The Economic Management Council and the Heavenly Machine

I left this comment on Economics editor Dan O’Brien’s article in today’s Irish Times, titled ‘Economic Management Council so good it should be made permanent’:

Dan O’Brien is correct about the need for technocratic elites unencumbered by structures of democratic accountability.

Decisions that affect millions of people must be concentrated in the hands of as few people as possible.

These supremely intelligent people should not have to explain themselves. Nor should they have to endure the effects of their decisions.

What is more, all such people, by dint of certificates from major universities, and references from people like Dan O’Brien, are above politics, because economics is the point where grubby politics ends and the pure order of scientific perfection begins, and its track record as a critical intellectual discipline is beyond compare.

If the capitalist State is a ‘sprawling behemoth’, as Dan O’Brien describes it, it must be kept under a tight rein by a narrow cadre of experts.

If not, it will fall into the hands of the motley and uneducated hordes, who might start interfering with property rights and profits and collective bargaining and what else have you. Before you know it they might re-organise society on a basis that prioritised public welfare over the health of the financial sector.

The State must be on its guard against people with what the author describes as ‘ulterior political motives’, such as the establishment of a democratic society with universal public services.

In short, the State must not have to endure the ululations of the rabble interrupting the workings of the heavenly machine.

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