Sunday 7 December 2014

Bits and Pieces (II)

Peter Radford has "been on quite a kick lately [here, here, here, and here] criticizing mainstream economics as being fundamentally anti-democratic".

I agree with him on everything, but then he writes:
"Economists don't want an 'expert led democracy' at all. They want a society led by Platonic philosopher kings, with economists being those very folk. Economists, those on the right anyway, don't have time for democracy".
The philosopher king delusion and the anti-democratic feeling may be quite prevalent among mainstream, free-market, economists, as Radford correctly says, but they are also powerful leitmotifs behind "progressive liberals":
"The attitude attributed to Keynes is antidemocratic only if one asserts that (…) democracy requires extensive popular participation". [*]
"Bah!" says the Keynes true-believer. "The author of that quote must be some ultra-free-market person."

Well, no. That was Conrad P. Waligorski (professor of political science at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and author of "Liberal Economics and Democracy" and "The Political Theory of Conservative Economists"), defending Keynes against the charges free-marketeer economists ("such as James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek, William Hutt and Richard Wagner") made against him being anti-democratic.

Mind you, Waligorski's not the only one.


So, this is the time of the year when Wikipedia asks for donations.

Normally I would feel a moral duty; this year, however, I will most definitely not contribute. Why not? Because of this.

As a non-profit organization, Wikipedia depends on the good-will it establishes among its users. But you cannot publish shit content, refusing to correct it after you were made aware of it and cultivate good-will, all at the same time.

I would, however, suggest Wikipedia to revise their complaints policy. You know, there's always a next year.


And speaking of next year, The Guardian has a really cool pictorial article on what 2015 has in store in space exploration.

This caught my eye:
"Getting to the Moon on a shoestring might seem ambitious, but with the Google Lunar XPrize deadline fixed for December next year, the precedent could very soon be set."
After Virgin Galactic's tragic SpaceShipTwo loss, this may well make or break private sector space exploration.


A 2014 movie release which totally escaped my attention, "Snowpiercer", directed by Bong Joon-ho, and starring Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, and Ed Harris was an excellent surprise on DVD: never the slow-motion train crash simile was better applied to capitalism.

The character Mason (an Ayn Rand lookalike, with English accent), played by Swinton, was particularly memorable.

Mason explains her views on society in the video clip below. Those views go a long way into explaining why democracy is not popular among pundits, taking us full-circle back to Peter Radford's comment:

That's how these people see themselves and how they see you; the place they occupy in the pecking order and the place you occupy. Must I say more?

[*] 1994, "Keynes and democracy", Social Science Journal, vol. 31, no. 1, p. 79.

1 comment:

  1. You refuse to contribute to Wikipedia because there is one article that cites a non-fmaous person alongside a famous person? Jesus. Grow the fuck up.