Why the Claims Neoliberals Make About Markets Are Wrong

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By Ed Walker of Emptywheel.net. You can follow him at Twitter at @MasaccioEW, and here’s his author page at Firedoglake.

It is a truth universally acknowledged by all good citizens that markets are the only way to organize a society. The implication is that the role of government is to support and protect the operations of markets, and little else. I’ve been looking at this in a series of posts. It turns out that the claims about markets reach back to neoclassical analysis by William Stanley Jevons, and mirrored by other neoclassical writers. In his book The Theory of Political Economy, available online here, Jevons claims to prove that markets maximize utility for all participants. Economists generally, and especially neoliberal economists, take that proof at face value and have exalted it into a principle for the organization of society. The proof doesn’t stand up to close examination.

Jevons restricts his efforts to what we would identify as a perfectly competitive market. He defines utility using the definition of Jeremy Bentham:

”By utility is meant that property in any object, whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, or happiness (all this, in the present case, comes to the same thing), or (what comes again to the same thing) to prevent the happening of mischief, pain, evil, or unhappiness to the party whose interest is considered.”

This perfectly expresses the meaning of the word in Economics, provided that the will or inclination of the person immediately concerned is taken as the sole criterion, for the time, of what is or is not useful. III. 2,3, my emphasis.

He uses these definitions to prove that in a perfect market with no constraints people will trade in commodities until any further trades would reduce their personal total utility. That is the nature of the proof for the superiority of markets.

Now whatever the case may have been in the second half of the 19th Century when Jevons wrote, it’s ludicrous to suggest that all markets are competitive. It’s doubtful that many markets for specific goods and services would meet Jevons’ definition.

I examine the definition of utility in this post, following Philip Mirowski. It turns out that the math produces nonsense results. This is known to economists, but ignored. Samuelson and Nordhaus in their basic economics textbook, Economics (2005 ed.) just tell their readers that utility is a “scientific construct”, not something subject to measurement or observation. They don’t seem to see the oddity of using a term in general use for a completely different purpose. They seem equally indifferent to the oddity of the basic assumption that each of us would know what would improve our total utility if we had an infinitesimal increase of money. Despite the best efforts of decades of economists, the proof for the theory of the superiority of markets hasn’t been improved.

Jevons thought that the only valid proofs were mathematical, but there are other ways to derive correct answers. For example, there is little math in Keynes’ General Theory, and it has held up quite well, better than the infallibility of markets. Perhaps there is something behind Jevons’ argument that would support his claim that markets are superior to other ways of allocating resources.

In this post I look at several definitions of markets. The thing that leaps out is that they are all based on point transactions: each takes place at a specific time and place, and has nothing in common with the next transaction at the same place, or at some other place or at some other instant. If two people are buying something at the same time in different places, there is no connection. The information in any specific transaction only involves the parties to the transaction. Their motives, the benefits they seek, and the satisfactions or lack of satisfactions, are known only to them. Nothing about the last transaction tells anyone or anything about the future.

And Jevons doesn’t claim anything to the contrary. Here’s how he describes his result:

But so far as is consistent with the inequality of wealth in every community, all commodities are distributed by exchange so as to produce the maximum of benefit. Every person whose wish for a certain thing exceeds his wish for other things, acquires what he wants provided he can make a sufficient sacrifice in other respects. IV.98

Jevons concludes that markets facilitate the distribution of commodities (which he defines to include services) from moment to moment. He makes no claims about the future. And he specifically acknowledges that the answers he gets from his markets will give benefit the richest most, and the poorer you are, the worse your outcome. In Jevons’ conception, money rules, and the rich get what they want. None of the other definitions offers any stronger argument.

The proponents of market theory tell us that out of this disconnected series of point transactions, we get the perfect allocation of resources for any situation. Problems with air pollution? Drought? Peak oil? Health care? Answer: Markets.

How is that supposed to happen? Even for Jevons markets are the wrong answer. He would agree that the rich get clean air, water, oil and health care, and the rest of us don’t.

For those looking for some other way to organize societies than markets, here are some thoughts.

