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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Markets and Morals?

    When most people discuss politics and economics are they really discussing morality?

    I got interested in this watching a TV show about benefits claimants and taxpayers meeting to experience or scrutinise each others lives last night.

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    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I feel like it comes down to a discussion of morals and how these relate to the following underlying assumptions:

    1. How to prioritize human rights. There is a question of the right to ownership vs. the right to existence that can underly some discussions.

    2. How the Self is defined, whether the focus is purely individual or viewing the hierarchy of cooperative communities in which the individual is a component.

    3. Assumption on the importance of first-order effects vs. second, third, etc. -order effects.

    It seems like the extreme right prioritizes right to property, the only Self is the individual, and only first-order effects are relevant. The "Left" tends to focus on bigger systems of hierarchies of self and multiple level order effects.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  3. #3
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    When I talk about these things I consider morals, though they are utilitarian morals. I think a lot of other people do too, but the morals they have in mind are very different from mine.

    The problem I generally see with other peoples' morals in these cases is that they stick to some hardline principles, and they give symbolic expressions of those principles priority over everything else, regardless of consequences. When we talk about markets in particular, I see lots of rationalizations involves the value of personal choice, property rights, how stealing is evil, etc... And these rules are translated into some very impractical results sometimes. For me, that's where the authentic morality of it breaks down. When every good thing is an esoteric category, and when paradoxes become inevitable, it invites people to morally interpret any situation in a way that will justify whatever they already felt, thus disintegrating any actual moral framework. Even still, it's not a deliberate loss of morality. These people think they are being moral.

    On the other hand, some people do compartmentalize, which I find strange. They may identify the law, or the markets, or something else like that as a thing that just doesn't overlap with the topic of morality. As far as I'm concerned, if you make a decision that has an effect on other people, you have entered the realm of morality.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    When I talk about these things I consider morals, though they are utilitarian morals. I think a lot of other people do too, but the morals they have in mind are very different from mine.

    The problem I generally see with other peoples' morals in these cases is that they stick to some hardline principles, and they give symbolic expressions of those principles priority over everything else, regardless of consequences. When we talk about markets in particular, I see lots of rationalizations involves the value of personal choice, property rights, how stealing is evil, etc... And these rules are translated into some very impractical results sometimes. For me, that's where the authentic morality of it breaks down. When every good thing is an esoteric category, and when paradoxes become inevitable, it invites people to morally interpret any situation in a way that will justify whatever they already felt, thus disintegrating any actual moral framework. Even still, it's not a deliberate loss of morality. These people think they are being moral.

    On the other hand, some people do compartmentalize, which I find strange. They may identify the law, or the markets, or something else like that as a thing that just doesn't overlap with the topic of morality. As far as I'm concerned, if you make a decision that has an effect on other people, you have entered the realm of morality.
    The second paragraph is most interesting to me, the thing is that the sort of thinking I see becoming prevalent, its already in the US and the conservatives and media in the UK are trying to ramp it up here, is broadly speaking "home economics". People generalise from their own private experience which is unwise, Keynes talked about how strict adherence to classical economics would require everyone to become subsistence farmers, growing potatos or something for themselves with limited surpluses for trade with their neighbours. The unfortunate thing is that for some pretty extreme conservatives in the US they're fine with that idea, its even a utopia they can believe in.

    For some there's a correlate with their churches but the thing is it stands as a kind of secular scripture too and this I believe is the terrain of the "American Taliban" who wont tolerate any pragmatic divergence from the strict morality they believe is at the heart of or actually is what they are thinking of or talking about when they discuss economics.

    About it all there is a kind of cognitive dissonance, the immoralities or short comings of the poor are obsessed about a lot more than the uber wealthy.

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