[FoRK] The Wrecking Crew - A Low, Dishonest Decade
jbone at place.org
Tue Jan 19 05:57:26 PST 2010
SO Michael opines:
> "Yes, yes... The heroes are all on one side, and the villains are
> all on the other.
Stephen quotes Moyers in reply:
> "President Obama's made plenty of mistakes during his first year,
> and > we've critiqued them frequently here on the JOURNAL"
Hmmm.... so Stephen, what you're saying is that by making this thin
disclaimer, Moyers is demonstrating... what? That he's, ahem, "fair
This is no more convincing than when e.g. Hannity disclaims (some of)
the actions of Bush and claiming that he was a vigorous and vocal
opponent when, in fact, he was --- as anyone without partisan rose-
coloured glasses on knows --- one of the head cheerleaders and
BOTH "sides" of this debate are equally guilty of this kind of
ongoing, hypocritical apologia of their preferred brand and,
ironically, of the very thing Moyers is castigating in his lede: the
tendency to focus on attacking the other side and apologizing for the
preferred side, conveniently forgetting or discounting the recent and
ongoing problems being created by the preferred side.
Attack Bush all you want --- I *certainly* did. But to be fair, you
must also place blame where blame is due for e.g. the failure of much
of the recent stimulus, the appalling mountain of debt we've taken on
just this year, the "surprising" rate of unemployment relative to
promises made / actions taken, and so on.
Do "conservatives" have a poor opinion of government? Well, surely.
Why? Well, maybe because there are so few instances of it working and
so many of it *not* working. Do "progressives" or "liberals" have too
high an opinion? Absolutely; but only because their skepticism and
hatred of stymergic processes --- particularly those called "markets"
--- obscures their ability to see that such things are the worst
alternatives (except for all the other ones.)
A "low, dishonest" decade? Well, certainly. But Moyers and company
are no less guilty of intellectual dishonesty in the present
circumstances than e.g. the noxious Faux News and radio talking heads
were during the Bush reign of (t)error.
I like the bit about opposition to monopoly. That's my beef, too,
with the caveat that a government monopoly in anything is *even more*
noxious (and difficult to undo) than a non-governmental monopoly.
Michael later says:
> Would it be wrong to just let the failures fail? How can you
> actually have a "free market" if there are no consequences to failure?
Welcome "moral hazard."
Re: market failure, Kling recently said:
> I want to propose a new definition of market failure. For me, market
> failure exists to the extent that innovation is blocked by
> incumbents. If innovators can succeed by out-competing incumbents,
> then the market is working. If incumbents have a self-reinforcing
> system that keeps out innovators, then we have market failure.
Amen, brutha. Have never seen a more concise or accurate statement of
my own principles in such things.
Best way to guarantee such a failure? Give monopoly power /
authority / responsibility for something to the government, where it
is granted and maintained *by law* by largely-unaccountable "public
servants" --- and grossly subject to incompetence, inefficiency, and
During offline discussion w/ one of the list members last week, I
apparently surprised by mentioning that I am not, in fact, opposed to
any / all regulation, even in financial markets. Indeed, I am a fan
of regulation that increases transparency and lowers barriers-to-entry
in financial markets. I.e., regulation that has the effect of
unblocking innovation and encouraging true, open, and fair markets.
The largest part of the present debacle in the finance industry was
created by the obscure and opaque trading activity of vast amounts of
certain exotic derivatives over-the-counter. Put them on the books,
get them listed, then require reporting of long-term positions at
least to some central clearing entity. In the various instruments,
assets and markets where that is the norm, things continued to "work"
as well as could be expected event throughout the previous series of
recent failures. It's only where the "market" did not have such
characteristics and mechanisms that the failures really mounted to
create systemic risks.
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