Saturday, October 12, 2013

That Sounds Pretty Bad

"The world will look much more unfair and much less equal and indeed it will be.
That sounds pretty bad and maybe it is."

This quote is from the last chapter of Tyler Cowan's 2013 book Average is Over. Tyler Cowan is an influential economist and a professor of economics at George Mason University. (See also his 2011 book The Great Stagnation.)

Let us get this straight: the U.S. will lose what fairness and equality it has left and Professor Cowan can only muster up enough feeling about that to say that it might be bad – maybe. This and other "decline and fall" predictions we have seen cause us at to ask if economists and MBAs are required to go through dehumanization courses, or treatments, before they get their degrees. See our posts No Jam Ever Again and No Jam Ever Again II, for example.

In essence, Cowan predicts that the Übermensch will inherit the earth. In the future only those with enough intelligence, drive, and computer skills will really prosper. He says, "We will move from a society based on the pretense that everyone is given an okay standard of living to a society in which people are expected to fend for themselves much more than they do now. I imagine a world where, say, 10 to 15 percent of the citizenry is extremely wealthy and has fantastically stimulating lives ... Others will fall by the wayside."

If a large percentage of the population "falls by the wayside," Professor Cowan, it will not be some unfortunate natural event – it will not be what used to be called "an act of god." It will be because we deliberately drop them there to, as you say, "fend for themselves." It will be our responsibility.

Cowan does a fine job of representing and justifying the attitudes of the uncaring rich, but we have to give him some credit. By uncritically praising the rich he at least is living out his own vision of the future. In chapter 2 he says, "... making high earners feel better in just about every part of their lives will be a major source of job growth in the future. ... Better about the world. Better about themselves. Better about what they have achieved."

Whether his prediction turns out to be accurate or not, there is something slimy and slavish about these comments. There is not a word about accountability or community. According to Tyler Cowan, it seems, ask not what the rich can do for their country (to paraphrase the newly-elected President John Kennedy in 1961). Ask what their country can do for them.

Tosoc readers, the more of this kind of thing that we see, the more we believe that the rich really do intend to reduce our wages and make many of us live in Cowan's proposed "shantytown" environments. We need a way to keep the rich from ultimately forcing the rest of us to live at subsistence levels.'s multiple exclusive currencies and markets will prevent that from happening. Our proposals are designed to keep it from happening. To us, the level of exploitation by the rich is already too high even without Tyler Cowan's ever-increasing exploitation in the future.

See our previous posts. Like the rich, we must be able to defend our wealth. The reason we cannot do that now is that we deal with the rich as individuals rather than collectively. This gives them the ability to use divide-and-conquer techniques against us. We use the same currency that they do, so they can vastly improve the finances of any group of individuals by giving them relatively small amounts of money. In effect, the rich can buy out any set of leaders that look like they might actually unite the people against exploitation. That is why the rest of us need our own currencies and why we must collectively agree not to use the same currencies as the rich. Support

The way capitalism should be.

Socialism for the socialists and capitalism for the capitalists.

TheOtherSideOfCapitalism (

Copyright © 2013 TheOtherSideOfCapitalism

No comments:

Post a Comment