The jam theory of economism

Economism exemplifies what literary critic and poet, William Empson, called Jam Theory. All you need to know is under the lid of that wee jam jar of economics.

There are never enough markets to spoon out until reality matches the design of market competition. So what if actually existing markets are one of the most hybridized of social institutions? Not to worry, cuckoo clocks are made without the bird-shit, so too for markets.

Economism is like the actor playing Hamlet who finishes the scene with Gertrude but forgot to kill Polonius. When in fact economics differs little from other disciplines knee-deep in uncertainty.

Which then is more bloviating? The school economist’s “the opportunities are attractive, if technological and regulatory challenges are overcome” or the practicing engineer’s “the opportunities are attractive, if economic and regulatory challenges are overcome”? The scapegoating of regulation in both cases, of course, is essential to the hard sell.

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