The General Theory of Progressivism

February 23, 2012

Instapundit links Bill Quick with this comment:

Incentives work, even when they’re perverse.

Exactly! And incentives are the key to the failure of progressivism. As I wrote three years ago:

Modern-day liberalism has not been thought to have such a consistent theme. It appears to be a mishmash of grievance, entitlement, guilt, envy, group identification, deification of elected leaders, and love of big government.

Until now. I believe the unifying theme of modern-day liberal positions is the inability to recognize the incentive effect.

The media and liberals (but I repeat myself) have a myopia where they obsess on first-order effects and do not recognize second-order effects. Incentive effects are a complete mystery to them.

The terminology has changed. “Liberals” are now “progressives” (which liberates the term “liberals” back to its noble classical liberal origins). But the General Theory is stronger than ever, and the failure of progressives in power to understand incentive effects is largely responsible for the disastrous fiscal and economic situation the U.S. finds itself in.

Firing all the (Keynesian) macroeconomists and hiring a few microeconomists would be a good start.

6 Responses to The General Theory of Progressivism

  1. Herschel Smith on February 24, 2012 at 8:24 am

    You know, it’s actually hard to believe that there are any Keynesian economists left. It’s like when a child grows up and finally figures out that there is no Santa Claus, and yet he continues to believe in Santa anyway. Foolish to the nth degree. Refusing to admit complete, abject, total, irrecoverable failure. Keynesian economics doesn’t work. But I guess they’ll continue to believe in Santa Claus anyway.

  2. setnaffa on February 24, 2012 at 10:35 am

    It’s not that they believe in Keynes… It’s that they are simply living out their lives as characters in Animal Farm (Orwell, 1945).

    The Communist/Progressive/Liberal/Socialist/whatever fancies him or her self as an intellectual; but they hold a doctrine and faith more tightly than most so-called “fundamentalist” Christians. Their “dogma” ( has been proven false and unworkable over and over–and yet they allow themselves to worship the most detestable butchers and madmen the world has known. And all the while hating their neighbors and the freedoms others died to give them. Especially hating those who fought for their rights, they continue to prove they are unworthy to all around them. These are described in the Bible in Romans 1:18-32, if you care to loo it up.

    It’s sad that we have folks like this. It’s terrible that we’ve elected them to govern us. And yet, it’s merely the appropriate currency for the “payback” for our failure to do what we were supposed to do (Mattew 28:16-20)…

  3. Bill H. on February 24, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Good post Mr. Setnaffa, your arrows hit the target dead center.

  4. Team building challenges on March 6, 2012 at 8:34 am

    The actual make-up involving personnel inside companies these days are becoming significantly different. Your ‘intercultural team’ has become the prevalent attribute of all multinationals as well as companies.incentive maroc

  5. tabkh maghribi on February 11, 2013 at 7:23 am

    that’s a good posts.