Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Dynamic Duo: Keynes and Mankiw.


Robin:
"After fifty years of additional progress in economic science, The General Theory is an outdated book. … We are in a much better position than Keynes was to figure out how the economy works."
Batman:
"How can I accept a doctrine which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete economic textbook [Marx's Das Kapital] which I know to be not only scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world?"
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Holy birds of a feather, Batman!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Authoritarianism and Revolution? Kumbaya!



Let's suppose it's 11:00 pm of a Sunday. Tomorrow is a working day and you are in bed (you are not in the U.S.).

Suddenly, loud music comes from the street. You look through the window: some white teenagers have a party in the middle of the street.

You ask them to keep it down. They politely refuse: “This is a free country, dude” -- they say. “We have the right to party. You are a killjoy impinging on our freedom.”

You come back into your place and call the police. The cops arrive and order the kids move somewhere else.

Is this coercion? I think so. An exercise of authority? Obviously.

The teenagers refuse, with determination: “We don't accept your authority, dude”.

When the cop tries to handcuff the one speaking for the group (another coercive, authoritarian act), the kid produces a handgun and points it straight to the cop's face.

The cops shoot him and the kid drops dead. The other teenagers look terrified: the girls shriek and cower behind their car; the other boy is petrified. You yourself are shaken.

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Now, let’s go over the whole thing just to make sure we understand the situation.

Was the cop using coercion against the kids? Yes.

Was he trying to impose his authority over them? Yes.

Did he use violence and force against them? Yes.

Were the kids terrorised? Yes.

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Now, for the big questions: Would you blame the cop for that? Is that your fault, for calling the police?

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I'll speak for myself: I wouldn't blame the cop or yourself. You were protecting your peace. The cop acted in self-defence. If the kids had just kept quiet or moved away, as repeatedly asked, there is no reason to believe things would have escalated. If the boy had not produced a weapon, he might still be alive and kicking.

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That was just a hypothetical. But if it ever happened, and you were either the cop or the neighbour who called him, you would pray to God the judge is a Marxist, because if the judge were a sanctimonious Keynes-wannabe, you would be in deep shit.

You see, workers (like the neighbour) must not impinge on the freedoms of those who exploit them, because if the did, they would be coercing them and that’s bad.

Workers cannot self-organize against an organized enemy, because if they did, they would be authoritarian (like the cop) and that’s worse.

Workers cannot use violence -- even in self-defence -- against those who use violence against them, because if they did the oppressors would cower in terror (like the surviving teenagers) and that’s just, like, the worst, really.

Yup. All those things are bad, like, totally bad … when the workers do them against the exploiters … only. Workers must appeal to Kumbaya my Lord … Keynes. Capitalists can choose between Lord Keynes or Adolphe Thiers.

Like Engels said:
“Therefore, either one of two things: either [A] the anti-authoritarians don’t know what they’re talking about, in which case they are creating nothing but confusion; or [B] they do know, and in that case they are betraying the movement of the proletariat. (here)

Take your pick: [A] or [B]?


UPDATE:

Related Reading:
Social Democracy in The Communist Manifesto. October 14, 2014.