The conflict between economics and politics
I enjoy Bethany McLean and Luigi Zingales’ podcast, Capitalisn’t. I’ve listened to a few episodes and I find them to be very informative and thought-provoking. One I listened to recently was this one with Elizabeth Popp Berman, who argues that that measuring every political outcome in monetary units is a bad idea. She would argue that there are many benefits to society that cannot be easily measured in money, such as a clean environment, a strong social safety net, and a sense of community.
I also agree with Luigi Zingales that the Left has moved away from class-based politics in recent years. This is partly due to the fact that the economy has become more globalized, making it more difficult to identify a clear “enemy” for the Left to rally against. Additionally, the Left has been more successful in recent years in winning over voters on issues such as social justice and environmental protection, which are not as closely tied to class.
I think it’s important for the Left to find a way to balance its focus on class-based issues with its focus on other issues that are important to voters. If the Left can do this, it will be in a stronger position to win elections and enact positive change.
The increasing use of economic thinking to frame political questions has resulted in the Left accepting that a focus on efficiency and productivity will inevitably lead to a loss of other values, such as equity and fairness. The problem is that this move has led to an ever increasing difficulty in mobilizing grass-roots support, which leads to a greater dependence of funding from big business to keep Left parties viable.
Now you’ve read this far, I have to admit that I did post an earlier draft of this into Google Bard. The sentences have been re-written, without dramatically changing the sense of my initial (shorter) draft. I was curious to see what would happen. I don’t have access to the Microsoft version, but I have to admit that the result is surprisingly good. It’s not quite as I would have written it, and it’s not exactly what I wanted to say, but to have any machine re-write in correct English something what I wrote is pretty impressive!