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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Monday, August 04, 2008

Dean Baker Live, in the Chatroom this Wednesday, at Art of the Possible

I have the honor of hosting this week's chat at Art of the Possible. The guest is economist Dean Baker, author of The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Get Rich and Stay Richer, and owner of Beat the Press blog. The chat will run from 7-8 PM, EST (6-7 PM Central). You can register now, and show up for the chat Wednesday, at this link.

To give you some idea of where this guy's coming from, and what a scoop it is to get him as a guest, here's an excerpt from the introduction to his book:

Political debates in the United States are routinely framed as a battle between conservatives who favor market outcomes, whatever they may be, against liberals who prefer government intervention to ensure that families have decent standards-of-living. This description of the two poles is inaccurate….

It is not surprising that conservatives would fashion their agenda in a way that makes it more palatable to the bulk of the population, most of whom are not wealthy and therefore do not benefit from policies that distribute income upward. However, it is surprising that so many liberals and progressives, who oppose conservative policies, eagerly accept the conservatives’ framing of the national debate over economic and social policy. This is comparable to playing a football game where one side gets to determine the defense that the other side will play. This would be a huge advantage in a football game, and it is a huge advantage in politics. As long as liberals allow conservatives to write the script from which liberals argue, they will be at a major disadvantage in policy debates and politics.

The conservative framing of issues is so deeply embedded that it has been widely accepted by ostensibly neutral actors, such as policy professionals or the news media that report on national politics. For example, news reports routinely refer to bilateral trade agreements, such as NAFTA or CAFTA, as “free trade” agreements. This is in spite of the fact that one of the main purposes of these agreements is to increase patent protection in developing countries, effectively increasing the length and force of government-imposed monopolies. Whether or not increasing patent protection is desirable policy, it clearly is not “free trade.”

It is clever policy for proponents of these agreements to label them as “free trade” agreements…, but that is not an excuse for neutral commentators to accept this definition….

Unfortunately, the state of the current debate on economic policy is even worse from the standpoint of progressives. Not only have the conservatives been successful in getting the media and the experts to accept their framing and language, they have been largely successful in getting their liberal opponents to accept this framing and language, as well. In the case of trade policy, opponents of NAFTA-type trade deals usually have to explain how they would ordinarily support “free trade,” but not this particular deal. Virtually no one in the public debate stands up and says that these trade deals have nothing to do with free trade….


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tropic Thunder is stirring up controvery about the disabled getting insulted free-form.

Let's see if Lew Rockwell steps up to the plate as a lefty.

August 11, 2008 5:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great writing on/via disability issues.


and more if you follow...

August 11, 2008 6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wait till the Assclowns organize....


August 11, 2008 7:53 AM  
Blogger Perplexed said...

I recommend this as a must read!


August 12, 2008 6:59 AM  

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