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Author Topic: Mr. Market as Conscience  (Read 1094 times)

dionysiandame

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Mr. Market as Conscience
« on: October 06, 2012, 02:26:38 pm »
So lately my husband and I have been discussing Free Market Capitalism and its adherents vs. those who believe social and environmental concerns should be taken into account when policies are put into place.

It was during one of these conversations that I got hit with a thought; Mr. Market as conscience or Free Market adherents using "the market" as an anthropomorphic representation of their desire to not be held socially responsible for the rest of society. The philosopher of the consumer, Mr. Market doesn't care about sweatshop labor because those low paid workers insure that Walmart is always ready with $10 flip flops.

Because Mr. Market is intangible, he cannot be held responsible, nor can the individuals who may benefit or even come to exploit his mercurial nature. The Market is always fair and is based entirely on what every individual puts into it.

To this I have a research paper I need to start working on and am looking to write on this subject in some kind of way that is "provable" while not delving into philosophical questions that can't be answered. So two questions;

1. What are your thoughts on Mr. Market? Does he absolve capitalists of perceived social responsibility? Or do you disagree?

2. I'm thinking I can go about this by proving that "the market" is NOT fair and thus, cannot be trusted to manage itself without some form of social/ environmental intervention.  Any thoughts on this? How can I tighten up this idea to write something I can research and present?
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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 05:44:15 pm »
Quote from: dionysiandame;76001
So lately my husband and I have been discussing Free Market Capitalism and its adherents vs. those who believe social and environmental concerns should be taken into account when policies are put into place.

It was during one of these conversations that I got hit with a thought; Mr. Market as conscience or Free Market adherents using "the market" as an anthropomorphic representation of their desire to not be held socially responsible for the rest of society. The philosopher of the consumer, Mr. Market doesn't care about sweatshop labor because those low paid workers insure that Walmart is always ready with $10 flip flops.

Because Mr. Market is intangible, he cannot be held responsible, nor can the individuals who may benefit or even come to exploit his mercurial nature. The Market is always fair and is based entirely on what every individual puts into it.

To this I have a research paper I need to start working on and am looking to write on this subject in some kind of way that is "provable" while not delving into philosophical questions that can't be answered. So two questions;

1. What are your thoughts on Mr. Market? Does he absolve capitalists of perceived social responsibility? Or do you disagree?

2. I'm thinking I can go about this by proving that "the market" is NOT fair and thus, cannot be trusted to manage itself without some form of social/ environmental intervention.  Any thoughts on this? How can I tighten up this idea to write something I can research and present?

 
To answer your first question in today's market yes. I quote FDR "You've convinced me. Now go out and make me do it." (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/go-out-and-make-me-do-it_b_281631.html)

As much as people complain a number of them do not take steps to force the issue.  Those that do take steps have to keep trying.

To answer your second question, if the market was fair there would not be laws and regulations for it.
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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 11:25:30 pm »
Quote from: dionysiandame;76001
So lately my husband and I have been discussing Free Market Capitalism and its adherents vs. those who believe social and environmental concerns should be taken into account when policies are put into place.

It was during one of these conversations that I got hit with a thought; Mr. Market as conscience or Free Market adherents using "the market" as an anthropomorphic representation of their desire to not be held socially responsible for the rest of society. The philosopher of the consumer, Mr. Market doesn't care about sweatshop labor because those low paid workers insure that Walmart is always ready with $10 flip flops.

Because Mr. Market is intangible, he cannot be held responsible, nor can the individuals who may benefit or even come to exploit his mercurial nature. The Market is always fair and is based entirely on what every individual puts into it.

To this I have a research paper I need to start working on and am looking to write on this subject in some kind of way that is "provable" while not delving into philosophical questions that can't be answered. So two questions;

1. What are your thoughts on Mr. Market? Does he absolve capitalists of perceived social responsibility? Or do you disagree?

2. I'm thinking I can go about this by proving that "the market" is NOT fair and thus, cannot be trusted to manage itself without some form of social/ environmental intervention.  Any thoughts on this? How can I tighten up this idea to write something I can research and present?

 
I'm thinking of the anti-trust laws here - Mr. Market against himself, as it were.  Company towns.  That sort of thing.

Whether human labor is *just one more cost* or something else, and whether humans move as freely IN the market as Mr. Market claims.  (get a better job!)

And of course, Mr. Market is inherently amoral because there is nothing there TO have moral - it's the consumers and the creators and every step in the middle.

drekfletch

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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2012, 12:27:14 am »
Quote from: dionysiandame;76001
It was during one of these conversations that I got hit with a thought; Mr. Market as conscience or Free Market adherents using "the market"

1. What are your thoughts on Mr. Market? Does he absolve capitalists of perceived social responsibility? Or do you disagree?

