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#1
01-04-2014
Default The Viennese Legacy (Neoliberalism) [paging zyphex]

heya there, i'm not insulting my readers by calling them shitheads but i do demand you all read some of this before i respond. let me summarize really quickly even though it might be counterproductive to the purposes of this thread.
  • i want to hear your opinions on this text (mises' the anti-capitalistic mentality) and related matters.
  • specifically, i want to hear your take on mises' argument therein-- watered down: that people in the developed world who oppose themselves to capitalism are doing so "sub"consciously out of fear of failure / jealousy of the other's success
  • more specifically, i want to hear from zyphex how this argument doesn't amount to ressentiment and projection on mises' part.

(to understand what i mean in the last bit and to see why it's relevant and also to have an understanding of where i want this thread to go, you should read at least the following two articles. plus maybe also pick at least one out of the second grouping below-- the bourdieu article would be a good choice.)

i also want to hear your take on these articles which explain the origins and legacy of this brand of thought:
on the origins (turn of the century vienna):
http://www.thenation.com/article/174...yek?page=full#
http://crookedtimber.org/2013/06/25/...to-my-critics/


some more links-- on the legacy (neoliberalism):
http://blogs.newschool.edu/janey-pro...era_050404.pdf
http://s3.amazonaws.com/chssweb/docu...pdf?1322146423
http://www.academia.edu/1076775/Intr...Neoliberal_Age
http://mondediplo.com/1998/12/08bourdieu

http://coreyrobin.com/2013/06/25/the...to-my-critics/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iW1SHPgUAQ / http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxwMKyhPdI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTbdnNgqfs8

+ a repository of relevant links on neoliberalism (and why lots of people really oppose neoliberal capitalism):
http://geography.unc.edu/people/facu...eographies.pdf



i have my own thoughts and some of these have been alluded to in this post and some have been posted elsewhere on this board, but i'm abstaining from posting more of them here in the op because i think this stuff is at least important.
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Here's the problem - I am not a means to the end of rape culture, I am the end. I am literally the termination of this whole ordeal.
here's the problem

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#2
01-06-2014
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Yay! Another homework assignment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PM View Post
  • i want to hear your opinions on this text (mises' the anti-capitalistic mentality) and related matters.
  • specifically, i want to hear your take on mises' argument therein-- watered down: that people in the developed world who oppose themselves to capitalism are doing so "sub"consciously out of fear of failure / jealousy of the other's success
  • more specifically, i want to hear from zyphex how this argument doesn't amount to ressentiment and projection on mises' part.
Watered down indeed. Anyway, I hadn't read the piece before because I first and foremost appreciate Mises as an economist and economic epistemologist rather than as a political theorist, a psychologist, or any other hat he chooses to wear. So I have confined myself to his books that contain the most economic or epistemological insight.

I do not interpret Mises as saying that all people who oppose capitalism do so for fear of failure and jealousy of others success. In fact, Mises offers a wealth of reasons as to why people may have a personal bias against capitalism. (NOTE: Mises interchangeably uses the terms capitalism and unhampered (or laissez-faire or free) market).

I'll throw out some reasons he gives. This is not meant to be exhaustive, but is meant to contribute to the thread. I will put Mises' quotes in spoiler tags:
  • The market does not allocate wealth based upon moral worth or moral character.
    Spoiler!

  • The market does not allocate wealth according to the brilliance of the author, the playwrite, or the performer.
    Spoiler!

    Spoiler!

  • The market allocation of wealth can result in frustrated ambitions which result in resentment towards those who have faired better on the market and towards the market system itself. This is most similar to your watered down argument. Essentially, those that started in similar backgrounds as oneself (who are viewed as equals, or maybe even inferiors, to oneself), yet have risen higher than oneself on the market, will be view with disdain.

    As a similar argument, one may view oneself as well-educated and intellectual and find his/her field of study to be an intellectually rigorous field of study. Then you see a bunch of jokers majoring in business, something one may view as intellectually unstimulating (or brain-numbing). When all is said and done, those jokers who don't know a sliver of philosophy, economics, anthropology, psychology, history etc. might go out and make a ton more on the market. One may resent that the market rewards the mechanical shallow-minded dummies and not the deep-thinking intellectuals.

    Spoiler!

  • The market does not allocate wealth in a way that respects the (so-called) natural rights (or dignity) of all humans.

    Spoiler!

  • People are ignorant of economics.

    Spoiler!

    Spoiler!

I don't find this work to be particularly scientific. I do not believe it is exhaustive, but I do think he does give some reasons as to why some people are biased against capitalism. And in this sense it is an interesting read and has some merit. However, I'm not particularly interested in this type of psychologizing; it can make for a good read, but it all seems to me to be speculation, and unfortunately people who are not free market fans are likely to be offended by the content, find it wanting, and then conclude that Mises' writings on economics most likely follow the same lackluster, unscientific procedure.

The thing for me is, I don't know if Mises distinguishes between those that have an anti-capitalist bias and those that are not free market fans, but not because of some overt bias. In any case, I don't agree with all of Mises' reasons for the bias, and don't believe some should be classified as a bias. For example, opposing capitalism because one thinks it does not adequately meet the demands of justice does not seem to me a reason for a bias, but rather reason that one would not be in favor of laissez-faire. (Of course, one should give a defined meaning to justice and not just make such an assertion.)

I'm left thinking that Mises attributes any argument against laissez-faire as the result of a bias, which I find wholly unsatisfactory. Rather, even if one is a supporter of laissez-faire and thinks he has the rock solid argument in favor of it, that does not mean that all who are against it are biased, but it could mean that you are fallible or your opponents are fallible.

