Group think

28 Aug

I really like economist professor Bill Mitchel what he says makes more sense than most economists

in 1972, social psychologist Irving Janis identified group behaviour with the term ‘Groupthink’, which is a:

… mode of thinking people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action (Janis, 1982: 9).

[Reference: Janis, I.L. (1982) Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes, Second Edition, New York, Houghton Mifflin].

Groupthink drives a sort of ‘mob-rule’ that maintains discipline within the group or community of decision-makers.

These communities develop a dominant culture, which provides its members, with a sense of belonging and joint purpose but also renders them oblivious and hostile to new and superior ways of thinking.
That is the way Groupthink works to pattern behaviour and perpetuate a ruling elite that couldn’t possibly sustain itself, given how damaging the manifestation of its behaviour is to the prosperity of most of us, without co-opting key ‘opponents’ and holding them out as being representative of all of us. such as unions and welfare groups

So the message is that ‘sacrifice’ is required. Workers need to work harder (put in more ‘effort’) rather than work less and enjoy higher incomes through matching real wages growth with productivity growth and stopping the top-end-of-town siphoning the growth gap between wages and productivity growth off for themselves.

They want to suppress a broader understanding of the monetary system and, certainly, do not want the general public to appreciate the capacities that a currency monopoly that most national governments possess have to advance public purpose and welfare.

They know that if we all understood that the unemployment rate, for example, is a policy choice and that a currency-issuing government could virtually immediately eliminate it through clever public sector job creation, then the wage suppression function of mass joblessness would be lost and real wages would have to grow more in line with productivity.

That would deprive the elites of the ‘gold mine’ where they can get workers to put in more “work effort” for less real wages growth – which has the consequence of redistributing the growing pie increasingly towards profits.


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