Troglodyte – pronounced trog-luh-dahyt, 1) prehistoric cave dweller, 2) a person of degraded, primitive, or brutal character, 3) person living in seclusion, and 4) a person unacquainted with affairs of the world.
Troglonomics – pronounced trog-lo-nomics, the social institutions of production & exchange as viewed from a cave by a person degraded & corrupted intellect unacquainted with the affairs of the world; also known as “neoclassical” economics.
The troglodyte economics of the mainstream (a.k.a. neoclassical economics) functions as a virus of the mind. Like a computer virus, it corrupts the brain’s operating system, creating shot-circuits that by-pass both common sense and the brain’s analytical software. Once contracted through formal training in the classroom, troglonomics proves almost impossible to remove from the thought process. We find evidence of the difficulty of freeing the mind of the neoclassical virus in the writings of the few self-exiles from the mainstream who consider themselves progressive—and are so considered by the public.
Joseph Stiglitz represents an obvious example of a prominent mainstream-trained economist whose progressive views are not up to the task of purging his mind of the basic principle of troglodyte ideology, that resources are scarce and human wants unlimited (see the first chapter of his macroeconomics text with Carl Walsh, and the teeth-grinding “Thinking like an economist” boxes scattered through the book).
It is a mystery how an intelligent person (not withstanding his so-called Nobel Prize in economics, actually awarded by the Central Bank of Sweden, not the Nobel Committee) could live in a world of persistent unemployment and believe that resource scarcity is the central problem of a capitalist economy (my critique of resource scarcity is in Chapter 4 of my new book).
Krugman on War (yet again)
But few progressives are more virus-inflected than Paul Krugman. Despite his commendably progressive views on a range of social and political issues, Mr/Professor/Laureate Krugman remains a true believer in the virtues of international trade, his critique of which is limited to concerns about “market failure” (see his 1997 book Pop Internationalism, which to my knowledge he has not disavowed).
This loyalty to the mainstream ideology on trade goes far to explain his singularly bizarre view of the causes of war. In the August 17 edition of the New York Times he argued that since ancient times wars have been fought “for fun and profit” (his exact words in “Why We Fight Wars,” and see a critique in my Huffington Post blog).
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