Thursday, March 3, 2011

Where to begin?

There's so much interesting stuff in this zero hedge post, that you should just go ahead and read the whole thing. I'll wait.

OK! Well, where to begin. The blurb that got me to read the whole article was this one, quoted from the State Department website (click on 'economic'):

Economic conspiracy theories are often based on the false, but popular, idea that powerful individuals are motivated overwhelmingly by their desire for wealth, rather than the wide variety of human motivations we all experience. (This one-dimensional, cartoonish view of human nature is at the heart of Marxist ideology, which once held hundreds of millions under its sway.)

I'll just go right ahead and say that this is a one-dimensional, cartoonish view of Marxist ideology, which argues, if you actually bother to read Marx, that capitalists are driven by the system in which they operate (capitalism) to do the things they do, and that workers and capitalists are molded into the people they are by growing up in that system. Or to put it another way, Marxist economic theory is not based on micro-foundations!

Of course that is a much smaller point compared to the government's dedication to covering up the fact that fraud caused the financial crisis, that the actions of individuals who did not conspire to bring the system down, but did conspire to game the system and enrich themselves, are what caused the housing bubble and ensuing financial crisis. I don't have much to add to Zero Hedge's analysis, except to say that the people interviewed by the Financial Crisis Commission, to a person, showed no apparent awareness that they did anything wrong or even dangerous. This, from a Planet Money podcast. The latter, by the way, was egregiously guilty of journalist-as-stenographer laziness in reporting: it let a Republican commissioner claim that nobody could have seen the crisis coming and nobody did see it coming (!!!!!!) without challenging him directly or even mentioning after they ran his comments that they were demonstrably incorrect. I am no longer listening to Planet Money, as I don't wish to waste any more of my time.
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