From the February 2009 Idaho Observer:

The Nobel Prize for Propaganda

Recent Nobel Prizes given in science and medicine, and Al Gore’s one for peace, have received ridicule for lacking merit (see The IO, Dec., 2008)

The Nobel Prizes in Economics deserve this sort of attention most of all. Two in particular were given to hacks who painstakingly showed with graphs and tables that unregulated free markets, letting unscrupulous business tycoons amass billions of dollars, treating refinanced debts as assets and lending over 10 times existing capital reserves would never create a worldwide financial crisis. The names of these two are Kenneth Arrow and Gerard Debreu.

More Prizes were given to those claiming Free Trade Treaties would not prove disastrous. Still more were given to those advocating looting the environment to maximize profit. They said global warming was a myth, we’d never run out of oil and consumption of goods is limitless.

The Nobel Prize in Economics is simply a piece of candy given to those who support a specific ideology accepted as orthodox economics by the wealthy. Rewarding this bias produces many hidden benefits, such as, injecting the public with confidence that picking the pockets of the poor is clever; that the orthodox view must be correct or these geniuses would not get a prize for saying so and, most wicked of all, that only orthodox economists know what they are doing.

Consequently, economics has lost any sense of reality. While economists claim their field to be a science that explains economic realities, it has actually became a discipline for producing graphs, politically desirable abstractions, equations and for ignoring anything that might disprove theoretical guesswork designed to win a Nobel Prize. Screw reality.

Lost were ties economists may have had to any class other than the fabulously wealthy. Their loyalty (and the loyalty of university economics professors) was given to the political agenda needed to make the rich even richer. As a public relations ploy, the term, "trickle down economics" was coined in the 80s. The theory of trickle down economics is that when government provides generous tax, regulatory and capital credit breaks to the rich, money and opportunities will trickle down to enrich the poor. The "trickle down" theory has so thoroughly been discredited that, 30 years later, the term being used is "bailout" and no trickle is even mentioned.

Mainstream economists have served one function: To make the ideology confirm its own right to exist. They would provide plausible reasons for the rich to control and dominate the world no matter how many Iraqi, Bolivian, or Chilean children need to be killed to continue providing money to the elites and the elites would continue rewarding them for their services. Economists became priests serving a mythology that glorifies ruthless exploitation, environmental degradation and thrives on conflict, war and human misery. Trust the priests; think positive and you will have yachts too.

It sounded good to a generation taught that gratifying one’s own self-interest was the only purpose for living. Just dazzle the public with mathematical language proving markets are self-regulating and always seek equilibrium. This supplied mankind with a god more rewarding to serve than Baal. While they looked upon all salesmen’s policies in wonder, the rich picked their pockets, refinanced their loans, sent their good-paying jobs overseas and convinced them that joining a union is immoral. They taught them the cost of labor is not a factor which should affect the marketplace. Only the optimum price and a level of supply which maximized profit mattered, even when more goods could be made for less. Economics only served the biggest profit margin. Not the consumer. Not the worker. Not the masses. Not even making useful tangible goods. Indeed, after GW Bush took office, the most profitable businesses became those not bothering to produce anything tangible at all. They sold financial instruments repackaging debts and trading them as assets.

Another economist-spun myth is that the marketplace functions independently from the political arena and somehow operates uninfluenced by class interests or power. Honestly, can anyone really believe economics and power are not inextricably intertwined? If one looks at the $billions the ruling elites spend on lobbying in Washington alone, to secure the laws they want, their fat subsidies and fatter bail-out checks, this contention is absurd.

The grand finale of this grand fiat fiasco is the "bailout" which is trillions of dollars in gifts once again flowing to the wealthy. Apart from destroying our world, they already made vast fortunes from exploiting those below them using the only ideology endorsed by the Nobel Prize: Ruthless exploitation. They are not asked to tighten their belts or reinvest their profits to help finance a sustainable future. The people once again foot the bill while the elite flee to Dubai with money they stole once, and then doubled with a bailout check.

Richard Geffken

Lowell, Florida