Responses to John Rapley’s lengthy examination on how economics became a faith, from John Airs, Saville and Barry Kushner, Geoff Naylor, DBC Reed, William Wallace, Robin Le Mare, and Martin London.
John Rapley prices the perception of Nobel laureates George Akerlof and Robert Shiller that “storytelling is a ‘new variable’ for economics, since ‘the fabric frames that underlie people’s decisions are formed by way of the testimonies they inform themselves” (Greed is God, 11 July). Rapley refers to one tale that the “relaxed” tell themselves about their privileged life being the “praise of life in a meritocratic society.” Raoul Martinez, in his Creating Freedom, counters that tale with miles greater convincing one.
Rapley then prices the American economist Wassily Leontief, also counseling against the risks of self-pleasure, calling for economists “to work more carefully with different disciplines.” Kate Raworth in Doughnut Economics does simply that, imparting, for example, acute citation from Janine Benyus, “a main thinker and doer inside the field of biomimicry” who writes: “We are huge-brained animals. However, we are newcomers on earth, so we’re still performing like toddlers looking ahead to Mother Nature to ease up after us.” And the outstanding storyteller Naomi Klein concludes her No Is Not Enough with: “Here is what needs to be understood in our bones: the spell of neoliberalism has been broken, beaten under the load of lived experience and a mountain of evidence.”
These eminently readable books provide body-shaping, completely satisfying stories for summertime studying. Not heavy, simply inspiring.
• John Rapley misses the point. As we show in our book Who Needs the Cuts: Myths of Economic Crisis, economics has misplaced its origins in moral philosophy. Adam Smith became, in reality, professor of ethical philosophy. From Bentham, Mill, Malthus, Pareto and proper up to Keynes, economists sought fundamental principles no longer in money but in social ethics. Marx becomes, of the path, the maximum outstanding instance. Leading contemporary economists (we might exclude consisting of Stiglitz, Sen, and Krugman) placed cash first and then make their peace with the form of society that unfolds – frequently at one with resulting inequities. Rapley is incorrect. It is exactly the loss of religious, moral, and ethical issues that define economics’s modern-day pathology.
Saville Kushner Emeritus professor
Barry Kushner Labour councilor
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• “Economics … moves in cycles,” writes John Rapley. So too must money, the lifeblood of the economic system. The problem is that the authorities have had their rightful area in the heart of the economy supplanted using powerful elite individuals directing cash to pick out parts of the economic system, withering other elements via deficit and causing economic imbalance.
If the government has been to regain its cardinal role to direct the flow of money to all elements of the nation and receive it returned by taxation, it can nourish the entire us of a and abolish a notable quantity of taxes. This will be done, within the foremost, via an extra wealth tax on businesses and individuals and a fundamental customary citizen’s profits.
• I once researched some American writers who have been inspired by using Henry George and located that his “unmarried tax” on land values was taken into consideration a heresy amongst “proper economists.” As John Rapley comments, Milton Friedman became then “one of the maximum influential economists of the overdue 20th century,” but his belief that the single tax on land values was “the least awful tax” went not noted by using admirers Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Their countries eventually suffered close to terminal assets rate crashes.
• John Rapley’s comparison of economics with religion omits one exciting detail. The University of Chicago’s economics department is now based in what became the college’s theological seminary previously. I questioned when I walked beyond whether the chapel was transformed right into a shrine for Milton Friedman, but it seems to be a commonplace pupil room.
Liberal Democrat, House of Lords
• As I study John Rapley’s essay, I stored wondering: “When will he communicate of the 2009 Nobel economics prize winner, the overdue Prof Elinor Ostrom?”
I puzzled in useless. Why was her work, so based on society and the altruism constructed into respected establishments, now not seen because the template for a financial “church” did not take advantage of selfishness?
Robin Le Mare
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• You’re lengthy examine, an edited extract of John Rapley’s Twilight of the Money Gods, activates attention of neoliberal economics. Essentially, unfastened markets are continually proper as soon as you have decided that the general populace is dispensable. As the Aztecs determined centuries ago, human sacrifice makes the world cross around.