Back From Full Employment To “Inclusive Growth”

Yves here. This post makes explicit how economists are trying to finesse the not-trivial problem that their tender economic ministrations have given short shrift to the need to produce enough adequately-paying jobs in an economic system that requires most people to sell their labor (or be a dependent of someone who does that reasonably well) as a condition for survival. As China’s autocrats know all too well, having citizens either enjoy a reasonable standard of living or believe that their hard work will result in improvement in their personal condition is necessary for the legitimacy and stability of a capitalist system.

One minor quibble: Sandwichman, perhaps assuming his readers know Kalecki well and opting for a bit of irony, understates the degree to which Kalecki’s 1943 essay, The Political Aspects of Full Employment, depicts the desire of businessmen to preserve their status and power advantage over working men as a fundamental obstacle to achieving full employment. Please read an excerpt from this seminal article here.

By Sandwichman. Originally published at Angry Bear

This is the third of three posts on full employment. The unifying thread is that “full employment” has always been a political and not an economic problem. The first two posts were The Electoral College, White Supremacy and Full Employment as “Reign of Terror” and Full Employment and the Myth of the General Strike.

Employing Sorel’s distinction between myth and utopia, full employment has always been a utopia. But it is a utopia long abandoned by economists, who have substituted the totem of economic growth for the utopia of full employment.

The term “full employment” did not appear in the speech given yesterday (December 5) by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England. Instead, he mentioned the term “inclusive growth” six times.

“The cry for more inclusive growth starts with a crisis of growth itself.”

What crisis? In his speech, Carney acknowledged a troublesome “disconnect between economists and workers.” Economists were not “sufficiently upfront about the distributional consequences of rapid changes in technology and globalisation. Amongst economists, a belief in free trade is totemic.” This may be so. But even more totemic among economists is their belief in GDP growth. Carney was not about to quarrel with that totem:

First, economists must clearly acknowledge the challenges we face, including the realities of uneven gains from trade and technology.

Second, we must grow our economy by rebalancing the mix of monetary policy, fiscal policy and structural reforms.

Third, we need to move towards more inclusive growth where everyone has a stake in globalisation.

What did Carney mean by “inclusive growth”? Not much:

For free trade to benefit all requires some redistribution. There are limits, of course, because of fiscal constraints at the macro level and the need to maintain incentives at the micro level. Fostering dependency on the state is no way to increase human agency, even though a safety net is needed to cushion shocks and smooth adjustment.

There are more reservations about redistribution in that paragraph than advocacy. And who says greater equity is necessarily redistribution? Wasn’t displacing workers for the sake of corporate profits already redistribution? But why worry about redistribution when “technology platforms such as taskrabbit, Alibaba, etsy, and Sama can help give smaller-scale producers and service providers a direct stake in global markets”? Not to mention the burgeoning opportunities to sell Chiclets to Uber drivers stuck in traffic jams! After all, “more inclusive growth requires frank talk about risks and concrete initiatives to help people adjust to new realities.”


“If only there was etsy, I could sell these apples globally!”

Here is some of what full employment meant in the era before inclusive growth: Stephen Leacock, The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice:

“Unemployment,” in the case of the willing and able becomes henceforth a social crime. Every democratic Government must henceforth take as the starting point of its industrial policy, that there shall be no such thing as able bodied men and women “out of work,” looking for occupation and unable to find it.

William Beveridge, Full Employment in a Free Society:

Full employment… means having always more vacant jobs than unemployed men, not slightly fewer jobs. It means that the jobs are at fair wages, of such a kind, and so located that the unemployed men can reasonably be expected to take them; it means by consequence, that the normal lag between losing one job and finding another will be very short.

John Maynard Keynes, “The Long Term Problem of Full Employment

As the third phase comes into sight; the problem stressed by Sir H. Henderson begins to be pressing. It becomes necessary to encourage wise consumption and discourage saving,-and to absorb some part of the unwanted surplus by increased leisure, more holidays (which are a wonderfully good way of getting rid of money) and shorter hours.

