Monday, April 2, 2018

Claire Connelley — What the left can learn from Mont Pèlerin

One of the greatest tricks neoliberalism played is convincing the world it doesn’t exist. Economic historian, Dr Philip Mirowski says if we are to have any chance of defeating it, the left has to put its big boy pants on and get organised.
“Neoliberalism doesn’t exist” is a common refrain from critics who like to pretend it is some kind of lefty-slur. But economic historian, Dr Philip Mirowski, whose book, The Road to Mont Pelerin explores its Swiss conception in 1947, says this is a deliberate strategy: deny, confuse, buy time to implement its long-term plan: the complete takeover of the state by the Neoliberal thought collective*.
Dr Mirowski tells Renegade Inc. that its triumph was in its members’ ability to work past their political differences, to come up with a group of talking points they could all work off, the result of which was the rewriting of most modern-day economics.
“The left need to understand the ways in which these guys worked together to hash out their differences and continue, then inform other people – especially people in think tanks and that kind of national intelligentsia interested in the right – to develop a really coordinated program over time,” he says.
The historian says the left lacks a compelling story about how markets work, and for too long has conceived of government and markets as separate entities. 
“Their version of the market as an information processor is the new story. The left has to accept that. Markets tell the truth, not people. That’s the way the culture sees markets now.” 

So what should the left do? It needs to play with that idea and turn it against itself.
Market as dictator.
“See this is why I appreciate the MPS,” he says. “They’re organised. The right is far more organized than the left.”
“When the MPS first met, here’s what they said to each other: Laissez Faire shouldn’t exist anymore, because it doesn’t exist and it never will exist, we think the government’s policies are dangerous, so, what do we believe in? What is it that we should believe in? Ultimately what they came round to is this idea of markets as information processors which justify entering in politically to make the world conform to the kind of markets you believe in.

“That’s the character of neoliberalism. I don’t think the left understands that. They still think it’s all about intervention versus non-intervention, whereas neoliberals are all over intervention. They intervene all the time. That is the core of their politics. The left must stop acting like they are fighting the lie.”...
A commonly held assumption is that markets are "natural, arising from a natural tendency of humans to "truck and barter (Adam Smith).

The reality is that modern markets in a monetary production economy are socially and legally constituted as institutions.

Neoliberals understood that whoever controls the institutional arrangements controls the institutional type.

Renegade, Inc.
What the left can learn from Mont Pèlerin
Claire Connelley | editor-in-chief of Renegade Inc 
* A thought collective, a term originated in German as "Denkkollektiv" by the Polish and Israeli physician Ludwik Fleck, is a community of researchers who interact collectively towards the production or elaboration of knowledge using a shared framework of cultural customs and knowledge acquisition.[1] In his 1935 book Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache; Einführung in die Lehre vom Denkstil und Denkkollektiv, Fleck identified the scientific production of knowledge as primarily a social process that hinges upon prior discoveries and practices in a way that constrains and preconditions new ideas and concepts. He termed this shared collection of preexisting knowledge a "Denkstil" or thought style and formulated a comparative epistemology of science using these two ideas. — Wikipedia
A similar term is "groupthink." Bill Mitchell often uses this terms, which is more colloquial than "thought collective." "Groupthink" has a negative connotation, but "thought collective" is a value-neutral term in philosophy of science.

1 comment:

Bob Roddis said...

What a pile of garbage. Blaming the horrors of a world fiat funny money system on "the free market". Lumping Austrian explanations of the Great Depression with those of Friedman. Just more nonsense for the slower children in the class.