With that said, I don't have too much to say about ressentiment and projection. I understand (and we all should) that the validity of an argument is found in the argument itself, and not in the psychological factors that were in operation as the author formulated his arguments. As such, those questions tend to be distractions. What I will say is I think that the anti-capitalist who says Mises is showing his ressentiment towards non-capitalists in this piece is as correct as the Christian who views Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals as an excersise in ressentiment by Nietzsche towards Christians. In either case, I think it is immaterial to the author's argument and serves nothing more than as a distraction and an inconclusive topic for a speculative quibble.

That's all for now, I might get to the Nietzsche articles later. But I want to say a few more (I'm sure annoying and "overly assuming") things. These overly assuming things are meant to be helpful, but I can't help but think that it may come off as presumptuous in content (cause it is) and asshole in tone. For that, I apologize for it is not my intent to come off as an arrogant asshole, but I am too tired to reform my style at this point:

If you actually want to engage the substantive ideas of Mises, read his economics, where he is at his best. Read Human Action and don't bother on anything else by him. If you want a simpler exposition (and perhaps better) of those ideas and some more, read Man, Economy and State by Rothbard. There isn't a "neoliberal" in town who heralds Mises above all for his fantastic exposition "The Anticapitalistic Mentality." However, you have agitating libertarians up and down the line worshiping Human Action like it was evidence of God's existence because only God could bestow upon mankind the magnum opus of Ludwig von Mises the Great. So if you are trying to combat "neoliberalism", you should try there instead of looking at a book that isn't even in his top 5 by anyone's standards. And you should consider looking at primary sources by the "neoliberals" themselves in addition to the second-hand sources about "neoliberalism" that you have read.
GT: Zyphex

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#3
01-07-2014
Default

bump for the edit. i'll still post a response to your post soon, regardless of the fact that you didn't actually read any of the links.
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Here's the problem - I am not a means to the end of rape culture, I am the end. I am literally the termination of this whole ordeal.
here's the problem
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#4
01-07-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PM View Post
bump for the edit. i'll still post a response to your post soon, regardless of the fact that you didn't actually read any of the links.
I read the book by Mises you posted. Give me a break.
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#5
01-07-2014
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the thread is about the viennese legacy (neoliberalism) and not about the neoliberal economist himself.

your response is appreciated but wasn't the point of this thread. i recognize the way i worded my bullet point summary was misleading insofar as it exempted you from reading anything else in the op.


ot: the response i've been working on just failed to submit and i'm going to have to type it all out again.
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Here's the problem - I am not a means to the end of rape culture, I am the end. I am literally the termination of this whole ordeal.
here's the problem
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#6
01-07-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zyphex View Post
Watered down indeed.
i'm more convinced now than before that my boiling of this argument wasn't so bad.

Quote:
Anyway, I hadn't read the piece before because I first and foremost appreciate Mises as an economist and economic epistemologist rather than as a political theorist, a psychologist, or any other hat he chooses to wear.

So I have confined myself to his books that contain the most economic or epistemological insight.
historians of consciousness, e.g., don't tend to feel the necessity to confine themselves in such a way

Quote:
I do not interpret Mises as saying that all people who oppose capitalism do so for fear of failure and jealousy of others success. In fact, Mises offers a wealth of reasons as to why people may have a personal bias against capitalism. (NOTE: Mises interchangeably uses the terms capitalism and unhampered (or laissez-faire or free) market).
let's see about that.

Quote:
I'll throw out some reasons he gives. This is not meant to be exhaustive, but is meant to contribute to the thread. I will put Mises' quotes in spoiler tags:

The market does not allocate wealth based upon moral worth or moral character.
What the capitalistic democracy of the market brings about is not rewarding people according to their “true” merits, inherent worth and moral emi¬nence. What makes a man more or less prosperous is not the evaluation of his contribution from any “absolute” principle of justice, but evaluation on the part of his fellowmen who exclu¬sively apply the yardstick of their own personal wants, desires and ends.
what this really amounts to is saying: what makes a man more prosperous is that his fellowmen who evaluate him highly are themselves already more prosperous and so capable of making this man more prosperous in virtue of their high evaluations.

w/r/t group psychology,* this might also imply that a man (a celebrity or politician, say) may become more prosperous than another by virtue of their already-being an image-- a nodal point-- a site for "fellowmen" to transfer their "own personal wants, desires", etc., in/onto

n.b. for the rest of the discussion: like mises, i do not think there is an absolute principle of justice; unlike mises, i do not think the choice is either between defining an "absolute principle" of justice or sarcastically rejecting of the very notion of justice as a social phenomenon.
-- i shouldn't have to do this, but let me just implore you not to try to respond to this bit until you've read it in the context of my full response.

Quote:
The market does not allocate wealth according to the brilliance of the author, the playwrite, or the performer.

What pays on the market is not the good performance as such, but the performance recognized as good by a sufficient number of cus¬tomers. If the buying public is too dull to appreciate duly the worth of a product, however excellent, all the trouble and expense were spent in vain.
this is a look at artistic production which essentially says that either a work is successful from a market standpoint or it was made in vain.

this leaves out the fact of financiers and the reality of industrial art / taste (http://simulacrum.cc/2012/07/21/pier...nction-part-i/) and would seek to obfuscate the social dimensions of taste.
until you understand this point i would imagine it would be difficult to understand the whole point of my even mentioning the concept of habitus.


a work can be successful from a market standpoint iff the returns sufficiently outweigh the costs. this is true but explicitly leaves out the reality of public relations industry which works in part to ensure that the returns will sufficiently outweigh the costs.

this quote also doesn't take into account the ostensible fact that mises and hayek themselves considered the masses (that sufficient number of consumers) to have poor taste.
what mises is saying here is that avant-garde and bohemian art as opposed to industrial or bourgeoisie art is made in vain-- but what he's really doing is smuggling in the moral valuation that avant-garde and bohemian art, which are produced for the consumers with non-conformist, cutting-edge taste and which are not concerned to pull in a profit, is the true form of art.

