In an ideal world, the Invisible Hand would give each of us a happy ending

Via Atrios, Kevin Drum takes Matt Yglesias to task for suggesting that we leave those poor corporations alone and that, instead, we should just raise the top marginal tax rates back to where they were under Eisenhower (yeah, that’ll happen right after President Palin is sworn in).

I agree with Atrios that Drum is too cavalier about dismissing credit card fraud as nothing more than people losing their cards or otherwise behaving irresponsibly.  But the rest is a pretty good read, especially this part:

But this isn’t my biggest concern. It’s true that income inequality can be partly addressed by progressive taxation, though I’d much prefer to see it addressed at the source since a healthy economy is one in which everyone benefits, not one in which a small plutocracy hoards the wealth and then doles it out to the working class if and when it can be persuaded to do so. More important is the fact that we liberals shouldn’t view the relationship between businesses and individuals as solely economic transactions. There are core questions here of human dignity and basic fairness that exist quite aside from money…

Even on the left, I feel like we’ve allowed ourselves to buy far too heavily into the homo economicus model of human interaction. But if I can be allowed to put on my old school lefty hat for a moment, that model just doesn’t work when the power relations are too far out of whack. And to a large extent, businesses simply have the whip hand on too many things today.

A society (not to mention a political party which has usually stood up for working people) that allows corporations to treat human beings as mere economic resources, to be used as needed and then discarded, and endorses the libertarian bullshit notion that everything will sort itself out, given enough time and competitive pressures, is not one that I want to be part of.

This entry was posted in Eat the Rich, Invisible Hand-Job, It's the Stupid Economy, You Assholes. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to In an ideal world, the Invisible Hand would give each of us a happy ending

  1. StringonaStick says:

    Michael Lind has an interesting essay at today, arguing that the non-rich of the US are no longer needed by the rich, as opposed to in the past when their fortunes came from their workers/manufacturing facilities in the US. The working class is quite simply, obsolete, and Fordism is dead. Henry Ford may have been an unrepentant anti-semite and Hitler’s buddy, but he did recognize that if he paid his workers well enough that they could afford to buy the cars they were making, then he’d sell more cars.

    Our current ruling class could hardly care less about the social contract inherent in a functioning democracy; I guess that is why they see no reason to pay taxes for it and are doing their best to eliminate Social Security and Medicare. Hell, even the idea of a functioning democracy is of no use to them unless it can be turned to their ends. They are doing a remarkably good job of it too, and libertarianism is the philosophy they are using to accomplish this end.

  2. Sharon Brown says:

    I may be mistaken but I seem to recall Bill Clinton saying that if NAFTA went through the possibility existed for unions to become global in scope thus “raising all boats” so to speak. I seem to remember him looking strained & even sad when he said this (probably selective). Instead of course we are becoming a third-world state.Which may have been the intention all along.

    • Clinton was too concerned with his “Third Way” bullshit to really know what the fuck he had wrought. He helped Republicans with their goal of pretty much ending welfare, and the protections against bankers becoming banksters thanks to Glass-Steagal were stripped away under his watch.

      Someday, there will be an actual liberal (in the modern sense of the word) in the White House, and perhaps then we can really find out if that kind of ideology will work in this country. Until then, we’ll have to settle for the mushy centrists that currently dominate the Democratic Party, and try to keep pushing the Overton Window ever so slightly to the left.

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