1. We already have a method for organizing ourselves other than the market. It’s called government. The original idea was that the majority of voters would run government, but the “marketplace of ideas” has been overwhelmed by huge piles of money devoted to obfuscation and lies and clutter that makes it impossible to think rationally, and power is controlled by the people we want government to control. But when it comes to planning for a future, government is the only way non-rich people can play a part in deciding whether or how to prevent the disasters staring us in the face.

2. The point is not the economy as some sort of fixed thing. The point is what we want the economy to do. One thing we don’t want it to do is to concentrate wealth in the hands of the rich. But, as David Harvey points out in his book A brief History of Neoliberalism:

Redistributive effects and increasing social inequality have in fact been such a persistent feature of neoliberalization as to be regarded as structural to the whole project. Gérard Duménil and Dominique Lévy, after careful reconstruction of the data, have concluded that neoliberalization was from the very beginning a project to achieve the restoration of class power. (Chapter 1)

What I think we want is a fair shot at a decent life, whatever that means for each of us. That isn’t going to happen in a neoliberal society.

3. One place to look is the way we measure the fairness of the economy. The Benthamite idea of utility adopted by Jevons and generally by neoliberals says that one person’s utility is as good as any other person’s. So, if the Forbes 400 gets an increase in utility of 1000 units, that’s just the same as the increase 1000 units of utility spread across the bottom 10% of income and wealth. But it obviously isn’t. We could use some different measure than utility or economic efficiency. John Rawls, anyone?

4. This post is part of a series here and at Emptywheel examining neoliberalism. The neoliberal project has two prongs. One is aggressive foreign policy in which the interests of the rich are put ahead of the interests of average citizens. Thus we get the Trans Pacific Partnership, NAFTA, and a general policy of meddling in the affairs of other countries. The second is an economic project. It is designed to support the accumulation of capital in the hands of the few, and to facilitate their use of their wealth in the political arena. Both prongs are supported by an intrusive spying apparatus and an aggressive policing function.

For those interested in a detailed discussion of the economic issues, here’s a link to my author page at Emptywheel, where you can find detailed arguments, charts, graphs and even a bit of hostility. For those interested in the other prong of the neoliberal state, and particularly the enforcement functions, just check in at Emptywheel.net.

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  1. James Levy

    Currently at least two theses hold wide credibility in my little universe of military history. I won’t drag you all down with the particulars, but I’ve noticed that if you make a bold enough claim, then convince an big-time academic publisher to run with it, then publish articles all over the place expounding your claim, and get enough gigs writing book reviews so you can trash any challenge to your claim, your claim will start to be taken as gospel outside the small group of specialists who know you’re selling a pig in a poke. My take-away 14 years after getting my Ph.D. in early middle age is that there is some kind of Gresham’s Law for ideas. Ironically, Jefferson’s notion of “marketplace of ideas” doesn’t apply to the ideology of the market. Bad ideas, like bad people, often thrive. Many of us were taught that this was not the case–good triumphs over evil, virtue is its own reward, and the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice. The older I get, the more I doubt these things, the less evidence I see for them, and the less self-correction I see in scholarship. No amount of “proof” is going to displace Jevons et al. They will thrive so long as the people who benefit from their ideas hold sway.

  2. Carla

    “But when it comes to planning for a future, government is the only way non-rich people can play a part in deciding whether or how to prevent the disasters staring us in the face.”

    True. However, this also requires that We the People are able to see and assess our government as it really is, for until we dispense with the illusion that the institutional structures for which we “vote” are actually running the show, we have no hope of dealing with reality at all.

    In his short book, “National Security and Double Government,” Michael Glennon pulls back the veil on that reality. There must be a reason that the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, MSNBC, and the whole glittering MSM seem to have so far completely ignored this work, written by a Tufts University professor of international law with deep experience in foreign policy and published in October 2014. Could it be because the book is so important?


    1. diptherio

      …government is the only way non-rich people can play a part in deciding whether or how to prevent the disasters staring us in the face.

      Actually, that’s not true at all. Government is one way that non-rich people can try to be historical actors, rather than just mere by-standers, but it is far from the only (or most effective) way of accomplishing this. Specifically, I would point to cooperation (you knew I was going there, admit it). Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s book Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice goes into detail about the myriad ways in which those who have been shut-out from governments and fleeced by markets have worked together to address the disasters staring them in the face…successfully.

