C.R.’s whole thesis is that things weren’t so bad in the Thirties, and provides the carefully massaged, relevant statistical data to prove it. Yet why is the collective memory of that time so suffused with anguished recollections, thoughts of want,hunger and political desperation? Mr. Orwell’s reportage being just one instance of that collective memory. This being The Economist should we immediately surmise the worst: Left wing propaganda?
Economics is really Political Economy not the self-reifying statistical models identified as ‘science’ in this essay and comments section, as the only valid form of commentary on the abject failure of the Neo-Liberal economic model: the long march toward The Road to Serfdom was led by Thatcher the Milk Snatcher.
For some valuable background on that Political Economy see Amartya Sen’s introduction to Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments the 250th anniversary edition published by Penguin Classics ISBN 978-0-14-310592-3.
The Free Market was part of the model constructed by Hayek that was based on four cornerstones:Freedom, Free Markets, the Entrepreneur and Risk, that was supposed to replace the notion of the commonwealth: the shared fate/destiny of a set of political/ethical/economic actors. Hayek’s ‘philosophical quartet’ collapsed under the weight of the absent virtue of that Entrepreneur! See Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste by Philip Mirowski for a revelatory, unsparing examination of Neo-Liberalism :
From the rise of Thatcher/Reagan to the economic collapse of 2008 is barely a generation, succeeded by another political/economic mirage called Austerity, as answer to Hayek’s Economic Theology gussied up as ‘Science’.