Uncommon Sense

May 23, 2014

Cognitive Dissonance? Nope. Nothing to See Here, Move Along

The GOP insists upon a number of principles that are completely contradictory to reality for anyone to be a true believer. A the top, you must believe in the supremacy of free markets, that all government regulation of such is bad. This, of course, flies in the face of a steady stream of corporate bad/illegal/destructive/careless behavior. Think about Enron, the subprime mortgage disaster, the price of gasoline going up while demand was going down due to speculators, Monsanto, the Koch brothers trying to eliminate government support for alternative energy in Kansas, the Wall Street banks gambling with other people’s money and cheating their own customers, the fracking companies (What earthquakes? Water doesn’t burn. We don’t contaminate your water, no. All we want are laws that send people to prison for describing what we are doing.), railroad tank car fleet operators (What explosions? Our cars are perfectly safe.), General Motors (That’s not a defective ignition switch, you must have bumped the keys with your knee. Problems, there are no problems.), . . . , I forgot about the nuclear fuel company that buried its waste “out back” instead of processing it according to the law. (Okay I am done, wait, …)

So, if the free market would correct all of these things, why did they happen in the first place? Did government regulations cause all of these things? Was it too expensive to do things the right way, so they took forced shortcuts, knowing their parent corporation could “disincorporate” if things got really bad?

“The free market ideology is actually just an economic manifestation of human greed.”

Free markets are driven by greed, no matter their original attentions. Manipulation of “free” markets is the quickest path to wealth and so attracts greedy people. (Free markets are by nature based upon all parties having perfect information, free from anything manipulative, like advertising.) What aspect of free markets protects us from those greedy people? There is nothing.

Government taxes upon corporations are a way of charging those corporations for their externality costs (their use of the roads, communication networks, etc., their pollution of the air and water and land, and other things we share) but those same corporations have bribed government officials to eliminate or reduce their corporate taxes to a bare minimum, leaving their externalities to be paid for by others (us). They also make sure all of the laws benefit them and not the general citizenry. As just one example, college students cannot expunge college loan debts (to corporations) through bankruptcy, but corporations can avoid a massive toxic waste cleanup that way.

So, what is it about free markets that will “correct” for these corporate failings and manifestations of greed?

The answer is short—nothing. The free market ideology is actually just an economic manifestation of human greed. “Leave us alone to make as much money as we can and maybe you will benefit sometime down the road. Don’t interfere. Ignore that man behind the curtain.”

Is it just a coincidence that anytime we get close to their ideology that the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer accelerate? I don’t think so.

Since these zealots claim that anything that smacks of regulation of free markets is socialism, well, then I am in favor of socialism, at least in so far as it is practiced in Scandinavia. There the reins on human greed, er, free markets, are held tightly by public interests.


  1. You blasphemer. The Omniscient Invisible Hand will personally toss you into the fiery pits of economic hell – if it hasn’t already along with about 25% of the nation.

    Question: What’s a financial tycoon’s favorite part of the bible?

    Answer: The part about the streets being made of gold (Rev. 21:21)

    That’s validation that God is one of them


    Comment by lbwoodgate — May 23, 2014 @ 10:29 am | Reply

    • LOL, you got me again!

      On Fri, May 23, 2014 at 10:29 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 23, 2014 @ 11:25 am | Reply

  2. “The GOP insists upon a number of principles that are completely contradictory to reality for anyone to be a true believer.”

    I think you could have just stopped right there 🙂


    Comment by john zande — May 23, 2014 @ 10:56 am | Reply

    • I didn’t want people to be confused with Fox (sic) News viewers.

      On Fri, May 23, 2014 at 10:56 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 23, 2014 @ 11:26 am | Reply

  3. Yeah, free market is just a manifestation of human greed, but it’s a very profitable opinion to have, if you’re an economist or a politician.


    Comment by List of X — May 23, 2014 @ 11:13 am | Reply

    • I economists believed all of that crap why would that take poorly paid jobs as economists? (My partner went back to college to complete her degree in Econ. She had to decide whether to go to grad school, so we looked at jobs for economists and many of the entry-level jobs she was looking at paid one third of what she had been making in sales. The only well-paid economists are the ones shilling for the conservative think tanks and that gives us something to think about.

      On Fri, May 23, 2014 at 11:13 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 23, 2014 @ 11:28 am | Reply

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