Saturday, October 22, 2016

Paola Subacchi — Free Trade in Chains

This is significant. The research director of Chatham House is agreeing with Joseph Stiglitz, Stephen Roach, and Dani Rodrik that political liberalism supersedes economic liberalism. This is a several of neoliberal doctrine.

Britain's Chatham House is one of the premier Western policy think tanks, comparable to Brookings Institution in the US, for example. As such it is the center for generation of Western policy formulation and the propaganda to promote it.

Project Syndicate is a major organ through which Western propaganda is disseminated publicly to forge group think.

This may sound like conspiracy theory. Elites will forcefully deny that this is either the intention or even happening. I agree that for most part it is not intentional, although there is some of that, too. (You know who your are.).

Michael Polanyi, Karl's equally brilliant brother, pointed out the role of tacit knowledge as a shaper of thought. Tacit knowledge is not random thoughts stored in the memory bank, but rather it is highly structured and manifests as world views and ideologies. The Western elite are trapped in liberalism as both a world view and a ruling ideology, although they may disagree about some of the details. They are, however, not very cognizant of the paradoxes of liberalism that arise within it.

Economic liberalism — "free markets, free trade, and free capital flows" — creates issues not only economically but also politically and socially. When group think draws on tacit knowledge and applies ideology reflexively, then the paradoxes of liberalism that emerge in societies generate dysfunction and created "surprise."

Addressing increasing dysfunction rising as "populism" as a reaction to liberal establishment group think is what this article is about. But the elite has not figured out the dynamics of the process just described and are trapped in a quagmire of their own creation because they cannot see the forest for the trees.

So I am happy to see Chatham House waking up somewhat, but the world would be better off they just disband.

Project Syndicate
Free Trade in Chains
Paola Subacchi | Research Director of International Economics at Chatham House and Professor of Economics at the University of Bologna

1 comment:

Bob said...

In a democracy, politics trumps economics. It can trump anything except the laws of physics.
Elites have three options in case of a rebellion:
1. change their tune (for real, not pretend)
2. double down on their ideology and be removed from power
3. stage a coup

The first option is the least chosen one. It goes against the elite's perceived self-interest. Underlying this resistance may be other cognitive biases.
The second option represents the art of persuasion.
The third option is the use of power to trump politics - which is what we have now, with fig leaves.

No one wakes up from this cycle. It's a necessary social dynamic.