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August 11, 2016


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Thank you for making me think more deeply on why I hate Piers Morgan and what he stands for. I do not enjoy hating as a rule. There is too much of it in our world. But Morgan is an important exception.


Interesting that Robert Peston Tweeted about this:
As if he hasn't been the neoliberals (financial sector) propagandist all his career.
"Peston's 2008 Bank Propaganda Piece"

Robert Peston
Lying To A Nation
and getting away with it

KickAss Pacifist

"Chris Froome might have “only” won a bronze yesterday, but he has something Morgan will never have – the respect of reasonable people."

I think they said the same about Lance Armstrong once upon a time. I wouldn't take anything for granted where cyclists are concerned.

Deviation From The Mean

What does it matter if our private school people come first, second, third or last in these events? If every British competitor came first I would just think we need to reduce the amount of resources being thrown at the sons and daughters of the overpaid and start investing in things that really matter, like decent health for all.

The neo-liberal mindset would think any medal is a great achievement and a victory, no questions asked. All Morgan is doing is narrowing the definition of win or lose but he is still coming from the same logic as those who claim Bronze is great.


Regarding university managers, too often the operational changes implemented as they seeks to be more market-oriented and business-facing are about spreadsheet efficiencies which don't appreciate the complexity of what they are trying to manage. This undermines both excellence and effectiveness.

Donald A. Coffin

What's interesting to me is that neoclassical economics focuses on the mutual gains from trade, arguing that in a well-functioning market, there are no losers. One need not agree with that type of analysis, or with that conclusion, but it's clear that neoclassical economics does not divide the world into "winners" and "whiners" (a/k/a "losers").


Donald - maybe the neo-liberals are aware that their own theories are utter bullshit designed to provide ideological justification for the iniquities of capitalism and talk of winners and losers reveals their true beliefs?

Dave Hansell

Donald, you missed out a key word between 'economic' and 'focus.' That word is 'theory.'

That makes a huge difference in this debate/discussion's context because we are not discussing theory, we are discussing practice, how things actually happen as compared with how theories think they should happen.

Matthew Collings

If you want to understand this at a deep metaphysical level you'll find this book prophetic The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times by René Guénon

For Guénon Quality is the epitome of the Age of Gold, when true spiritual experience was found by excelling in one's exploration of Self as part of a vital spiritual tradition. The opposite of this is what is found today, an emphasis on quantity, units, and the "lowest common denominator". Instead of emphasizing how we can raise levels of education, skill and awareness, we talk about averaging, affirmative action, political correctness and "educational adjustments" due to minority status. Quality is embodied in skills, crafts and personal ability - in a word achievement. Quantity is embodied in reducing humanity to numbers, units, and a cog in a wheel. Modern employment, for example, has reduced most jobs to quantity, most people can fit into an office or factory job, no special skills are warranted or required. Modern man has become a faceless number or an equation; this is the reign of quantity. Guénon's anti-modernist worldview is found clearly expressed in both The Reign of Quantity and Crisis of the Modern World,, for those who find heavy dense metaphysical contemplation overpowering, I would suggest that Crisis of the Modern World is the best place to start



«it's clear that neoclassical economics does not divide the world into "winners" and "whiners" (a/k/a "losers").»

Indeed, because it does not «divide the world» at all: the model is based on a single immortal person that has an initial endowment of a single commodity and thanks to perfect stochastic foresight trades it with itself in infinite markets across all of eternity, impersonating infinite producers and consumers in each market (all of which are *essential* assumptions of the theory, except that there can be more than one consumer commodity).

Therefore the conclusion is that by trading with itself that single commodity the single agent can achieve an optimal production and consumption path, that is, the single agent maximizes its own utility.

So there are literally no winners and no losers.

«the neo-liberals are aware that their own theories are utter bullshit designed to provide ideological justification»

Shorter summary of the above. :-)

PS IIRC some neoclassical Economist has tried to revolutionize the field with a model with *two* agents, but I suspect that was going too far :-).


BTW the neoclassical single agent/infinite markets model has an "intellectual" defense, by old fraudster M Friedman, in his paper "The methodology of positive economics".

The essential argument in that paper is that the assumptions and structure of the theory of Economics do not matter as long as "some" of its predictions are correct.

