Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Unbelievable. Simply Unbelievable.

Megan McArdle notes: Over 100 Chicago professors proudly sign a letter declaring their ignorance of economics.

My favorite part of Megan's response:

[T]heir assessment of the effects of the "neoliberal global order" is forehead slapping, head shaking, did-they-really-say that? stupid. I haven't heard such transparently wishful claptrap since my fifteen-year-old boyfriend tried to convince me that sex provided unparalleled aerobic exercise. If you put all 100 in a room with unlimited access to Lexis-Nexis and a mountain-sized peyote stash to bring their quasi-communist fantasy life into 3D technicolor, they still couldn't name a country where neoliberalism has undermined a vibrant democracy. Nor where Demon Capital has made things worse. The worst you can say for the neoliberal order is that it doesn't make things better the way we hoped it would. Any place you can name that has been deeply screwed up since global capital arrived was at least as corrupt and otherwise awful before the capital swooped in to plant garment factories in the edenic swamps of rural poverty.

This is another example of taking progress for granted. The benefits of free-market capitalism are stunningly obvious to everyone except those who are so jaded from its benefits that they have nothing better to do than hyperfocus on its apparent flaws. Hundreds of millions have escaped poverty over the last two decades simply because their misguided governments finally gave up on the idea of a leftist command economy. Witness China. Witness India. Witness all of Eastern Europe. Witness most of South America. The last 2o years has seen an economic boom unprecedented in human history, and it was distinctly capitalist in character.

Name a single thriving command economy. Name just one. Well, there are none, and there's a reason for that--a reason that's apparently lost on over 100 supposedly educated Chicago professors.

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