Templates for an economic ‘church’ that does not exploit selfishness

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”. Raoul Martinez in his Creating Freedom 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 greater 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.” And the terrific storyteller Naomi Klein concludes her No Is Not Enough with: “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, professor of moral philosophy, and from Bentham, Mill, Malthus, Pareto and right as much as Keynes, economists sought primary ideas not in cash however in 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. It is exactly the lack of spiritual, moral and ethical concerns that define the cutting-edge pathology that is economics. “Economics … moves in cycles ” writes John Rapley. So to have to money, the lifeblood of the financial system. The trouble is that the authorities have had its 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.

If the government had been to regain its cardinal role to direct the waft of money to all components of the country and receive it lower back once more by taxation, it can nourish the entire USA and abolish an amazing quantity of 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.
Geoff Naylor
Winchester, Hampshire


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• I once researched a few American writers who have been prompted by Henry George and discovered that his “unmarried tax” on land values become considered a heresy amongst “proper economists”. As John Rapley comments, Milton Friedman become the “one of the maximum 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, and their international locations sooner or later suffered near terminal belongings rate crashes.
DBC Reed

• John Rapley’s assessment of economics with religion omits one exciting element. The University of Chicago’s department of economics is now based in what changed into formerly the university’s theological seminary. I wondered after I walked past whether or not the chapel has been transformed right into a shrine for Milton Friedman, but it appears to be a student common room.
William Wallace
Liberal Democrat, House of Lords

• As I study John Rapley’s essay I stored questioning: “When will he speak of the 2009 Nobel economics prize winner, the past due Prof Elinor Ostrom?”