Post # 2035 Taboos in economics.

Porovocation #204

Hard to rise up to the level of provocation when the news is so provocative. The US in Venezuela and the way the press falls in line with military interventions to protect the aid workers and volunteers. The history tells a story of oil companies back before Chavez, and Chavez failed because of sanctions, but this is ignored.

Climate change is getting increasingly solid press – but it is all about the facts of global warming and cutting carbon while not touching on the reactions of people to finding their energy use seriously cut.  The social reaction to the idea of serious warming is probably going to be more important  for a while than the events the social reactions  anticipate. As  in musical chairs, everyone has their eye on the next chair. (I don’t know if it is still played, but in my childhood the anxiety about  the next chair while listening to the music to hear it stop was visceral and all encompassing.

Economics along with much of the press seems to have a taboo about discussing what people will do when, for example,  as in China, 60 story buildings are abandoned because too expensive to operate.

The fears and taboos are certainly  powerful in economics about discussing what happens to jobs, what happens to mortgages, what happens to banks, what happens to food chains, as energy becomes more expensive and hence less available (The truck delivering the propane will stop as the number of customers  that generated the current route drop out). 

But fear and taboos are, as Freud made central to psychoanalysis, powerful clues to understanding. When the patient hesitates in telling the story, there is the point of entry into the most important phenomena of broken thinking. But economics, responding  with its fear and taboos,  seems to avoid dealing with the scenarios of breakdown just when society ought to be planning on how to cope and could use guidance from economics about the what, how it came to be , and what to do about it.

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