again, please don't respond to this claim in isolation. this point is connected with the links offered in the op and with the following connected quote:
Quote:
Literature is not conformism, but dissent. Those authors who merely repeat what everybody approves and wants to hear are of no importance. What counts alone is the innovator, the dissenter, the harbinger of things unheard of, the man who rejects the traditional standards and aims at substituting new values and ideas for old ones. He is by necessity anti-authoritarian and antigovernmental, irreconcilably opposed to the immense majority of his contemporaries. He is precisely the author whose books the greater part of the public does not buy.
Whatever one may think about Marx and Nietzsche, nobody can deny that their posthumous success has been overwhelming. Yet they both would have died from starvation if they had not had other sources of income than their royalties. The dissenter and innovator has little to expect from the sale of his books on the regular market.
the first bolded part of course relies on the stipulated definition of literature mises is here making.
the first bolded part is a projection. the first bolded part demonstrates a misrecognition of the social dimension of artistic production in any case.

the second bolded part speaks to the point raised above. mises assumes the pure market logic to favor the tastes of the masses, yet he doesn't care to understand the tastes of the masses and how they are formed vis-a-vis the pure market logic.

Quote:
The market allocation of wealth can result in frustrated ambitions which result in resentment towards those who have faired better on the market and towards the market system itself. This is most similar to your watered down argument. Essentially, those that started in similar backgrounds as oneself (who are viewed as equals, or maybe even inferiors, to oneself), yet have risen higher than oneself on the market, will be view with disdain.

As a similar argument, one may view oneself as well-educated and intellectual and find his/her field of study to be an intellectually rigorous field of study. Then you see a bunch of jokers majoring in business, something one may view as intellectually unstimulating (or brain-numbing). When all is said and done, those jokers who don't know a sliver of philosophy, economics, anthropology, psychology, history etc. might go out and make a ton more on the market. One may resent that the market rewards the mechanical shallow-minded dummies and not the deep-thinking intellectuals.

His passionate dislike of capitalism is a mere blind for his hatred of some successful “colleagues.”
yeah, agreed, this bit explicitly makes the point i also made in the bullet pointed portion of the op.

Quote:
The market does not allocate wealth in a way that respects the (so-called) natural rights (or dignity) of all humans.

The worst of all these delusions is the idea that “nature” has bestowed upon every man certain rights. According to this doc¬trine nature is openhanded toward every child born. There is plenty of everything for everybody. Consequently, everyone has a fair inalienable claim against all his fellowmen and against society that he should get the full portion which nature has allot¬ted to him. The eternal laws of natu¬ral and divine justice re¬quire that nobody should appropri¬ate to himself what by rights belongs to other people. The poor are needy only because unjust people have deprived them of their birthright. It is the task of the church and the secular authorities to prevent such spoliation and to make all people prosperous...

The World Council of Churches, an ecumenical organi¬za¬tion of Protestant Churches, declared in 1948: “Justice demands that the inhabitants of Asia and Africa, for in¬stance, should have the benefits of more machine produc¬tion.”* This makes sense only if one implies that the Lord presented mankind with a def¬inite quantity of machines and expected that these contrivances will be distributed equally among the various nations. Yet the capitalistic countries were bad enough to take possession of much more of this stock than “justice” would have assigned to them and thus to deprive the inhabitants of Asia and Africa of their fair portion. What a shame!
here mises is offering up a disjunction: either there is an "absolute principle" of justice which makes the WCC's claim work (there isn't), or else the very notion of justice can be sarcastically rejected (as he does).

what's so troubling about this line of thought, to me, is that it's this very line of thought which ensures that these newly deprived peoples (of control of their land, agriculture; of control over their newly foreignly funded water systems and electrical grids, etc.) will remain deprived.

this rhetoric really is shameful. what's even more shameful is how mises sarcastically calls it shameful only to reject the mere notion that it could ever be seen as shameful.



Quote:
People are ignorant of economics.

However, people do not ask for socialism because they know that socialism will improve their conditions, and they do not reject capitalism because they know that it is a system prejudicial to their interests. They are socialists because they believe that socialism will improve their conditions, and they hate capitalism because they believe that it harms them. They are socialists because they are blinded by envy and ignorance. They stubbornly refuse to study economics and spurn the economists’ devastating critique of the socialist plans because, in their eyes, economics, being an abstract theory, is simply nonsense...
here mises is making my bullet-pointed point for me yet again.

the people around the world who most adamantly oppose neoliberal capitalism have no interest at all in whether the doctrines that support it in theory are sensical or nonsensical (verifiable, justifiable, logical, rational, etc.). these are people who oppose neoliberal capitalism on moral grounds-- viz., on grounds which mises simply does not care to take account of, since he's already denied the mere notion that someone could actually be morally opposed to the real injustices of neoliberal capitalism.

Quote:
People may disagree on the question of whether everybody ought to study economics seriously. But one thing is certain. A man who publicly talks or writes about the opposition between capitalism and socialism without having fully familiarized himself with all that economics has to say about these issues is an irresponsible babbler.

All those rejecting capitalism on moral grounds as an unfair system are deluded by their failure to comprehend what capital is, how it comes into existence and how it is maintained, and what the benefits are which are derived from its employment in production processes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Saro-Wiwa

Ken Saro-Wiwa: in mises' spectacled eyes, a blubbering, delusional idiot.



what's so funny is that mises isn't explicitly saying "you haven't read my books? then you don't know what you're talking about and i don't need to listen to your blabbering" but you are.
neoliberalism.

