Economic Philosophy: Where Do You Really Stand?

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I think many people find themselves too busy to worry about economic philosophy. What’s to think about? We work, buy things, sleep, and repeat. Right? Well, there may be a bit more to it. Economic philosophies reflect broad variance in the direction of markets. Public economic philosophy affects job availability, product availability, our wages, and our quality of life in general. And, it wouldn’t matter if people had no control over which economic philosophy dominates the marketplace, but we do.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive definition or comparison of economic philosophies; rather it stands as a vague description of a few predominant viewpoints in modern society. I hope you’ll research them further, but this should at least present a gauge of where you may currently stand.

The Classical economic approach to markets suggests that they regulate themselves. It states that people are intelligent enough to understand what products they value based on their own preferences (functionality, design, aesthetics, etc.), and they’ll determine demand in the marketplace. Classical Economics also says that competition between providers of products and services drives the costs within a market place, thereby making affordable all things necessary and otherwise in demand. In short, if people want something it will be provided within the marketplace, and competition between providers will ensure the price is reasonably adjusted.

Neoclassical Economics proposes that the Classical economic approach is correct. However, in times of extreme economic downturns and the subsequent shock, the Neoclassical attitude claims that the government must intervene and impose economic regulations on the markets by force. It also proposes that the government police the financial system through a central bank. Today this is done through Quantitative Easing in which over 80 billion fake dollars are injected into the markets to prop up our failing system every day. Which system you ask?

More and more we’re seeing our government leaning toward a more Keynesian style of economics. Keynesian Economics posits that government ought to regulate the markets regardless of current conditions. Whether the markets are up, down, or stagnant, Keynesian Economics pushes for government force in all facets of the marketplace from areas as directly effective to people as wage-control to areas of macro-scale significance such as interest-rates. The argument here is that people are excessively obtuse and, therefore, unable to comprehend their own needs and desires; they must have government involvement in their decisions.

So which category do you fall under: Classical, Neo, or Keynesian? Are you intelligent enough to determine what you want, or do you require assistance? Do you have confidence in your neighbors to determine their own needs most of the time with the exception of periods of economic recession? Or do you find that you, and those around you are so pitifully moronic in nature that you all need someone else far, far away to dictate the cost of goods, the availability of products, how much money you are allowed to work for, and your over-all quality of life? Let me know.

Again, this is far too concise a characterization of these philosophies, so you’d need to read a bit more on each to determine all of the market variables and exogenous factors that play a part in market behavior. However, philosophically, I think this is a fair assessment of these positions.