luka

Well-known member
Staff member
He always takes care to spell my name wrong and he always puts a lipstick kiss on the envelope. He's the only person I get a Christmas card off each year. Very touching. He started a few years ago and I thought, oh god, he's in his dotage but later I started to appreciate it.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
Well, look, if you think he said that Hayek and Friedman loved dictators because they were the only means by which their hated economic policies could ever be forced upon uncomprehending and exploited populations, I don’t think any more reading is going to help you.

If you read what I read, which was a more nuanced statement about the complicated relationship between democracy, liberty and liberalism, then this is not unique to Hayek, it’s a general and central concern of liberal thought (Tocqueville’s books on America are largely about this). That probably is too boring for you to read about, but not for everybody.
what I'm saying is somewhere in between

I don't think/never said neoliberals love dictators, or authoritarianism in general. what I do think is that they're just fine with dictators, or essentially any kind of repression, if that's what gets the job done. if you have a fundamental belief that the market is the source of all good, then optimizing society for the market is the ultimate good and everything else is of lesser consequence. if you can achieve that goal without repressing and abusing people along the way, so much the better, but if not, well, it's for their ultimate benefit.

it's not a problem unique to neoliberals, but because they have the purest belief in the market as the ultimate good they're also willing to sanction the most in pursuit of freeing the market. there are/always have been plenty of less fervent free market believers unwilling to make the trade off of seeing deregulation or austerity imposed by a brutal dictatorship or other kinds of harsh repressive measures. it's a matter of prioritization.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
He always takes care to spell my name wrong and he always puts a lipstick kiss on the envelope. He's the only person I get a Christmas card off each year. Very touching. He started a few years ago and I thought, oh god, he's in his dotage but later I started to appreciate it.

Now I'm worried that if I forget to do it one year and he's found dead in a ditch, I'll be wracked with guilt for the rest of my life. You see Padraig, I am living proof that neoliberals are not selfish, unfeeling spivs.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I don't think any of that should really be controversial - there's a mountain of evidence stretching back decades that neoliberals care far more about forcing their free market ideas on society than they do about individual freedoms other than market participation

it would be one thing if those ideas at least did eventually lead to greater human happiness - I personally still do not think it would be worth the cost imposed, but there would at least be an argument to be made - but there's also plenty of evidence that neoliberal economics don't work. two guys at the LSE recently released a major paper about how trickle down economics - shockingly - only benefit rich people who get their taxes cut. or you could look at the absolute fucking disaster that Lawrence Summers and Andrei Shleifer made of post-Soviet Russia. or etc.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I am living proof that neoliberals are not selfish, unfeeling spivs.
that's not what I think at all. I don't think neoliberals are moustache-twirling villains. I think they're something far more dangerous - secular fundamentalists possessed of a single fanatical core belief that they'll sanction anything to bring into being. not that plenty of grifting and profiteering hasn't been done under the banner of the Austrian school etc, but if they were just grifters they'd be much easier to deal with. grifters always have a price. fanatics don't.

the fanatical, unquestioning nature of that underlying belief in the omnipotence of markets is also what separates them from yr average free market type
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Love John's War of Attrition on this thread. Drip drip drip. Big fan!

But it's also why I don't quite buy into this notion of systemic/structural analysis.

These are all decisions.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
They are decisions.

And decisions are made about the recruitment of the people that make those decisions.

All of these decisions are based on the class interest of those making them though.

If an individual started making decisions that were not in keeping with the class interest then their power to make those decisions would be removed.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
An interpretation of class interest. This is how the breaks occur like the one we have been witnessing.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
On the one hand you have 'the enlightened self interest' that's one approach to rule. On the other you have the total domination crowd.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
The faction we won't call globalists represent 'enlightened self interest' cant of course, but cant which still exerts some moderating influence.

You could probably account for this stuff in a more systemic way but it would require breaking down 'ruling class' into various factions and coalitions.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
And working out what those factions want and why and how they go about getting it
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
If you take the Kochs for instance, you'd want to be able to demonstrate how their economic interests (energy, manufacturing) match up with their ideology and political aims but also how and why that puts them into conflict with other factions of the ruling class.

You'd want to know how the ruling class breaks down into different teams and what those teams are playing for.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Then we could get a better handle on what's going on today. You could probably do it John. I have faith in you. But you'll need to start now if you're going to have that report on my desk by this evening.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
It would be an interesting exercise to look at competing blocs of the ruling class for sure and we have also seen this with leave/remain in the UK and with China vs whoever wrt steel production. Indeed David Harvey's "anti-capitalist chronicles" podcast touches on a lot of this.

I'd still say though that overall the general class interest as shown in the graph above, will dominate individual interests or bloc interests. The ruling class is far more effective at acting as a class than the working class.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
we also want to know why at any given time this or that faction/coalition of factions wins power and gets to make policy. We want to account for differences and changes.
 
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