But if that argument is sound, the *only* things that such a theory can validate are strictly the *observable* predictions it does validate, not its assumptions and structure, or any *analytical* (not predictive) results, especially those that cannot be easily observed.

But astute neoclassical Economists pretend to ignore that: they claim that neoclassical theory makes "some" correct predictions, therefore its assumptions and structure and other analytical results must be correct ("post hoc ergo propter hoc").

So if the theory makes "some" correct predictions and as a side effect also produces the analytical result that there are no winners and no losers (which is actually a baked-in assumption in neoclassical theory, not a result), the claim is that the analytical result is validated by "some" predictions being correct.

That's not at all what the old fraudster argued in "The methodology of positive economics".

Compare with models that are designed to be realistic (even if simplified) in their assumptions and structure: since they somewhat mimic what they model, there is some degree of expectation that other predictions and their analytical results you can drive from them are also close to being realistic, if the simplifications don't interfere with that.


Ha, a Marxist claims capitalism is the promotion of effectiveness over excellence. Marxism is the pursuit of low common-denominator prizes for all FFS.

Really, how tortured this argument is.

Dave Hansell

Oh dear, another city slicker fraudster who, like Friedman et al, pre assumes what they aim to conclude, ignores the real world evidence around them, operates under the delusion that they are entitled to their own made up facts and who are so full of their own self importance they think just by them repeating something, whilst offering no hard evidence (because they can't be arsed to get off their own lazy, idle backsides) makes it so simply because they've said it.

Josh W

The philosophy behind this post shows why the whole "prizes for all" cliche is rubbish:

If you get a prize, because you stole it, is it in any way valuable? One person has the prize of course, you do, and no-one else does but what does that matter?

If someone earns a prize in competition with others, the skill of everyone they beat reinforces the value of their prize. If there is no skill, only randomness, then the bragging rights are meaningless. In other words, a worthy competitor's successes validate your own.

So the value of a gold medal is dependent on the value of a silver medal, and the silver medal on the bronze, the bronze on the (arbitrarily without medal) fourth place and so on down through every other tournament and competition down the line that uses the rules of that sport.

In order words, the value of the gold medal is based on the inherent difficulty and value of the task, all the way down to it's most basic competitive manifestations.

If there is no medal that can be given for completing a race, if running is not a skill, then it doesn't matter how many people you managed to beat, your accomplishment of being 1st has no value at all.

There is a man somewhere in the world who has done more of one particular action in their lives, perhaps scratching his left armpit, than anyone else. He has beat everyone at that lifetime marathon, he is the world number one. He's the winner. But we don't care, because the basic task does not have any value.

Of course, it isn't as simple as that; athletes raise the profile of their sport by embodying it to a high degree, and by combining into it other virtues; we don't say "that gymnast was very gymnasty", we say that they were elegant, coordinated, disciplined. Olympic athletes perpetuate competition in their sport by embodying it's inherent virtues, the amazing elements of human nature that can be revealed in the sport by people exploring it to it's fullest depths.

And so, when we see others performing that task to a significant level, when they pass some threshold beyond normal life and start embodying the virtues of their sport, we see them by analogy as athletes, and we treat them as such.

Athletes themselves can see the value in the sport even earlier, often because they see someone else excel in the sport. They realise the value of what they are doing, what they are aiming for, and they develop a sense of value that allows the to respect competitors who beat them.

And so it travels in a loop, those people who represent the current apex of a sport encourage us all to give medals and applause and respect to those who are learning it. And those who learn it and compete within it validate those people as representing the apex. As the first second and third among thousands or even millions who have explored that sport and have some idea of what it means to be good at it, and for someone else to excel at it even more than them.

A generic prize offered to all can just be about being nice, it doesn't matter, it doesn't do anything, and it's not cheapening any prize offered for achievement for a task, because their value is not in scarcity, but in recognition.

If I clap a child in a play, and then I clap an incredible concert pianist, the fact that the same motion was used does not devalue the pianist to being like a child, because we know that I am not evaluating them by the same standards.

But if I refuse to recognise the achievements of someone in a sport, because they are not "the best", then I devalue the very meaning of being the best. Because they are the best at something that in the end does not matter.


I think you correctly identify a problem. I think it's a twist to define neoliberalism as that problem. Neoliberalism has really just become a bogey-word - usually a woefully misapplied one.


struck a nerve there, Dave?

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