Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fresh insights from the 19th century

Paul Craig Roberts, How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds/CounterPunch:

If Karl Marx and V. I. Lenin were alive today, they would be leading contenders for the Nobel Prize in economics.

Marx predicted the growing misery of working people, and Lenin foresaw the subordination of the production of goods to financial capital’s accumulation of profits based on the purchase and sale of paper instruments. Their predictions are far superior to the “risk models” for which the Nobel Prize has been given and are closer to the money than the predictions of Federal Reserve chairmen, US Treasury secretaries, and Nobel economists, such as Paul Krugman, who believe that more credit and more debt are the solution to the economic crisis.

While this may not be not something you often hear from former associate editors of The Wall Street Journal or Reagan administration treasury officials, occasionally we do find specimens near the top who, because they have a basic idea of what is going on, are only a few short analytical steps away from reaching the obvious conclusions.

What's remarkable to me is how those who have thought most deeply about contemporary economics are so successfully excluded from social awareness that every time someone hits upon some 150-year-old insight, it is as if we have reinvented the wheel. Last night I listened to a breathless NPR interview with an author who drew on "50 years of research" to support the view that people have an innate need for meaningful, creative work and that modern jobs are more or less at odds with this impulse -- so treating people like human beings might be a very good thing for productivity!


Ben There said...

Paul Craig Roberts is one of my favorites. He sounds a little crazy sometimes but he knows the score (although it's possible he exagerrates it a bit, or not?).

Keep up the good work.

Jenny said...

for the record, krugman's been supportive of nationalized healthcare and criticial of the bank bailouts..

Coldtype said...

Jenny, more Elaine Supkis would relieve you of these delusions.

Solar Hero said...

National Puppet Radio...ha, ha.

Anonymous said...

Marx "predicted" the misery of working people?


cause clearly in Marx's time no workers were miserable