Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Tearing up the Rule Book ... and Challenging Self Interest

This blog is dedicated to exposing Poweromics - i.e. wherever and whenever people using position and power for their own personal gain, based on poor moral values, self-interest and greed. A number of bloggers also often refer to the future demise of the UK as a result of self-interest/greed, and I also often refer to their comments too ... for instance take a look at the following post below:

At 10:25am on 08 Dec 2009, writingsonthewall wrote on Robert Peston's blog:

'Robert said:

"In my wilder imaginings over the years about the future of the public sector, it never occurred to me that one day as a taxpayer I would be financially liable for the overdrafts on 3.2 million UK retail bank accounts, £10bn of loans to British small businesses and a further £10bn of UK residential mortgages provided to 70,000 home owners"

There you have it folks - from the BBC's business editor. We are no longer in the realms of 'financial reality' but in a world of fantasy finance and Government gullability.

It's time to tear up the 'rule book' and start to question the people who are trying to convince you that "everything will be alright - we are in control".

The sad facts are they never were in control, it's just the uncontrollable beast we had unleashed just happened to be going in the direction we wanted it to. Now that beast has turned and even the might of trillions of dollars cannot reverse it.

"Dubai is just a glitch" - well the 20% knocked of their stock market in 2 weeks doesn't make it look like a glitch.

"Recovery is imminent, recovery is underway" - based on the financial markets, not based on any evidence in the real economy - not based on anything which hasn't just had the 'bailout boot' up it's backside.

I mean seriously - why doesn anyone believe people who make statements like this: "Although the US economy is improving, it is too early to say that the recovery will last, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has said"

Here's a weather forecast from me in the same vein - "although it is sunny, it may well rain later, or maybe stay the same, in any case there will be several different types of weather today - and it may not last for too long, although it might last all day"

....it's just like 1929 all over again - the politicians flounder on the beach of reality like washed up fish from the storm - the truth is that they were never in control of Capitalism - and now the public are angry because they have been fooled into thinking the beast had been mastered.

Most of the Economic theory of the last 20 years can be thrown in the bin, most of it merely analyses the symptoms of the problem, none of them analyse the cause. Modern Economists should be ashamed of themselves - they adorned their walls with certificates and yet not one of them can explain what is happening and why at the moment with any sort of clarity. They have made a classic mistake of mixing up 'pricing theory' with 'value theory' - and as most people have worked out the two are not synonymous.

They simply cannot face the harsh truth which is profit is scraped from the back of the working man or woman which is not sustainable and will eventually lead to collapse. Too many of us have been given a 'chip in the game' and consequently cannot face this fact either.

Self interest is unsustainable and our entire Economy is based on it - ergo the Economy is unsustainable ...'

A number of bloggers supported the comments made above ... with one saying "... it's just like 1929 all over again ... unfortunately this is all too true ... the parallels between the two are so obvious ... there is no way to reverse a £200 Billion deficit without job losses, public and private. When this kicks in proper, I predict the riots outside Tesco’s, the banker bailout was supposed to prevent, will happen anyway ... I really really hope I'm wrong".

However, one blogger said "Self interest is a fact - in a fundamental human flaw if you like - but a fact nonetheless ..."

which prompted the following response ...

'Maybe for you - but I can live without self interest, you just need to see 'self' as mankind and 'mine' as 'ours' ... Just because your mind is conditioned to act in a selfish manner - don't suggest it's a 'human flaw'.

Let me ask you - have you ever lived under a different system to Capitalism? I bet you 'fear you'd have us all working in a commune' - because lazy and feckless people would struggle in the face of 'real work'. You mention 'social mobility' - which is an admission that we live in a social pyramid - without inequality there is no need for social mobility - but don't confuse social mobility with inspiration and aspiration. Maybe it is in your world - but have you ever seen a scientific genius worried about what car he drives? Only the fickle and materialistic require the promise of riches to motivate themselves.

