One despairs. I have a Bolivian friend here & yes, she’s in favour of MaS despite not having an atom of actual socialism in her. It’s a something for nothing culture. Like all of Latin America. And they’re not a stranger to it here, either.
Question for Tim. The entire culture is riddled with Catholicism & it’s moral teaching. So why does it fail to instil some actual morality into its flock? Anyone who gets themselves into any position with power immediately starts enriching themselves & their cronies at the expense of the people they’re supposed to be serving. Lying is virtually automatic. The truth is whatever they want it to be. And they have no shame when found out. It’s your fault for discovering it. With their politics, the best you can hope for is ones get in are a little less venal than the ones who didn’t. And the other side of the coin, why are they so gullible? They must know they lie. So why do they believe these assholes? Or do they not actually believe they themselves are lying? That somehow reality will rearrange itself in-line with their promises? So it might for others. Whatever, there seems to be an enormous disconnect with the real world.
We can approach this from the other end, the ultimatum game. That foundation of behavioural economics.
We’ve $100 and two players. The first player gets to decide how much of the $100 he keeps, the second gets to decide whether the deal happens or not. If it doesn’t happen then neither gets anything.
We find out that deals offering less than $30 – maybe $40 – to the second player get rejected and thus no one keeps anything. This is taken as evidence of a sense of innate fairness in human beings. Also of our willingness to undergo personal pain – the loss of $30 – in order to teach someone a wider social lesson – don’t be an unfair and mean git.
A Nobel was gained on this insight.
Then someone thought hmmm. This game was played with upper middle class American university students – the sort of subjects that a US professor with multiple $100 stashes for experiments would have access to at Yale, Harvard, Princeton. What happens if we play this with other people?
One such was – I think I’m right here – with Peruvians over the other side of the Andes. Not sure if on the slope down into the Amazon or still up in the mountains but really, very close indeed in culture to those Bolivians who have been screwed over for the past thousand years. Yes, thousand, because the Incas weren’t exactly democratically inclined free market capitalists when they expanded – that was closer to what Pol Pot tried to bring in than anything else in this modern world.
So, different people, different culture – different results. The second party in the game would accept pretty much anything. Hey, a $’s a $. And the first parties would offer $99 for me and $ for you and expect the split to be accepted.
It is a very different economic culture.
The next question, something where the answer is not as yet known, is how this works. Is that “fairness” and so on a result of seeing that something akin to a free market capitalism works and that this don’t fuck me over response is behaviour learnt from that? Or, perhaps, is it necessary for the belief to exist first before anything close to a modern economy works?
Dunno, no one does, but it’s sure an interesting question.