Monday, January 25, 2016

Low Oil Volatility

I spend quite a bit of time reading the capitalist press such as the Economist and the Wall Street Journal and what is fascinating is the way the ideological can be given a little lipstick and called rationality. Currently we see crazed market swings (though trending downwards)with empirical contingencies such as slowing global growth, an oil glut and power plays by Saudi Arabia. A whole generation of pundits trained in neoclassical economics has built an industry around "man splaining" these intricate mechanisms to the average rube, disguising the fact that what they do is part of a broad political project of transferring power. They are assisted in this project by a movement within academia, especially those teaching economics. Students go in thinking they are receiving some pure form of objective knowledge, because they have been conditioned towards this naive belief. But as Finlyson, Lyson, Pleasant et.alli(2005) explain quite clearly: "[C]ontrary to claims of value neutrality, neoclassical economics functions as a master social narrative, or a technology of power, that concentrates power by transferring socioeconomic decision making from multiple sites to the centralized nodes of global economic and political institutions. This transfer occurs through the domination of the discursive space. The ‘invisible hand’ is power" It is this sense that the Tea Party and the Libertarians and the "true conservatives" join forces with liberals as astro-turf place-holders for Capital, whether old money or new, mega-corporate or "mainstreet" small business. The ideology and the power is what unites them and to have an army of blue collar knuckleheads and Iowa farmer Evangelicals and latte loving techno-geeks do the grunt work for them is simply glaze on their creme brulee.

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