Economic Psychology

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Economic Psychology

How and why markets aren't rational. Navigational tips for charting the Bermuda Triangle of human economic behavior.

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Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
Say What?!
Reading section 8 of the US Government's proposed -- and in my opinion deeply flawed -- $700 billion financial bailout, I noticed the following:
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
So, in other words, this colossal transfer of assets from the already-overburdened taxpayer to a tiny group of wealthy bankers cannot be challenged in court? Even more decision-making power will be transferred to the Executive Branch?

Per Wikipedia (and numerous citations), there are two basic principles of democracy:
  1. All members of the society have equal access to power, and
  2. All members enjoy universally recognized freedoms and liberties.
We've already seen so many assaults on both of these over the past eight years. In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln spoke thus in memory of the those who had fought and died in the service of a higher cause:
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

(Nicolay version, emphasis mine).

This proposal gives away its true intent in section 8. Above all, it strikes me as a slick attempt to subvert democracy. It certainly is not the first, but it is one of the most sinister.

  • Is this what so many have fought and died for? I think not. Is this something that anyone should even consider?
  • If we in the US do not practice the basic principles of democracy, how can we call ourselves a democracy?
  • What would Lincoln do? (WWLD)?
I know my answers to these questions. Do you know yours?