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Full sysselsättningsantagandet

Once the role of the “free entry and exit” assumption so characteristic of orthodox labor economics is understood, it becomes apparent that it is anything but an innocent “simplifying assumption.” Rather it is a substantive assumption, in the sense that much of what passes for “knowledge” about the operation, efficiency, and fairness of contemporary labor markets is based upon it. Without full employment, relative bargaining power becomes a crucial determinant of the market process. It follows that policies derived from an ill-considered presumption of full employment must be rethought and even reconsidered if the facts do not support that assumption. At the most abstract level there is a simple and direct lesson in all of the above. In an economy without full employment it is relative bargaining power, not “skills” or “productivity,” that determines the wage structure. Moreover, supply and demand models that implicitly assume full employment necessarily obscure this fundamental reality and for that reason can lead us to erroneous conclusions and flawed policies.

Robert E. Prasch


Deduktion som metodologi

Classical and neo-classical economics, as dominant today, has used
the deductive methodology: Untested axioms and unrealistic assumptions
are the basis for the formulation of theoretical dream worlds that
are used to present particular ‘results’. As discussed in Werner (2005),
this methodology is particularly suited to deriving and justifying
preconceived ideas and conclusions, through a process ofworking backwards
fromthe desired ‘conclusions’, to establish the kind ofmodel that
can deliver them, and then formulating the kind of framework that
could justify this model by choosing suitable assumptions and ‘axioms’.
In other words, the deductive methodology is uniquely suited for manipulation
by being based on axioms and assumptions that can be picked
at will in order to obtain pre-determined desired outcomes and
justify favoured policy recommendations. It can be said that the deductive
methodology is useful for producing arguments thatmay give a scientific
appearance, but are merely presenting a pre-determined opinion.

Richard Werner


Till bubblan går lånen

If you get a flow of credit increasing, as we’ve seen in the last few years —that flow of credit didn’t go to more wealth accumulation as we normally use the term in economics, as capital goods. What you got is an increase in bubbles of one kind or another.

What has happened repeatedly in recent years is that we’ve had monetary authorities allowing — through deregulation and lax standards —banks to lend more. But this lending has not gone for creating new business, not for capital goods. Disproportionately it has gone to increase the value of land and other fixed resources (buildings, real estate, etc). And that’s what everybody was worried about. 

Joseph Stiglitz


Den skapade konsumtionskulturen

En viktig poäng som vi historiskt verkar ha glömt, eller som det pratas alldeles för lite om, är hur den konsumtionskultur vi lever med idag är ett resultat av medvetet planerande och formande av människor. Detta är viktigt eftersom bristen av detta försvårar för oss att tänka alternativ till det vi lever idag, när vi inte har något att jämföra det med, eller förstår att det har uppkommit lämnas det under slöjan av vad vi lärt oss, våra vanor, inlärda reaktioner och aspirationer, det som är ”normalt”.

Läs därför Victor Lebow’s ”Price Competition in 1955” och lägg märke till han beskriver vår konsumtionskultur som medvetet skapad för att upprätthålla industriernas produktivitetsökningar. För att producera något måste en också ha köpare, när ens produktionskraft ökade mötte industrialister alltså utmaningen att skapa konsumenter till deras produkter för utan dem vore produktionen meningslös. För att se hur psykologi och vetenskap varit tätt kopplat till detta projekt ”of molding the American mind” titta på Adam Curtis dokumentärserie ”The century of self”, eller läs om Public Relationsgrundaren Edward Bernays och hans bok Propaganda vilket på den tiden var ett positivt laddat ord vilket sedan ersattes efter andra världskriget av ”public relations”. Lägg även märke till de extremt odemokratiska och manipulerande dragen en finner i texter likt Lebow’s här under.

Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. The very meaning and significance of our lives today expressed in consumptive terms. The greater the pressures upon the individual to conform to safe and accepted social standards, the more does he tend to express his aspirations and his individuality in terms of what he wears, drives, eats- his home, his car, his pattern of food serving, his hobbies.

These commodities and services must be offered to the consumer with a special urgency. We require not only “forced draft” consumption, but “expensive” consumption as well. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing pace. We need to have people eat, drink, dress, ride, live, with ever more complicated and, therefore, constantly more expensive consumption. The home power tools and the whole “do-it-yourself” movement are excellent examples of “expensive” consumption.

What becomes clear is that from the larger viewpoint of our economy, the total effect of all the advertising and promotion and selling is to create and maintain the multiplicity and intensity of wants that are the spur to the standard of living in the United States. A specific advertising and promotional campaign, for a particular product at a particular time, has no automatic guarantee of success, yet it may contribute to the general pressure by which wants are stimulated and maintained. Thus its very failure may serve to fertilize this soil, as does so much else that seems to go down the drain.

As we examine the concept of consumer loyalty, we see that the whole problem of molding the American mind is involved here.

Victor Lebow


Reklam och rational choice theory

Take a course in economics, they tell you a market is based on informed consumers making rational choices. Anyone who’s ever looked at a TV ad knows that’s not true. In fact if we had a market system an ad say for General Motors would be a brief statement of the characteristics of the products for next year. That’s not what you see. You see some movie actress or a football hero or somebody driving a car up a mountain or something like that. And that’s true of all advertising. The goal is to undermine markets by creating uninformed consumers who will make irrational choices and the business world spends huge efforts on that.

The same is true when the same industry, the PR industry, turns to undermining democracy. It wants to construct elections in which uninformed voters will make irrational choices. It’s pretty reasonable and it’s so evident you can hardly miss it.
It’s another one of those things that ought to be taught in elementary school. It’s kind of embarrassing to talk about something so obvious to a university audience.

Noam Chomsky


F**k You Buddy

Glöm inte antagandena, är det exempelvis rimligt att tro att människor är inkapabla av att empati och att ta hänsyn för andra istället för enbart ens egna intressen?

Nash made the assumption that humans were naturally calculating and always seeking an advantage over their fellows. By applying Game Theory to all forms of human interaction, Nash proved that a society based on mutual suspicion didn’t necessarily lead to chaos, but led to an equilibrium.

Game Theory produced a dark vision of humanity and society as a whole, where everyone was mistrustful of one another. This system could only work if everyone behaved selfishly. As soon as people started co-operating together, instability ensued and this proved to be the case when the system was tested – participants co-operated with each other.

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