      Just sayin’…

      1. Ulysses

        I agree very much with your central point that ccoperative self-help can be an extremely effective method for marginalized people to better their circumstances. Yet we shouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking that we can simply ignore the very real power of the transnational kleptocrats.

        The kleptocrats wish to preserve the illusion of an open and free society. Therefore they will quite happily tolerate losing a certain, small amount of “market share” to worker-owned cooperatives, collective farms, etc. They will in fact try to co-opt these movements, and skim something off the top of them, all the while admiring their own cleverness at extracting wealth from the “socially responsible” investing classes.

        Make no mistake, as soon as TPTB sense these movements pose a significant threat to their revenue streams they will not stop short of violence to protect their rents. Right now, for example, only some people in Colorado, and a few smaller localities, are prevented by law from collecting rainwater in the U.S.. You can be sure that if big multinational corporations began to perceive a real threat to their bottom line, through this practice, it would be quickly outlawed, or regulated to enrich only those with deep pockets– all over the U.S..

        We need to have at least enough influence over government to ensure that it leaves us alone if we choose to operate “outside the markets.”

        1. diptherio

          Make no mistake, as soon as TPTB sense these movements pose a significant threat to their revenue streams they will not stop short of violence to protect their rents

          Historically, that has been the case. See the book above.

        2. hunkerdown

          Make no mistake, as soon as TPTB sense these movements pose a significant threat to their revenue streams they will not stop short of violence to protect their rents.

          Well, naturally. And that’s why they’re at the top — because all good citizens refuse to consider it a prime tenet of a successful social order that the proper steady state of elites is pants-wetting catatonia in the fetal position, and anything else WILL ALWAYS lead to trouble.

      2. the Heretic

        I would argue that cooperation is the whole basis of society along with trustworthiness, respect and compromise. The role of government is to facilitate and cultivate these values on the national scale. I would further posit that government that does this, regardless of wether it is either democratic, communist, will be beneficial to their nation; any government that ignores those values, will be malign for the nation.

        1. diptherio

          Capitalism’s dirty secret is that it is entirely dependent on cooperation. Employees cooperating with employers, borrowers cooperating with lenders, multi-national ag corporations cooperating with each other to manipulate commodity prices, etc. Competition is the exception, not the rule, even in this, the supposedly most competitive of societies.

          1. Rosario

            Very true. Reminds me of David Graeber’s concept baseline communism (really Kropotkin stated the concept in Mutual Aid). Cooperation is absolutely necessary for our survival as a species, no matter the philosophical model. Biologically we could take this notion of baseline communism to the foundation of biological life, cells cooperating as a unit were far more successful at obtaining nutrients and guaranteeing their defense against other species. Today, water buffalo maintain group cohesion to ensure the survival of the highest number of animals when faced with predator attack. For the predators, often lionesses or hyenas, they hunt in packs to ensure a higher chance of success. The Capitalist fair competition myth is perpetuated to justify and reinforce inequitable social relations. In reality, Capitalist’s work together, like the lionesses hunting the water buffalo, to ensure higher levels of capital accumulation.

          2. hunkerdown

            Competition with one party can constitute cooperation with another. Competing with other workers constitutes cooperation with capital in driving wages down — hence, trade unionism. Competing with other securities traders constitutes cooperation with capital in ensuring money doesn’t reach the real economy. Competing with other bar patrons for attention constitutes cooperation with reality show producers. Competing with Black men constitutes cooperation with the institution of vested authority, and with the bourgeoisie whose entire value to society is predicated on reproducing that conceit. Competing with other footballers in an exhibition game constitutes cooperation with the arrogant, entitled, martial spirit of Western culture.

            And so on. Point being, you’re absolutely right that cooperation is the basis of society, but competition is nothing more than the reproduction of inequality.

        2. Carla

          I do not disagree about the importance of cooperation, and at the same time, it in no way obviates our need to know who is actually determining government policy and why, for example, there was virtually no change in foreign policy from the administration of G.W. Bush to that of Barack Obama.

          In “National Security and Double Government” Michael J. Glennon explains the reasons.

  3. Patricia Marino

    Great post — the part about Jevons is interesting, and especially I agree we need to talk about alternatives to utilitarian reasoning much more. As you say, concepts like “utility” (and “efficiency”) are treated as formal constructs during the reasoning process, and then treated as meaningful when it comes time to make policy, which is intellectually a scam.

