I got through the introduction and had to stop.
He claims that no economic theory talks about empathy. So, not read Theory of Moral Sentiments then, in which Adam Smith thoroughly explores the subject and gives, in the twists and turns of the audience watching the slackrope walker, one of the better descriptions of it. Then there’s the claim that neoliberal and neoclassical economics are the same because they both assume perfect foresight by markets. Neoclassical refers to the insistence that things work at the margin, the Marginalist Revolution, as opposed to the classicals. No doubt his head would pop if Keynes were to return and insist that of course he himself was a neoclassical. Because Keynesianism is all about said margin. It’s even from that which we derive Knightian uncertainty.
But the one that really digs that probing forefinger into my snout is this insistence that we really must try to maximise our potential. Including family, friends, social relations, leisure and all the rest. What the fuck does he think maximising utility is?
For buggery’s sake he’s being stupid there. For example, if we maximise money income then the Laffer Curve cannot exist. It’s only by our maximising utility, thus placing a value upon leisure, family, friends, societal relationships, that we can have a substitution effect. And if there’s only the income effect, which solely maximising cash income or physical consumption would leave us with, then there cannot be such a curve. But he both insists that Laffer is wrong and also that we only maximise cash income.
Ritchie insists upon two things, that neoliberal, or neoclassical, economics thiks we all maximise cash incomes and he also, at other times, insists that the Laffer Curve cannot possibly be true. Yet the very analysis, by Laffer, depends upon the idea that we maximise utility, not cash income.
Sorry, my blood pressure can’t take much more of this.