10 Points of Economics from Indistinct Union by cjsmith
Distilled by Guy Sorman in City Journal. Sorman’s work begins with the scientistic (and flawed) notion that economics has now become a true “objective” (i.e. mathematicized) science...
Modern economics hitched and determined solely by mathematical models hides its own policy and political preferences under the guise of objectivity, when in fact they are in part subjective and intersubjective. [Just not admitted as such]. What is decided then is decided by experts (and their media outlets/mouthpieces) embedding their own social-moral-political views via a process Habermas calls “decisionism.” i.e. Is becomes ought without their being discussion/ratification of such a policy: decisions are made without being made as it were. They are made without dialog and discussion.
A further point via Habermas. Sorman’s piece is titled: Economics Doesn’t Lie and his proof is that it is objective. But as Habermas has I think effectively established, the validity claim of the objective world is factual truth. The validity claim of the subjective is sincerity. Lies have to do with subjectivity which means Sorman is arguing that a supposedly objective fact-based only endeavor is actual the subjective embodiment of sincerity. Objective economic analysis can more lie than it can tell the truth since it isn’t a person with autonomous consciousness. How said facts are used by individual persons can be sincere or false and that of course then involves (back to Habmeras) intersubjective norms of rightness/justice. Which is exactly what gets left out and what Smith actually understood.
I’m not saying growth is not a crucial way in which to define the health of an economy but it hides its own (non-scientific) value-laden understanding into the process.
What is necessary is a fundamental rehabilitation of the concept of prejudice and a recognition of the fact that there are legitimate prejudices, if we want to do justice to man’s [sic] finite, historical mode of being. p.246
I have always admired about Laclau is the clarity and rigor of his arguments. When I read Laclau and Mouffe’s Hegemony and Socialist Theory, for example, I came away convinced that the economy really can’t be determinative “in the last instance,” and I don’t think that would’ve happened had they presented that portion of the argument in a more stereotypically “continental” style...
Even in the most extreme instances of “continental” style, though, such moments of crystal clarity do occur and are very powerful — for instance, early on in Nancy’s Inoperative Community, he lays out a very straightforward and compact argument that the “metaphysics of the absolute” is simply logically incoherent, and to my mind, the only possible response there is, “Wow, I guess you’re right.”
It seems possible, however, that if a text were simply the accumulation of such moments of crystal clarity, it would paradoxically lapse back into an absolute opacity.