Quote:
I don't find this work to be particularly scientific. I do not believe it is exhaustive, but I do think he does give some reasons as to why some people are biased against capitalism. And in this sense it is an interesting read and has some merit. However, I'm not particularly interested in this type of psychologizing; it can make for a good read, but it all seems to me to be speculation, and unfortunately people who are not free market fans are likely to be offended by the content, find it wanting, and then conclude that Mises' writings on economics most likely follow the same lackluster, unscientific procedure.

The thing for me is, I don't know if Mises distinguishes between those that have an anti-capitalist bias and those that are not free market fans, but not because of some overt bias. In any case, I don't agree with all of Mises' reasons for the bias, and don't believe some should be classified as a bias. For example, opposing capitalism because one thinks it does not adequately meet the demands of justice does not seem to me a reason for a bias, but rather reason that one would not be in favor of laissez-faire. (Of course, one should give a defined meaning to justice and not just make such an assertion.)

I'm left thinking that Mises attributes any argument against laissez-faire as the result of a bias, which I find wholly unsatisfactory. Rather, even if one is a supporter of laissez-faire and thinks he has the rock solid argument in favor of it, that does not mean that all who are against it are biased, but it could mean that you are fallible or your opponents are fallible.

With that said, I don't have too much to say about ressentiment and projection. I understand (and we all should) that the validity of an argument is found in the argument itself, and not in the psychological factors that were in operation as the author formulated his arguments. As such, those questions tend to be distractions. What I will say is I think that the anti-capitalist who says Mises is showing his ressentiment towards non-capitalists in this piece is as correct as the Christian who views Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals as an excersise in ressentiment by Nietzsche towards Christians. In either case, I think it is immaterial to the author's argument and serves nothing more than as a distraction and an inconclusive topic for a speculative quibble.
but i'm not talking about validity. i'm not even critiquing the theory as unscientific. i see no point in that.
the favoring of an argument's validity/falsifiability is itself a part of the viennese legacy i'm talking about.
more to the point i'm wanting to make: validity has nothing to do with justness; it obfuscates the ethical-political dimension (of the theory) altogether.

i'm lamenting the fact that you are not concerned at all with the justness of neoliberal capitalism and am lamenting the fact that it's simply because you don't care to be.

Quote:
That's all for now, I might get to the Nietzsche articles later.
the articles linked, esp. these nietzsche articles and the bourdieu one, and the links describing how hayek supported pinochet, and etc., were the main purpose of posting this thread.
i realize that wasn't crystal clear in the op-- thus the subsequent posts and edit. judging by how the habitus thread has turned out (viz., into a debate over whether mises and bourdieu are compatible), i should have anticipated the sort of response you've given here and been more careful to explicitly lay out what i'm demanding from this thread.

Quote:
But I want to say a few more (I'm sure annoying and "overly assuming") things. These overly assuming things are meant to be helpful, but I can't help but think that it may come off as presumptuous in content (cause it is) and asshole in tone. For that, I apologize for it is not my intent to come off as an arrogant asshole, but I am too tired to reform my style at this point:

Quote:
If you actually want to engage the substantive ideas of Mises, read his economics, where he is at his best. Read Human Action and don't bother on anything else by him.
this isn't how historians of consciousness operate. (economists, sure.) for people like me, context is more important than all that.

Quote:
If you want a simpler exposition (and perhaps better) of those ideas and some more, read Man, Economy and State by Rothbard. There isn't a "neoliberal" in town who heralds Mises above all for his fantastic exposition "The Anticapitalistic Mentality." However, you have agitating libertarians up and down the line worshiping Human Action like it was evidence of God's existence because only God could bestow upon mankind the magnum opus of Ludwig von Mises the Great. So if you are trying to combat "neoliberalism", you should try there instead of looking at a book that isn't even in his top 5 by anyone's standards. And you should consider looking at primary sources by the "neoliberals" themselves in addition to the second-hand sources about "neoliberalism" that you have read.
i don't see how you can offer this handwaving conclusion considering you didn't read any of the articles linked RE neoliberalism.

these links are not like you're wanting to claim (a priori) second hand accounts of neoliberal economists or their theories but are anthropological studies of the present state of affairs the world (viz., the world that anthropologists and clearly not economists such as yourself are familiar with) finds itself in-- neoliberalism.
neoliberalism, that is, the legacy of the viennese school at large and not just the class you're familiar with.

even merely skimming through any of the links offered would have made this apparent.




let me just emphasize: i am not demanding a discussion of mises' economic theory in detail in this thread.

my point is not an economical one-- that you're seemingly wanting to make the discussion into a purely abstract, theoretical debate over economic theory, again-- just see the above quote-- is disconcerting, especially given the really substantive arguments against neoliberal capitalism offered up in the links i've left in the op, which decry this very sort of handwaving theoretical thought.

the point of this thread is what i'm demanding of it: to make a place on this forum for a serious discussion of the actual violence engendered by this sort of (neoliberal) thought


* this is an image i sketched up quickly for a post in the snowden thread
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cursed Lemon View Post
Here's the problem - I am not a means to the end of rape culture, I am the end. I am literally the termination of this whole ordeal.
here's the problem

Last edited by PM; 01-07-2014 at 04:52 PM.
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#7
02-22-2014
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I'm bored, so I'll post.

I read those Nietzsche articles a month ago. It was interesting how he tried to find similarities Nietzsche's theory of moral values and the Neoclassical theory of subjective value. From what I recall, his other aim was to relate the elitism of Nietzsche and Hayek. I unfortunately have not read Hayek's Constitution of Liberty or Law, Legislation, and Liberty, so I'm in no means an expert, but most of what I remember from the articles was stating how the elite in society set the standard for the types of tastes in society. In my mind any society is going to have some type of power structure with an "elite" class, and, as a matter of observation, they influence the future tastes of the masses as they are the first who can afford luxury goods, so they will be the ones whose tastes are first relevant for these industries. In any case, it is hard for me to qualify in what sense Hayek can be said to be an elitist without knowing the context of the quotes. Also, I don't think it is elitist (at least in some ethically-pernicious or mistaken way) to note that some people are better than others in certain endeavors, that certain people are more valuable to the well-being of society than others, and that those better endowed with wealth and power will undoubtedly have a large influence on the tastes of the masses and culture.

