My Economics Ideology
On 28 Feb 1996 I posted this explanation of my attitude about
We have different perceptions of the problem being discussed.
So from the same data we reach different conclusions. Then get in
a fight over it. The story of the blind men describing an
elephant after each touching a different part of the
Let me make clear my concern, overstated for clarity:
I have no interest - zero interest - in the general economic
situation as represented by the unemployment rate, the trade
balance, or any other aggregated data. References to them seem
silly to me. I can't comprehend why they are being mentioned.
I do have a strong interest in the circumstances of the bottom
quintile - or pick a percentage - of the population. I do have a
strong interest in layed-off, long-time, "loyal" employees who
have committed to the tasks of a company, are therefore poorly
equipped for other tasks, and are in difficult circumstances.
I do have a strong interest in the population dependent on,
and perhaps crippled by the blunders of the welfare state; and
the population not adequately trained for employment.
My interest is purely self-serving: I don't want to be robbed
or shot by a robber. I admit my own personality flaw, i.e. if I
were in one of the groups mentioned above, I would get a big gun,
join a gang, and feed myself rather than depend on welfare. I
empathize with the young black males in the U.S., with the newly
laid-off, with the unemployables, with those who struggle below
the poverty level (however defined), and with those who migrate
into the U.S. to escape worse poverty.
In a modern, well-armed nation revolution does not occur by
the storming of the Bastille, it occurs by shots heard in the
streets, by schools too dangerous to attend, by a growing prison
population too expensive to maintain, by the collapse of safety
nets. And by the rise to power of the radical right or the
radical left. And that, gang, is revolution.
So respond to my posts with no general statistics - they sound
evasive, plutocratic; simply silly in the context of my
perception of the problems. And by plutocratic I mean that I
sense that the arguments are being made by economically secure,
perhaps wealthy, perhaps tenured, well-meaning citizens who would
- if not embarrassed to do so - say "let them eat cake."