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Managing editor David Donovan says unrestrained neo-liberal free market ideology is not new and risks tearing our society apart if we don’t stand in its way.

Why everything you thought you knew about economics is probably wrong: Part Five

Read the other parts of this series:

Part 1: The art of economics

Part 2: The impossible ideology of free trade

Part 3: Productivity and the myth of labour market flexibility

Part 4: Masters of the universe and the efficient markets myth

Resist the rise of the evil psychopathic morons

FREE MARKET IDEOLOGY IS BIG. But why is it big?

It’s big because it is an avenue for rich people to avoid government regulation and taxation, and so is a way for them to avoid cost and scrutiny. It is, therefore, totally self-serving.

Why does the general public lap it up? Brainwashing from self-serving media corporations, mainly; they use their power and persuasion to lead the ignorant down a pretty looking path which will ultimately end in their own destruction and/or effective enslavement.

The fact of the matter is capitalism is inherently sociopathic. If a corporation’s only goal is to serve the interests of its owners, then by definition the most successful corporations will be those that are willing to sacrifice moral imperatives in the interests of shareholder value.

That means morality is a drag in the world of business and pyschopaths, if not constrained, will always come out on top.

Sadly, that explains the world as we now know it.

Of course, free market ideology is not new.

It is the sort of thinking that led to ‘Tulip mania’ in Holland in the early 17th century, where the price of a single tulip bulb reached that of a family home in Amsterdam. It was the spectacular stupidity that led to the school of Laissez-faire, which failed the world so demonstrably in the 18th and 19th century. It is the sort of self-interested corporate baloney that led to the fall of Wall Street and the worldwide Great Depression in the 1930’s. And, after a brief period of rebuilding, it was the ideology that made a comeback in 1954 with the coining of the term “trickle down economics”; the idea being, predictably, to throw money at the rich in the hope some loose change might fall out of their over-stuffed pockets and get grubbed up by the poor.

Leaving office in 1968, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson defined the theory, perhaps, best of all:

“Republicans… (are) so busy operating the trickle-down theory, giving the biggest corporations the biggest break that the whole thing goes to hell in a hand basket.”

Some people thought this obviously flawed, rehashed, ideology couldn’t possibly rise again, but then along came Ronald Reagan in 1981. Reagan was a bumbling B-grade actor, who was hired by big corporations to play the biggest role of his career as U.S. President — and who smilingly led the world economy to the cliff face, for fellow Republican George W. Bush to push it off in 2007 with his Global Financial Crisis and subsequent bank bailout.

Now, paradoxically – despite these huge bank bailouts (i.e. a form of socialism) in nearly every western economy and the imminent failure of the European Union – market fundamentalism is so endemic and trusted throughout our mainstream media that we are seemingly programmed at birth to believe that government-run entities are inevitably inefficient and wasteful, while private enterprise is always wonderful and perfect.

It makes no sense. Has the entire world suffered a severe blow to the head such that all our cerebral cortexes are now unable to process information? Or are we just pitiful sheep, tragically brainwashed by our mass media and compromised education system into accepting trumped up economic theories that are, in fact, quite contrary to our own best interests?

I despair sometimes.

The reality is, letting the free market rip has always and will always end in market bubbles and bad results for society. The theory of Ayn Rand, the neo-conservative God, is that by allowing total economic Darwinism, the tide of profit will lift the boat of progress, allowing the unfit to drown and carrying the rest of us to Elysian fields of unbounded prosperity — but with big capitalists getting the lion's share, obviously. Any thoughts of compassion or human feeling are a weakness, according to Rand, to be swept away in the unbridled pursuit of wealth.

Note the Wikipedia definition of psychopathy:

“…a personality disorder that has been variously described as characterized by shallow emotions (in particular reduced fear), stress tolerance, lacking empathy, coldheartedness, lacking guilt, egocentricity…”

Doesn't that describe the majority of successful CEO's?

One would hope our morality – and downright humanity – would dictate that we wouldn't leave our weakest and most vulnerable to be swept away. This creed ignores the simple truth that our collective sense of fairness will always serve to make us rise up in outrage when inequality becomes too pervasive and obscene (cf Marxist theory). And it also ignores the fact that money and trade can never account for items that are held in common and are therefore free for all to exploit, most notably the air and the seas — note what’s happening to the world with anthropogenic climate change.

The truth is, human beings want to trade and barter; that instinct was built into our psyche from the time we came down from the trees — “I’ll give you this banana for that pretty rock”, for example. This trait means pure socialist collectivism, no matter how admirable, is always destined to fail in practice. Most people want the chance to work harder or smarter and do just a bit better than others. However, also destined to fail is total market sovereignty. Like in ancient times, if one clan dweller had all the bananas and the rest of the people had nothing but pretty rocks, than the person with all the bananas would have them taken off him — often along with his head.

To ensure ordinary people don’t rise up against the people who have all the bananas, the only sensible, and indeed proper, course of action is what we have at the moment — targeted, sensible, regulation to control the excesses of the market, a system of taxation to redistribute wealth and provide for common utilities and services, and a welfare system such that our weakest and least able are protected to the best of our ability. Free market groups would happily destroy our society by stripping this away — but by doing so, they sow the seeds of their own ultimate destruction, as markets always need stability to prosper. Therefore, they are idiots.

And this is why every so-called “think tank” group  – like Alec, or the Heritage Foundation, or Australia’s own vile, yet hugely influential, Institute of Public Affairs – must be resisted at all costs.

Resist the morons. There is no other rational choice.

The morons want to destroy our society in the interests of their psychopathic corporate masters.

The reason why they are psychopathic is because they think that “markets” are the ultimate arbiter of any action. In other words, all they care about is money.

And as we all know, love of money is the root of many evils.

So, we must resist the rise of the evil psychopathic morons, whose dominance can only end in us tearing ourselves, our world and our society apart.

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