Friday, July 29, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Image credit: recubjim

David Dayen, on the implications of the debt limit "crisis", and all the other economy-related nonsense of the last couple of decades:
[W]e’re seeing this kind of failure in Europe and throughout the world; it’s not unique to the United States. Yes, we have a pathetic couple of political parties, and a cult of balance in corporate-run media that poisons the discourse. But institutions all over the world, at every level, have been rotting for some time, and the same elites who have failed the world have pressured these institutions into acting on their behalf.

And it drives a sense of helplessness among the public, something I see and hear every single day, which could go one of two ways. It could result in people massing together, rebuilding a mass movement to end the careers of those who put us in this predicament, or it could result in a mass pulling back. People could retreat to other pursuits, places where they can maintain a modicum of control. This of course plays right into the hands of unaccountable elites, giving them practically everything they want. I reject it totally. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

America Unmoored – Elite Failure Leads to Utter Confusion
None of which I can argue with in the least. I wrote this with that feeling in mind. The economic debate in this country has largely been competing clown acts of "free market" Tea Party activists and Obama loyalists who pounce on even the slightest uptick in economic indicators as the sign that we're at the end of the tunnel.

To the first group, I can say little. It's amazing that they grew out of their belief in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. There is no such thing as a truly free market - in each market, among the central questions when trying to predict its behavior are who has control over it, how much control they can exercise, and what they want. Free markets are an intellectual exercise in figuring how things would be if certain things were universally true. That they are not universally true is universally recognized, it seems, everywhere but in this dogmatic belief system masquerading as a science.

As for the other group, I can only say this. The problems of this economy have been of long standing. They are still there, and now that the effects of the stimulus have worn off without actually jump-starting the economy, which I, and many other people warned was way too small to do anything but ameliorate things for a while, we will see how bad things can get with the idiots you adoringly assume are playing eleventy-dimensional chess in charge. I say that, because I see absolutely no sign that liberals are going to boot them out. And I have been saying all that, in one way or another, for a very long time. That's why I mentioned their tendency to grasp every temporarily upward movement in economic indicators as a sign that the masterful end game is near. I've seen those white knuckles far too often.

All of which has been said and written, many times, by many people, some of whom are much smarter and more knowledgeable than I. Yet here we are, stuck between competing clown choruses, barely able to hear ourselves think over the shouting.

I don't see how we can succeed as a nation as long as so many people are so doggedly determined to remain so stupid. As always, of course, suggestions are welcome.

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