Robert points out something that I actually agree with, the importance of the German model. I find it remarkable how little discussion of any of these success stories appears in public discourse here. The issue of Sweden arose here after Castro’s ambivalent critique of the Cuban model. I merely wished to point out the case of Sweden in that context. It is not, was never, necessary for Cuba to put itself in a pseudo-socialist straightjacket for so long: the Swedish example, as a close match to socialism of some kind, shows how the much hated ‘social democratic’ model actually worked for a long time.
It seems that kind of thinking is beyond the capacity of the dumbed down left, frozen in the issues of the Second Internationale, what to say of Leninism. I meant to to try and shake someone, but in vain, I am sure.
But Cuba apart, the Americans aren’t much smarter, it seems. We have had a good picture of the way theories can wreck economies, and worse. How could that happen? Isn’t it all science? NOT! So what’s going on?
Your reference to Germany exposes the weakness of theoretical economics and its baneful effect on those who study and apply it. Economies require intelligent people not mesmerized by theories who can think in terms of reality, not mathematical fictions.
I don’t know if you have ever examined a library shelf in a university filled with mathematical economics texts. They are sucker bait for students with high IQ’s who are like trained seals who have learned the arcana of these models. But the strange reality is that NONE of them apply to reality in strict terms. But they are too complicated for anyone to really realize that, it seems. The trained seals get rewarded step by step as they enter that intellectual realm, and begin to figure economical realities out inside that bubble. The extreme case is with the derivatives models that were after my time, and which ended up being a devil’s bargain indeed.
But in general economic models do NOT ever apply to reality, for simple reasons, e.g. the Kantian critique of historical determinism, etc…
Determinism works well with computers, but not so well if you stick a mouse on those computers. Moral: there is no science of economics, strictly speaking. So economists can do nine to five for a good while, but in the end they encounter reality.
What an economy is must be known by surveying the terrain of real cases, not figuring how differential equations might predict their behavior.
The German case is the difference between real intelligence and the smarts/idiocy of hot house nerdy noops who are trained seals in a meritocratic reward system where illusions reign. That should be clear from Ayn Rand, the classic false intelligence, and her disciples, e.g. Greenspan, who was brilliant with the math stuff, but look at his end game.
The same is happening with Darwinism, a culture poison that is defended by the same kind of trained seal meritocracy that is rewared stage by stage for getting it wrong.
But it is more than a matter of math. Too much money is held by non-math types who enforce reality to some degree, at least some of the time.
So the real problem, as Marx foresaw, is ideology, the intangible mystique of the market, and its corollaries of selfishness, greed is goodism, social darwinism, and plain darwinism. These theories are deadly delusions operating on half-truths.
I recommend a book by Robert Kuttner, Everything for Sale, where he discusses these issues of economic theory with a critical, indeed sarcastic, vein.
Pray you don’t get IQ tested at a high level early in school. You will never survive the subsequent sugar does conditioning you to be a conforming ‘smart’ expert with his head up his ass.