hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010
An 11/10 addition to my post-election post:

The other thing I think about the last two years, is that clearly the dominant idea in American politics at the moment is "Times are tough. Households & businesses are tightening their belts. Governments should too." I think this idea is wrong, and the reason it's wrong is because we don't, in everyday life, ask questions about what money is, namely an intrinsically valueless thing that we, for many good reasons, agree to make a proxy for intrinsically valuable things, like time, space & energy, life, love & joy. To allow the the time and energy of Americans to go to waste, in order to serve the goal of saving money, is confused thinking.

The sentiment "Americans, including government, need to save more and spend less", on reflection, doesn't really make sense. What does make sense is that Americans, and everyone else, should make better use of their limited amounts of time and space and energy, to say nothing of their life, love and joy.

It's worth noting that, according to certain odd people who have cropped up from time to time, money can't buy life, or love, or joy. But at the very least it can buy very tolerably serviceable substitutes, and if those oddballs were so smart, why weren't they rich?

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