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Perfect markets as coercive ideology

In the past few posts I have been trying to get at ways in which the fantasy of perfect markets can be deployed ideologically, used normatively to shape people's thinking and aspirations, how we assess how reasonable our behavior is when we attempt to be "objective". Here are some more propositions:

1. If the laws assume a particular institution, subjects will conform their thinking to accommodate the institution in that mandated form.

2. If attempts to legislate a rational market into existence occurs, to simplify governing and entrench advantages already embedded in the status quo, then people must be forced to become homo economicus, must habitually restrict self-knowledge to cost-benefit analysis.

3. Perfect markets imply an ongoing process of equilibria being found. A chief way of trying to legislate perfect markets into existence is to try to force equilibrium, mandate it as a norm.

4. Market rationality is not merely the presumption of calm, omnipotent calculation in an instant. It also incorporates the assumption that we are always arbitraging as equilibrium are coalescing -- this activity is presumed to fashion the equilibrium, but only after certain already-favored parties have already taken advantage of the imbalance in the process. This exploitation can then be popularly conceived as justice, as inevitable, as harmful to impede.

5. In an economy with alleged, presumed or mandated perfect markets, timing is what is always at stake. We exploits the discrepencies on the way to equilibrium, and who suffers the equilibrium as fait accompli. This is matter of how information and the opportunity to act on it is distributed. The advantages of timing -- the arbitrage opportunity -- tends to disappear from the macro view, hiding any exploitation or injustice.

6. All of this is an elaboration of the observation that the useful fiction of efficient markets can be used as an ideological tool to browbeat people and curtail freedoms, and also to hide actual imperfections pertaining to timing. It's an ex post facto alibi for unfair outcomes.

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"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

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Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

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"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

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Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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