Decoding Economic Ideology

Molière’s 1670 his play, The Bourgeois Gentleman, presented before the court of Louis XIV, mocked a foolish, social‑climbing merchant.  In his effort to remake himself, the merchant takes lessons to help him pass as an aristocrat.  In a basic lesson on language, he is both surprised and delighted to learn he had been speaking prose all his life without knowing it.  Almost three and a half centuries later, much of the world finds itself speaking a different language ‑‑ economics ‑‑ also without full awareness.

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3 comments so far

  1. Mike B) on

    Wow! That was great! Not to steal your very articulate thunder, but I’ve been saying this in different ways for years. The whole focus on consumers is a camera obscura trick which serves the masters of this upside-down world quite well. The dominate ideas of any era are indeed those of it ruling class. I was always suspicious of Jevons’ one-sided analysis of value. Of course, use-value is in the eye of the beholder. One only need read the first chapter of the first volume of CAPITAL to gain that knowledge. However, Jevons never addresses where value comes from, how it is *produced* as a good or service. Consumption castrated from production leads to a largely impotent class consciousness among the workers.

    BTW…you have a typo on page one toward the bottom.

  2. […] Another economist, Clark Nardinelli, declared that children in the factories during the Industrial Revolution would voluntarily choose to have their employers beat them. In Nardinelli’s words: “Now if a firm in a competitive industry employed corporal punishment the supply price of child labor to that firm would increase. The child would receive compensations for the disamenity of being beaten” (Nardinelli 1982, p. 289). Similarly, Steven Cheung maintained that riverboat pullers who towed wooden boats along the shoreline in China before the revolution of 1949 agreed to hire monitors to whip them to restrict shirking (Cheung 1983, p. 5). (Perelman) […]

  3. […] Another economist, Clark Nardinelli, declared that children in the factories during the Industrial Revolution would voluntarily choose to have their employers beat them. In Nardinelli’s words: “Now if a firm in a competitive industry employed corporal punishment the supply price of child labor to that firm would increase. The child would receive compensations for the disamenity of being beaten” (Nardinelli 1982, p. 289). Similarly, Steven Cheung maintained that riverboat pullers who towed wooden boats along the shoreline in China before the revolution of 1949 agreed to hire monitors to whip them to restrict shirking (Cheung 1983, p. 5). (Perelman) […]


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