Another thing: Something I find troubling is that in many takes on (Austrian) economists is that there is a conflation of their economic theory and their political theory or arguments. Of course, their economic theories will have an effect on what political policies they favor and their political philosophy, as their political philosophy may have an influence on their economic theories. This much is true, but does not eviscerate the fact that these are two different, though closely linked, fields of study. The obfuscation of the boundary between economic theory and political philosophy is harmful, in my view. I think the object of this article was more to look at political theory and look at the theory of subjectivism in light of the debate between Socialists and liberals, so there is nothing wrong with that as long as the interpreter does not judge the validity of the subjective theory of value on whether or not the political theories are valid or convincing.

Anyway, getting more on point, Davo offered this little nugget on neoliberalism:
Quote:
Originally Posted by davobrosia View Post
Yo neoliberalism isn't corporations supporting a free market in isolation, it requires the institutional legal and power structures of the State to either give them a pass for, say, massacring natives, or to actively participate in it as well.
Given that, I'm interested in how you yourself define neoliberalism and just who classifes as a neoliberal in your eyes and why:

(Is Mises a neoliberal because of an out-of-context quote he made about fascism? Is Hayek a neoliberal because of his comments on libertarian dictatorships and his turning a blind eye to the atrocities in Chile to such a degree that Margaret Thatcher pretty much scolded him(http://reason.com/archives/2012/07/1...arian-dictator)? Is Friedman a neoliberal as you, not he, defined it? Where do people like Robert Nozick, Murray Rothbard, and Ayn Rand fall into this?....If you aren't familiar with all of them feel free to just pin down which ones you think you rightfully can.)

Given Davo's insight, I don't really see neoliberalism as a very appropriate label for these thinkers, although I'm sure there is a more convincing argument for labeling some of these figures as neoliberals than others.


And just to contribute, an interesting critique which brings into question the narrative Naomi Klein offers in the Shock Doctrine, specifically, on her demonization of Milton Friedman: http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.or.../pdf/bp102.pdf

I'd like your thoughts on this since you have a very high view of Klein's narrative. Does any of the critique of Klein's methods trouble you in any way?

(There goes zyphex linking to Koch-funded organizations... In any case, I think both articles contribute to the topic.)

Edit: Found this, Ill give it a look: http://www.alternet.org/story/98338/naomi_klein_strikes_back_at_critics_of_her_'shock_ doctrine'_book
Edit: Also, a response to her response from the guy who wrote the Cato article: http://www.cato.org/publications/com...another-attack
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#8
02-22-2014
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Quote:
Also, I don't think it is elitist (at least in some ethically-pernicious or mistaken way) to note that some people are better than others in certain endeavors, that certain people are more valuable to the well-being of society than others, and that those better endowed with wealth and power will undoubtedly have a large influence on the tastes of the masses and culture.
i do, and i think it's especially heinously elitist if that "note" is then taken to be a proof of or validation for this very system which generates this "noted" result.

just 4 giggles, i'd love if you told me how you think people become better endowed with wealth and power in the first place? (that is, why do you think people living under our economic-political-legal system become successful or more successful; what things must be true in order that someone can become successful itfp?)

Quote:
Another thing: Something I find troubling is that in many takes on (Austrian) economists is that there is a conflation of their economic theory and their political theory or arguments. Of course, their economic theories will have an effect on what political policies they favor and their political philosophy, as their political philosophy may have an influence on their economic theories. This much is true, but does not eviscerate the fact that these are two different, though closely linked, fields of study. The obfuscation of the boundary between economic theory and political philosophy is harmful, in my view. I think the object of this article was more to look at political theory and look at the theory of subjectivism in light of the debate between Socialists and liberals, so there is nothing wrong with that as long as the interpreter does not judge the validity of the subjective theory of value on whether or not the political theories are valid or convincing.
it's a conflation if you're an economist or political theorist. it's not an conflation iff you're studying social phenomena in a total, chaotic, historical sense.

if hayek's economic policies "influenced" him to support pinochet's evil regime, it's because pinochet's evil regime was seen by hayek as a good vehicle or candidate for his economic policies. where, when, and how would you wish to separate the two in this case, for instance?


as to the Q about what constitutes a "neo-liberal" (is ayn rand a neoliberal? (yes), etc.) do i agree w davo's lil nugget? ya, sure
"What is neoliberalism? A programme for destroying collective structures which may impede the pure market logic."
who are neoliberals? (put two and two together).
(this really is a very clear article, and i'd love to hear your take on it).

a more important thing to consider is that we are all neoliberal agents insofar as we continue to struggle/thrive (i.e. live) under a neoliberal programme, reproducing it through our resigned/happy actions. the article i linked in the op by gershon takes this question on more directly.
(btw, i never ever said or implied neoliberalism was just corporations supporting a free market; i can't tell if you're equating that view w. my own or what).


w/r/t the CATO article "The Klein Doctrine" http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.or.../pdf/bp102.pdf,
it's propaganda in the worst sense. of course you already anticipated that i'd say this, already knowing, that is, that CATO stuff is seen as such by "people on the other side", which is also why you've chosen to pre-emptively (jokingly) apologize for posting it for the audience you've got here-- me (someone "on the other side" from ur POV). in any case, i think klein does a better job of actually responding to this critique of her own work than i ever could, so i won't try to defend it here myself.
however, i am interested to hear what you think of her official 'response'.

