The High Priests of Capitalism


Richard D. Wolff takes some time to describe how traditional intellectuals and economic theorists keep the superstructure mostly clear of those who disagree.

Highly placed economic theorists usually evaluate the system prevailing in their societies very positively and construct celebratory theories about it. Those theorists are the high priests of each system: royalty, clerics, academics, politicians and/or media spokespersons, depending on each system’s particular institutions. They usually insist that their theory is “God’s truth” or “scientifically verified” or meets some other absolute truth criterion. When such high priests even deign to acknowledge alternative economic theories, they usually dismiss them as simplistic, unschooled and/or proofs of evil ulterior motives…

Capitalism’s high priests have been generally more secular than their predecessors. Instead of churches and religions, colleges and universities comprise their institutional framework. Capitalism’s high priests are likely professors, including especially the “mainstream economists.” They justify and rationalize capitalism’s very unequal distributions of wealth and income (and also of power and access to culture). Mainstream economics professors have mostly replicated the efforts of the earlier high priests of slavery and feudalism. Thus the “mastery” of the slave-master and the “lordship” of the feudal lord reappear as the “entrepreneurship” that mainstream economists believe they observe as a contribution to production made exclusively by capitalists. The exclusion of workers from almost all design, initiation, directorial and management functions within capitalist production (and from learning or becoming credentialed in them) keeps fostering such observations.

Source: Economic Theorists: The High Priests of Capitalism

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