Neoliberal economic theory based on fiction
All capitalist market economic theory is based on the existence of an all informed rational creature acting solely in it’s own individual self-interest. Such creature is rather like the mythical unicorn. It does not exist. Even if it ever did roam this earth it went extinct with the advent of advertising.
This of course is a fatal flaw in our still prevailing economic theory, which stubbornly refuses to die. However true to its origins in theology economics is not an (empirical) science but rather a believe system, ideology or dogma. It does not deal in reality. Like their theologian brethren looking at the bible instead of life around them economists are obsessed with books some almost as ancient like the 18 century “bible of capitalism”, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.
The arguably most influential neoliberal author was cult leader and sexual predator Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982). Instead of looking for the elusive creature ‘homo economicus’ she like Frankenstein
created a monster in her own image: Neoliberal-Man.
Ayn Rand helped make the United States into one of the most uncaring nations in the industrialized world, a neo-Dickensian society where healthcare is only for those who can afford it. Where young people are coerced into huge student-loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
“Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society….To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.” — Gore Vidal, 1961
Just watch her on Johnny Carson explain the core concept of her teaching, the central value, which is selfishness.
After 35 years of the Chicago School of Economics Thatcher/Reagan/Rogernomics onslaught on our traditional (Christian) values a new type of – I hesitate to say – “human” being has emerged typified by the Michael Douglas’ character of Gordon – greed is good – Gekko.
The neoliberal-man does not only exist in fiction but in the “real” world. The frontrunner of the Republican Party for President of the United States is self declared billionaire and reality TV star Donald Trump. I am hesitating to call it the “real” world as the lines between reality and reality TV seem to be blurred like in a dream or rather nightmare.
This man typifies the neoliberal-man perfectly. As far as we can tell his persona and campaign is all about himself. “I am rich. I am a winner. I like winners not losers who got captured and suffered years as prisoners of war (John Mccain). My critics are losers who should go away.”
Neoliberal-Man in New Zealand
Like homo sapiens came out of Africa Ayn Rand’s monster migrated out of the US mainly around the five eye English speaking world. When I came first to New Zealand in 1981 it hadn’t arrived yet. I fell in love with the people who struck me not as selfish but friendly, caring and hospitable. Then in 1984 all hell broke lose with the arrival of neoliberal dogma in the form of Rogernomics.
After 30 years of indoctrination within one generation we have created and worship our own neoliberal-man. The poster boy is – “I like victory, I like positivity, I like a bright outlook and a prosperous forecast” – Mike Hosking. He has got all the trimmings.
The Maserati Hosking went into a hissy-fit over when a “moron” put a ding in it the other day. The dolly-bird trophy wife.
And the bromance with another prominent neoliberal-man.
If you look at these guys you really wonder.
In his own words he is proudly under-educated – as we all can tell – and a proudly non- journalist broadcaster. He is so full of himself that he cannot even see the difference between narrow minded biased opinions and ideas. He used the word ideas over a dozen times in his recent opinion piece in the NZ Herald. It normally would be associated with -and drawn as – a bright light bulb. Nothing bright about Hosking’s non-ideas/opinions.
“If one overarching thing has come out of this past week, it’s the fear some seem to have of ideas. That a person with a lot of ideas is apparently an issue. That a person whose ideas don’t suit others is somehow biased, and lacks objectivity.
If you’re afraid of ideas, you’re afraid of life.”
The man is seriously deluded and can safely be digested only in the form of Jeremy Wells’ satirical Hosking Rants. However his almost clinical delusion is his problem.
What is our problem ?
Clinical psychologist explains how Ayn Rand helped turn the US
into a selfish and greedy nation
by BRUCE E. LEVINE
Ayn Rand’s books such as The Virtue of Selfishness and her philosophy that celebrates self-interest and disdains altruism may well be, as Vidal assessed, “nearly perfect in its immorality.” But is Vidal right about evil? Charles Manson, who himself did not kill anyone, is the personification of evil for many of us because of his psychological success at exploiting the vulnerabilities of young people and seducing them to murder. What should we call Ayn Rand’s psychological ability to exploit the vulnerabilities of millions of young people so as to influence them not to care about anyone besides themselves?
When I was a kid, my reading included comic books and Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. There wasn’t much difference between the comic books and Rand’s novels in terms of the simplicity of the heroes. What was different was that unlike Superman or Batman, Rand made selfishness heroic, and she made caring about others weakness.
Rand offered a narcotic for confused young people: complete certainty and a relief from their anxiety.
I have known several people, professionally and socially, whose lives have been changed by those close to them who became infatuated with Ayn Rand. A common theme is something like this: “My ex-husband wasn’t a bad guy until he started reading Ayn Rand. Then he became a completely selfish jerk who destroyed our family, and our children no longer even talk to him.”
Rand did have a God. It was herself. She said:
I am done with the monster of “we,” the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame. And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: “I.”
Do you fancy yourself – as I permanently hear – of living in a caring society in New Zealand ? If you don’t see any problem with neoliberal-man look into the mirror. You might be looking at one of Ayn Rand’s monsters.