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I'm thinking that this notion of "the Economy" as something separate from the wellbeing of the actual population, is traditionally symptomatic of authoritarian thinking...

An early form of it is found in the King as the living embodiment of the nation, and the notion that the "national" wealth and pride is best and most legitimately expressed in the astonishing wealth and profligacy of the Royals.  L'Etat, c'est moi!  But another tendril of the root mass might be found in the notion of beating or destroying the body to save the soul -- as in the punishment of heretics or the "disciplining" of children:  "I am only doing this [beating, torture, humilation, starving] for your own good."

Then there is the rootlet labelled "dulce et decorum", the notion of Nation and Flag as a supranatural Entity to whom the citizen owes loyalty even unto the point of an obedient and meaningless death;  the notion that a grieving mother should, if she is a respectable right-feeling person, be suitably recompensed by a posthumous medal and a schlocky ceremony for the loss of the son she raised for 18 years.  She should be "happy and proud" that her son was blown to bits "in the service of" the nation-state.

And now we have the notion of the Economy as a kind of Moloch, something that is not "the collective benefit of the people as a whole" but a deity that the people must serve, propitiate, and sacrifice to.  If the people are too comfortable, too well-off, it is bad for them and they must be punished/disciplined to remind them that their happiness is not the point.

What is "the Economy", if it is not us?

Is it nothing but a euphemism for the unlimited accrual of wealth by the rentier/manager class?  Or do they (as did many governing classes throughout history) really believe that L'Etat c'est eux?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Sat Apr 15th, 2006 at 11:56:18 PM EST

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