Monday, September 22, 2008

The Invisible Hand

Again, I am ragging on how the free-market fundamentalists enshrine the writings of Adam Smith without really having read the original work. In a real sense, Smith's work and the New Testament Have a great deal in common. Both are widely quoted, they are invoked as rationale for bad behavior, and they are usually badly misunderstood.

Consider the concept of the Invisible Hand. In current market orthodoxy, this is seen as kind of like the hand of God. It is the idea that the market makes everything right in the end and will lead us to a nirvana where all the chillun's got shoes. When I read the original, I got the distinct impression that Smith was talking about the Law of Unintended Consequences. That if you jacked around with the market, you would probably not get the results you were aiming at.

Now, all of the free market fundies have been squealing like stuck pigs about what has been happening in the markets. But the truth of the matter is, we are in a pickle because the markets haven't been anything but rigged for going on forty years now.

The FM fundies are mostly bitching because things are changing. We are substituting the market being messed with by government instead the group of Wall Street Weinies who have been hosing us since Ronnie Reagan set up the temple.

But from the view down here, it doesn't look as there is much difference. We po' folk are gonna get screwed, all that is being discussed is who gets to go first. But the folks who are standing in line to loot our pockets are probably not going to have things work out the way they have it planned. The invisible hand will insure that their best laid plans will gang aft agley.

To a Mouse

By Robert Burns

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave 'S a sma' request:
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' wast,
An' weary Winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald.
To thole the Winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!


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