    I might make a small remark on behalf of Bentham and the ethical utilitarians. While it’s true that their views don’t distinguish between one person’s gain in utility and another’s and treat each as equally good, ethical utilitarian views (such as that of contemporary philosopher Peter Singer) have some egalitarian consequences. Since they generally have a pretty rich understanding of “utility,” they can infer that money and goods gained by the worse off will increase their utility more than money and goods gained by the well-off will increase theirs. It thus becomes a moral imperative for the well-off to give away what they have.

    Anyone interested in a great explication of the tortured history of concepts like “utility” and how those concepts were ultimately defined to serve certain ends should check out Joan Robinson’s outstanding 1962 book Economic Philosophy (free download: https://archive.org/details/EconomicPhilosophy)

    1. Ed Walker Post author

      I can imagine a better way of thinking about utility as a possible way forward. I think that we would be better off trying to understand things from a completely different point of view, because the current usage is tainted, and the words are easily manipulated.

      I suggested Rawls because his ideas are about the same level of abstraction as Bentham, but seem grounded in a fair way, a way more to my liking. It’s a long way from stating Rawls’ principles (for those not familiar with these ideas, see the see the link in paragraph 3 at the end of the post) to implementing them. I’ve been reading some papers on this issue, looking for some movement towards implementing his ideas, as well as others, but haven’t found anything really useful. Suggestions would be welcome.

      In the end, though, the issues are about power and perception. Think about the gathering of vultures around California’s water, described by Gaius Publius here: http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2015/04/how-growers-are-gaming-california.html

      The ground is prepared for the privatizers by the constant yammering about the perfections of markets. It’s late in the day, but we can’t fight on market grounds. We won’t be helped by trying to reclaim words like utility. We need a robust helping of democracy to stand a chance against the billionaires and wolves of Wall Street.

  4. fresno dan

    “Every person whose wish for a certain thing exceeds his wish for other things, acquires what he wants provided he can make a sufficient sacrifice in other respects. IV.98”

    Years ago, in a conversation is a bar with an accounting friend, he pointed out that a bank robber is the ultimate capitalist. (high risk for high return)
    Today, bankers are the ultimate socialists….(government protecting individuals from the vagaries of the market)

  5. craazyman

    what if one person is on another planet and they get 100 trillion utils from blowing up the earth? That could be infinity on each side of the equation.

    I mean Really Now.

    what all you Filosofizing fukkers don’t get is the Hegelian dialectical infrastructure of neoliberalism and therefore you miss the whole thing like a bad baseball swing at the plate. Whiffff. You have to start with the tyrannic Shaman and the Priest King and the Emporer and the King and Queen and then the Gulag. Each time you have the collective embodied in one metaphor. Then you realize the collective is a summation not a distillation. You realize the distillation is only a metaphor for the summation, not the other way around. Hegelian flip #1. Then you realize the summation is a summation of energies that sum to the collective. Then you realize each energy has its own intrinsic right to exist. Then you call that energy by another metaphor. You call it money. Then you idealize money, and then you idolize money and then you put money in the role of the Shaman and Priest King and Queen and Gulag. That’s Hegelian Flip #2. Do you see a pattern here? Or a pendulum. This is what Camus wrote about in “The Rebel”, it was a search of some measure of absolute that constrained the flipping and put things back in the center. I mean really. All you filosofers should educate yourselves. Then start typing and you might make sense. That’s another Hegelian flip. Flip it fukkkkers. It’s no. 3

  6. chuck roast

    During my anti-diluvian student days I recall that olde Stanley opined that market fluctuations may have been caused by planetary movements. Marshall aside, one of the first instances of a “political” economist waxing scientific.
    Now, unfortunately, we are entirely plagued by both ‘fresh water’ and ‘salt water’ scientists.
    Over 100 years of economic history revealing the structure of scientific devolution.

