Monday, October 15, 2012

That's the Free Market for you!

The Guardian newspaper inadvertantly offers the summa theologica of the 'invisible hand' of the free market in their bio of the guys who won the Nobel in Economics:

'[Lloyd] Shapley was part of a four-man team that invented the board game So Long Sucker in 1950. The four-person bargaining contest involves the players making commitments they cannot keep and which have to be reneged upon in order for the game to be won.'

Ah, so that's the secret of economic success: you have to be willing to lie and cheat and double-deal and bail on your promises to get ahead!

Score one for Bernard Mandeville!


nick usborne said...

Robert, hi

Not strictly a comment on your post, but more to say hi. Today is the first day I ever heard of you. I found your TED talk on Stealth of Nations, and loved it. So I ordered the book. Then I found this blog and was troubled to see the lack of comments. How come a million people aren’t following what you say?

But then, I’m probably biased. While I might be middle-aged with a mortgage now, when I was younger I was part of a squatting community for a while in London, and we lived entirely within the alternative economy. And, like the squatters you talk about in your talk, we found ways to “borrow” electricity and even long-distance phone calls. Were we stealing? Sure, we were. But I know many of us have given back more than we ever took. The community was a vibrant incubator.

Then I lived just outside a small town in central Turkey for a year. My home was a 7th century Byzantine chapel carved out of the side of a mountain. Very simple living – beautiful living - and I’m guessing that 90% of the town lived and flourished within the alternative economy.

While makes me believe that the “alternative” economy is and always has been the real economy of the world.

Anyway, I love what you’re writing about and talking about.

Best wishes,

Nick Usborne

rn said...

Hey Nick: Many thanks. Yes, the so-called alternative economy is the real economy. Problem is, the armchair economists, politicos, and corporate leaders who run the world have no clue. I've been all too quiet lately on the blog and on twitter, but you have reminded me to keep pushing the conversation forward. Onward!