Jaw, meet floor

Matt Steinglass, a smart guy with whom I disagree about many things, says, regarding Karl Marx:

And DeLong is also right to find here the roots of Marx’s sense that markets are fundamentally tools of unfreedom rather than of freedom, with all the needless suffering and poverty that misconception would entail through the next century-plus

I find this as gobsmackingly bewildering as if he had said “evolution is fundamentally a tool of unfreedom with all the meaningless death that would follow without an omniscient diety to manage the animal populations and ensure they did stayed pure to Creationist doctrine.

Yes, I’m going there – if you think that Marxism would have worked better than the free market at ameliorating poverty and suffering, you’re not much different from a Creationist, in terms of your faith in a higher power, and its ability to form a “plan” for the universe.

The evidence of capitalism’s benefit to the poor is considerable. (There’s another, recent story about this as well, but I can’t find it right now).

If the world were ruled by super-intelligent, benevolent AIs, Marxism might work as a doctrine, since the corruption that plagues our genes would not be present. But as long as humans can be corrupted, they will be, making the world immeasurably worse off.

Free Markets are a very, very flawed way to solve problems. They are inefficient, susceptible to betrayal and scams, and prices usually fail to reflect the full societal cost of an item.

Alas, as bad as free markets are, every other option is worse. Every other doctrine is built on an assumption that non-corruptible intellects can make well-informed and unbiased decisions to pursue some ideal result. Alas, we humans are very corruptible, extremely biased and very poorly informed (and generally in denial about that fact), and thus the schemes fail, and lead to far more suffering in the aggregate.

*edit* – removed an unnecessary “with”.

Matt indicates in the comments that I misunderstood what he was trying to say – that it was Marx who believed these things, not Matt. My mistake.


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