Stephen Leacock, The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice

The hours of labor are too long. The world has been caught in the wheels of its own machinery which will not stop. With each advance in invention and mechanical power it works harder still. New and feverish desires for luxuries replace each older want as satisfied. The nerves of our industrial civilization are worn thin with the rattle of its own machinery. The industrial world is restless, over-strained and quarrelsome. It seethes with furious discontent, and looks about it eagerly for a fight. It needs a rest. It should be sent, as nerve patients are, to the seaside or the quiet of the hills. Failing this, it should at least slacken the pace of its work and shorten its working day.

Not everyone supported full employment, as Michal Kalecki pointed out in “The Political Aspects of Full Employment“:

Among [the past opponents of full-employment policy] there were (and still are) prominent so-called ‘economic experts’ closely connected with banking and industry. This suggests that there is a political background in the opposition to the full employment doctrine, even though the arguments advanced are economic. That is not to say that people who advance them do not believe in their economics, poor though this is. But obstinate ignorance is usually a manifestation of underlying political motives.

Here is the view of an avowed opponent of full employment:

As a preface to the discussion of the Full Employment Act of 1945, which was conceived by the friends of the Russian system of government, it seems appropriate to examine here the present Soviet society which has come to be known as Stalinism. The Southern region is faced with a serious threat from this direction by sinister forces which unfortunately have the support of well-meaning people who for religious reason are interested in the welfare of the Negro. — Charles Wallace Collins, Whither Solid South

How did we get from more job vacancies than there are unemployed, at fair wages, to “frank talk” about high-tech platforms for 21st century costermongering? The first step, according to Roy Harrod, was “to extend Keynes’s analysis into the long run by considering under what conditions a growing economy could realize full-capacity utilization and full employment.” This was necessary, Harrod, claimed, because Keynes “hadn’t got round to it.”

On the contrary, Keynes had indeed gotten around to it in a 1943 memorandum on “The Long-Term Problem of Full Employment” in which he reiterated, in a more programmatic form, notions he had earlier expressed in his 1930 address, “Economic Possibilities for our. Grandchildren” and which he subsequently elaborated on in a letter to T. S. Eliot:

…the full employment policy by means of investment is only one particular application of an intellectual theorem. You can produce the result just as well by consuming more or working less. Personally I regard the investment policy as first aid . In U.S. it almost certainly will not do the trick. Less work is the ultimate solution (a 35 hour week in U.S. would do the trick now [1943]). How you mix up the three ingredients of a cure is a matter of taste and experience, i.e. of morals and knowledge.

But aside even from what Keynes’s views on full employment were, the point Harrod was making was that neo-classical growth theory was supposed to be about the conditions necessary for maintaining full employment. That is to say, economic growth was explicitly conceived as a means to a defined end — full employment — and not as an end in itself.

So what, then, is the aim of inclusive growth? Inclusive full employment? Hell no.It would appear that the aim of inclusive growth is primarily to restore the credibility of economists who have been caught out touting trade and technology without being “sufficiently upfront about the distributional consequences.” Secondly, Carney offers inclusive growth as a strategy for rehabilitating the tarnished reputations of technology and trade-related “structural reforms” so that they may resume their role, alongside monetary and fiscal policy, as drivers of… totemic economic growth. Growth remains the ultimate end of economic policy. Full employment is not even a distant memory but a forgotten casualty of the alleged “extension” of Keynes’s analysis. Or perhaps Harrod meant to say extinction?I originally was going to title this post “The Unsolved Riddle of (the Long-Term Problem of [the Political Aspects]) of FULL EMPLOYMENT (in a Free Society)” in deference to four of the texts that I quoted from above: Stephen Leacock”s The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice, John Maynard Keynes’s “The Long Term Problem of Full Employment,” Michal Kalecki’s  “The Political Aspects of Full Employment” and William Beveridge, Full Employment in a Free Society. But then Carney’s speech appeared with its tantalizing image of the economists’ totemic belief in free trade.

Some readers may find all this talk about myth, utopia and totem annoying. Aren’t we talking about economic policy options in the real world of production, exchange and finance? Yes and no. The economic conversation does have effects in the real world but more often it serves to mystify rather than clarify what is going on. Ironically, the rabid segregationist Collins is more trustworthy as a foe of full employment than Carney, the bank governor, is as an advocate of elusively inclusive growth. Collins knew where he stood. No one — least of all Carney — knows what he stands for.

