Joe Stiglitz challenges 5 key myths about contemporary capitalism, which serve as the basis of the Romney-Ryan economic program:
(1) America is a land of opportunity.
(2) Trickle-down economics works (a k a “a rising tide lifts all boats”).
(3) The rich are the “job creators,” so giving them more money leads to more and better jobs.
(4) The cost of reducing inequality is so great that, as much as idealists would like to do so, we would be killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
(5) Markets are self-regulating and efficient, and any governmental interference with markets is a mistake.
Here’s his conclusion:
Romney and Ryan have tried a hard tack to the center in their rhetoric in recent weeks. But let no one be deceived: their tax policies will lead to even more inequality at the top, the continued hollowing out of the middle, and more poverty at the bottom. Worst of all, they will lead to a more divided society that endangers our future — our economy, our democracy and our sense of identity as a nation.
Stiglitz’s myth-busting discussion is also a stark reminder of our condition, now as 164 years ago:
Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.
Isn’t that the one thing lacking in this election season, now that the myths are falling away—our being compelled to face with sober senses our real conditions of life, and our relations with our kind?