Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Invisible Hand

I've been following the news on how governments around the world have been taking measures to counter the effects of the meltdown.
It's interesting that the common wisdom that still prevails is that the "invisible hand" is the guiding influence for the capitalist economy.
Interesting to see that the "invisible hand" would need so much help by government interference in fixing economies around the world.
But that's not all. There's the blame game as well. And the blame is clearly being pointed at government interference. If only the government didn't make bad policies, then the meltdown would never have happened. Or so we are being told by the experts.
If that is the case, then why is just about every government in the world taking measures to prevent a total collapse of their economy?
Wouldn't it be wise to leave it to the "invisible hand" to make the corrections?
Obviously we have a paradox of ideology. A paradox on economic policy and thinking.
Either the "invisible hand" should be left to manage the economy or not.
If you believe in the infallibility of the free market, then shouldn't all governments step aside and do nothing? Absolutely nothing. Well that's what happened during the Great Crash. Until the economy bled so badly, that the government was forced to take action.
And still economists believe in the "invisible hand".
Strange and stranger it is. How even more strange that economics considers itself a scientific discipline.

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18 comments:

Jeannie said...

I certainly haven't read anything regarding capitalism or what the experts are saying now. But I think capitalism probably does work - as long as everyone is willing to take the lows along with the highs. And if borrowing doesn't get so far out of whack. And governments already in a deficit position getting deeper in debt to help businesses that should have known better doesn't sound like a strong solution to me - only like they are selling out the government. Does the government foreclose when they can't pay their bills? Who is going to take over ownership then?

FJ said...

The invisible hand WOULD work if there weren't so many little invisible heads constantly developing CHEATS for the game.

Lexcen said...

fj, do you really believe in the "invisible hand"? You must be religious.

Alice Gorable said...

Oh I believe in the invisible hand all right. I'm not sure you could call me religious though. I'm a fellow gravedigger (Deist) who tries to mediate between science and religion (as Aristotle intended).

You don't think an invisible hand keeps the planets in their orbits? Or are you one of those "gravity represents the warp in space-time" purists?

FJ said...

Did I mention my multiple personality disorder? ;-)

Lexcen said...

Wow Alice, you're quick to label me.
fj, noted.

Lexcen said...

Alice, have you deliberately disabled comments in your blog??

Alice Gorable said...

Yes, too many of my personalities were bloggers and I've had difficulty keeping up w/all of them.

Alice Gorable said...

btw- I didn't label you so much as you labeled yourself in your profile in a manner much as Nietzsche would characterized us

At the gate of the town the grave-diggers met him: they shone their torch on his face, and, recognising Zarathustra, they sorely derided him. "Zarathustra is carrying away the dead dog: a fine thing that Zarathustra hath turned a grave-digger! For our hands are too cleanly for that roast. Will Zarathustra steal the bite from the devil? Well then, good luck to the repast! If only the devil is not a better thief than Zarathustra!- he will steal them both, he will eat them both!" And they laughed among themselves, and put their heads together.
Zarathustra made no answer thereto, but went on his way. When he had gone on for two hours, past forests and swamps, he had heard too much of the hungry howling of the wolves, and he himself became hungry. So he halted at a lonely house in which a light was burning.
"Hunger attacketh me," said Zarathustra, "like a robber. Among forests and swamps my hunger attacketh me, and late in the night.
"Strange humours hath my hunger. Often it cometh to me only after a repast, and all day it hath failed to come: where hath it been?"
And thereupon Zarathustra knocked at the door of the house. An old man appeared, who carried a light, and asked: "Who cometh unto me and my bad sleep?"
"A living man and a dead one," said Zarathustra. "Give me something to eat and drink, I forgot it during the day. He that feedeth the hungry refresheth his own soul, saith wisdom."
The old man withdrew, but came back immediately and offered Zarathustra bread and wine. "A bad country for the hungry," said he; "that is why I live here. Animal and man come unto me, the anchorite. But bid thy companion eat and drink also, he is wearier than thou." Zarathustra answered: "My companion is dead; I shall hardly be able to persuade him to eat." "That doth not concern me," said the old man sullenly; "he that knocketh at my door must take what I offer him. Eat, and fare ye well!"-
Thereafter Zarathustra again went on for two hours, trusting to the path and the light of the stars: for he was an experienced night-walker, and liked to look into the face of all that slept. When the morning dawned, however, Zarathustra found himself in a thick forest, and no path was any longer visible. He then put the dead man in a hollow tree at his head- for he wanted to protect him from the wolves- and laid himself down on the ground and moss. And immediately he fell asleep, tired in body, but with a tranquil soul.

Lexcen said...

alice gorable. I'm humbled in your presence. Nobody has ever analyzed me and quoted Nietzsche to me before. I think I'm in love ;-)

FJ said...

Sounds like you need to get out more... ;-)

Alice Gorable said...

Are you a Nietzsche aficionado? I've got most of the Greeks covered, a few Romans, Machiavelli, Rousseau, a little Kant (no Not the critiques), a little Schopenhaeur, a LOT of Nietzsche, Benjamin Franklin and tons of Freud. I've some touches of Marx and Marcuse as well as some generous helpings of Isaiah Berlin.

Lexcen said...

alice, I'm afraid that in my excitement to respond to your comments I will expose myself as the true ignoramus that I am. Nietzsche was on my bookshelf for many years amongst other great writers and thinkers. It was part of a grand plan I had when young and reckless to read all the great books. I gave myself a time period of a lifetime but a reality check soon put an end to that plan. I do admire the erudite but I'm humbled in their presence.

FJ said...

Oh please, don't be modest. I'm an autodidactic gravedigger. I found Nietzsche and the classics much later in life... in the course of many hours spent transporting and then waiting around for three kids to complete activities A thru Z.

Of course, a nervous breakdown or two really helped me focus... but perhaps that's a tale or two for a different day.

You into neurophilosophy at all? Just curious... your paintings seem to suggest it. Very nice. I wish I had such talent.

Lexcen said...

alice/fj, I was just thinking you were one and the same person.
As fir my paintings, I recently joined the local art group only to discover to my shame that here was a group of ladies, me being the few male members, who are so extraordinarily talented that I felt like shriveling up and hiding in a corner. I'm not being modest here. If I could find an online exhibit I would point you to it to show you what I mean.

FJ said...

Yes, I'm one and the same person, and about a half dozen others depending upon the mood....

...and my own father was a painter, pursued a BS in fine art at San Jose State back in the 70's...after a full career in the USAF, and you've got him beat by miles! Of course, he spent a lot of time pursuing multi-media.

I don't normally enjoy 'modern' art myself, I prefer classical and neo-classical themes. But your abstract works (if not copied) appear to be very well developed. I'm not sure as I enjoy your "most recent" paintings as much as some of what I take to be your earlier works. But then hey, I'm new around here. I do have an affinity for surrealism... maybe that's what I like. It sounds in some of your arts posts like you're trying to go for autonomism. I was never a fan of the autonomist school of surrealism, but perhaps there's something to it, after all...

Lexcen said...

I don't know about autonomism. I struggled with pure abstract and felt I was going nowhere. I needed some discipline to my craft. Setting up parameters I was able to be creative within those boundaries ie cubism. This led to other areas, I tried inspiration from Paul Klee. Then I decided that abstract patterns from nature was the way to go. Not to copy mind you but as a starting point. This was fortuitous because my local art group collectively seems to have the same idea. Of course when I saw samples of their work I felt intimidated. Waiting for another dose of inspiration.

FJ said...

I know what you mean. The muse can be elusive.

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