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  1. UserFriendly

    I don’t think I have ever read anything so well written and prescient as Kalecki’s Political Aspects of Full Employment.

    It really got me thinking about just how predictable it is that laissez faire would fail spectacularly. It also gave me a better understanding of fascism (full employment ala military) and made me realise just how cyclical everything is.

    Laissez Faire -> Gilded Age -> Economic Collapse -> Fascism -> Egalitarianism
    Rinse and repeat.

    The trick to breaking the cycle is replacing full employment via fascism with full employment via job guarantee. I’m not optimistic though.

    1. Matthew Hinton

      Can we just be pragmatic when it comes to the economy. Can we just ask a simple question and make the decision?
      1. Is this a profitiable deal for the United States?
      Lets look at Carrier for example. If the 1000 jobs left America, what would we lose? The average pay rate of the workers leaving was about $30 per hour. if they only worked 40 hours per week, that would be the equivalent of $62,400 per year, per employee.
      This income bracket is currently being taxed at 25%. This means each employee would be paying on average $15,600 in taxes per year. multiplied by 1000 employees equals $15,600,000 in taxes paid per year.
      The deal that was struck by promising Carrier $7,000,000 in incentives over the course of 10 years which equals $700,000 per year, or about $700 per employee per year.

      Over the next ten years, the government will collect $156 million in taxes that they would not have collected if carrier moved those jobs to Mexico. They spent $7 million to keep those jobs in the United States. That is a profit of $149 million dollars for the United States over a ten year period. Sounds like a good deal to me.

      The profit could actually be more than that if you take into account the opportunity cost of having a 1,000 people filing for unemployment income and government assistance for food and education to learn a new skill with hopes of finding a new job that might pay close to what they were making per year at Carrier.

      1. Phil Martin

        Leaving aside the moral hazard of government officials giving special breaks to one company (but not to the competition), the Carrier deal has yet one more major problem: the CEO of United Technologies admitted that most of those “saved” jobs–and the number is disputed–will disappear. Yes, UT will be investing $16,000,000 at that plant, investing in automation.

        In other words, the $7,000,000 ponied up by Indiana taxpayers will only delay the inevitable.

      2. run75441 Not sure where you got the $30/hour pay from; but, I read $20 to $23 doe union workers which sounds about right. If it is a joint return, the tax bracket is 15%,

        It is not quite as simple as you make it out to be either. Looking at the cost of Direct Labor in a product, you are looking at $20 as compared to $6 (automotive) in Mexico. If they want to keep their workers they pay the higher rate as they will leave for the higher hourly wage (big issue in Mexico).

        Direct Labor Cost is <10% of the cost of manufacturing. Drucker confirmed that as well as Ingersoll Engineers (where I worked) did also. Not you are comparing $2 to $.60 in a component.

        If this is an injection molded part, 8 cavity tool with a 30 second cycle, you are now looking at $ .125 as compared to $.0375. Usually a press operator looks after 2 to 4 presses. Divide by 2 and it is now $.0625 as compared to $.01875.

        Do you really think they will move for $.044? I don't. You are chasing the wrong issue. Look at Overhead which is typically at 30% of the cost of Manufacturing. This has all of your bennies, laws, and taxes lumped into it which companies have to pay in the US and mostly do not exist to a large extent in Mexico and even less in Asia. Materials is "usually around 50-60%.

        Companies are not going to say we are going to move so we can pollute the air and water more, use child labor, and not have to pay for healthcare, etc. There is a good and sound argument there for a European type of US National healthcare system which will regulate the overall healthcare industry. Those are typically two tiered.

      3. Normal

        Matthew, you’ve botched your tax calculations. 25% is the MARGINAL rate. Without details you can’t make the exact calculation, but after deductions this worker’s tax payment would be closer to zero than 15k.

  2. LT

    “Neo-liberalism” and fascism are two sides of the same coin: only cosmetically different and worth the same.

