Saturday, September 13, 2008

FE kicks back

In anticipation of a reboot of FE and the mouthwatering prospect of Anglefish joining the team. I thought I'd write a little on what FE is about.


1) Economics means people dammit
- Economics has a disastrous propensity to shred any and all humanity from its theorising. This is especially evident when using ita tools to make conclusions about people subjects. Cf Steven 'Freakonomics' Levitt and Gary Becker's risible attempts to summarise life in a series of desitute precepts that do nothing to delineate its colour much less generate useful conclusions. Even if the problem is not theory itself, the statistical gymnastics that is applied to socially generated phenomena strains essential humanity from that data. It loses texture, spice and has a hideous effect when reapplied (or inflicted) gentle men and women.

2) Managerialism is the opiate of the people
Codependent nature of human relations does not rub with overpaid, self-inflated tossers told they can rule the roost. New Labour's failing has been lack of recognition of this fact.

3) Trust the people and they will provide for themselves and trust them enough to help them!
This wonderful paradox gets it about right. Agan its a slant on managerialism and the dystopia propogated when people are treated as units not souls aware of their own position and able to make good decisions. A lack of trust or faith in each other is a major failing, not only of British society, but its economy. Trust breeds social connections breeds productivity. (You'll note I'm happy to return everything to the economic in order to show how socially defined the entire economic process is so as to be indistinguishable from it.) Part of breeding trust is to provide social stability through insulation of the people from raw market processes, the latter being nothing but a chimera and a plaything for the economically powerful to get their way. Insulation consists in: education, arbiting approprately between corporate, financial interests and those of the people (ie goddamn spine!) and (gasp!) SPACE for people to breathe - a certain gp of non policy for communities to flourish. Community activation policy also helpful to this end.

It's a liberalish standpoint. Left Libertarian is the best term I've found to describe it: a recognition that what matters are peoples substantive freedoms measured by life as its actually lived - not an excuse for laissez-faire that far from being hands off result in a big hand up and crushing loss of empowerment for everbody but the very very few.

Much of what is written is a railing against the limitations of theory in general and for that matter overbearing policy which acts to restrict lives which are simply beyond definition.

Sing me a song of a midnight waltz? And then theorise it and you'll see what I mean.

Heroes: Karl Polanyi, EF Schumacher, Amartya Sen
Villains: Becker, Friedman, the entire political class (with the exception of perhaps Tony Benn)

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