I meet people every day who are not self-interested, but you won't see them on TV, they are not politicians, they are not lauded around the city as being 'geniuses' - the unselfish are the ones who bare the brunt of this crisis.

In addition to the argument above - the desire to act violently may be a human flaw however the majority of people manage to control it - so why would self interest be any different ... If you have never lived in a system which does not promote self interest - how can you confidently suppose it is a 'natural phenomenon'?

"What you actually mean is "why should I stop being self interested - I mean no-one else bothers to" ... and there lies the foundations of a self interested society. Maybe you just need to meet a grown up before you realise that the world is not naturally self interested.

"We all feel detached from control at the moment" ... no, we were never in control the control was an illusion because the market just happened to be heading in the direction we were - we did not control it. I don't know if you noticed but 'we' didn't take on some blokes mortgage - it was a bank, which has since collapsed and passed the responsibility to us. They were never in control either.

"Yes what happened shouldn't have happened but if a prisoner escapes you don't blame the prisoner for developing 'a cunning plan'- you blame the prison service for not doing their job properly" ... Yes we do - unless you're only looking at the instance, the symptom and not the cause - just as the Economists do. The prisoner comitted the crime to put themselves in a position to make their escape - why would you blame those who are simply trying to do their best and not the true perpetrator (literally).

The old arguments still arise - "oh we can't help it we're all selfish" - and yet you want less Government (assuming you're a Libertarian) because you 'should be able to make your own decisions'.

"oh it was the regulators who failed us" - but have you ever considered why regulation never works. Using your own analogy, do you blame the policemen for the high crime rate - or is it actually the criminals?

The regulations get in the way of the fundamental principle of the market economy - i.e. we're all in this to make a profit. Therefore when the regulations intefere they will be circumvented or removed completely by market participants ...'

and in response to another comment ... 'self interest it at the heart of all human activity - from capitalist to eco-warrior, from politician to philanthropist. You act out of self interest, the fact you go on about how unselfish you are shows that your interest is in maintaining your ego-centric self image.' ... added the following:

'That's weak, so the only self interest I have is in maintaining an image? You must have me confused with someone else you know as self image is the last thing I am interested in. I suspect you base this assumption on your default starting positions of 'everyone is self interested'.

The truth is I do have self interest, but not in the way you describe. It's true it is a contradiction and one I have to live with every day.

However, what I have discovered is my self interest in my life is brought about by the society I live in - the fact that we all work most of our week for 'profit' reduces our free time and makes us more self interested in what little time we have left. The fact is I can live without self interest - it's not selfish to express this, and nor do I 'go on about how unselfish I am' - I merely express my disappointment at the extremes of selfishness there are around me (working in the city, it's worse than most)

In my free time I commit a lot to selfless activities and I am happy to do so, the profit from this is the joy it brings to others - which is why children and old people show a lot less self interest than the working population. They do not have such restrictions imposed on them and can take the time to consider the consequences of their actions on others.

The answer - don't judge others by your own standards - as I said previously there are many unselfish people in this world, but sadly only the self interested are promoted as being 'successful'. If everyone acts in their own self interest in a finite world the consequence is aggression and on a large scale that means WAR.

It's simple logic - undefeatable, undeniable'.

and went on to say ... 'I am growing irritated at those who complain a lot but never actually think about what the causes of their complaints are.

Too many people in society are happy to 'paper over the cracks' - trust me, I've seen inside a number of houses.

However most sensible people know that this policy is unsustainable - especially when they come to sell their property. It's no different in Economic society.

....plus I am desperately trying to warn about the impending disaster that our Government will not reveal because it fears a panic and ultimately awkward questions about it's ability to Govern.

Every time something bad happens the media and Government round the party line of "it's not too bad" - like Dubai for example....and people are still sucking it up like dry sponges ...'

I couldn't agree more ... and couldn't have put it better myself ... so I decided to post the comments they have made here too.