The fundamental assumptions on which the US bases it’s dismal science are:
- Never-ending growth is both necessary and good;
- People behave rationally in their own self-interest;
- Money/wealth is more important than life; and
- Markets self-regulate and are best left alone.
Gimme a break – even a 6-yr old could throw holes through these. Yet supposedly intelligent adults build their whole careers on them.
Consider this description of irrational human behavior found in a recent post by Robert Farley about defense spending. To paraphrase a bit, he says:
The U.S. accounts for somewhere around 50 percent of aggregate world defense spending.
Debate over the defense budget doesn’t ask “How much do we need to spend?”, or “Should we spend more or less?”, but “How much more should we spend?”
Congress, the defense industry, and the military services are tightly locked together so as to preclude serious scrutiny of defense programs and budget.
Consequently, we are stuck with a ridiculously oversized defense budget, with widely acknowledged misplaced priorities.
And what about our Gov? She just announced she’s refusing a third of the federal stimulus payment to Alaska. This money includes funds for:
- energy efficiency
- air quality improvement
- emergency food aid
- homeless services
- unemployment services
Great. Just when people dragged down in the current economic turmoil most need our collective help, let’s not throw them a life-line.
Do I sound jaded and/or cynical? Must be the traffic…. But, this is not my preferred mind-state, so it must be time to go for a walk (dodging the cars) and air out the brain. [I’m temporarily in Northern Virginia for my daughter’s wedding.]