John Rapley fees the belief of Nobel laureates George Akerlof and Robert Shiller that “storytelling is a ‘new variable’ for economics, because ‘the fabric frames that underlie humans’ choices’ are shaped with the aid of the memories they tell themselves” (Greed is God, eleven July). Rapley refers to 1 story that the “cozy” tell themselves about their privileged life being the “praise of existence in a meritocratic society.” In his Creating Freedom, Raoul Martinez counters that story with a much more convincing one.
Rapley then prices the American economist Wassily Leontief, also counseling towards the dangers of self-pride, calling for economists “to paintings more closely with different disciplines.” Kate Raworth in Doughnut Economics does just that, supplying, as an example, a lovely quotation from Janine Benyus, “a main philosopher and does within the area of biomimicry”, who writes: “We are huge-brained animals, but we are rookies on this planet, so we are nonetheless appearing like infants looking ahead to Mother Nature to clean up after us.” The terrific storyteller Naomi Klein concludes her No Is Not Enough: “Here is what wishes to be understood in our bones: the spell of neoliberalism has been damaged, overwhelmed underneath the burden of lived experience and a mountain of proof.”
John Rapley misses the factor. As we show in our book Who Needs the Cuts: Myths of Economic Crisis, economics has misplaced its origins in moral philosophy. Adam Smith becomes, in truth, a professor of moral philosophy. From Bentham, Mill, Malthus, Pareto, and right as much as Keynes, economists sought primary ideas in cash and social ethics. Marx becomes, of the route, the most distinguished example. Leading current economists (we would exclude consisting of Stiglitz, Sen, and Krugman) put cash first and then make their peace with the sort of society that unfolds – frequently at one with ensuring inequities. Rapley is wrong.
The lack of spiritual, moral, and ethical concerns defines economics’s cutting-edge pathology. “Economics … moves in cycles,” writes John Rapley. So, to have money is the lifeblood of the financial system. The trouble is that the authorities have had their rightful vicinity at the heart of the economic system supplanted via powerful elite individuals directing cash to pick components of the economy, withering different parts through deficit and causing financial imbalance.
Suppose the government had been to regain its cardinal role to direct the waft of money to all country components and receive it lower back by taxation. In that case, it would have nourished the entire USA and abolished many taxes. This might be finished, inside the main, with the aid of an excess wealth tax on groups and people and a fundamental conventional citizen’s profits.
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• I once researched a few American writers prompted by Henry George and discovered that his “unmarried tax” on land values has become considered a heresy amongst “proper economists.” As John Rapley comments, Milton Friedman became “one of the most influential economists of the late twentieth century.” however, his perception that the unmarried tax on land values changed into “the least horrific tax” went omitted by using admirers Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Their international locations sooner or later suffered near-terminal belongings rate crashes.
• John Rapley’s assessment of economics with religion omits one exciting element. The University of Chicago’s economics department is now based on what changed the university’s theological seminary. After I walked past, I wondered whether the chapel had been transformed into a shrine for Milton Friedman, but it appeared to be a student common room.
Liberal Democrat, House of Lords
• As I studied John Rapley’s essay, I asked, “When will he speak of the 2009 Nobel Economics prize winner, the past due Prof Elinor Ostrom?”