ReadySteadyBlog

Via wood s lot, k-punk on Barbara Ehrenreich's How Positive Thinking Wrecked the Economy:


If the magical thinking that Enherenreich decries cannot be considered only delusional, it's because, in the markets, it's not possible to separate out beliefs from their objects. Beliefs don't register the true or falsity of propositions; rather, in the classic hyperstitional self-fulfilling loop, beliefs themselves determine value (and its destruction, as this meta-warning in The Economist points out). "Realism" isn't an available orientation. Moreover, the loop works both ways: as Robert Shiller pointed out in Irrational Exuberance, booms produce the euphoric psychological states necessary for their own maintenance (more...)

A considered and detailed debunking of the term "confidence" really needs to take place. That the global economy is in such tatters because of a lack of "confidence", a lack of faith in other words, is astonishing proof of the validity of Marx's theory of reification, but beyond that it shows that a profound irrationality sits at the heart of the global social system. A social system that claims it can never be bettered or changed or destroyed is, it clearly turns out, based almost entirely on our faith in it! The astonishing amount of energy -- and money -- being mobilised by governments, politicians and journalists to try to keep us keeping the faith shows clearly that it is time for us all to dream again of better worlds.

Readers Comments

  1. Aren't all systems based on faith? Ultimately?

  2. Truer than you think, Mark!

    That faith is at the heart of the social imaginary that sustains and reproduces current practices. The danger - for us at least - is not that we lose faith in the system but that we fail to build confidence in the possibility of an alternative.

  3. Nicely put Mark, and I agree with you and both commenters. All human culture is essentially a game based on faith – institutional facts, as John Searle called them. Let's rewrite the rules of the game!

  4. Well, when the foundation stone is an existential unreality or symbol, ie money, then we can't go expecting too much in the way of reality in immense structures built on the illusiory framework.
    Though I think altogether too much faith in the good will of the banking protagonists, and what is going on here is being employed. WHere is all this money disappearing to.
    Josiah Charles Stamp, English Economist President of the Bank of England in the 1920's, put it thus:
    The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight-of-hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin... But if you want to continue to be slaves of the bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers continue to create money and control credit.”
    David Rockefeller, one of the world's key figures, founder of the Trilateral Commission, in an address to a meeting of The Trilateral Commission, in June, 1991.
    And David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Commission, in an address to a meeting of The Trilateral Commission, in June, 1991 nicely summed up the value of the corporate media, & by extension all media:
    "We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries."
    Out of chaos comes order. What kind of order after the spectacular crashes of the late 1920s?

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