Every day as I get off the bus in downtown Seattle, I am confronted with the extremes of capitalism. In a city that has produced many technological innovations and wealthy individuals, I pass men, women, and children sitting on the sidewalk or sleeping on cardboard mattresses.
As you probably know (but, oddly, aren’t saying) if you were to poll those people and ask them “how did you get here?” you’d find a litany of tales of human misery. Women with children who left abusive relationships. Men and women with diagnosable psychological problems. Abuse of alcohol and illegal substances.
And yet….you choose to try to connect those dots to capitalism?
Hm. Sounds like you have a hidden agenda.
Capitalism — left to its own devices — bends towards inequality.
It’s been well observed that capitalism is a horrible economic system — except for all the other ones. Truer words were never spoken.
These psychological characteristics illustrate why it is so difficult to accurately judge one’s own society and the norms which govern it. Confined by context, people will act upon and believe rather absurd and self-defeating ideologies.
It is indeed difficult to obtain and unbiased and unobstructed view of a system you are a part of. And why it is wise to disbelieve anyone who says they have achieved it.
For example, the success of higher minimum wages across the US has tested a core free-market principle that when the price of labor goes up, jobs must go down. Yet Seattle is raising its minimum wage to $15 and the unemployment rate is near record lows.
And as of course we all know, you are cherrypicking your studies. The City of Seattle was already funding an examination of the $15/hr wage by (logically) the University of Washington. Preliminary results of the examination were not all that positive, so the City went shopping for another examination by a group at Berkely who, interestingly, has NEVER found anything negative about increasing minimum wages. And then touted it like a PR campaign (never trust politicians when their lips are moving.)
The U Washington study tells a much different story about the $15/hr.
Whether or not you attribute the minimum wage’s success to the booming regional economy is a moot point.
Assuming it’s a success is a biased view.
These findings call the economic order into question just as much as Martin Luther’s teachings subverted the Catholic Church.
What a rubbish analogy. First off, Luther’s teachings didn’t subvert anything; they caused a schism. Secondly, economists have always realized that people, as rational economic actors, tend to hit both sides of the door before they manage to walk through the middle, due to increasing complexity of the system. This is called “experience”, and is why your employer doesn’t expect a millennial to make decisions with the same level of acuity a seasoned 60 year old veteran of the business does. Thaler’s work is extremely beneficial in defining these experiential ambiguities, hence the Nobel, but they do not revolutionize anything. Thaler puts into numbers what wise observers have always known.
It is exciting to witness a time when sacred belief systems of the day are called out. It is all too easy for humans to look back and condemn the foolishness of certain ideas once they themselves are removed from that time. Yet it is far more important, even imperative, to instead seek out and fight against the insidious ideas of the present.
Certainly how the revolutionaries of Russia 1917 felt. And part of the reason why after the Weimar Republic, Hitler came to power. I suppose you’d have some agreement with the last example, perhaps believing that its already happening. But a Hitler can come from the left as easily as from the right.