  7. cassiodorus

    “. Despite the best efforts of decades of economists, the proof for the theory of the superiority of markets hasn’t been improved. ”

    What are these efforts? An effort to improve the proof of the superiority of markets would have to engage contrary opinion. This is to say that, in order to improve a proof, one has to investigate, question, and argue against the most effective counter-arguments to one’s proof. Is anyone doing this in economics? The main counter-argument to the central economic dogma of the marginalists is that solidaristic social organization operating through sharing is better than class-based warfare operating through the propaganda notion that we are all “sovereign individuals” possessing “property” and “money.” But as far as I know economists are uninterested in that counter-argument because they accept the propaganda notion mentioned above as axiomatic, which is to say that it forms their analytic foundation and is thus not available for questioning.

    1. craazyboy

      Until you silly humans finally get it thru your thick boney skulls that a bunch of HFT computers transacting in used stock certificates billions of times a day is a superior market, then you are all hopeless meatheads and will never understand.

  8. susan the other

    There is an advocate for no markets. Peter Joseph (or is it Joseph Peters?) He makes the case that socialism, fascism, capitalism and even communism all practice their particular sociology through market economies. And they all screw up. He doesn’t offer an alternative (that I have found so far). He just makes the blanket statement that market economies are killing everything and can’t control themselves, etc. I think he is correct. The main reason we even talk about this stuff is because there are several billion too many of us – even population growth is a market. I can’t imagine not having market economies. How do we exchange the goods we need except by buying and selling?

  9. FluffytheObeseCat

    There is actually some good thinking in this post, and the comments, but it’s all buried under turgid, pseudo-intellectual BS jargon. Is this how people really discuss economics and political economy in the academic/think tank world today? If so, we’re in some trouble.

    I’m in the weird position of finding crazzyman’s tarot card analogies better than everything else written here today.

    1. Ed Walker Post author

      Actually, I’m no academic, and certainly no think tanker. I’m just engaging these texts as given, on the ground that they form the theoretical foundation for neoliberalism. Let me explain it this way: if you want to destroy your enemy, cut the ground out from under his feet and fill in the hole with molten lead.

      1. Ben Johannson

        The best way to fight the elite is to use their own thinking against them. So we study the work of economists and logically deconstruct the foundations of their work. Makes them angry as hell.

  10. jonf

    I doubt there ever was a really competitive market. One way or another they all tend to devolve into something less than that – into some form of monopoly. Some may be more competitive than others. So paying a whole lot of attention to what some neoclassical economist posited is no help. We don’t need a straw man to deal with this sort of nonsense.

    And I wonder what is gained by arguing for a market that does not allocate resources. Spend your money and resources will be used up – i.e. allocated. The wealthy neoliberals want us to spend money on their products and they don’t want government interference. There is nothing magical about their products. They are simply the ones they make money on and can deliver. Sometimes that is a good thing, like cars and smart phones. You can call that utility or necessity or whatever you like, but spend the money. I would want the same thing in their shoes. And I would try to be sure my customer was pleased. Turns out though, as we know from Keynes and others, that government can impact our economy just as well. . And even bail out the wealthy banks when need be or solve a depression/recession.

    So the question is how do we effect change or direct resources to the things we want, like education and health care, reduction in poverty and environmental controls. Government can do that. But first you have to get like minded people elected. And even in the absence of Citizens United that is a messy business.

  11. kevinearick

    The critters can only measure what they see, which is public, private and non-profit corporations, feudalism, which is a filter 5000 years in construction, shrinking due to globalization demographics. They can’t swap stupid to keep the system going. At the same time, they are becoming ever more efficient by replacing people with machines, do tomorrow what they did yesterday, faster, which is what the market is measuring. When it’s all going to blow up is anyone’s guess. How you recycle depends upon your perspective, spacetime consideration. I’ll get in as much as I can as long as I can.

    1. kevinearick

      Having children is an act of faith, a function of experience, which you cannot measure accurately in advance, wherein the empire is going to increase the slope against labor to feed the downward slope for the herd. I had no idea that the city of Encinitas was going to dispatch all of its first responders to my house when the Assembly of God orchestrated my divorce, as an example to others similarly situated, but I suspected, as I suspected that the Port of San Diego would then fire me despite alleged property rights to employment. I was quite surprised that CSS was stupid enough to destroy my credit in advance with false reports of delinquency, and then leave its action in the public record. Net, the City of Encinitas is now a cesspool, as is all of San Diego, set to consume its own sewage, on scale. I wouldn’t want to be cleaning those filters.

  12. Jim

    Ed Walker writes “power is controlled by the people we want government to control.”

