workers freedom

economics as if workers mattered

Politicians’ insatiable demand for human sacrifice

Writing in the March 8 New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist and columnist Paul Krugman writes:

We are, in effect, dealing with priests who demand human sacrifices to appease their angry gods — but who actually have no insight whatsoever into what those gods actually want, and are simply projecting their own preferences onto the alleged mind of the market.

This demand for human sacrifice — for cuts to workers’ retirement benefits and to food stamps and other welfare programs, for even stingier healthcare services for those who work for a living, for anything that make life under this capitalist system a little more bearable — is bipartisan. The Obama administration offers cuts to Medicare and food stamps, and has proposed “fixing” the way inflation is to calculated to leave Social Security benefits lagging the actual cost of living even more. The Republicans counter with proposals to subcontract retirement and health benefits to for-profit providers.

Both sides are dogmatic supporters of the market and of capitalism (as is Krugman, who simply recognizes that it needs to be regulated, lest its brutal logic lead to horrors beyond our capacity to absorb); but markets are fundamentally inhuman, and when it comes to things they actually care about not even the right-wing pundits are willing to trust them to the tender mercies of this economic system which produces so much misery for the many — and such lavish wealth for the few.


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