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Mon Jul 2, 2018, 01:59 AM

Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent's Stealth Takeover of America...

By Lynn Parramore
May 30, 2018 | History of Economic Thought | Institutions, Policy & Politics

Ask people to name the key minds that have shaped America’s burst of radical right-wing attacks on working conditions, consumer rights and public services, and they will typically mention figures like free market-champion Milton Friedman, libertarian guru Ayn Rand, and laissez-faire economists Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises.

James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many economics students have little understanding of his work.

The reason? Duke historian Nancy MacLean contends that his philosophy is so stark that even young libertarian acolytes are only introduced to it after they have accepted the relatively sunny perspective of Ayn Rand. (Yes, you read that correctly). If Americans really knew what Buchanan thought and promoted, and how destructively his vision is manifesting under their noses, it would dawn on them how close the country is to a transformation most would not even want to imagine, much less accept.

That is a dangerous blind spot, MacLean argues in a meticulously researched book, Democracy in Chains, a finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction. While Americans grapple with Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency, we may be missing the key to changes that are taking place far beyond the level of mere politics. Once these changes are locked into place, there may be no going back.

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More:

https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/meet-the-economist-behind-the-one-percents-stealth-takeover-of-america

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Reply Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent's Stealth Takeover of America... (Original post)
mbusby Jul 2018 OP
BigmanPigman Jul 2018 #1
applegrove Jul 2018 #2
JohnnyRingo Jul 2018 #3
lamsmy Jul 2018 #4
AZ8theist Jul 2018 #5
appalachiablue Jul 2018 #6

Response to mbusby (Original post)

Mon Jul 2, 2018, 02:42 AM

1. Greed used to be considered a negative characteristic

when I was growing up. I grew up in a liberal household and city so maybe that is the reason I had such twisted values and morals compared to a conservative household and city.

"Buchanan’s view of human nature was distinctly dismal. Adam Smith saw human beings as self-interested and hungry for personal power and material comfort, but he also acknowledged social instincts like compassion and fairness. Buchanan, in contrast, insisted that people were primarily driven by venal self-interest. Crediting people with altruism or a desire to serve others was “romantic” fantasy: politicians and government workers were out for themselves, and so, for that matter, were teachers, doctors, and civil rights activists. They wanted to control others and wrest away their resources: “Each person seeks mastery over a world of slaves,” he wrote in his 1975 book, The Limits of Liberty."

He sounds like every RW conservative, especially the Kochs. Self interest at its worst.

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Response to mbusby (Original post)

Mon Jul 2, 2018, 02:52 AM

2. Aren't the right wing always complaining about the left's moral equivalency?

This guy believes in moral vacuacy of all people. I'm definitely going to get the book.

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Response to mbusby (Original post)

Mon Jul 2, 2018, 03:48 AM

3. K&R

Informative piece. Thanx for posting.

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Response to mbusby (Original post)

Mon Jul 2, 2018, 05:55 AM

4. Kochs vs Lincoln

Great post - thanks for the link.

Here's an argument to try with any Trumpers you know who still claim to have some hold on logic and reason.

The Kochs favorite economist Buchanan argued that US political power in the hands of the great unwashed masses would always result in an unfair curtailment of the rights and freedoms of individual wealthy property owners. If left unchecked, the Constitution as it stood would allow the (lazy, good-for-nothing) middle class and poor to redistribute the wealth of the (noble, worthy) wealthy. Therefore legislation had to be enacted to ensure this couldn't happen.

Sounds reasonable if you are very wealthy or have been fed a steady diet of mind-numbing Fox/Murdoch propaganda. But...

Who is everyone's favourite president? Except for some diehard Confederacy fans, the answer is usually Lincoln. Extending the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution to everyone living in the US is seen as a defining act of American history and heroism.

And yet in order to give freedom to the slaves, rights and actual property had to be taken away from the slaveowners. Taking away the slave labour that underpinned the entire economy of the South was ruinous to many plantation owners, but Lincoln knew that if their wealth depended on the subjugation of others, then that wealth was neither just nor legal under the Constitution.

This cornerstone event championed by Lincoln was in truth a massive redistribution of wealth from the wealthy to the poor. Lincoln argued that if a society valued freedom and opportunity for all, then sometimes the rights of the wealthy few have to be curtailed and some if their wealth redistributed.

Lincoln was a Socialist.

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Response to mbusby (Original post)

Mon Jul 2, 2018, 08:42 AM

5. Frightening...

I will buy this book.

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Response to mbusby (Original post)

Mon Jul 2, 2018, 12:44 PM

6. K &R

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