In the last post, that was July 02, it says it would be "extremely foolish to regard those ... facing the oncoming social change of capitalism not as people but as somehow only individuals."
Of course I could have said "historical" instead of "social," but what I do is I call the oncoming change those persons faced a social change. Why not? I cannot take it out. I wouldn't make any sense. In my universe of economic thought I cannot proceed at all unless I use the word "social." It has to be there at some point. I have tried to take it out. It doesn't make any difference. In the long run I have to say "social" or use some substitute, such as "historical," in the example above. This is the only way it works, and I do not think I am the one who is wrong. If I took that social language out, I would be pretending to views I just do not hold. That would not work; and it wouldn't make sense. It is the assumption that everything takes place on the individual level that does not work for me anymore. I would be writing fiction; but I can't say what does not make any sense to me -- it's impossible.
But that means I disagree with a lot of people. Where do these extreme disagreements come from? I think we are dealing with two things now. We are not dealing with only economics, anymore. We move on to another topic. Now we are not dealing with economics. We are dealing with ideology, and that means with thought -- it means I am talking about human thought processes as regards how we choose what we believe.
It is a conflict between truth on the one hand and ideology on the other. The problem as I would frame it is that there are persons who don't want to deal with the truth. On one side of this conflict is the ideological view; and on the other side is what can only be called the truth. Following after a blogpost I read today, there is what can be termed a "disconnect." There is a disconnect with reality. Now, my personal experience is that "everyone," or "society," in one (slightly different!) sense of the word, seems to hold to some consensus that equates economic explanations which concepts about "the individual," blabbity-blabbity-bla. My views are unique, so it is not a conspiracy against me personally, but at any rate I am saying that to me, this doesn't even make sense; it is not comprehensible. I am seeing a different world than these guys in the newspapers and mostly in the universities are, although there are many great dissident voices in economics that the newspaper wisdom simply ignores (including Adam Smith). This is what we are seeing over and over again. So, you've got to discuss it finally. I could not exist in a university. They would put me on a sedan chair, carry me across the border - or across the street from campus - and dump me on a front lawn.
I can generalize by moving from my own personal experiences to what is going on in the economics discussion in general. Since there is a general choice in favor of unreality, at some point the person who wants to be active in the world (a world that has an exceptionally important economic aspect) has to shift over to the question of ideology; this is the case even though, then, you are not even talking about economics anymore. Rather you are on to a second subject area here. The point is that you have to deal with the question of ideology in order to get at the matter of a choice in favor of an "other" or an other-worldly version of reality. But that is the version the public culture in general, as exemplified by public or press utterances, is attached to, and which they claim they believe in, despite the contrary views of many economist (they are not as extreme as I am but they do seem to be my fellow dissidents ---- I just looked at what was said about Galbraith, [ft.note below] and his view is strongly dissenting from the standard or publicly disseminated or newspaper-ordained view, which is to say the standard ideology).
What, by the way, is "reality"? Reality is what comes up when persons actually think things out. That would be a reality that is the result of persons actually thinking. Then, they are not actually thinking. And that indeed sounds like what I am saying here. These sources of cultural materials like magazines and newspapers and or course the business pronouncements, financial magazines, "The Economist," etc. prefer the other version ---- even if it is disconnected ---- even if it does not represent truth.
This is what is strange and this is what one needs to account for. And of course it is a strong position I am taking, one that seems to me impossible to take in the context of a university culture -- although I am not at one so I don't know, for sure, how that would work. You could call it a "disconnect", then, in a double way (the two sides of the economics question, and that between the newspapers and reality) but at any rate I am saying that it is a disconnect between what is said in our culture or public consumption, or what "everyone" is saying, and ---- what can only be called the truth.
There is not any other way to put the concept of such a divide: between what everyone is saying, on the one hand, and what you would say if you actually looked and thought and paid attention, on the other. Certain parties have made their choice. We don't want to pay attention. This is the deliberate choice to not pay attention to some other view. We do not pay attention, but what we do is that we import "received wisdom" from outside the realm of our own sincere investigation. Why would we do that? Who knows? Gore Vidal calls it "RW" -- received wisdom All of this also seems to me related to the post I just now saw on naked capitalism. The title of a talk by one William Reese is, "on [the] dangerous disconnect between economics and ecology." (07/07/2011 naked capitalism)
This is consonant with what I am saying. It's a dangerous disconnect. But how about reading that as "economics and reality," not "economics and ecology" --- that is the way I was reading it anyway! Ecology is just reality ---- the animals and plants and such. The ideologist isn't inventing that. So, I suggest we frame this disconnect or this divide so that the word "economics" is changed to "ideology" and the word "ecology" gets to become reality. This is the contrast I have already discussed what we say reality is and what it is. Those are the two elements: what is the case and what ideology says it is. Ideology and reality.
In the example of the title of the Yves Smith blogpost, "ecology" represents the element of the truth (the real plants and animals is the truth, and what Reese says will happen to the earth is also the truth, for example what will happen if these persons do not abandon their practice of holding up the concept of what is called "economic growth"), and the science -- if that is what we call it -- of "economics" represents ideology. If reality is given the name "ecology" and economics the name "ideology," then it fits my scheme here.
This is all rather loopy -- is "loopy" a good word? What is actually going on in economics is no longer (related/connected) to our discussions of economics. Economists who do not agree with the RW or newspaper wisdom are intentionally ignored. It is intentional. That is all that can be said about it, but, we have to say that. This is based on their choice. This is their intentional choice. I am thinking that a person makes a choice about what to believe. But I think that we we do not ---- and perhaps cannot ---- know why. We can't ask why an individual makes the choice. He or she just does it. He makes that choice, to, for example, say something that is not true. "Why" is not really our business. It doesn't open itself to our knowledge. We can say that they are doing it intentionally.
That we can say and we are in the area of madness, of disconnect with reality, of state propaganda, but I have not used those kinds of analogies in making my point because I am seeing it fresh and trying to file a report on my insights. At any rate, I will use one literary reference here, to point out that it is very much something out of Kafka. (Ooooo...scary...) I think we need to be aware of it, just on basic moral and ethical grounds.
With this situation there is a disconnect with reality, and, also, the subject matter itself of economics, in which latter would represent another activity entirely, that of actually paying attention. So, again, why is society uninterested in the truth? We see that it is a difficult topic. You cannot just have an opinion about it so easily. You cannot have an opinion on this one right out of the gate or right off the bat. It is not something you can respond to so easily and quickly. But we need to say what is ---- what the situation really is.
Our two areas of enquiry are now economics itself, and, the human thought process itself. On the one hand, most of our ideas on economics are wrong. But that is solvable. We could try to think deeper thoughts. Someone could have stumbled onto some original insights, as I myself have. And there are other means (but all reality-based). But there is that "other hand." It seems that as a society, we like the wrong view more than the right one. That is a question of how our minds work, not an economic question. It has to do, I would suggest, with ideology or something, but it is not a question of economics.
It is also a question of choice. In saying we "like" the wrong view more I mean that we are involved in choosing ---- something I already said, above. We are making an active choice in that direction. I do not know why, and it is very hard to know what to say about this.
What we have here then, in summation, is an observation of a divide between what persons believe or say they believe, and what can only be called "the truth." We have to tell it like it is, baby!
the link below was obliquely referenced: