Noah denkt™ -
Project for Philosophical Evaluations of the Economy
The contorsions of a technocratic capitalism
Q&A between Noah denkt™ and its Alter Ego, first drafted on Oct. 24, published on Oct. 28. 2008
Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): Has Noah denkt™ gained any new insights into the current
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): Yes.
AE: And which are they?
Nd: Well, we are shocked by the shock that ex-FED Chairman Greenspan claims to feel vis-a-vis the irresponsible
leveraging that investment banks had allowed to happen in the run up to the credit crunch.
AE Why would you be shocked about that?
Nd: Because we would not have imagined that Chairman Greenspan could truly underestimate the propensity
towards irresponsible greed that seems to be endemic to the financial community. After all, the carelessness with
which money is being allocated in a bull run, had already been visible in the New Economy boom. And so it is
really hard to understand, why anyone of his stature could honestly believe that a similar exuberance would not
AE: Why would it still matter if an ex-FED chief admits to having gotten it wrong in the past?
Nd: Because this ex-FED chief continues to be one of the symbols of a technocratic capitalism. And so it is only
reasonable to presume that even today other free market bureaucrats will still toe his analytical line.
AE. And why would that be a problem?
Nd: Because, if these economic engineers are equally surprised by the current aberrations of the free market,
then you do not have to be a prophet to foresee that their change of heart will eventually lead to another
overshoot now, which will in this case be a regulatory one.
AE: In other words, Noah denkt™ fears that the current credit quake will spark off a regulatory drive which will
make it even more difficult for non-recognized pioneers and mavericks to be heard and acknowledged by the
Nd: Exactly. After all, it is even today excruciatingly difficult for these free thinker to get their message evaluated.
And so it is only logical to believe that their prospects will deteriorate further once the establishment apparatchiks
define the operating standards more.
AE: And why is that?
Nd: This is because career technocrats are too entrenched in the established and conventional wisdom of today
that they could now still adequately anticipate that of tomorrow. Or to put it differently, these guys are proud to be
system insiders. And so they will have the hardest time to understand those, who have to be outsiders in order to
develop the breakthrough concepts of the future.
AE: But isn’t it better to err on the safe side than letting freedom run amuck?
Nd: Well, the ugly truth is that it is particularly the financing of the post-modern welfare state which needs a
continuous flow of mind-boggling innovation most. And so it is questionable whether a mushroomed government
will be able to serve this need well.
AE: But have not our market economies demonstrated that they can be sufficiently innovative irrespective of how
open-minded the surrounding cultural frame-work is?
Nd. Well, what you can say is that free but over-regulated economies have been pretty good in churning out so-
called “continuous innovations”, i.e. innovations that improve an already existing product or technology. But the
fact of the matter is that we will also need so-called “disruptive”, i.e. ground-breaking innovations, if we want to
adequately finance tomorrows lavish pension schemes.
AE: So Noah denkt™ continuous to be in favor of less rather than more regulation?
Nd: Look, there is nothing wrong with a little regulation here and there. What is wrong though is to throw the
bucket out with the water. After all it is not the free market as such that has created the present mess. But much
rather is it the absence of a true moral leadership that is the cause of the current aberrations. Because too half-
hearted and cowardly has the present interpretation of capitalism been that you could now still hope to minimize
its distortions with that.
AE: So what is needed then to pacify this capitalism?
Nd: What we really need in particular from our capitalist leaders is a true and honest embracing of the risk and
pain that the idea of freedom necessarily implies. After all, it is one of the main misconceptions of technocratic
capitalists to believe that you can have continuous growth without having to expect a near self-destructive, i.e.
near intolerable sacrifice from oneself. In other words, if we truly want this capitalism to provide sustainable growth
we can not leave it to others to provide the ground-breaking innovations that such tremendous prosperity
generation needs but we, personally, have to turn ourselves into these independent pioneers and mavericks that
create cataclysmic change.
AE: And that is not expecting too much of your average human being, i.e. an executive leader?
Nd: Well, if that is expecting too much, then the whole concept of freedom needs to be put on the block. After all,
no one ever said that freedom and independence are a conformist and pain-free career exercise.
AE: In other words, Noah denkt™ is yet again arguing in favor of a more existentialist type of capitalism, i.e. one
that accepts that human beings have to voluntarily go to martyr-like extremes in order to find their personal
AE: Jeez, if that message will ever get heard, I will give up being your Alter Ego!
Nd: Well, that’ll be the day, and let’s hope for it.
AE: So help us God.
Nd: Yes, so help us God.
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