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TorgoX (1933)


"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Saturday December 29, 2001
07:16 PM

Manufacturing consent

[ #1822 ]
"...investors lack confidence in a back-ward looking, secretive and inflation-obsessed ECB to generate strong growth in Europe. There is a sense, entirely justified, that the ECB is fighting the last war.
But why let the grubby economics get in the way of high politics? Monetary union may be the last gasp of a now obsolete centralist model in which a policy elite decides what is best for the people on a take-it-or-leave it basis, but old habits die hard. " -- a Guardian article

I suppose the opposite approach to an economists' qabal is something more democratic, but hopefully you'll understand if I don't think of economics as something that an electorate is necessarily going to bring great intelligence to. On the other hand, with economics as with law, I at times wonder whether being a supposed expert in the discipline actually gives great insight into the field. That is, while I have every confidence that if I needed to know about art history, I should go to an art historian, I'm not so sure economists are going to do as well as telling me how to run my economy, nor that law professors (much less legislators) are going to do as well as telling me what laws would be good. Nor, for that matter, would a linguist necessarily be the person to ask about how to talk. Therein lie fundamental differences between disciplines: some disciples simply are about fairly solid facts (like when people started using three-point perspective), and others are simply about intractably messy aspects of how humans behave (money, law, language).

In my more realpolitik moments, I sometimes think that the thing democracy is best at, is making people happy (or as economists would put it, instilling "confidence") by making them at least think that the government is theirs ("manufacturing consent", as Chomsky's turn of phrase goes), as opposed to being infinitely more hostile to an unelected government, even if it were acting more intelligently. That is, I sometimes suspect that democracy makes governments popular, not necessarily better. But then I'm a Kommissar, so maybe I'm not unbiased.

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  • I very much doubt that making (macro)economic choices more democratic would bring much more sense to that area, but at least it can't make it that much worse ;-) I took an Economy section bac (the french A levels more or less) and was thus brought to have several hours of Economy lectures a week for three years. The one impression that lasted long from that field is that no one has any idea whatsoever what's going on.

    In fact, the last Nobel prize for Economy (iirc, it might have been the previous o


    -- Robin Berjon []