Tuesday, June 12, 2012

J. W. Mason — Pain Is the Agenda: The Method in the ECB's Madness

Winterspeak directs us to:

The Slack Wire
Pain Is the Agenda: The Method in the ECB's Madness
by J. W. Mason | graduate student in economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

That's just how neoliberal elites work. It's the strict father model of the authoritarian personality.


Detroit Dan said...

That was an excellent post by J.W. Mason. Highly recommended! Thanks for the link...

marris said...

Definitely worth a quick look, even if you don't buy the Marxist angle. It also has nothing to do with father models (not sure why Tom is adding this word salad). It is not even about authoritarianism per se. But it is about anti-egalitarianism.

Tom Hickey said...

marris: "It also has nothing to do with father models (not sure why Tom is adding this word salad). It is not even about authoritarianism per se. But it is about anti-egalitarianism"

I was not comment specifically about Mason's POV but rather about the masters of the EZ. "Discipline" and "no pain, no gain" are strict father, authoritarian memes. It's part of the "Protestant ethic" that is alive and well in the US and rules Germany and related nations. The ruler is the father of the nation ("fatherland," not "motherland") and needs to constantly discipline the "children" (those who don't belong to the Court) or they will get unruly. It's at the basis of "non-egalitarian" systems.

In the strict father family, the children at are most disciplined and perform best are reward, the others punished. In the nurturing mother family all the children are treated equally and the one's needing the most attention get it.

The eurocrats and the Bundesbank in particular are molded in the strict father model. The creditors are to be made whole by the profligate borrowers that didn't discipline themselves sufficiently to teach them a lesson about being disciplined.

marris said...

> It's at the basis of "non-egalitarian" systems.

It *can* be a basis. However, turning away from the "one needing the most attention gets it" model does not mean that you must turn toward an alternate parent model.

For example, I think it would be very difficult to squeeze the "customer/choice/economic activity between consenting adults" concepts into any parent-child model. It makes no more sense than the idea of "children choosing their parents."

Tom Hickey said...

The parent-child models of governing are characteristic of right and left, conservative and liberal styles of governing.

The "customer/choice/economic activity between consenting adults" model of governing is Libertarian aka anarcho-capitalistic?

marris said...

yes, I think that's a good way to put it

Tom Hickey said...

@ marris

Well, if we went to the "customer/choice/economic activity between consenting adults" model of governing, with government remaining passive, what prevents trusts from forming, collusion, monopoly due to economies of scale and monopolistic practices, plutocratic oligarchy from taking effective control and allocating resources chiefly to the "meritocracy" based on rule of the economically strongest.

Sounds to me like at amplification of what we have now by removing all restraints on accumulation, resulting in a banana republic of have's living in guarded communities and an impoverished populace.

For example, Greenspan said in effect that that he did not think that "the masters of the universe" would kill the goose that lays the golden egg if they were deregulated but admitted he was mistaken in this assumption. If people pursue individual self-interest without restriction, what's the difference between this and the law of the jungle?

And as soon as governmental intervention is introduced to regulate behavior, then Pandora's box is opened, and capture becomes the problem.

As Steve Roth put it recently, the problem is not government, but bad government. The solution is not to eliminate government but to institute good government. I would add to this that "government" applies not only to the political sphere that we call government but also to the managerial sphere that we call top management.

Getting rid of government or shrinking it while leaving predators in charge of firm management is a recipe for ruin and the real road to serfdom, rather than incipient "socialism," as far as I can see.