Everywhere, numbers -- dark-smelling economic numbers --
pour out on us from our newspapers.
But for a moment, let's wave 'em aside.
These numbers, however they run, however they mean,
however they show our betters
making a hell of things here on rock three --
they'll not change for the worse just 'cause we
few ignore them awhile. What will be, will be, Obama... eh?
As Paul Samuelson, the great and terrible neoclassical theorist,
once said: "After all, economic history is just one big numerical example after another."
Let us, as scientists, rise above this midden-heap of numbers to the algebra of all possible societies.
Sam's science -- alas, my science, the dismal science -- looking down from its Platonic platform on high,
despite much media-induced popular belief to the contrary, actually
gets what's up these days --
at least when the dismal science is fully awake and using its latest formalisms and data streams,
and as long as it places itself in the hands of able souls with the
best of Ivy training like Stiglitz and Summers.
Scientifically speaking, lots of folks -- maybe even 'enough folks enough of the time' --
more or less understand how our economic world runs itself,
and where it's got itself into, and where it's likely headed further into.
But then, as Dr Marx famously observed, the point -- the really big point, where the wheels hit the road, is --
to change the fucking numbers.
In that light, and to change theistic systems,
all our Joshuas must betray their Moses.
Even if the great Moses, Keynes himself,
seemed to show us all a foolproof way to take the dismal
permanently out of the dismal science, it's only too apparent these days
that Keynes' present crop of Joshuas ain't up to the task of conquering Palestine for us promised people of earth,
the wretchedly jobbled masses.
we had a one-year warning about the horrors that beset us now.
We saw this coming way back in August 2007, and nonetheless that warning led to what?
A 12 month Sitzkrieg, till bam! we're faced with the hot-footed,
maybe too late, maybe just-in-time scrambles of this past September
and October --
a whole year later and only after the full force of the gathering shock waves
were already whacking the shit out of our hi-fi sector.
Why this Pearl Harbor-like lapse?
Because, despite a thousand highly placed
plaints of "who knew"
from the likes of the bonded one, Bobby Rubin,
the dirty fact is they all knew.
They all saw it coming, the tower trolls.
In fact some have known for so long they
forgot it a couple of times along the way.
They knew and they did nothing,
because they preffered this massive global catastrophe
to the alternative.
And the alternative is...?
Here is what the science sez:
We have it in our latent power
to construct a global macro system -- run on Keynes-Lerner-Vickrey principles --
a global macro system where such absurd self-induced economic
contractions as the present imbroglio
wouldn't even get underway.
Comrades, come the day of final action,
we can build a worldwide no-bubble zone,
a worldwide no-stagnation zone,
no runaway-inflation zone,
and last but far from least,
a worldwide no-unemployment zone.
Yes there could be right here even with all the natural
restrictions of our joint human condition,
through fairly elementary macro mangement of effective demand,
so long as we maintined a fairly smartly co-ordinated pricing system.
And here's the bazooka shot
to Wall street and Babbitville alike:
we could have this, coupled with steady but
rapid productivity growth.
But here's the rub:
if we did these easy-to-cook-up moves, we'd destroy -- even without intent --
the corporate system that runs all things marketed round here.
The core insight:
forget prosperity for ever and for all. The present system couldn't even survive constant full employment. If the job market were forever
overflowing with job opportunity, in remakably short order
our leading corporations would soon enough begin to founder.
Their raison d'etre,
their vast and deeply artificial irrigation system of private
profits would begin to dry up.
Any value produced not caught as wages would rush out of the
system straight into innocent consumer surplus.
Without the ability to make the sack scary,
the bastards at long last would be left, God forbid,
to drink only of the exiguous trickle of rewards due them for actual innovation.
"The horror! The horror!" as Harold Geneen might say.
A system without a plethora of carefully crafted rent
sumps is a system that turns limited liability corporations
This sometimes clever, sometimes brutal job rationing system
is the one motive force absolutely necessary to fill and sustain the above mentioned profit sumps, AKA market driven oligopoly profits. And so it shall remain so as long as personal earnings from the labor of others
are around to warm the bedrooms of widows and orphans. And other shareholders
We live inside, under, and through this system,
but without personal culpability.
We aren't to blame. The trolls themselves aren't to blame,
not at least at the one-at-a-time corporate level.
No. The evil is in fact today lovingly enforced
by job scarcity's younger brother,
centralized credit rationing, the system's Holy Ghost power,
that keeps alive the mechanism of surplus margins inside corporate revenue boundaries.
Which is to say: the credit ration system, by pulling in its markers, usually can keep wages the hell out of profit's hair.
To travel to even a higher platform,
my friends and fellow befucked-niks: even if you get to the mountaintop --
even if you take on all the power of mankind,
strip away nation-states and go to a one world system
where equality of race gender and creed radiates like sunshine itself --
if in a moment of Burkean lily-liveredness or Dickensian nostalgia or fondness for the once great and powerful,
you keep intact our large limited liability corporate critters, then
not only will they regain control earthwide, they will resurrect the job scarcity system
by whatever means availible.
And with time and fair sailing you'd once again begin to experience its opposite, sudden heavy seas -- rapidly developing, excessive, non-efficiency-enhancing job shucks;
and they'd emerge
as quickly and as senselessly and as massively as any of today's recurrent draftings into the armies of idleness.