Thursday, December 15, 2011

Markets, People and Wllm. Greider

My central complaint is with the narrowness of their value system rather than the financial mechanisms. With a few important exceptions, the agents of capital operate with dedicated blindness to capital's collateral consequences, an indifference to the future of society even as they search for the future's returns. The capital system does not authorize financial agents to think about such things and may well penalize them if they do. Yet finance capital shapes and polices the "social contract" in America far more effectively than the government, which has largely retreated from that role. (Greider)

"Dedicated blindness". Boy, I love it. That describes the whole society today, where we are seemingly encouraged to let machines make the decisions with no role for our more human side, or "soul." So, if someone else gets control over "capital," who should that be? What we usually think, in the economics discourse, is that "the market" should make those decisions. As Greider correctly notes, only a few persons in the financial world are making the big decisions. "Nobody elected them, but their exalted position in American life is reflected in their incomes."  [full disclosure: OK, it's "The Nation," 2003]
     But what is "the market," in this situation? That is the question, because as Greider points out, "the market" is a select group of persons in the case of big financial decisions, not the broader mass of humanity. There lies the crux, the contradiction. It is between "markets" and "people." There should be a rough correspondence.

1 comment:

  1. This is the first piece with the word "soul" in it that refers to Wllm. Greider's book title, "The Soul of Capitalism."

    More (cross my fingers) posts referencing "soul" will come in the "indefinite future." I have to find them, in my voluminous notes