if you really are interested in what i have to say, specifically, about that CATO article (even with my severely limited ability to engage with the whole critique-- e.g. i am not a friedman scholar and i cannot refute claims some of the so-called experts make), i can roll up my sleeves and show you some examples, from that article, of where and when i think the piece is being deceitful.

fuck it, here's just one example-- it's one of your CATO editor's preferred lines: "It is probably not a coincidence that there are blurbs from four fiction writers on the back of the book."
as if fiction writers are less capable of commenting on the world they inhabit than economists are. this echoes a larger trend in fields like economics to disregard the value of anything that doesn't pretend to be objective.
this also ignores the fact that fictionalizing a narrative (like we see in Animal's People, a story about the bhopal disaster) is often the only really viable way to get a story out there. (and so on and so on). this is just fucking ridiculous, actually. i can't even begin to fathom how much r&d money was spent producing this article.

n what the hell, i'll quote quickly from the beginning of klein's response:
Quote:
The Cato paper states of me that, "She claims that Friedman was a 'neoconservative' and thus in favor of an aggressive American foreign policy, and she argues that Iraq was invaded so that Chicago-style policies could be implemented there. but nowhere does she mention Friedman's actual views about the war. Friedman himself said: 'I was opposed to going into Iraq from the beginning. I think it was a mistake, for the simple reason that I do not believe the United States of America ought to be involved in aggression.' And this was not just one war that he happened to oppose. In 1995, he described his foreign policy position as 'anti-interventionist.'"
i'd respond to this a couple ways-- 1) anti-interventionist is cloaked, shifty language; 2) whether or not he was opposed to iraq (and klein's response insists and provides evidence for the claim that he wasn't), it was nevertheless his policies that were implemented, and you can ask yourself how that's going.
klein goes on to give evidence that CATO's claim in 1) doesn't actually mean friedman didn't involve himself in making economic/public policy for covertly overthrown nation-states. etc.
as for 2):
Spoiler!

which brings me to 3), being against "american aggression" is not the same as being against "para-american" aggression



also, if you get the time, i think you should watch adam curtis' "the century of the self"-- at least part of it. (it's available for free on vimeo, and i've posted it a few times around this forum). this so that you can then synthesize curtis and klein's arguments/narratives. this so that you can make more sense of mine:
the viennese legacy is a total (anti-)social phenomenon, to make a play on mauss' phrase, and this is precisely what makes "the politics" inseparable from "the economics"


see in this connection the argument put forth by hardt and negri in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_(book), (an argument which goes beyond typical critiques of neo-liberalism as programme and which calls for scholars to actively engage with the authors' concept "Empire" instead).
Spoiler!

i.e. "Empire", or in other words the neo-liberal legacy, is a total social phenomenon propelled on by its own momentum, as resolutions to conflicts which create in fragmented ways further conflicts; these further conflicts are then (necessarily) resolved, and more conflicts are created in fragmentary ways by this re-resolution; etc. this implies that the legacy continues on and that Empire expands in spiderwebbed patterns.
the legal and economic obstacles, networks, spiderwebs in place influence the person on a habitual, psychological level to exist in certain ways, to be a certain kind of subject; this influenced person recreates his/herself as a legal and economic subject vis-à-vis these very institutions, and in turn, these institutions are structurally maintained by this very recreation of subjects (who recreate and change themselves in and through these institutions), (and so on, and etc.).

i think that so long as you refuse to fully accept man is a social (==economic) being, we are going to keep talking besides and past one another.

also i think it would be helpful if we stopped talking about these men you admire — though i realize that it was i who brought up the personal question itfp, when i brought up the question of ressentiment in the op — and focused instead on their collected, manifest legacy.

/refrigerator length pile of thoughts
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Here's the problem - I am not a means to the end of rape culture, I am the end. I am literally the termination of this whole ordeal.
here's the problem

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#9
02-23-2014
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Originally Posted by PM View Post
i do, and i think it's especially heinously elitist if that "note" is then taken to be a proof of or validation for this very system which generates this "noted" result.
This is fair, I don't believe that note serves as proof or validation for a social system. I am trying to make a bigger claim, which is that any conceivable extended social system will have some type of "elite" group, and no matter what the elite group is, they will be privileged by being able to have a larger sway on the tastes of the masses.

Quote:
just 4 giggles, i'd love if you told me how you think people become better endowed with wealth and power in the first place? (that is, why do you think people living under our economic-political-legal system become successful or more successful; what things must be true in order that someone can become successful itfp?)
This varies based on the social structure.


Quote:
it's a conflation if you're an economist or political theorist. it's not an conflation iff you're studying social phenomena in a total, chaotic, historical sense.
No matter who you are, it is a conflation IF you take it that the unjustifiability of a person's political theory necessarily implies that his economic theories must be invalid (and vice versa). From an everyday perspective, it sure is a good pointer that if someone is flawed in their political views, they are likely flawed in their other views that inform their political views (such as their economic theories). All I am saying is that there is no strict logical connection, and as such I am arguing against the practice of discrediting an economists (or anyone's) political theory and then act as if that is logically sufficient to show that his economic theories are invalid. (The thought process is likely that his political views influence his economic theory, so if his political views are wrong, then the economic theories must be wrong. GIGO.) I see this as an easy step aside for anyone who is wanting to lampoon economics but not actually go through the struggle of honestly learning economics and addressing it on its own terms rather than on the political terms of those who formed the theories.

