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  1. #61
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Well that's easy, elites.
    What about a society without any elites?

    Ideology is often a story we tell ourselves to justify a particular world view. It makes you wonder what ideologies would exist in a world where slavery is the norm. (and the owners are unseen)

    The calculation debate predates most of the modern computer software and hardware which can do simultaneous equations at a rate never before dreamed of, plus strictly speaking if the peter principle could be dealt with (which is a problem in any economy, predominantly market or public planning systems) then instructing managers to minimise costs would have the same net results.
    And yet it is still nought compared to the complexity of the economies of small communities. Also remember that half the problem is (a) gathering the necessary data (individual interest is not easily expressed unless you water it down to something trivial) (b) working out what you are meant to optimise against.

  2. #62
    Senior Member Thisica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The rise of managerialism has made for a lot of convergence between economies, the ideological arguments, and I believe that a lot of the economic theorising falls into this category, are a smoke screen for people who want to pay less tax or eliminate social spending for reasons other than their tax bill.


    I love it when I see arguments which allow individuals to excuse their behaviour, so that they don't have to do the hard yards to help the less fortunate. But that's not an economic argument they're espousing: it's of a moral character. It's the logic behind the phrase "people get what they deserve". It's easy to say that's how capitalism works, but its quite a different task to find out how to improve on such an economic system, without the rhetorical flourishes that unfortunately still plague economic thinking.

    Economics is a normative discipline, contrary to what economists say. Case in point: Milton Friedman--he not only described how capitalism works, but tried indirectly to persuade different nations to accept these economic systems. I think that he became such a ideologue that he can't be seen as just an economist.
    “To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.”—Statement from unpublished notes for the Preface to the Opticks (1704) by Newton.

    What do you think about me? And for the darker side, here.

  3. #63
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    This is simply not true. If wealth is 'limitless' then there is no economic question. If wealth is limited, then you have an economic calculation problem, subject to the limitations I mentioned above (among others).
    Read more carefully. I said source of wealth. And I stand by my assertion - the general well-being of a society only improves under a capitalist system as long as there are sources of wealth to be easily extracted. Absent this, it becomes nothing but a mechanism for concentrating wealth in the hands of a few hereditary and temperamental elites.

  4. #64
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    I'm not sure I'd accuse someone of being personally guilty of being an ideologue for "indirectly persuading different nations to accept economic systems" (I guess the common cited example would be Chile). It is the type of justification used for arguments that determines whether someone is a ideologue or not.


    It is notable that Friedman advocated trade with communist nations, whereas his ideological peers disagreed as this would be seen as supporting those systems. Likewise, he advocated a universal welfare system with his idea of a negative income tax - with no strings attached. He argued against 'work for the dole' type schemes, which he argued costs too much and rarely leads to employability.


    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Read more carefully. I said source of wealth. And I stand by my assertion - the general well-being of a society only improves under a capitalist system as long as there are sources of wealth to be easily extracted. Absent this, it becomes nothing but a mechanism for concentrating wealth in the hands of a few hereditary and temperamental elites.
    You seem to be confusing sources of wealth with access to resources. Scarcity is part of the basis of all economic disciplines.

  5. #65
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    You seem to be confusing sources of wealth with access to resources. Scarcity is part of the basis of all economic disciplines.
    The two are one and the same. All economic wealth is ultimately material, so without the expansion of access to resources, or the more efficient manufacturing and distribution thereof, the aggregate wealth pool stays stagnant. However, the latter two only go so far - without that expansion of access to resources, ultimately the entire system becomes predatory and kleptocratic.

  6. #66
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    What about a society without any elites?
    Show me one by all means.

    Ideology is often a story we tell ourselves to justify a particular world view. It makes you wonder what ideologies would exist in a world where slavery is the norm. (and the owners are unseen)
    I'm not sure what you're meaning.

    And yet it is still nought compared to the complexity of the economies of small communities. Also remember that half the problem is (a) gathering the necessary data (individual interest is not easily expressed unless you water it down to something trivial) (b) working out what you are meant to optimise against.
    Ha, no need to over complicate things, most of the sorts of good planning mechanisms which could suppliment or subvert market mechanisms dont function in a vacum.

