Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fearful Symmetry: One Sided?

I'm digging into Brian Crowley's book Fearful Symmetry.

I can't help but notice the lack of space used to discuss potential alternatives to the conclusions being made in the opening chapter.

Did anybody else notice that other governments around the world were racking up massive debts too?

Does anybody really believe that government policy caused lowered birth rates and decline of marriage?

Has it occurred to anyone that many companies in Canada are managed by Canadians but not owned by Canadians. Perhaps this one reason why our competitiveness has declined?

Will the author give any weight to the fact that Canada faced historic issues that caused it to take measures to solidify it's stability as a single country?

Obviously, I will continue to read further. Perhaps these issues get consideration later in the book. I do know that finding correlations and treating them as causative issues is a massive error in thinking. I hope the later parts of the book improve in this regard.

I will also note, again, that this book seems to be promoting the values of the Bush government and current right-wing US political viewpoints in a manner directed at bringing Canada into line. I don't have any proof but I seem to be in good company when it comes to reckless conclusions and specious logic.

For example, on page 40 we hear about a professor proclaiming that the government was at fault for much of the financial crisis -- as if the free market would have avoided it if the government hadn't been involved.  Never mind that economists in the US, particularly those in prominent educational roles, are often paid to generate articles by the financial industry as another arm of lobbying effort to mitigate potential government actions that might have an impact on their profits.

And, no, profits are not bad and neither are market forces. However, when power can corrupt government oversight and interfere with appropriate public policy with respect to those market forces then there is a problem that should be addressed.

Crowley is way too far into the profit makes right camp.

However, I won't argue against his basic premise so far that we are going to face shortages of workers in the sense that many people are going to be leaving the workforce due to age and retirement effects.  Let's see where he goes with that vein of ideas once we get past the money knows best rhetoric.

In short, it's a mistake to think that liberal ideas are against capitalism or that any mainstream liberal thinkers believe they have an alternative to the basic ideals of capitalism.  Use of such a straw man argument does not bode well for the quality of this book.

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