3 thoughts on “Communitarianism: the art of passing off trivial clichés as profound wisdoms”

  1. Posted 14/02/2020 at 10:13 | Permalink

    A nicely argued piece that deftly skewers its target. I think you miss one of the key claims of Communitarianism though. Liberal economics shows us how to be the richest we can be, and, as you rightly point out, that is simply one choice we can make, either as a nation or an individual. The argument the Communitarians make however is that if some or most pursue the maximise wealth, economic route, the rest have to as well. They would cite the impact on house prices in London of lots of Welsh go-getters moving there perhaps, or the cost of vacations during school holidays – the pursuit of wealth above all else by some pushes up the prices of scare resources for all. I am unsure whether to see this as essentially middle-class bleating over lost position and privilege or a real problem. Perhaps at root the is some truth to the idea that if some people pursue wealth relentlessly, we are all forced to pursue it to some degree?

  2. Posted 14/02/2020 at 12:43 | Permalink

    “If you value the community spirit of a small town in rural Wales more highly than the job prospects of the English Southeast, or if you value the collegiality of your current workplace more highly than the better pay you could earn elsewhere, or if you turn down a promotion because you would rather spend more time with your family – that’s great. There’s not a single economist in the world, liberal or otherwise, who would tell you that you are doing anything wrong. (And even if there were, why would you care about some random person’s opinion?) ”

    That’s a bit astonishing, given the last few years of economists waterboarding those who favour controls on immigration in the hopes of preserving tight-knit communities. If you favour that then liberal economists would scream at you for supposedly reducing the economic growth trajectory by a tiny amount that, never being experienced is never missed. And if you don’t live your life according to the opinions of some random person with accreditation then you are a sub-human Neanderthal knuckle-dragger who doesn’t believe in experts.

  3. Posted 04/03/2020 at 18:00 | Permalink

    I suspect if you tell a ‘communitarian’ that you voted for Brexit, many of them would instantly respond with “But that will reduce GDP by 0.8%pa, why would anyone want to do that?”

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