Saturday, April 5, 2014

Liars & The Free Market


 

- But you can't expect the word "think" to be understood in the same way. More the opposite.
- You learn the word "think", or rather how to use it, under circumstances you don't learn to describe.*

- Do you think they know they are lying?
- Do they believe their own lies?
- Yes.
- They say they are in favor of a free market. A free market creates relative equality, ends the control of monopolies, the social classes and institutions that before limited trade. But then they go on to attack as a monopoly the government which had been protecting against monopolies and had made the free market possible. They bribe the government to protect them from foreign free trade, bribe the government to subsidize their risk of operating in a free market. In the absence of regulation, with protection from competition, with government subsidy they overwhelm markets and they themselves form monopolies.
- They are in favor of a free market to form monopolies.
- Yes, and the freedom to form monopolies is a one time opportunity that falls to first takers, over once everything has been monopolized.
- Hard to believe they could convince themselves that that would still be a free market.
- Is it? We can we still believe in the mechanical model of physical science, that things pass on movement by knocking into other things, a view impossible to conceive clearly, and left behind hundreds of years ago by Newton and his theory of gravitational force acting at a distance. We continue to be comfortable with the idea of the world working like a clock or machine. Do you know why?
- Why?
- Class society is the product of ritual. One ape makes faces at another, one ape stands his ground while the other flees. One ape gets in the habit of flight, one gets into the habit of standing ground. As long as circumstances remain constant any habit gives security.
- Ritual again.
- Like it or not, it's fundamental. You enter ritual in a state of weakness, act in the company of others in a safe and regular way, exit ritual with strength regained. You define yourself as you enter, you define yourself as you exit, but are invisible to yourself in the ritual itself which passes in pure movement, a dream of intoxication. The sequence of ritual consciousness is: (1) defined self (2) movement (3) defined self. If we imagine the two instances of selves are different objects, which in the typical ritual guiding account or myth they are - an old god dies and is reborn - then we have clockwork nature's object passing on movement to object by contact. The old self is in contact with the new self, but a mysterious movement and force has passed from one to the other. Follow?
- Yes.
- Free market economics is practiced as a ritual. Individuals enter into transactions with each and mysteriously beneficent movement is passed on.
- But is it or was it true that free markets create more equality?
- A step towards freedom from class repression became a ritual, and once it became a ritual it was possible, free from awareness of inconsistency, to remove the government controls that created the free market in the first place by restraining class power, possible to create monopolies that ultimately ended any reality of free markets and equality.
- The free market ritualists don't know they are lying. When they look at themselves they only see movement which has no definition. They remain true believers in free markets even while destroying them.
- When they look at the market they only see movement they pass on, what they call efficiency. They see something is happening, feel the increase in their power, but they don't pay attention to the world. Free market economics, like its two sisters in ritualized science, Darwin's evolution by chance (and only chance) mutation** and the superceded clockwork physics, is a theory with no application to the real world. These theories function as myths guiding ritual behavior. They serve our ability to make ourselves feel safe by fixing our relations to other people, that is, they serve our vanity. Do you know what a free market really would be like?
- What?
- Since free markets begin with the monopoly of certain classes and institutions controlling trade, controlling class and institutions would have to continue. We know that employment, selling oneself instead of selling products we make, is an example of a self to be put into motion by a self, the self of the bought servant moved by the self of the master who buys, is an example clockwork nature in all its appeal and incoherence. The servant is the agent of the master, a tool to ritual, while the master can act creatively in management of servants. Two distinct and unequal classes are created, masters with a monopoly of creative use of freedom, while a division of labor is heartlessly imposed on servants in which they are without choice how and what, when and how much to produce. Monopoly on creativity in the workplace makes a mockery of equality. Division of labor, wearing down ability to act creatively, makes a farce out of freedom.
- Then if we really believed in freedom and equality we would outlaw wage employment.
- We would also want to get a step ahead of the formation of class interests that eliminate equality. Class interests are produced by ritual. Possession of property without use is exclusively of ritual value. It is a daydream-guarantee of immortality, each unused possession representing a prepared escape in rebirth. And obviously, though this is trivial in comparison, withdrawing resources from exchange and use reduces the scope of freedom in the free market.
- The proponents of the free market do away with government controls which made the free market possible in the first place. They bribe the government to protect them from free market foreign competition, they demand subsidies to save them from their market failure and to eliminate their unsubsidized competition. In the absence of controls they form larger and larger monopolies. They are conscious***of themselves distinguished by their economic creativity from the marketplace dependence of their servants, and express that class consciousness in unequal treatment. They destroy the freedom of their servants, enclosing them in a rigid division of labor that makes the offer of freedom to trade meaningless, and all this when freedom and equality was the original rationale of the free market.
- Make the free market really free and it would be free to change. It would not be the enactment of ritualized theories, would not institutionalize class division.***

Further reading:
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** See Monsters
*** For the creative alternative to "enactment of ritualized theories", see Killer Metaphysics and Noam Chomsky & Mental Things. It is worth noting that the creative element of free market practice has a limit: doing for the sake of doing, restless and fundamentally irrational, is destructive of the very springs of creativity. "To be clever enough to get all that money you have to be dull enough to want it." At the limit of futility, one of two things happen: either the free-marketer, evading awareness of self destructiveness throws himself back into practice of doing for the sake of doing, the pathology of compulsion. Or the free-marketer feels himself impelled against his will to become a participant in other peoples' rituals of doing for the sake of doing, the pathology of paranoia. See Capitalism & Compulsion.