Saturday, May 28, 2016

Dani Rodrik — The Politics of Anger

First, the good: Dani Rodrik acknowledges that national governments exert powerful social, political  and economic force.  Obviously, choosing to tip the scales in the direction of special interests is also a choice that is directional.  

Choosing to do nothing is also a choice that is directional, and owing to the social, economic and political framework leads to promoting special interest, too. 

Governments need to abandon the view that there is no alternative to powerful market forces and the assumption that markets are the solution to all social, political and economic problems. 

Not only is not true, but also the public has come to disbelieve it. 

We are experiencing the result as the rise of populism on the left and right, Sanders and Trump in the US. But a similar phenomenon is taking place elsewhere.

Now, the bad: Rodrick cites "the malleability of capitalism" as a tested solution. Adopting social democracy has worked in the past, for instance, the New Deal and the Scandinavian model. 

The reason is this bad is because history also shows that as soon as such a model adopted, powerful forces of hard core capitalism, whose key fundamental is that those who own the country should govern it, begin working in concert to undermine the success of the new model even as it is being put in place. They are not phased by the length of time it may take or what may be involved. 

Thus, the history of capitalism is a swings toward and away from market fundamentalism, with market fundamentalism being the attractor.

The reason seems to be that social, political and economic liberalism as conceived in the West are not compatible.

Populism is the assertion of political liberalism is a country that is at least nominally democratic and holds free and fair elections.

The reaction of those advocating economic liberalism as the basis of a political theory (neoliberalism) is an attempt to bridle democracy using the levers of power that social class, political power and economic inequality bestow.

Project Syndicate
The Politics of Anger
Dani Rodrik | Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government

1 comment:

Andrew Anderson said...

whose key fundamental is that those who own the country should govern it, Tom Hickey

In ancient Israel, the farmland was roughly equally owned and kept that way via the 50 year Jubilee.

As for other means of production, especially large companies, they were likely built with the public's credit and thus the case can be made that their common stock be equally distributed to all citizens.

And of course government-provided deposit insurance should be abolished via equal fiat citizens to all citizens.

And of course, all new fiat beyond that created by deficit spending by the monetary sovereign should be equally distributed to all citizens too.