Friday, January 14, 2011

Krugman's False Options

I am SO behind on this blog.  the University version has taken over. As a down payment: Hunter Richards has a nice, digestible set of charts on the decline of what is sometimes called brain work in America...
on the decline of what is sometimes called brain work in America - and on the state of the labor market in general. They are worth going through one at a time.

They helped me think about what didn't like Krugman's Tale of Two Moralities column today. He describes the opposition to the Right's darwinism as this:
One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.
Mais non!  A major project for progressives is fix Krugman's incorrect alternative to the Right: it's not that the left wants safety nets, it's that the current accounting for value creation is completely distorted, leading to misappropriation of income in the first place.  Krugman's formulation guarantees that liberals / leftists will lose, since it grants the genesis claims of the Right and wants to weaken them.  It also guarantees the great divide he laments, not because the two sides have incommensurable premises, but because they have the same premise. No conservative has a reason to think of the left as having an alternative philosophy of labor and value that would actually change the position of regular people in society.  The alternative just seems like the "bleeding heart:" version of conservatives.

The year 2010 brought better alternatives for thinking about how to stabilize and grow the actual US workforce and I will get to these.