    Although fascism had yet to rebrand into what is currently the neoliberal model, with the neat trick of a smiley-faced, multi-cultural rainbow to dangle in front of a dazed, manipulated mass of people), the excerpt (below) from the link to Kalecki’s 1943 essay “On Politics and Ideology” puts that into words.
    The words are especially important since they came in 1943. I was not alive then, but every President I have lived under these past few decades has had the same basic government operating in that same ideology in the excerpt, even if the words from the mouths of these Presidents and their mouthpieces were different.

    Following the permanent war economy of the USA and how that MIC bureaucracy manages to maintain consensus between the duopoly (Democrats and Republicans), reveals the true political nature of the USA government.

    Section III of the excerpt from the link:

    “1. One of the important functions of fascism, as typified by the Nazi system, was to remove capitalist objections to full employment.

    The dislike of government spending policy as such is overcome under fascism by the fact that the state machinery is under the direct control of a partnership of big business with fascism. The necessity for the myth of ‘sound finance’, which served to prevent the government from offsetting a confidence crisis by spending, is removed. In a democracy, one does not know what the next government will be like. Under fascism there is no next government.

    The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armaments. Finally, ‘discipline in the factories’ and ‘political stability’ under full employment are maintained by the ‘new order’, which ranges from suppression of the trade unions to the concentration camp. Political pressure replaces the economic pressure of unemployment.

    2. The fact that armaments are the backbone of the policy of fascist full employment has a profound influence upon that policy’s economic character. Large-scale armaments are inseparable from the expansion of the armed forces and the preparation of plans for a war of conquest. They also induce competitive rearmament of other countries. This causes the main aim of spending to shift gradually from full employment to securing the maximum effect of rearmament. As a result, employment becomes ‘over-full’. Not only is unemployment abolished, but an acute scarcity of labour prevails. Bottlenecks arise in every sphere, and these must be dealt with by the creation of a number of controls. Such an economy has many features of a planned economy, and is sometimes compared, rather ignorantly, with socialism. However, this type of planning is bound to appear whenever an economy sets itself a certain high target of production in a particular sphere, when it becomes a target economy of which the armament economy is a special case. An armament economy involves in particular the curtailment of consumption as compared with that which it could have been under full employment.

    The fascist system starts from the overcoming of unemployment, develops into an armament economy of scarcity, and ends inevitably in war.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      An armament economy involves in particular the curtailment of consumption as compared with that which it could have been under full employment.” — Kalecki

      … which perfectly describes Frank Roosevelt’s centrally planned war economy in 1943, when Kalecki wrote this.

    2. animalogic

      Armaments are like cigarettes to a consumption economy: both in consumption are extinguished, leaving an inexhaustible craving for further consumption. Perfect circularity. That both are addictive & kill their consumers is a question for the marketing Dept.

  3. Left in Wisconsin

    Very nice post. Two key quotes:

    1. Carney: “more inclusive growth requires frank talk about risks and concrete initiatives to help people adjust to new realities.” Frank talk and new realities just about says it all. No full employment for you.

    2. Kalecki: “This suggests that there is a political background in the opposition to the full employment doctrine, even though the arguments advanced are economic. That is not to say that people who advance them do not believe in their economics, poor though this is. But obstinate ignorance is usually a manifestation of underlying political motives.”

    Somewhat relatedly, I was just over on The Real Movement where he (I think it’s “he”) has a recent Trump-related post arguing that, ultimately, the US is the only state with the sovereignty (currency + power) to do anything like a job guarantee (though he doesn’t really put it that way).

    1. susan the other

      or just a wage guarantee for that matter – both sides of Congress are considering just this but I only heard about it at O’dark 30 on NPR and then not another word. If Keynes was suggesting “less work” like 35 hrs/week after the war when automation had not virtually taken over half of the jobs as a solution to full employment it isn’t too much further to suggest a guaranteed wage for every adult, aka every consumer. The biggest problem for the capitalists with unemployment is the collapse of capitalism. Capitalism has only been pretending to be an economic theory when in reality it’s a free-for-all.