Quote:
if hayek's economic policies "influenced" him to support pinochet's evil regime, it's because pinochet's evil regime was seen by hayek as a good vehicle or candidate for his economic policies. where, when, and how would you wish to separate the two in this case, for instance?
What I am separating out is the relation between testing the validity of economic theories (logically or empirically) and the soundness of political theory. If Hayek were a Marxist, would he have spoke approvingly of Pinochet's regime? No. Is it because he favored freer markets that he spoke favorably of the Pinochet regime. Yes. So there is a connection between Hayek's economic views and his support of Pinochet. But does the validity/correctness of anything in his economic theory rely on the fact that he viewed Pinochet's regime positively? No. But it may be telling as to his view of morality or political theory, but then again, one should actually look at his political theory to see if he was acting on it or inconsistent in his action.

This is similar to playing the "Heidegger was an unapologetic Nazi" card and think that that is a sufficient critique of his ideas since, after all, it is possible that there is something in his ideas that led him to support Nazism and not publicly apologize.

"Most of the people, who were unable to do serious harm to the substance of Heidegger's thinking, tried to get at Heidegger the man with personal attacks." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_...ger_and_Nazism. This is how I view the Hayek-Pinochet talk. At least Robin tries to find something in Hayek's work that might pertain to his supporting Pinochet (Hayek's "elitism" in his theory); So I agree that there is certainly a red flag as to a person's political theory when you see them make dubious political connection or statements. But you have to actually go into their theory and confront it to show that it is malarkey, you can't just play off of the decisions of a fallible person to disprove their scholarly work. Not accusing you or Robin of doing this, just amking a statement as to how you can separate out what you asked and to what end is important to do so.



Quote:
as to the Q about what constitutes a "neo-liberal" (is ayn rand a neoliberal? (yes), etc.)
who are neoliberals? (put two and two together).
I have a problem. The way I see neoliberalism used isn't informative to me. It seems to me that much of the time it is a synonym for corporatism wanting to be a synonym for laissez-faire, but these are two conflicting views (for example, that tsunami debacle in Klein's book sounds like corporatism, not laissez-faire). One view argues for corporate privilege in the form of subsidies, legal privilege to take over other's property (or damage their property), corporate welfare in the form of bailouts, and protections from competition. The other is by definition saying leave it alone. Obfuscating this distinction is harmful and dishonest. (I'm not even a fan of Ayn Rand's philosophy, or Atlas Shrugged for that matter, but one of the main things she did in that book is demonize James Taggart for seeking out government privilege).

That's why I would really appreciate you putting two and two together for me and telling me who is a neoliberal, because it seems to me that an anarchocapitalist like Rothbard and a neo-con like George W. Bush could both be counted as neoliberals, which really makes the whole use of the term in most contexts a cheap rhetorical ploy to dance around different brands of thought so that one can poop on a single target and then smear the feces on everyone else. (Rothbard was against Pinochet, Hayek was more sympathetic.....so what is the neoliberal position on Pinochet?)

The response to Klein's response had something that resonated with how I view the throwing around of this term neoliberalism to try and blanket over many different philosophies:
Quote:
Klein does everything to try to establish a connection in the readers’ minds, to give the impression that Friedman/liberal economists/neoconservatives/corporations/the Bush administration are all part of one big free-market/corporatism/militarism-complex. And then she can take the worst thing one of them does and blame all the others for it.
I think that it's a cheap rhetorical trick (not trying to offend you, you didn't originate the use of the term), similar to one used by illiterates on the right to label anyone who favors any welfare policies as "Marxist."

Quote:
"What is neoliberalism? A programme for destroying collective structures which may impede the pure market logic."

(this really is a very clear article, and i'd love to hear your take on it).
I just it read it again. I started typing some stuff on it but it'll turn into a monster if I try to get too far into it. I'll just make brief(er) comments.
First, he focuses on mathematical economics, particularly the notion of Walrasian competitive/general equilibrium theory. He makes an off the mark statement that seems to imply that Walrasian General Equilibrium Theory shows an opposition between efficiency and fairness, but that isn't the case (see the Second Welfare Theorem of Economics. We can belabor the mathematical assumptions, but that doesn't support Bourdieu's view that there is some opposition between efficiency and fairness (see how Rawls showed that efficiency and fairness can work together to determine a just and efficient allocation).

Then Bourdieu talks about the stress of having a job, which is all good and well, but he takes it a bit extreme, especially if he is denouncing neoliberalism (since Friedman and Hayek both supported a form of social safety net; Friedman's negative income tax and Hayek's views in the Road to Serfdom where he advocates for a social safety net to provide food, clothing, shelter, health insurance, natural disaster relief, and possibly unemployment benefits.) This is why I want to know what a neoliberal is and who qualifies. Friedman and Hayek pop up the most, but it seems as if they wanted to help those who might be viewed as disadvantaged by the market society, and both were against corporatism. (inb4 "hogwash, see Pinochet").
In any case, the article will read much different to people who see the nature and role of profits in different lights. Bourdieu likes unions and government for whatever reason (social solidarity?) and doesn't like profits in financial industries. But this article doesn't really get at who a neoliberal is or what neoliberalism actually is: "A programme for destroying collective structures which may impede the pure market logic."

What does it mean to impede the pure market logic? Does Hayek's support for a social safety net with state-funded health insurance demonstrate the pure market logic? What is "pure market logic"?


Quote:
w/r/t the CATO article "The Klein Doctrine" http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.or.../pdf/bp102.pdf,
it's propaganda in the worst sense. of course you already anticipated that i'd say this, however, since you know that it is seen as such by "people on the other side", which is why you've chosen to pre-emptively (jokingly) apologize for posting it for this audience (me, someone on the other side). in any case, i think klein does a better job of actually responding to this critique of her own work than i ever could, so i won't try to defend it here myself.
however, i am interested to hear what you think of her official 'response'.
I'll go about that briefly a bit next, but I also reposted a response to her response by the guy who wrote the CATO article. And yeah, I knew you'd view CATO exactly the same way I view Naomi Klein.We have our preconceived views, and so does this organization and that person, so we view them critically even before reading what they have to say.

