June 14, 2019

The economist as storyteller (II)

Comment on Caitlin Johnstone on ‘Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems’*


There is the infinite reality and there is the limited individual consciousness, and between the two is a medium. This epistemological condition has been captured by Plato in the Allegory of the Cave: “Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners’ reality. Socrates explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not reality at all, for he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the manufactured reality that is the shadows seen by the prisoners. The inmates of this place do not even desire to leave their prison; for they know no better life.”#1

The situation has not fundamentally changed since the ancient Greeks. Newspapers, radio, TV, and social media only multiply the shadows on the blank wall. The situation is summarized with a graph on Wikimedia.#2

There are three relationships between reality and consciousness:
(i) Faithful mapping from A-reality to A'-consciousness.
(ii) Reduction of B-reality to zero, i.e. to conscious non-existence.
(iii) Blowing up NONENTITIES to predominant C'-consciousness.

Alternative (i) is what science/philosophy is supposed to achieve. Alternatives (ii) and (iii) constitute the prisoners’ manufactured reality. As physical force is applied in order to control the physical realm, communicative force is applied to control the mental realm. This communicative force is called propaganda and it comes either under the religious, political, or entertainment cloak.#3 In the real world, both forces are of roughly equal importance. Professional storytellers (historians, priests, romancers, journalists, movie makers) tend to think that the ‘pen is mightier than the sword’: “As I never tire of saying, the real underlying currency in our world is not gold, nor bureaucratic fiat, nor even raw military might. The real underlying currency of our world is narrative, and the ability to control it.”

Maintaining narrative control is also the main business of the economist. #4, #5, #6, #7, #8

Scientific truth has two inseparable methodological components: material and formal consistency. This, of, course, holds also for economics: “In order to tell the politicians and practitioners something about causes and best means, the economist needs the true theory or else he has not much more to offer than educated common sense or his personal opinion.” (Stigum)

To this day, economists do not have the true theory. Economics is fake science since Adam Smith. The major approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism, MMT ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, and all got profit ― the foundational concept of the subject matter ― wrong.

Economists have produced NOTHING of scientific value in the last 200+ years. This does not matter much, though, because in the political Circus Maximus there has always been a greater demand for storytellers, blatherers, trolls, actors, clowns, activists, and propagandists than for scientists. Scientific truth has never been a concern for religion, politics, and entertainment ― just the opposite. This is why human communication consists for the greater part, approx. 99.9 percent, of mental garbage a.k.a. propaganda/ disinformation.

As failed scientists, economists easily get a second chance, for example as exhibitionists of the Conscience of a Liberal in a propaganda outlet of the Oligarchy or as a billionaire-sponsored troll in the econblogosphere.

Time for a dishonorable discharge of these stupid/corrupt storytellers from the sciences.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

* Caitlin Johnstone
#1 Wikipedia Allegory of the Cave
#2 Wikimedia AXEC153 Allegory of the Cave
#3 “Propaganda is information that is not objective and is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is presented. Propaganda is often associated with material prepared by governments, but activist groups, companies, religious organizations and the media can also produce propaganda.
In the twentieth century, the term propaganda has often been associated with a manipulative approach, but propaganda historically was a neutral descriptive term.” (Wikipedia)
#4 Economics, Plato’s Cave and the Silver Blaze Case
#5 Economics: communication without content
#6 Opinion, conversation, interpretation, blather: the economist’s major immunizing stratagems
#7 MMT: How the Oligarchy communicates with WeThePeople
#8 Narrative economics and the imperatives of the sitcom

Related 'Are economics professors really that incompetent? Yes!' and 'Economics textbooks ― tombstones at the Flat-Earth-Cemetery' and 'Economics: The greatest scientific fraud in modern times' and 'Macroeconomics: Economists are too stupid for science' and 'Are economists natural-born scientific failures?' and 'Fact of life: your econ prof is scientifically incompetent' and 'Fake religion, fake science, fake news, and false complaints' and 'Dear idiots, MMTers are Wall Street’s agenda pushers' and '“We have sunk very low”' and 'FakeNews, FakeScience: economics in the information age' and 'Economics as storytelling and entertainment for the masses' and 'A brief history of soapbox economics' and 'If You Meet the Storyteller on the Road, Kill Him' and 'Economics: ‘a tale told by an idiot ... signifying nothing’ and 'The economist as stand-up comedian' and 'Economics: No method to the madness' and 'How to spot economics trolls' and 'Lock them up' and 'Circus Maximus: Economics as entertainment, personality gossip, virtue signaling, and lifestyle promotion'.


This is what Plato has said in The Republic about stories “… which are now in use [but] must be discarded.”

“Of what tales are you speaking? he said. …
Those, I said, which are narrated by Homer and Hesiod, and the rest of the poets, who have ever been the great story-tellers of mankind.
But which stories do you mean, he said; and what fault do you find with them?
A fault which is most serious, I said; the fault of telling a lie, and, what is more, a bad lie.”

Wikimedia AXEC139d