How Does This Thing Work?

Here, a few paragraphs on what this blog is, and just as importantly what it is not.

The topics will often concern themselves with how our society works (or fails to), so it will of necessity touch on economics, politics, and so forth. However, it is not my intention to convince anyone of any political view. This is fortunate, because a blog by a more or less unknown writer is unlikely to shake the political firmament anyway.

What my intention is, rather, is to figure out how society works. The central flaw in economic theory, I believe, is that it takes politics and government as a given. Political theorists also, almost without exception, ignore how economics impacts government. Government is a part of the society that economics takes place in (just as industry is, and education is, and so forth), and the economy impacts the society that shapes the government. No theory of how either economics or politics works, can accomplish anything worth building on, so long as these two topics are taken in isolation.

For example, it has been noted that free markets and democracy tend to occur in countries with sizable middle classes. Therefore, any development which undermines the existence of a large middle class, will tend to erode market freedoms eventually. It should follow that anyone who favors market freedom, would oppose any policy which tends to erode the position of the middle class. Rarely do we see any such consideration from those who favor free markets, however. To the extent that they consider the situation at all, the assumption is that the greatest market freedom possible will automatically favor the middle class.

It is not at all clear that this is always so. In at least some situations, one or more plutocrats can acquire an advantageous enough financial situation to eliminate competition, and enrich themselves more and more, in some cases at the expense of the middle (and lower) class. Once ensconced, such plutocrats will not hesitate to use their money to influence government, undercutting the free market policies which they required to acquire their money in the first place. This is sometimes called 'kicking away the ladder'. So, against this, what strategy would those who support free markets advocate? In almost every case, the strategy advocated is, "let's shout louder". This, is mindless. There is little reason to expect that simply repeating, at increased volume, the same arguments used previously will cause governments (or even the voters who elect them) to suddenly re-embrace civil liberties and free markets. What, then, can be done?

That, I would suggest, requires that we understand how economics, politics, and much else about how human society works, far better than we currently do. That's what this blog is about. I endeavor not to shouting, or even try to convince anyone of anything, in the hopes that it will help me try to actually figure out how this thing, the thing we're all doing together, actually works.