morality play? OR God is my economist.

Discussion in 'Clean Debate Zone' started by oldfart, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. oldfart
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    oldfart Older than dirt

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    All right boys and girls, we know that in this world virtue is always rewarded, only the just prosper, and if not then God, the Cosmic Hitman in the Sky will rain death, destruction, and bankruptcy upon the wicked. It's all part of His Plan. The poor deserve their fate and and the wealthy enjoy the just rewards of godliness.

    Governments are instituted by God to rule the earth, balance the budget, and behave like businesses and families. Whatever is true for the most modest patriarchy must also be true of the largest economy. The road to ruin is exactly the same for all. Indulge at your own risk.

    Markets regardless of their structure behave as if there were perfectly competitive and had perfect information. Collusion among firms is a figment of the imagination (especially if it involves LIBOR). Economic theory is firmly grounded in the Old Testament.

    So what say you, is this the true nature of the world? Is this what underpins and guides good policy?
     
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  2. Misaki
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    Misaki Member

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  3. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    Depends on who you ask. But if our economy were a morality play would we label it a tragedy for the poor of the world, and even many Americans live in some pretty miserable conditions. Is slave labor part of the play and are working conditions that lead to early death a necessary part? If God is our economist he needs much help for surely poverty is a sign of failure. Remember that sermon on some mount somewhere, seems he forgot the ideals he mentioned there. Or is it the people who forgot the sermon's ideals? Some thoughts below from a variety of sources often quoted.

    "The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." Alex Carey

    "Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society or a better world? Those used to be the political questions, even if they invited no easy answers. We must learn once again to pose them." Tony Judt 'Ill Fares the Land'

    "What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable." Adam Smith 'The Wealth of Nations,' Book I Chapter VIII

    "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone." John Maynard Keynes As quoted in Michael Albert, 'Moving Forward: Programme for a Parlicipatory Economy' (Edinburgh: AK, 2000)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/opinion/nocera-the-good-bad-and-ugly-of-capitalism.html

    "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary." Adam Smith

    "What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent." J. K. Galbraith


    See Democracy after Citizens United | MIT World ]


    "Libertarian solutions favored by the political right have contributed even more directly to the erosion of social responsibilities and valued forms of communal life, particularly in the UK and the US. Far from producing beneficial communal consequences, the invisible hand of unregulated free-market capitalism undermines the family (e.g., few corporations provide enough leave to parents of newborn children), disrupts local communities (e.g., following plant closings or the shifting of corporate headquarters), and corrupts the political process (e.g., US politicians are often dependent on economic interest groups for their political survival, with the consequence that they no longer represent the community at large). Moreover, the valorization of greed in the Thatcher/Reagan era justified the extension of instrumental considerations governing relationships in the marketplace into spheres previously informed by a sense of uncalculated reciprocity and civil obligation. This trend has been reinforced by increasing globalization, which pressures states into conforming to the dictates of the international marketplace." Daniel Bell in Communitarianism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)


    "Globalization creates interlocking fragility, while reducing volatility and giving the appearance of stability....We have never lived before under the threat of a global collapse. Financial Institutions have been merging into a smaller number of very large banks. Almost all banks are interrelated. So the financial ecology is swelling into gigantic, incestuous, bureaucratic banks – when one fails, they all fall. The increased concentration among banks seems to have the effect of making financial crises less likely, but when they happen they are more global in scale and hit us very hard. We have moved from a diversified ecology of small banks, with varied lending policies, to a more homogeneous framework of firms that all resemble one another. True, we now have fewer failures, but when they occur...I shiver at the thought." Nassim Nicholas Taleb

    "Old-fashioned laissez-faire in its pure form has fewer proponents today, but it is still conventional, among experts as well as in common discourse, to speak of "the economy" as an entity as though it were quite separate from government and society. Instead of these familiar but, we think, misleading distinctions we shall use the older, more accurate term "political economy." This term implies that economic activity is part of a larger social whole; the economy can be completely isolated from politics only in a game." Taming the Savage Market


    "On moral grounds, then, we could argue for a flat income tax of 90 percent to return that wealth to its real owners. In the United States, even a flat tax of 70 percent would support all governmental programs (about half the total tax) and allow payment, with the remainder, of a patrimony of about $8,000 per annum per inhabitant, or $25,000 for a family of three. This would generously leave with the original recipients of the income about three times what, according to my rough guess, they had earned." UBI and the Flat Tax


    "...Is one’s individual freedom not increased by measures such as unemployment compensation, guaranteed health insurance, public pensions, higher wages, strong unions, state-funded or provided childcare—the whole panoply of social democracy that most libertarians see as not only irrelevant to but an infringement upon individual freedom?" Corey Robin When Libertarians Go to Work… « Corey Robin

    "Cheap-labor conservatives have gotten into the habit of wrapping themselves in the flag, quoting Jefferson, and holding themselves out as defenders of “American values”. In fact, from the very beginning, cheap-labor forces have opposed and obstructed realization of Jefferson’s dream of equality, democracy and social justice. Here is a short list of examples of cheap-labor conservatives obstructing of those values." CG A Short History of Conservative Obstruction to Progress | Conceptual Guerilla


    "The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity - much less dissent." Gore Vidal
     
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  4. The Rabbi
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    The Rabbi Diamond Member

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    Was there a purpose here I missed?
     
  5. oldfart
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    oldfart Older than dirt

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    Probably so.
     
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  6. The Rabbi
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    The Rabbi Diamond Member

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    Well if you dont know and you posted it I guess no need to respond.
     
  7. Votto
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    Votto Gold Member

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    A wise man once said, the more wicked a people becomes the more tyrannical a government needs to become in order to restrain them. Today, the federal government passed an astonishing 80,000 regulations and laws last year.

    I was looking at a book that compared prayer being taken out of schools in 1962 and the moral decay of society. Essentally it provided statistics showing how things like premarital sex and single female homes and STD rates and violence in America escalated in the mid 1960's exponentially till today. In fact, these mass shootings seem to have begun in the mid 1960's. Also of note is the need to throw the Great Society programs at us because America did not take care of its own like it should have. Then came LBJ's Vietnam and then abortion on demand killing thousands a day for the sheer convenience.

    Of course, the government could not sustain the spending being on the gold standard with the Great Society programs of Medicare etc and the war, so they got off the gold standard and created a worthless fiat currency. Now they can spend what they don't have to pay for and all is well with the world till it collapses.

    As James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, once said, "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

    Once the morality of the nation goes, the nation goes and it is pretty much gone.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  8. rdean
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    rdean rddean

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    Business doesn't care about "God". They want "money".
     
  9. Votto
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    Votto Gold Member

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    Do you generally just have off the wall epiphanies like this or did you wish to make a point?
     
  10. The Professor
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    The Professor Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    God merely tithes; the government takes a hell of a lot more.
     

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