While I have been MIA over the last four years a lot has changed on the internet and in terms of economic and social discourse. The weird infatuation of the alt-right with “globalists” and nonsensical economic arguments is particularly upsetting – and I’ll be discussing how the decline in persuasiveness of economists has helped these types of people fill the void in the future.
My concern four years ago was that the non-rationalist identity politics of the left would open this type of negative nationalistic politics on the right – or would at least be used as a foil for it. The refusal to actually state our assumptions and values is a failure irrespective of the intentions we hold. In that way, when exploring Youtube I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the leftist video blogs – and their willingness to fully articulate their views. Key examples of this are Shaun, Contrapoints, and Philosophy Tube.
However, these channels are distinctly “anti-capitalist” in terms of wanting sizable change in the status quo. I am a mainstream economist that believes in incremental change. A full discussion of this would be interesting – but give me time. But to do so we need to get something clear about the labour theory of value that I am hearing them describe – it doesn’t make sense as a justification for anything let alone as a “theory of value”.
Note: The actual labour theory of value has been defined many ways – and the most profitable Marxian interpretation I’ve seen is trying to understand LTV as part of a subsistance wage argument on factor income shares. That isn’t the focus here.