Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A difference in philosophy? I don't think so.

Not everyone who opposes rational and responsible economic policy can be stupid, and not even the majority can. But they can be, and I think they are, ignorant. Their ignorance is protected by their hard-held presuppositions. This enables them to dismiss any deviant views as "extreme," as "cooky". I have people tell me I am wrong who cannot tell me why. I have people tell me it is a "difference in philosophy". But actually it isn't. It is a difference in understanding of how reality works. It is a difference in models of reality. A shared understanding of reality would produce an agreement on economic policy. Disagreements over economic policy come not from wanting different things, they come from wanting the same things (peace, prosperity and individual freedom) but disagreeing on how to get there. I don't think it is helpful or accurate to call that a difference in philosophy. To do so is to cut off debate, to suggest there are unbridgeable differences, when actually what it means is "I don't want to seriously consider what you have to say".

When it comes to macroeconomic policy, it would seem that it takes an economic earthquake to shake the belief in government job-creation. No amount of argument can do the trick. Does this mean more mindless inflationary stimulus is around the corner? Let's hope not.

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