Quote:
if you really are interested in what i have to say, specifically, about that CATO article (even with my severely limited ability to engage with the whole critique-- e.g. i am not a friedman scholar and i cannot refute claims some of the so-called experts make), i can roll up my sleeves and show you some examples, from that article, of where and when i think the piece is being deceitful.

here's just one example-- it's one of your CATO editor's preferred lines: "It is probably not a coincidence that there are blurbs from four fiction writers on the back of the book."
as if fiction writers are less capable of commenting on the world they inhabit than economists are. this echoes a larger trend in fields like economics to disregard the value of anything that doesn't pretend to be objective.
this also ignores the fact that fictionalizing a narrative (like we see in Animal's People, a story about the bhopal disaster) is often the only really viable way to get a story out there. (and so on and so on). this is just fucking ridiculous, actually. i can't even begin to fathom how much r&d money was spent producing this article.
Indeed, he throws some meat out there at the end, and as intelligent people, we can both see that the bit of meat is not substantive. The author is obviously trying to imply that her work is a work of fiction. To make a judgment, we should try to look at everything else he says previously, because I don't believe his critiques are fundamentally unfair, especially now that I've had a chance to see her response.

I'd rather you tell me what you think are the valid criticisms as well. I'll tell you that I think Klein does a good job by giving that piece of evidence on Friedman commenting on Iraq (from the German interview). While I think we should also evaluate other things he said about the war, at least I can see some basis for her interpretation of Friedman. I don't view the fact that Friedman wanted the war to be successful (whatever that means) to be an indication of his hawkishness. Some context would be nice for that quote.
She does well to note the places where she doesn't directly implicate Friedman, but her mention of Chicago boy ideologues seems to be an attempted implication.
I think she does a poor job of defending against the more substantive critiques of Norberg's article, points which he brings up in his response to her response. I'm talking about the three arguments he attributes to Klein and his three responses that went unanswered from the initial article. He also does a good job in arguing that, even in cases where Klein does not explicitly mention Friedman as a culprit, the context of her writing steers the reader to connect dots that might not be there, and his mentioning of the Friedman quote and tsunami footage in her video seems to show that that there are some dots she wanted connected, namely that Friedman's theory imply that what happened after the tsunami was Friedmanite policy.

Quote:
also, if you get the time, i think you should watch adam curtis' "the century of the self"-- at least part of it. (it's available for free on vimeo, and i've posted it a few times around this forum). this so that you can then synthesize curtis and klein's arguments/narratives. this so that you can make more sense of mine:
the viennese legacy is a total (anti-)social phenomenon, to make a play on mauss' phrase, and this is precisely what makes "the politics" inseparable from "the economics"

see in this connection the argument put forth by hardt and negri in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_(book), (an argument which goes beyond typical critiques of neo-liberalism as programme and which calls for scholars to actively engage with the authors' concept "Empire" instead).

(i.e. "Empire", or in other words the neo-liberal legacy, is a total social phenomenon propelled on by its own momentum, as it were. e.g., the legal and economic obstacles in place influence the person on a habitual and psychological level to exist in certain ways, to be a certain kind of subject; this influenced person recreates his/herself as a legal and economic subject vis-a-vis these very institutions, and in turn, these instutions are structurally maintained by this very recreation of subjects which they themselves engender; and so on, etc.)

i think that so long as you refuse to fully accept man is a social (==economic) being, we are going to keep talking besides and past one another.
I'll try and watch the video sometime; the term "Empire" is reminding me of the term "Cathedral" from that neo-reactionary thread haha.

Quote:
also i think it would be helpful if we stopped talking about these men you admire — though i realize that it was i who brought up the personal question itfp, when i brought up the question of ressentiment in the op — and focused instead on their collected, manifest legacy.
Well yeah, the Robin articles were about the Austrian school, primarily Hayek, you asked about Mises, and Naomi Klein likes to deride Friedman. The problem is, I see absolutely no worth to the term "neoliberal." Rather, it's the giant strawman that represents the views of everyone who favors laissez-faire or corporatism (which are two contradictory ideas), but at the same time represents none of their views. I have trouble seeing any collected, manifest legacy represented by the straw man named neoliberalism. Maybe I just need more clarification as to what, in particular, neoliberalism means (which means clarification as to what Bourdieu counts as "the pure market logic" and if corporatism is part of this market logic he speaks of).

Edit: Some justification for my view of the term neoliberalism
Spoiler!


Edit: The other thing (which is partly based on my perhaps mistaken view of what you think of the status of economic theory):
Spoiler!
GT: Zyphex

Last edited by zyphex; 02-23-2014 at 11:46 AM.
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#10
02-24-2014
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Can only afford time to weigh in on the Heidegger thing, but it's something continentals still have to tussle with. And the thing is, it makes a lot of sense that, based on his philosophy at the time, he would support the Nazi regime. Keep in mind that he didn't know the full extent of the horrors of the regime at the time, but his work definitely lends itself to an explicit concern with legacy and purity and nationalism and the sort of existential terror that Hitler played off of to gain support in Germany. It's very unfortunate, but I don't think we can compartmentalize it all away. At any rate, Horkheimer and Adorno and Lacan and many contemporary peeps do a fine enough job of taking him to task in general that the kneejerk response generally gets ignored in circles where it could matter.


I'll add that negative income tax might be the best form of social safety net, as studies show that just giving the poor straight up cash is the most efficient and effective form of welfare.
Spoiler!

Last edited by davobrosia; 02-24-2014 at 03:52 PM.
 

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