      1. susan the other

        or I should say capitalism is feast or famine b/c with full employment there is always an inflation explosion and with high unemployment there is an implosion of consumers and the most vulnerable suffer various hardships due to the social injustice of maldistribution.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Not sure I buy the “always an inflation explosion” with full employment. Not very many data points, and even those have mitigating factors (early 80s – Volker, 70s – oil prices, late 40s – pent-up demand, etc.).

      2. BecauseTradition

        when in reality it’s a free-for-all. sto

        Not really since the poor are the least so-called worthy of what is, in essence, the public’s credit while the rich are the most so-called worthy.

        It’s a brilliant scheme for corrupting the population and so it has.

  4. Ted

    So, this particular bit comes just as I am discussing Sian Lazar’s work on the Gas Wars or October Revolution in Bolivia in 2003 with my students. What her work highlights is the importance of the ability of labor to organize (in that case, through long standing practices among indigenous Bolivians and workers that coalesced in El Alto in the 1990s). Without the means of labor to form collectives, no amount of elite word smithing and mewling over the plight of the masses is going to change a damn thing.

    Power is power, and must be more fairly distributed in the system of capitalist production if we are ever going to see true reform in favor of the laboring masses (who have nothing but their labor to sell). For labor to gain a share of political and economic power, it must demand it as a collectivity (going to the ramparts if necessary). But it cannot be effective as a political force unless it can sustainably organize on an everyday level. That should be the *policy priority of folks interested in improving the lot of everyday folks.

  5. bob mcmanus

    “Inclusive” is a buzz word in identity politics, and I suspect that Carney is trying to gain support from young neoliberal professionals, the kind that have been getting the good jobs this century, and further divide them from the working class.

    1. Arizona Slim

      We need to create an identity politics buzzword dictionary. Sort of like what Ambrose Bierce did with his Devil’s Dictionary.

    1. flora

      Or Carney could read this from David Leonhardt:

      … It took them months of work, using old Census data to estimate long-ago decades, but they have done it. They’ve constructed a data set that shows the percentage of American children who earn more money — and less money — than their parents earned at the same age.

      The index is deeply alarming. It’s a portrait of an economy that disappoints a huge number of people who have heard that they live in a country where life gets better, only to experience something quite different.

      Their frustration helps explain not only this year’s disturbing presidential campaign but also Americans’ growing distrust of nearly every major societal institution,…

  6. Sandwichman

    Apologies for the formatting glitches. The Word Press editor at Angry Bear somehow keeps “upgrading” the html tags from breaks to divisions, so paragraphs get scrunched together and extra spaces show up randomly.

    The EconoSpeak version has a cleaner format.

    Definitely Michal Kalecki’s “Political Aspects of Full Employment” is essential reading for today, along with Hyman Minsky’s work.

    1. run75441


      Next time let me know and I will fix it. I never bother to look as you are pretty capable.

  7. BecauseTradition

    For free trade to benefit all requires some redistribution. Mark Carney

    The need for significant redistribution points to a flawed system of distribution in the first place?

    There are limits, of course, because of fiscal constraints at the macro level Mark Carney

    What fiscal constraints does a monetary sovereign have? Must fiat be dug out of the ground?, Mr. Carney?

    and the need to maintain incentives at the micro level. Mark Carney

    translation: The need to maintain wage slavery.

    Fostering dependency on the state is no way to increase human agency, Mark Carney

    Yet depository institutions are dependent on the State to insure their deposits, including the deposits they themselves create via “lending” (“loans create deposits”). Hypocrisy much?

    even though a safety net is needed to cushion shocks and smooth adjustment. Mark Carney

    A lesson French bankers learned in 1793 – too late?

    1. Sandwichman

      “a safety net is needed to cushion shocks… A lesson French bankers learned in 1793…”

      In those days they used a basket.

  8. Berial

    So if the American worker is hurting so bad because the capitalists class is getting their way against them, why do they keep voting for Republicans that bend over backwards to do whatever that same Capitalist class ask of them and never saw a deregulation or tax cut that hurts consumers, workers, or the poor they didn’t like?

    Why do we see them going hard right instead of hard left? I mean there doesn’t even seem to be much ‘hard left’ in the US at all, but there sure is a hard right. Is it just mainly racism, anti-immigration, or some other ‘ism’ that I’m leaving out?

