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our discussion here on ET in a previous diary of mine
So what really happened in the 70s?
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
The issue was never one of needing to switch from stimulus spending to tax cuts for the rich, or of needing to care exclusively about inflation and ignore unemployment. People who interpreted the seventies in that fashion misunderstood fatally what was going on. That misunderstanding fuels and feeds their misunderstanding of the present problems.
The use of the words 'misunderstood' and 'misunderstanding' is to me the most problematic aspect of the above quote. I am sure there was a lot of misunderstanding. I have to wonder at the thought that it was all just a big misunderstanding.
I would apply the principle that the law used in the case of 'erroneous' pricing of items in the data from which barcode readers obtained prices at the check stands in California supermarkets in the '90s. The fact was that the errors were always in the direction of the store chains and the chains were required to refund a condiderable amount of money.
Of course my knowledge and memory are far from complete or perfect, so perhaps others can remind me of the times when 'misunderstandings' in economic theory have redounded to the benefit of the average citizen. For the life of me I cannot think of any.
"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
There are always misunderstandings available in a social science (or social faith, in the case of neoclassical economics) ~ however, as in bar code reader errors being reliably to the favor of the store, the "misunderstanding" persistently involves accepting a weaker argument that happens to originate from an approach to the studying the economy that was originally developed to justify the wealth and power of the wealthy and powerful.
I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
One of the most powerful protective spells at play in our culture is the cloak provided by the taboo surrounding anything that can be considered 'conspiracy theory'. One might think that all events in human history have been the result of single actors acting alone, as absurd as that might seem, given the ease with which the adverse label of 'conspiracy theory' diverts consideration away from the very possibility that, for instance, the rise to prominence and the long reign in prominence of what is, sadly, the present formulation of 'Mainstream Economics', aka neo-classical economics.
All who wish to be part of that 'mainstream' know, as if by instinct, to ignore anything that seriously challenges that system, prized as it is by those who hand out preferment and tenure. The evidence provided by Mason Gaffney in his monograph that this system was created and enshrined specifically to undermine the criticism of Henry George and his supporters at the behest of wealthy university benefactors whose interests would have been seriously damaged is studiously ignored. Henry George is systematically forgotten by academia, along with others who challenged what has become the Conventional Wisdom, such as Henry Wallace, so that few today have any idea of what they advocated or what might have been. The intellectual shuffle that has repeatedly occurred in economics, where strong versions of beloved theories are convincingly falsified, the field falls back on weak versions temporarily, and, after a suitable time and some non-refutation by some approved authority, moves back to the preferred version without ever dealing with the falsification, as described by Yanis Varoufakis in A Most Peculiar Failure, and on and on.
Hell! The taboo on 'conspiracy theory' explanations are tame stuff compared to the self censorship which most seem to so readily accept.
"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
Although ultimately the issue is the on-going war between those who simply want to do cool stuff and get along and the few deviants who want to have it all themselves and enjoy screwing over everyone else.
When the deviants are labelled honestly we might see some progress towards civilisation again.
The only lesson that can be taken from the seventies is that it is a very foolish thing for a state to become dependent on a particular resource or product that it cannot make for itself and must import, because that puts the economic welfare of that state at the mercy of the exporting nations.
The answer to that is Jane Jacobs' analysis of Import Replacement:
Jacobs believed that the best way to achieve such sustainable economies is to examine what is now imported into a region and develop the conditions to produce those goods from local resources with local labor. She referred to this process as "import replacing."
What happened in the 70s provided an opening to move away from imported oil, replacing it with other forms and means of energy production. This would have required a number of actions all of which where stomped on by TPTB, notably the Big Seven oil companies. The reasons for the stomp is easy: import replacement restructures the economy, replacing the companies importing the good and the companies relying on the imported good for their profit margins.
She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
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