The Age of Democracy
1 day ago
House is the most rational person in the world; House is a complete drug addict. These two statements are not a contradiction within the parameters of the show. House is a calculating, self-interested, rational utility maximizer par excellence. His utility is pleasure and his pleasure is avoiding pain... and of course getting more pleasure. He is Bentham's man; he is John Stuart Mill's homo-economicus; he is a neo-liberal fantasy in the flesh. House is not a complete human being by any stretch of the imagination and yet this is the human being idealized by rational choice theorists.Clearly, this is meant to be a light-hearted post. I get that. And I don't have any against Yadav. I usually find his posts to be interesting and insightful. What follows is most decidedly not intended to be a criticism of him, but of the view he expresses here -- which I think is shared by many. I'm simply using this post as an impetus to beat a horse that, to my continued dismay, seems to still have some life left in it.
Yet, this also points me to the biggest problem I have with this article: the intellectual strait-jacket it imposes that forces us to see world politics as a zero-sum game.
So, if we believe that China is catching up, then [according to Beckley], mercantilism is the only answer. This neither reflects the conventional wisdom nor prudent policy advice. China “catching up” does not equal China “taking over the world” nor does it equate a future world where Americans can expect to be catering to their Chinese overlords. This may be the view of some alarmists but mainstream analysts can think of many good reasons to maintain a liberal international economic policy even if China is catching up.