Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Who Needs More Government?

A Chris Blattman blog entry, found here , is concerned with the anarchist ideas in the publications of James C. Scott.  The comment below, taken form that entry, is more profound than Blattman's thoughts on the subject.


1 week ago
This is where my libertarian instincts on my far right meet my anarchist instincts on the far left. Yet somehow my opinions tend to be centrist. I think it’s fair to say I don’t understand myself.”

That’s because you continue to insist on trying to understand yourself using the meaningless left-right dichotomy, which is essentially just a way to fool the people of western democracies to ally themselves behind the government by thinking that the government is up for grabs and that there are two parties vying for it. In reality, of course, the only two parties in these societies are not left and right, they are the state and the people. Both left and right are divisions of the state, and of the people fooled into supporting either wing of the state party.
My anarchist reading list would be largely similar to any mainstream development economist’s reading list. The main difference is that I would make my students assess things based on what they actually are and based on their actual consequences, whereas the entirety of modern development economics is built on the diefication of good intentions and their utilization as a license to do whatever you want while ignoring the negative consequences. So, with the same reading list, I would arrive at the conclusion that the World Bank is institutionally set-up to serve the interests of the US government and its continuing theft of the planet by the dollarization of the world economy, a side effect of which is the destruction of poor countries. Mainstream development economists however will continue to view things from the perspective of the World Bank as a development institution, and all the disasters it causes can never alter the desire of the development economist to think of alternative policies that will make the world bank “fulfill its development mission”, or whatever is the latest buzzword kids are using these days.
As an anarchist, however, I would entirely oppose the concept, relevance and severe lack of ethics that the entire RCT industry represents. RCT, essentially, is a way to generate tenure, jobs and publications for rich white people by allowing them to carry out scientific-looking experiments on poor dark human lab rats under the pretext of “development”. Humanity is too complex to be studied in these labs, and the results from RCT’s are meaningless outside their very narrow contrived lab context. If you look closely, you find that the only actual positive impact from these studies accrues to the researchers. The lab rats, on the other hand, end up wasting enormous amounts of their precious time on filling out surveys that will never improve their life in any way, and will only ever serve as fodder for yet another unreadable, irrelevant and ignored modern academic economic paper.

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