There are days when the best way to stop thinking about political economy is to try to work out how to design and make the part I need to make a model work as I want.
Equally certain is the fact that I won’t be able to make all of them work. I am not a terribly good modeller despite many years of practice.
The show is evidence of the massive under-utilised talent in our economy. It is run by volunteers, whilst many of the most interesting products for sale will be created and made by decidedly part-time hobby business people, who sell their wares because they have found ways to solve problems other people might enjoy.
My point is that much of what is best about this show will happen because people are using abilities that, I suspect, are largely unrecognised in their working lives. They are doing something for little or no reward because it is simply worth doing. And what is more, they do it incredibly well.
The whole show does in that case pretty much shatter the myth of neoliberalism, which presumes that if something is not done for money then it is not worth doing at all.
Neoliberalism doesn’t say anything of the kind of course.
But standard neoclassical economics would note why much of this skilled work – greatly desired skilled work – is done outside the market and paid economy. Because government imposes too large a tax wedge, bureaucracy imposes too large a paperwork cost.
One of the actual canonical examples being the making of little copper boilers for miniature steam engines. Because the EU imposed the sort of regs appropriate for full scale boilers on the 1/100th scale ones. Therefore commercially made model boilers became a not for money home brew.
Man’s an unobservant twat.
All over the country, day in and day out, the evidence that this is not true stares us in the face. The economy, our lives, and our wellbeing often depend on that being true. But a tiny minority for whom only regulation matters have come to dominate economic thinking.