Economics As Moral Discipline

Krugman spells it out: the austerians both here and in Europe don’t merely see the pain of economic collapse as an inevitable side-effect of attempting to fix the problem: it’s not a bug but a feature to them:

I don’t fully understand it. But a large part of it, it seems obvious, is the intense desire to see economics as a morality play of sin and punishment, where the sinners are, of course, workers and governments, not the bankers. Pain is not an unfortunate consequence of policies, it’s what is supposed to happen.

Krugman concludes with a quote from Martin Wolf (link available from Krugman’s post, but it’s behind a registration wall, so forget my posting it):

The waste is more than unnecessary; it is cruel. Sadists seem to revel in that cruelty. Sane people should reject it. It is wrong, intellectually and morally.

What more need be said? Republicans… including Obama… are true believers in this perverted religion. And have no doubt… they will make sure you are punished for all your imagined economic sins.

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Comments

  • NTodd Pritsky  On Sunday October 2, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    To be fair, political economy pretty much grew out of social/moral philosophy…

  • MandT  On Sunday October 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Ah, the fascist Austrian School!

  • jams o donnell  On Sunday October 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Ach we have a heavy dose of Austerians over here too. Bastards!

  • Bryan  On Sunday October 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    This is why they continue down the wrong path – they are following a belief system, not an economic theory. They are looking for justification for their greed, and will tolerate no heresy.

    Britain is a good example, because they dodged the worst of the collapse, and then the Conservatives came in and have been dragging the British economy down into the quicksand.

    • jams o donnell  On Monday October 3, 2011 at 7:39 am

      Tell me about it Bryan! But don’t forget that our Prime Minister and Chancellor are former juvenile delinquents (albeit very rich and exclusive ones – see the Bulingdon Club) and the Deputy PM is a convicted arsonist…..

      • Steve  On Monday October 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm

        At this rate, Tom Lehrer is going to have to write new, economy-related words to “We Will All Go Together When We Go”!

  • hipparchia  On Monday October 3, 2011 at 9:04 am

    it pains me to quote andrew sullivan on anything, but:

    “That too is my view: that the GOP, deep down, is behaving as a religious movement, not as a political party, and a radical religious movement at that. Lofgren sees the “Prosperity Gospel” as a divine blessing for personal enrichment and minimal taxation (yes, that kind of Gospel is compatible with Rand, just not compatible with the actual Gospels); for military power (with a major emphasis on the punitive, interventionist God of the Old Testament); and for radical change and contempt for existing institutions (as a product of End-Times thinking, intensified after 9/11).

    Lofgren argues that supply-side economics attaches to the fundamentalist worldview purely by coalition necessity. The fundamentalists are not that interested in debt or economics (they sure didn’t give a damn as spending exploded under Bush) but if their coalition partners insist on a certain economic doctrine, they’ll easily go along with it, as long as it is never compromised. If it’s presented as eternal dogma, they can handle it – and defend it with gusto. If it also means that Obama is wrong, so much the better. Most theo-political movements need an anti-Christ of some sort; and Obama – even though he is the most demonstrably Christian president since Carter – fills the role.”

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/09/goodbye-to-all-that-the-lofgren-thesis.html

    • Steve  On Monday October 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm

      “Most theo-political movements need an anti-Christ of some sort; and Obama – even though he is the most demonstrably Christian president since Carter – fills the role.” – Sullivan

      And never mind that the real Jesus may well have had darker skin than Barack Obama, not that the theocrats would ever admit that…

  • MandT  On Monday October 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Ya stirred it up Steve! Good one, good conversation too!

    • Steve  On Monday October 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      Thanks, MandT. I love it when you all get cranked up on a thread!

Trackbacks

  • By Stuff On Sunday Night — Why Now? on Monday October 3, 2011 at 12:14 am

    […] Bates covers the discovery by Krugman that the Austerians want people to suffer, well ‘the little people’, not the MOTU, of […]

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