Since nobody is reading this blog today anyways, and I’m walking around with a cloud over my head, I’ve decided to just go ahead and write about it.
So, part of the idea of writing a blog about economics and politics is doing a lot of serious thinking and analysis, and lately I haven’t done all that much of either. Mostly I’ve done a lot of feeling about economics and politics, which is totally not the point of learning economics. And it seems likely that I’ve alienated the handful of readers I do have in the process. So I have to live with that.
Hannah Arendt, in the closing pages of The Human Condition, a book which has occupied my mind in a way few other books have, writes that, in the modern age, “contemplation…has become an entirely meaningless experience…Action…is almost exclusively understood in terms of of making and fabricating, only that making, because of its worldiness and inherent indifference to life, was now regarded as but another form of laboring, a more complicated but not a more mysterious function of the life process.” Here I am, making a blog, so that I can enjoy the experience of thinking about it.
What does not seem to be happening is that I am not really engaging in any meaningful discussion. And I’m not sure there is a meaningful discussion to be had. Its a frightening and difficult place to be.
Earlier this week I wrote about the debate between Gerald Friedman, and heterodox economists, versus Paul Krugman, and the orthodox, establishment economists. Since then I’ve thought about that quite a bit – as I have some connections to the heterodox world, and I am now terrified that I have burned whatever bridges may have been open to me in the heterodox world. What a fool I am! My anger has gotten the better of me. I am obstinate in my support of an unpopular candidate, and it will help me not at all it seems. Many of my friends who are supportive of social justice movements generally likely me see me as an arrogant betrayer of ideals. And why should I have any loyalty to Krugman or Hillary Clinton? What have they ever done for me? My conservative friends detest my liberal ideas. So I am left with very little credibility. In theory I could try and work very hard and build up some kind of position for myself, and I suppose that might be worthwhile – but I have not much hope.
What I see ahead is a wilderness for which I am ill prepared. The path that has delivered me to this point closes up behind me. Its very romantic to think that I will bravely fight on and discover some insight from the experience, but it seems much more likely that I will slowly disappear, gradually broken down by the never ending process of labor and consumption that is modern life.