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In How Institutions Think Mary Douglass cited a cultural anthropologist to the effect that whenever the discourse with elites in any culture approached the most sacred subjects, which were often some of the most important for the maintenance of the social order, everyone became evasive and reluctant to speak clearly. So it is with us.

One of the most powerful protective spells at play in our culture is the cloak provided by the taboo surrounding anything that can be considered 'conspiracy theory'. One might think that all events in human history have been the result of single actors acting alone, as absurd as that might seem, given the ease with which the adverse label of 'conspiracy theory' diverts consideration away from the very possibility that, for instance, the rise to prominence and the long reign in prominence of what is, sadly, the present formulation of 'Mainstream Economics', aka neo-classical economics.

All who wish to be part of that 'mainstream' know, as if by instinct, to ignore anything that seriously challenges that system, prized as it is by those who hand out preferment and tenure. The evidence provided by Mason Gaffney in his monograph that this system was created and enshrined specifically to undermine the criticism of Henry George and his supporters at the behest of wealthy university benefactors whose interests would have been seriously damaged is studiously ignored. Henry George is systematically forgotten by academia, along with others who challenged what has become the Conventional Wisdom, such as Henry Wallace, so that few today have any idea of what they advocated or what might have been. The intellectual shuffle that has repeatedly occurred in economics, where strong versions of beloved theories are convincingly falsified, the field falls back on weak versions temporarily, and, after a suitable time and some non-refutation by some approved authority, moves back to the preferred version without ever dealing with the falsification, as described by Yanis Varoufakis in A Most Peculiar Failure, and on and on.

Hell! The taboo on 'conspiracy theory' explanations are tame stuff compared to the self censorship which most seem to so readily accept.    

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 10:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we ever have a return to sanity the post-70s period will be known as the Lost Century - that moment when collective intelligence was on the brink of creating something remarkable, but was stopped in its tracks by an organised capitalist counter-reformation.

Although ultimately the issue is the on-going war between those who simply want to do cool stuff and get along and the few deviants who want to have it all themselves and enjoy screwing over everyone else.

When the deviants are labelled honestly we might see some progress towards civilisation again.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 06:17:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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