    In my opinion this statement gets to the foundation of why the “left” in the U.S, finds itself in a position of paralysis and increasing weakness.

    Power in the United States is not simply controlled by Big Capital–in all of its current manifestations.

    There is also another entity that has historically evolved and it is called Big State which jointly shares in the administration of power in the US.

    Both Big State and Big Capital run our system and both Big Capital and Big State run the Republican and Democratic parties.

    To begin to develop leverage against this monolith the Left must become capable of developing a theory of how the modern State ought to operate–once it understands how the modern State does, in fact presently operate–in the closest cooperation possible with Big Capital.

    To think that we can create a political movement in the US that does not offer a concrete vision of a new way of how to use power(ie. how to run the State) is simply being naive.

    The US is not France and the refusal by most of what is considered the Left in the U.S. to take a more critical look at how Big State presently functions is an ongoing catastrophe..


  13. keynesian

    Free Market Fundamentalist and Libertarians are radical supporters of Lassie faire capitalism that is there should be no government interference in the operations of the marketplace. They argue the market is the sum total of the countless rational individual participants’ voluntary choices of buying and selling freely seeking the best bargain for themselves. Consequently, they argue the market is also free, and efficiently reflects the rational choices of the participants’ self-interests that on the macro scale benefit society as a whole.

    Unfortunately, this argument about free self-regulating markets commits the logical Fallacy of Composition. You cannot infer something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole: “If someone stands up out of his seat at a baseball game, he can see better. Therefore, if everyone stands up they can all see better.” The Fallacy of Composition is essentially fallaciously reasoning that claim attributes of the parts of the whole are also attributes of the whole itself. The fallacy can have various forms such as “the machine is made of many light weight parts; therefore, the machine as a whole is light weight.” Or one might say, “The lead actor in the play was excellent so the play as a whole was excellent.” Another example the composition fallacy is, “Each aircraft in the squadron is ready for combat; therefore, the whole squadron is ready for battle.”

    In each case the fallacy confuses the “distributive” and “collective” use of a general predicate term. One can say that college students are only allowed to vote once in a general election; however, it is also true that college students cast millions of votes in a general election. Of course in the first proposition the predicate term “vote” is used distributively, but in the second proposition the term is used collectively. There is a difference between a collection of elements, and a whole constructed out of those elements. A pile of bricks is not a house. Likewise, a collection of individual buyers and sellers making directed voluntary choices do not make a market possessing those same attributes.

    Market fundamentalism also commits the Pathetic Fallacy by attributing the human attributes of volition, and rationality to inanimate markets.

  14. Scott C. Dunn

    The takeaway I get from the this post is that neoliberals are doing a lot of work based on the assumption that markets are rational about allocation of resources. One look at the housing bubble collapse, the credit default swap market collapse that followed the former and we can see that even in a lightly regulated market, the market is not rational.

    An example closer to home is the checkout stand at the market. Huge Snickers bars, tabloid papers and magazines and energy drinks? Seriously? Is it rational to make an impulse buy of any of those products before “checking out”?

    I think that the assumption of rationality of the markets needs examination. If there is no transparency, then there can be no assumption of rationality.

  15. ewmayer

    Re. the reader-comments subtheme of cooperation as an alternative to government-guided markets, I would query “what is the original purpose of ‘government of the people’ other than to serve for ‘cooperation at large scale’?”

    1. Calgacus

      @ewmayer: Right. The main economic function of the government, through spending and taxation, government-guided markets (there is no other kind) – is managing large-scale cooperation, division of labor. Which is why having any unemployment at all is insane. Preventing people from working and consuming when they want is a deranged infringement of their freedom. Forced idleness does not benefit either individuals or society as a whole under any speakable measure. The PTB, the herrenvolk-in-their-own-minds “manage” the economy by sabotaging it, by making themselves only relatively richer, but firmly in control of their victims = the 99+% who they impoverish in varying degrees. Making themselves the capricious masters of who will work or not is their primary tool.

      Sure, worker cooperatives are great. But almost all of those who praise them miss the biggest and most important workers cooperative of all in front of their noses – the nation, and do not see how spending the national currency is the tool used by the more equal animals to capriciously decide who gets fat, and who gets sent to the knackers.

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