Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dean Speak

by Tom Bozzo

You listen. Or, literally, read. Via Max, here's Baker's new e-book:

The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer

From the preface:
...[M]ost progressives have... accepted a framing whereby conservatives are assumed to support market outcomes, while progressives want to rely on the government. This framing leads progressives to futilely lash out against markets, rather than examining the factors that lead to undesirable market outcomes. The market is just a tool, and in fact a very useful one. It makes no more sense to lash out against markets than to lash out against the wheel.

The reality is that conservatives have been quite actively using the power of the government to shape market outcomes in ways that redistribute income upward. However, conservatives have been clever enough to not own up to their role in this process, pretending all along that everything is just the natural working of the market. And, progressives have been foolish enough to go along with this view.

The frustration with this futile debate, where conservatives like markets and progressives like government, is the driving force behind this book, along with the hope that new thinking is possible...
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{Arggh -- third time is the charm to get the links right!)

Funny, I was just reading an article by , who has been pushing this line for a couple of years: see, e.g., here and a chapter in here (Amazon links). He argues that (a) there is no such thing as a free market -- all markets are constructed by either governments and/or private enterprises, who set the rules of the game, and (b) the free market trope has been used by conservatives to justify all sorts of shenanigans that alter the rules of markets in favor of the rich.

And, Massey is arguably "just" providing a new spin on yet older sociological arguments about the relationship between political power, money, and the ability to set the rules of the game.
Nope, can't seem to get the links to work. The preview looks fine, but the links "publish" all screwy.

Article is by Doug Massey (link to his Princeton soc department home page). The first books link is to his 2005 book, "The L Word."
Oh, that L Word. And here I was hoping we were following up on Tom's link to a discussion of Scarlett Johannsen's gams.

I freely admit I don't understand the claim that a "free market" works without the Invisible Hand of government and regulation and methods of recourse. (A market-clearing transaction is only truly described as such if (1) neither party has access to proprietary information not of her own making and (2) if there is a viable, reliable method of recourse for those who have "buyer's remorse" for an objectively viable reason (e.g., PhenFen).

But this is about to turn into a rant. And the links worked fine, except for leaving out Massey's name.
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