Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cost benefit analysis, the free market and Iraq

This article in the Guardian, by Terry Jones, once of Monty Python, neatly sums up what it is that annoys me so fucking much about neo-classical economists, right wing politicians and most mainstream media.

Firstly, neo-classical economics teachers like to start out university courses with a quick whip through the philosophy pertinent to economics before concluding that we humans only have somewhat limited capacity for pure rationalism and isn't this an interesting contradiction given how we like to think of ourselves here in the West and....blah blah blah. They then pretty much forget this little wrinkle and proceed to instil their first year students with unquestioning respect for concepts such as supply elasticity, diminishing returns and so on. Often given a passing mention is the concept of cost benefit analysis and how it is used within the concept of rational business decision making. This in itself is always discussed as though such situations are akin to laboratory experiments, carefully sealed off from all things political, ethical or social.

Right wing politicians - well what can I say. You might talk about personal freedom, the might and right of the free market and small government but we all know that what you really mean is you want the right to make the rich richer, increase inequality to the absolute limit of acceptability and in the process hide the massive and brutal exploitation which inevitably ensues. Need I say more?

The mainstream media nowadays so infrequently reports meaningfully on anything resembling what is really going on in geopolitics these days that I have to say I have given up hope that this will change.

People wondered aloud why it was that the US was going to war in Iraq. Oil, 'Terror', Saddam, Iran, Israel, all of the above, these were regularly cited. In the end though it has really been about one thing. Profit, personal and corporate. The 'cost': US$500bn, 500,000 dead Iraqis, 3000+ dead western soldiers. The 'benefit' years of profitable revenue streams for major US corporations and a hold over huge oil reserves. For George W and his neo-con mates all the shit, blood and guts is but a trifle. They exemplify the concept of a criminal regime.

8 comments:

ml said...

calm down - time to practice ashtanga :)
many valid points - my preference though is for artists to stay away from politics & business....

see this is why im a fan of your blog – far more entertaining than those that continuously discuss ashtanga injuries….

jb said...

what has made u think i am an artist? and where is your blog eh? :)

ml said...

terry jones, the artist. or is he very political in UK? i don't know.

im curious, where you worked before (in banking), was is not full of right wing conservatives, or at least moderate conservatives?

will stick with commenting for now. someone who obviously put a lot of time and energy in blogging defintely deserves an audience.

jb said...

yep, banking is of course full of those types. its their natural environment confirming all thier dearly held beliefs.

know anyone in the film business?

Nick Seecharan said...

well look at you! an active audience to go with your little global readers map. perhhaps this is what youll be doing next ... dont delve into the archives ml, or you might discover all those ashtanga injury posts

;)

jb said...

who is this nick seecharan? hehehe

ml said...

nick seecharan: i skipped all those after i saw the word "Coccyx" for the 5th time! also less of the arty-farty writing jb. :)

jb said...

hmmm. ok, so you busted me Nick. Guess those new acid free shoes and the extra 10kgs from your hols put a bit of fire in your belly mate. i did moan a lot about my bruised arse but i tell ya - it hurt like f**k.