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September 19, 2014


Luis Enrique

is it fair on "the left" to use Richard Murphy as an exemplar?


@Luis Fair or not, it's a widely read blog with a lot of influence.


There are some, though, who treat markets as optimal when they should recognise their weaknesses and guard against them.


You may be being unfair... I am sure most people left or right know banks should be regulated far more strictly than purveyors of greens. They merely are confused or uncertain how to do this. The fact that markets are driven by greed is the virtue but also vice. How to remove the bad effects of greed while keeping the good?

Adam Smith is himself aware that any meeting of business men tends to lead to conspiracies against the public good. How to stop it eludes us.


I don't think smith would have used the word 'greed' which he associated with the predations of the powerful. But rather self-love or self regard. Which unlike greed was a virtue, as it helps prevent people becoming a burden on others.


I don't see the problem with his post. He's saying that all functional markets operate with state intervention. That the libertarian version of unregulated but functional free markets is impossible. These two things are conventionally true.

Jose Romeu Robazzi

I am not a specialist, but every bubble in history seems to have been preceded by some form of monetary expansion (usually engineered by government, and not endogenous to the markets), The South Sea bubble, Brazilian "Encilhamento" in early 20th century, the twenties in the US, early 21st century in the US. Some of these are disputable clains, but saying that bubbles are endogenous to markets, when markets are not completely free is at least intelectually dishonest ...

gastro george

"... he was capturing the possibility that markets could channel greed for useful ends. By contrast, the argument against state control is that the state will be captured by the rich used used to serve their interests ..."

I'd like to focus on the use of the words "could" and "will be" here. They're doing a lot of work and showing a point of view that is at least debatable.

"Markets" can equally well be captured by the rich. State control could be channelled for useful ends. What's important in both are the relationships of power and its regulation.

Herbie Destroys the Environment

There is a tendency among libertarians to talk of the market as if it is the sum total of the system, of human relations. They live on the perfect competition cloud, this is where abstract ideas get you.

Because they see the market as the dominant thing and not simply a derivative, anything that deviates from the market is seen as deviant or dastardly. So relations that are not conducted via the market are seen as vested interest. while this can be true it is hardly the starting point and is hardly the whole truth.

The libertarians mystify the market, turn it into something supernatural. But it's just real people making real decisions about our lives at the end of the day.

This article betrays some of that mentality.


Jose, what was the GFC if not a wave of endogenous bank-created private debt breaking on the shoal of a bursting asset-inflation bubble?

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