Thursday, July 30, 2009

Human Beings Are Not Numbers

Robert Stacy McCain argues that economics is as much about the yearning of the human soul as it is about math. He doesn't say "soul", yet I'm saying that is what he is talking about. He is arguing that Keynesians fail to understand crucial truth about the soul's yearning for freedom and self-determination.

I've never thought of economics in quite these terms - as a question of freedom and morality - and am ashamed I have not. R.S. McCain is exactly correct. Excerpt:
Should our nation pursue an economic policy that seeks to expand liberty or should we side with Obama, Pelosi, Krugman, et al., in pursuing greater government control of economic matters?

Are we too free? That's really the question, and algebra cannot answer it. A neo-Keynesian like Paul Krugman claims to know how much deficit-funded "stimulus" the American economy needs (in a word, more) and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner claims to know exactly how that "stimulus" should be spent (in two words, Goldman Sachs), and anyone who disputes the claims of Krugman and Geithner is met with a highly nuanced argument: "Shut up."

What the neo-Keynesians wish to do is to centralize and increase economic control, on the basis of their implicit argument that the ordinary American is unfit to exercise economic liberty.

Yet it is a fairly simple matter to demonstrate that this elitist, control-oriented approach to economics -- Expertocracy, as it were -- is the source of the very problems that the experts now propose to solve by further expansion of their own power.

The fundamental question is not whether the experts who run the economy should pursue policy X or Y or Z. Rather, the question is whether experts should be running the economy at all.
The individual's desire for economic liberty is a moral choice. But the minions of the Expertocracy, who wish to deprive us of our liberty, are also making a moral choice, and they ought to be required to admit it.

Why is our desire for liberty morally inferior to the expert's desire to control us? To summarize the experts' answer: Because they're better than us.

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