Hannah Blog

November 15, 2012

"The Idea Is All It Takes"

Filed under: Economy — hannah @ 6:34 am

That was the operating principle of Bush/Cheney, but the slogan actually comes from an ExxonMobil ad. It expresses the belief that ideas, what people get into their heads, drive reality. It is on that basis that Dubya was defined as an idealist by the ideologues of his party. In a sense, they expect to replicate “the word made flesh.” God said the word and the world was created. Then He made man and man can do it, too. One just has to think it and that will be reality. That what the human brain comes up with is not necessarily connected to reality does not occur to the idealist. If he doesn’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

The “best” example is perhaps Iraq. It did not occur to Dubya that self-determination might exist in the deserts of that God-forsaken country (note the metaphor), so bringing democracy seemed entirely plausible. “The idea is all it takes.” someone else needs to do the work, but that is not the idealist’s concern.

American business has largely been a matter of middlemen taking possession of free good from the various political jurisdictions and taking them to market to sell at a profit. It is the model of enterprise introduced by the explorers and followed by the traders and trappers and tappers and exporters. It was the same model which promoted the importation of free labor from various continents. American enterprise was always mainly composed of a commercial class, middlemen who profit by moving things around. The commercial class, currently represented by the chamber of commerce, has never been about transformation or production. Free goods to market is their ideal and the various political jurisdictions were set up to satisfy their desires/demands. Let’s not forget that even our national highway system had to be promoted as necessary to defend and protect the territory from an invasive force that might seek to exploit and export American natural resources as we had exploited the resources of other continents. American business was never primarily about transformation and creation. American business exploits and exports. They are the ex-men. Skilled craftsmen we import from other countries. Always have. Nowadays we import them as PhDs.

When US business schools, like Harvard, turned from accounting to personnel management, they were just peofessionalizing what had always been the main focus, moving things around. Manipulating people as the engine of enterprise is entirely consistent. US production has always been a coercive, rather than a creative force. Perhaps the rather arbitrary division of the economy by the theorists into production and consumption left the commercial class in limbo entirely by chance. A third factor, the middleman, simply didn’t fit into the paradigm. That the resulting models are all wrong may be entirely accidental.

It all depends on the preconceived notions at the start. If creation is an automatic consequence, then there is no reason to account for it. And, if that is the case, then “creative destruction” is actually a novel insight into how creation might be prompted, rather than let it just magically occur.

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