Tuesday, October 09, 2012

I'll Keep My Two Cents


Thomas L. Knapp, Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org). posts in The Deming Headlight on “Romney’s ‘Free Economy” HERE 
Two Cents”
“Not to be facile: There's more regulation in a free economy than Adam Smith's beautiful and useful "Invisible Hand" metaphor might indicate as a superficial assessment. But regulation in a free economy is continuously emergent and multi-variably contingent, shaped by a distributed and networked aggregate of voluntary interactions, not by political edict. It's a beautiful thing (see Kevin Carson's The Desktop Regulatory State for more information on it). Non-government regulation produces a continuously improving quality of life for market actors.
Political government and its regulatory schemes don't just impede that process, they seek to freeze it in place, in favor of whichever market actors happen to be on top at the moment (or, as in the case of the "too big too fail" banks, find themselves hanging from a cliff and reaching up for a hand from their politically connected friends).
Hence Romney's obvious horror at the notion of "people opening up banks ... in their garage and making loans." He's not interested in a "free economy." He's interested in proving himself a worthy servant of the existing un-free economy's current masters.
Comment
Whatever Knapp’s piece is about I find the remark that “Adam Smith's beautiful and useful ‘Invisible Hand’ metaphor might indicate” something superficial as strange, if not daft.  Metaphors have an ‘object’ – what is the object of in this case?
It can’t be regulations, as they have no connection to Adam Smith’s “beautiful and useful ‘Invisible Hand’ metaphor”. 
How does “an invisible hand” describe regulations in a “striking and more interesting manner”?  In the two cases of Smith’s use of the “beautiful and useful invisible hand metaphor", their objects were, respectively, the absolute imperative leading “proud and unfeeling landlords” to provide food from his crops to those who laboured on his land (Moral Sentiments) and the insecurity felt by some merchants to sending their capital out of their sight abroad, leading them to prefer to invest in the “domestic industry” instead (Wealth Of Nations).  The metaphor was about what cannot be seen in the minds and emotions of those affected who, in consequence, act in a certain manner. 
But in the case of visible regulations, how does the metaphor of an “invisible hand” serve to “describe in a striking and more interesting manner” (Smith, “Lectures in Rhetoric and Belles Lettres” (1763) the consequential actions of those affected by the visible regulations?  Nobody is led to act by non-existing invisible regulations!  If the regulations exist they are always visible.
Clearly, Smith’s use of the invisible hand metaphor does not apply, and neither does it exist when used in this case by Thomas L. Knapp.  I think I’ll keep my “two cents”.
NB: I have no interest in what any candidate in any election in any foreign country is interested in proving.

2 Comments:

Blogger KN@PPSTER said...

Well, if the author is not clear, then it's the author's fault. And I'm the author. So, sorry my point wasn't obvious to you.

Best regards,
Tom Knapp

8:04 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Tom
Sorry. I did not follow your meaning.
No big deal. I was also careful not to breach my self-denying stance of avoiding direct comments on the politics of countries in which I do not vote.
For some reason beyond me I cannot edit the post on my I-pad. I shall try later on my PC.
Gavin

12:32 pm  

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