2. I'm thinking I can go about this by proving that "the market" is NOT fair and thus, cannot be trusted to manage itself without some form of social/ environmental intervention.  Any thoughts on this? How can I tighten up this idea to write something I can research and present?

 
First, it made so much more sense when I realized Mr. Market was conscience FOR adherents, not conscience OR adherents.  I read the entire post two times trying to figure out who Mr. Market was from context.

Moving on.
1.  An anthropomorphication makes the market seem much more single-minded single-causality than it is.  It's the aggregation of thousands of inputs and multiple systems.  But no, the market absolves nobody of guilt.  It is a call for personal responsibility, because what you buy and make and sell dictates terms.  You should also specify if you're talking about free market hard-adherents, or if you're including the soft-adherents.  And if you include the soft-adherents, to what extent?

2.  The market, as someone said upthread, is amoral.  Fair is applied to it by some people, and not by others.  For the reason that 'Fair' is a complicated, if not subjective, thing to quantify to the satisfaction of everyone.  (A good example of different interpretations of fair is the recent kerfuffle over Amanda Palmer sourcing volunteer musicians from her fanbase.)

My personal take is that most attempts by the government to 'make fair' the market will accomplish anything but that, for the basic reason of human fallibility, and that the resulting unfairness would be worse than that produced by a free-er market.  I do think there should be some basic guidelines, but that we're so far beyond basic currently that it's pretty much a thought experiment.  When your garden is flooded is not the time to be arguing about how much you should water your flowers.
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drekfletch

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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2012, 12:32:48 am »
Quote from: dionysiandame;76001
"the market" is NOT fair and thus, cannot be trusted to manage itself

 
Forgot this bit.  Of course it can't be trusted to manage itself.  It's made up of people, and people are idiots.  However, getting some people to decide things for other people is risky to say the least.  The best for the market would be to get rid of people completely.
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Faemon

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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2012, 04:31:17 am »
Quote from: dionysiandame;76001
1. What are your thoughts on Mr. Market? Does he absolve capitalists of perceived social responsibility? Or do you disagree?
As an icon, I'm sure he does absolve the feeling of responsibility. As to the nature that Mr. Market represents, however, people who are collectively responsible for that-- as autonomous individuals, would have a tiny bit of individual responsibility. I am a part of, not apart from, Mr. Market. There is no one decision I can make to noticeably turn the tides, I'm in no such powerful position, and would be being turned by the tides as well, so I have a small ability to respond-- but it's not gone just because I refer to the abstract. It's just tiny.

Quote
2. I'm thinking I can go about this by proving that "the market" is NOT fair and thus, cannot be trusted to manage itself without some form of social/ environmental intervention.  Any thoughts on this?
One idea from one of my social studies teachers, that really stuck with me, was that the supply-and-demand model doesn't take into account time outside of now. It's only, what's abundant right now, and how many people want it right now?

As a result, something non-renewable and non-sustainable, like fossil fuels, is something that we've built our civilization around-- and unless we all go through and do lots of very uncomfortable things every which way, our civilization's basically going to collapse in an industrial apocalypse (that I'm predicting but not doing anything to prepare for because I'm comfortable-- full disclosure.)

That probably wouldn't have happened if Mr. Market was raised in such a way that his "invisible hands" of activity also grew to have a sensitive faculty-- invisible or not-- that could determine where we were going with this. Rather than going by, say, trends in aesthetics.

As it is, I thought that was brilliant hindsight.

Quote
How can I tighten up this idea to write something I can research and present?
One reason the above stuck with me, is that it made the consequences concrete. (And the cause, actually, a little bit concrete.)
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 04:33:28 am by Faemon »
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sailor

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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2012, 08:34:12 am »
Quote from: drekfletch;76034
Forgot this bit.  Of course it can't be trusted to manage itself.  It's made up of people, and people are idiots.  However, getting some people to decide things for other people is risky to say the least.  The best for the market would be to get rid of people completely.

 
Yeah, that's pretty much the idea of free market.  The govt does not come in and say that this group of companies gets this special advantage.

Any moral basis is for the culture of the people who as individuals make up the market.  

I suspect you are going to have to show examples of market failure, but those examples are going to have to be ones of market failure rather than a failure of govt intervention.  And that the failures would not be correctable within the frame work of the free market.


drekfletch

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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2012, 11:12:07 am »
Quote from: triple_entendre;76039

One idea from one of my social studies teachers, that really stuck with me, was that the supply-and-demand model doesn't take into account time outside of now. It's only, what's abundant right now, and how many people want it right now?