    There already exists information and prices, these planning mechanisms I'm thinking of (outlines include participatory economics or economic democracy, both exist as wikis and havent been vandalised badly last time I checked) would use the existing information and make it more accurate.

    It could counter some of the influence exercised by elites, it wouldnt remove it altogether but then neither does the market achieve that as it stands, like I've said before anything other than the status quo of limited consumer sovereignty is going to require a resurgence of personal responsibility which I dont see coming any time soon.

  7. #67
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Thisica;1530290Economics is a normative discipline, contrary to what economists say. Case in point: Milton Friedman--he not only described how capitalism works, but tried indirectly to persuade different nations to accept these economic systems. I think that he became such a ideologue that he can't be seen as just an economist.[/QUOTE]

    Well I had a decent book on radical political economy from the eighties which I dont know were I put it and dont remember the title but it did a proper survey of all the economic ideas at that time, unfortunately it predated a lot of the contemporary ones from participatory economics or economic democracy which interest me but it also seriously considered the capitalist paradigms and theories like Friedman.

    They concluded that the free market theoriests were only good as normative messages and they have largely worked that way, its eventually going to bite them in the ass though because they will probably garner enough insistent support to see it tested whatever the costs and there will be real costs, the same as some of the more normative and less developed socialist ideas which have from time to time come to dominate.

  8. #68
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Show me one by all means.
    That was supposed to be a joke about Marxism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I'm not sure what you're meaning.
    One of the points was that ideology is one of the 'gods of the gaps' of a particular worldview.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Ha, no need to over complicate things, most of the sorts of good planning mechanisms which could supplement or subvert market mechanisms don't function in a vacuum.
    I should at this point, state my ulterior motive - I believe that alternative systems are possible and may well be desirable in the future.

    But it is important to consider these ideas in a full systematic form, rather than fledgling isolated ideas with no comprehensive model of predicting whether they will actually work if tried on a significant scale (that is to say, predictive, rather than merely descriptive). Saying 'this is what we should do' is not that useful when we don't have a comprehensive means of actually applying those ideas or knowing whether they will work. Our history is full of the unexpected outcomes of half baked implementations of otherwise reasonable ideas for social engineering.
    Ideas such as Participism are interesting, but probably not for this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    So without the expansion of access to resources, or the more efficient manufacturing and distribution thereof, the aggregate wealth pool stays stagnant.
    All economic disciplines attempt to describe systems involving finite material resources and labour vs production and consumption.

    A key point is that you seem to be neglecting the concept of productivity, which is one of the whole reasons why we form a complex economy in the first place. If you have a major scarcity shock, it forces society to produce new innovations and is also a time for transition of wealth from older industries, to the new.

  9. #69
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    All economic disciplines attempt to describe systems involving finite material resources and labour vs production and consumption.

    A key point is that you seem to be neglecting the concept of productivity, which is one of the whole reasons why we form a complex economy in the first place. If you have a major scarcity shock, it forces society to produce new innovations and is also a time for transition of wealth from older industries, to the new.
    Either that, or the society collapses... which tends to be the norm, rather than the exception. Technology doesn't magically arise out of the blue - both the resources and the requisite knowledge are necessary, and it would be folly to discount the influence of pure luck.

    What benefit does productivity provide on the demand side, if that productivity is commensurate with stagnant wages?

    I'd also characterize the areas that economics describes as resources, labor and distribution. We've simply been conditioned to think that the consumption model is the normative model of distribution.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    What benefit does productivity provide on the demand side, if that productivity is commensurate with stagnant wages?
    Firstly, not all work done is wage labour.

    Secondly, why would wages necessarily be stagnant? When you ask questions like this, you should fully characterise them. Preferably in greater depth than merely saying the labour market lacks elasticity for some mysterious reason. I know economists do like to scribble down a few graphs and differential equations, but those are merely hypothetical solutions.
    I know productivity is not fully correlated with wages - CEOs or wall street bankers are not magically more productive than the rest of us. But one could fairly argue that the wages of low skilled jobs have remained that way because productivity has not improved significantly. The question as to whether a particular individual 'deserves' only to work in a low skilled job with low rewards is a different question.

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