    1. Jim A.

      Because over the last 40-50 years the parties have transfomred, and now the biggest differences between them are social rather than economic. That is why BOTH parties had insurgencies by factions dominated by populist economics.

      1. Berial

        Do you think an economic insurgency is likely to happen to either party to differentiate them anytime soon?

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      OK, I’ll bite.

      1. Two-party system funded by capital: there really isn’t a major party that represents working people. Despite what one hears.
      2. The left has a critique of contemporary global capitalism but no real (plausible, practical) alternative program. Neither does the right, but their memes – nostalgia, nativism – seem less of a stretch than a frontal assault on big capital (likely to generate real casualties).

      1. Berial

        I agree that a system funded by capital is an issue but we DID have government that helped the working classes for a good number of years in the 20th century at least. Why is that impossible to recreate?
        The only quibble I’d have about #2 is that the right seems dominated BY the capitalist to such a degree that they might as well just be the capitalist party. Where do workers think they fit in such a party?

    3. Mark P.

      ‘Is it just mainly racism, anti-immigration, or some other ‘ism’ that I’m leaving out?’

      It’s another ‘ism’ you’re leaving out. When I talk to many Americans — I’ve lived here for decades, but am not one — they really do believe that ‘free market capitalism’ is the greatest thing in history and the natural ordering principle for all human societies eternally, while socialism always leads to Stalin-type scenarios.

      The ‘temporarily embarrassed millionaire’ thing also applies. Many Americans honestly do believe that under capitalism done right — meaning without those crooks in Washington corrupting the free market by rigging things for their corporate pals — their private yacht will come sailing in.

      To be sure, ‘free market capitalism’ is an oxymoron. All the big-time capitalists I’ve ever run into quite dislike ‘free markets’ that are free for anyone besides themselves. Still, most Americans don’t travel too much, are by definition of average intelligence or less and have been miseducated since birth.

      Really, it’s not much different from the old U.S.S.R. I used to work as a journalist and had dealings with people who’d grown up under the Soviet system (and had worked for the Soviet bioweapons program, so these were relatively intelligent people), and they told me how they and others had been believers in that system, right up till believing became impossible.

      It’s the same here. Masses of Americans vote for the Republicans — and Democrats — who set them up for the capitalist class to ream them because those masses of Americans really do believe in the state ideology of ‘free market capitalism’ and the valorization of capitalists as superior, admirable persons. (Hence, Trump.) And they’ll go on believing till believing becomes impossible.

        1. rkka

          Well since that belief was inculcated by over a century of organized propaganda against Socialism, of the most vituperative sort, I don’t see it going away any time soon.

          Its impossible to argue someone out of a belief that they were never argued into, because contrary evidence seems only to strengthen the preexisting belief. Whats necessary is something more like the process of religious conversion.

      1. Berial

        Thanks Pete,
        I’ve watched that video before (though I think I’ll watch it again to make sure I get his arguments) but I’m still didn’t understand why the working classes would fall in with the ‘Hard Right’ here in the US when that is the Republicans, and they’ve basically been the Capitalist Party for over 30 years. The whole idea of a ‘market friendly revolution’ STARTED on their side. It’s not like they have ANY interest at all in protecting workers if there is a buck to be made by a capitalist by NOT protecting them.

  9. Carla

    Wait a minute. I just heard on NPR that we’re at full employment, with an unemployment rate of 4.6%. If it’s on NPR, it MUST be true, right?

  10. KK

    The problem of why people vote against their own interests is a real puzzle but l suppose if they started doing it too often the powerful would take it away.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      Did you mean “if they started not doing it too often,” meaning “if they started actually voting for their interests”?

  11. Jim A.

    To paraphrase Goering…”When I hear ‘pro-growth policies,’ that’s when I reach for my revolver.”* Growth doesn’t help people if the benefits of growth aren’t shared with them, and most “pro-growth” policies are anything but. The assertion is that by making your slice smaller the pie will get bigger and the second part rarely seems to come to pass.

    *yes, I’m aware that is both a miss-quote and a miss-attribution.