 
Isn't the concept of Opportunity Cost supposed to fill that position?  I've always used it to do so.
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sailor

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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 11:49:59 am »
Quote from: drekfletch;76067
Isn't the concept of Opportunity Cost supposed to fill that position?  I've always used it to do so.

 
Given T_E's point about renewable vs non-renewable I suspect it's about oil vs wind / solar energy.  The free market has millions of people spending relatively little money for energy since it comes from fossil fuels instead of spending a lot more money on alternate energy systems.

drekfletch

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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2012, 02:49:43 pm »
Quote from: sailor;76069
Given T_E's point about renewable vs non-renewable I suspect it's about oil vs wind / solar energy.  The free market has millions of people spending relatively little money for energy since it comes from fossil fuels instead of spending a lot more money on alternate energy systems.

 
I took that as a given.  I don't see where that point conflicts with my post.  Those millions of people are choosing the short term over the long term.  Both opportunities have costs, hence Opportunity Costs.
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dionysiandame

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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2012, 02:16:55 pm »
Quote from: sailor;76051
Yeah, that's pretty much the idea of free market.  The govt does not come in and say that this group of companies gets this special advantage.

Any moral basis is for the culture of the people who as individuals make up the market.  

I suspect you are going to have to show examples of market failure, but those examples are going to have to be ones of market failure rather than a failure of govt intervention.  And that the failures would not be correctable within the frame work of the free market.



Thanks everyone for your responses and, with your help, I was able to narrow down my thesis into something at least workable;

Large scale deregulation leads to social malfeasance, environmental destruction, and economic fragility.

As a smaller point, I will also be analyzing how it came to be accepted that "public interest" and the "common good" were directly linked to the market. In other words, the human being as consumer became the most important aspect of what legislation was put into place in regards to the market.

The idea that "market failure" is never measured in human terms, despite humans being the lab rats in the experiment is a bit flawed to me. I do believe a market failure should be measured by its social costs just as much as how much money is lost. Some in the business world love to say they "care about the consumer" until that consumer no longer tows the corporate line. I think, by focusing on public good and public interest and the way this has been tied directly to corporatism; I'll be able to deliver a sound argument for my point of view.

So with my research I will be investigating;

1. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and its effect on the availability of information to the general public.
2. Woman and Minority Employment; Both quantity and quality before Affirmative Action.
3. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and direct connections between risk management and lack of oversight.
4. The 2008 Financial Crisis; a time line through deregulation.
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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2012, 05:26:44 pm »
Quote from: dionysiandame;78090

So with my research I will be investigating;

1. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and its effect on the availability of information to the general public.
2. Woman and Minority Employment; Both quantity and quality before Affirmative Action.
3. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and direct connections between risk management and lack of oversight.
4. The 2008 Financial Crisis; a time line through deregulation.


Might I suggest adding to that, the decisions that lead to the issue with the Pinto?  Management knew how to fix the issue that the cars would explode, but did a calculation and figured that the modification on the cars would cost more than the money they would lose from lawsuits due to the issue.

sailor

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Re: Mr. Market as Conscience
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2013, 04:50:41 pm »
Quote from: dionysiandame;78090
Thanks everyone for your responses and, with your help, I was able to narrow down my thesis into something at least workable;

Large scale deregulation leads to social malfeasance, environmental destruction, and economic fragility.

As a smaller point, I will also be analyzing how it came to be accepted that "public interest" and the "common good" were directly linked to the market. In other words, the human being as consumer became the most important aspect of what legislation was put into place in regards to the market.

The idea that "market failure" is never measured in human terms, despite humans being the lab rats in the experiment is a bit flawed to me. I do believe a market failure should be measured by its social costs just as much as how much money is lost. Some in the business world love to say they "care about the consumer" until that consumer no longer tows the corporate line. I think, by focusing on public good and public interest and the way this has been tied directly to corporatism; I'll be able to deliver a sound argument for my point of view.

So with my research I will be investigating;

1. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and its effect on the availability of information to the general public.
2. Woman and Minority Employment; Both quantity and quality before Affirmative Action.
3. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and direct connections between risk management and lack of oversight.
4. The 2008 Financial Crisis; a time line through deregulation.

 
Any kind of update or access to the final paper some how?  Not sure you'd want to share the paper since it might be able to identify your real life id with here, but that's a call only you can make.

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