Taming the Savage Market

Discussion in 'Economy' started by midcan5, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. midcan5

    midcan5 liberal / progressive

    Jun 4, 2007
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    Philly, PA
    Interesting piece both from a historical point of view and for modern times.

    By Robert Bellah, et al

    "During the 1980s Americans gambled their future on wish rather than sober reflection. Three times in national elections we voted for a simulacrum of the "American Century," for a candidate who projected a sense of American superiority in the world and ethically untroubled affluence at home, willingly suspending disbelief in the possibility of such a restoration. Belief in the free market was revived; the promise of the game of Monopoly was offered with messianic expectations such as have seldom been heard since the 19th century. In a situation where further advances in democratic affluence seemed unexpectedly problematic, the market metaphor took on singular power. Disillusionment with the welfare state, combined with the weakening of the languages of biblical religion and civic republicanism that traditionally moderated Lockean individualism, led many to take the market maximizer as the paradigm of the human person.

    One powerful version of the market paradigm derives from the teachings of Milton Friedman and the school of economics he founded. In the view of Friedman and his successors, human beings are exclusively self-interest maximizers, and the primary measure of self-interest is money. Economics becomes a total science that explains everything. As so-called "rational choice theory," it has invaded all the social sciences—especially political science and sociology. Alan Wolfe, in his book Whose Keeper?, describes how this so-called Chicago school of economics is attempting to become our new moral philosophy or even our new religion..."


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