  12. knowbuddhau

    Well I’ll be, someone using “myth” in other than its degenerate pejorative sense. Day. Made. Far from annoyed, this reader is thrilled. Thanks NC!

    > Employing Sorel’s distinction between myth and utopia, full employment has always been a utopia.

    Let me DuckDuckGo that for ya.

    We may now sum up Sorel’s contribution towards elucidating the concepts of myth and ideology. Sorel explicitly defines the concept “myth” and he does so by contrasting it with an opposite concept, “Utopia”. Myth, he tells us, expresses (and that signifies communicates) a personal experience, the experience of the will to action; while Utopia, a purely intellectual product, expresses or communicates no more than an impersonal grasp of facts and estimation of values. [Emphasis original.]

    For Sorel, myths motivate, and ideologies inform (but can also motivate) and Utopias do what, rationalize? Run interference for the myth? Explain away the inconsistencies? Offer sparkle ponies riding rainbows to distract the marks? Any or all of the above?

    Campbell defined a myth as a metaphor, and a meta-phor as a vehicle or vessel for going somewhere (typically to The Yonder Shore). Jung saw it as imperative to discover the myth by which one lives.

    Speaking of the French, BecauseTradition, Halpern quotes Sorel’s example of an ideology supplanting a myth:

    Protected by the prestige of the wars of liberty, the new institutions had become inviolable, and the ideology which was built up to explain them became a faith which seemed for a long time to have for the French the value which the revelation of Jesus has for the Catholics. (115f.) [Emphasis original.]

    Substitute “WWII” and “neoliberals,” et voila?

    > Kalecki: That is not to say that people who advance them do not believe in their economics, poor though this is. But obstinate ignorance is usually a manifestation of underlying political motives.

    If bust myths we must, by Jung, there’s your target. Which brings me to a quibble.

    > No one — least of all Carney — knows what he stands for.

    He doesn’t? Not so sure about that. Whatever the personal myth by which Carney lives, the public myth, ISTM, is known. Or at least, it’s 2 commandments are: “Because markets” and “Go die,” right?

    And thus did Archbishop Carney preacheth, saying naughty naughty, you bad economists, you should’ve told us the sermons we bought from you didn’t allow for building for the unwashed masses shelters from the globalisation storm we’re conjuring. Because Saint Friedman knows, we lords of finance wouldn’t knowingly have left you, our precious flock, out in the cold, decade after decade. From now on, we’ll make room for some of you, as long as it gets us to the Promised Land. The rest of you lot, get in the truck, we’re going for a lovely ride.

  13. Altandmain

    As a Canadian, I’m deeply disappointed in Mr. Carney.

    He does acknowledge the problem, but the way he talks suggests that he wants to maintain the status quo.

    1. cnchal

      Canadians should be glad the rest of the world get’s to hear Carney’s blarney, instead of it being confined to the great white north.

      Actually he doesn’t acknowledge the problem, which is globalization, and it’s propensity to concentrate money into fewer and fewer hands. That was the whole point of doing it, imposed from the top on the peasants here, and there.

      Those electronic assembly jobs done in China by workers earning less than a dollar an hour, were they done here would pay $20+ per hour, enough to survive and even prosper a little. Instead those Chinese workers have their sweat stolen by the likes of Apple and Walmart management in collusion with the Chinese Criminal Party.

      You see, economists can’t count. What does aggregate demand mean when Apple itself has a cash hoard equivalent to roughly 43 Nimitz units floating in the sky, never to touch down again, unless Trump gives them another, tax holiday. It means aggregate demand is holed up in the richest pockets on the planet. Even if Tim Cook were silly enough to drive a new Rolls every day, it would add practically zero to aggregate demand.

      Carney’s blarney has the role of a spicer in the kitchen. He looks at the runny mashed potatoes, doesn’t taste it because it looks disgusting, and throws some red and black pepper in, and declares it fit for a king. Sold to you.

  14. Grebo

    the way he talks suggests that he wants to maintain the status quo.

    It is his job to maintain the status quo. There are times when doing that requires expressions of sympathy to placate the disgruntled. These should not be mistaken for signs of a change of heart.

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