On Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, Nick Rowe asks “Why isn’t NGDP targeting a lefty thing?” and asks why the right seems to support it, instead of supporting inflation targeting.
My reply was:
I think you miss the point that from the right’s position, NGDP targeting would require that the government focus its efforts on industrial policy in order to be able to fund redistribution, and therefore cooperate rather than prey on business and industry. This in turn would require we correct our dysfunctional education system that creates uncompetitive workers, and it would reduce class warfare by focusing on specific policy initiatives that would make the nation competitive rather than devolutionary. The right originally abandoned industrial policy because of the collaboration between unions and the state. Now that they see unions as weak and foreign states as a threat, they would prefer to return to industrial policy and very likely, away from free trade – which was just a vehicle for competing against the government-union alliance while the USA had a temporary postwar technological advantage.
Conservatism is the sentiment and subsequent philosophy of inter-temporal group persistence by the concentration of capital in all it’s forms. In the USA conservatism also includes an allegiance to the status quo of classical liberalism, which in itself is a commercial meritocratic philosophy that retains the english system of class cooperation through multiple houses of government. The democratic socialist movement is an attempt by the proletariat and public intellectuals to obtain political and economic power by propagating the mythos of equality in order to undermine the multi-class system of government in which tehy are at a disadvantage compared to the commercial productive classes. But it is nothing more than an appeal to power for the purpose of material gain. Nothing more and nothing less.
While conservatism is more likely to rely on historical metaphor and moral argument because of their inter-temporal content, and the left is more likely to argue for empirical positivism because it specifically lacks that inter-temporal content and replaces that historical view with an absolute faith in the human ability to manage it’s own destiny, that does not mean that conservatism cannot be articulated as a rational philosophy. It simply means, that because it is more complex, it is harder to do so.
But then again, concepts of this depth are usually outside of the understanding of macro economists, and are instead the provenance of political philosophers and historians to whom economic activity is a predictable cycle driven by little more than institutions, military power, trade routes, and population composition.