They are saying: borrow and spend, please. Yet those who profess faith in the markets are determined to ignore the cry, writes Martin Wolf
(what "they" are saying in this case means what the "bond markets" are saying)
There are real, tangible problems here, real problems involved when we attempt to apply theories that do not work. In this country those labeled as the right are supposed to be in possession of a set of pro-market beliefs or values. Is that what it is? And do they really have any coherent set of pro-market beliefs or is it all a bunch of hooey? Well, quite honestly, I think that's a good question. Or maybe they are not pro-market beliefs after all, maybe they are "entrepreneurial concepts." Better? What is it then? What do they really believe? I think it is that they believe or say they believe in whatever it is that they are calling themselves and/or their beliefs this week.
We tend not to question their sincerity. That is very polite of us. By using the word "we," I seem to mean the professional persons, or established persons with voices, vested interests. "We" meant those in the spotlight, the public persons, those in the professional sector, those who write and are listened to, and that "we" also means the public media crowd, and what I am thinking is this: the public intellectuals do not recognize ideology. There, I italicized it for you. Ideology.
What today's persons who are so conveniently labeled "conservatives" (there is no essential, or genuinely manifest relation to their prior-generational namesakes) are about would be ideology, which would be what you'd call a cultural view. They use an appropriate terms themselves: "culture wars." That isn't rational, it's emotional. And the "we" we are talking about aren't very good representatives of the common man. I think we need to understand the emotions of the ordinary class of conservative type persons as being something distinct from the prominent, wealthy persons who may claim to represent all those grass-roots conservatives out in the real world, but do not. What does all their smoke and fire about "free markets" and "private economy" add up to? Maybe it all adds up to a kind of contest between emotions and rationality.
Therefore it is not that the predominant conservatives (leaning aside the low-income conservatives) hold economic positions (intellectually). It is likewise completely incorrect to hold that they are themselves holding rational views, in general or on the matter of economic policy. Those are ideological views, and that is what we are trying to apply; and, if those views are not rational, why should we expect them to work? So, the problem that I am seeing here is that when you try to apply theories that do not work there are going to be problems-----the results will corresponding to your weak reasoning. There will certainly be problems you get. Irrational views are not going to create rational results. You are not going to like the results. Of course if you are totally emotional, you are not going to understand the results, either.