Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Role of Ideology in Market Reform

I contend that the market is a creation of the mind. We know this because the human mind is the only thing that directly interfaces with the market.

There are a large number of objects that indirectly affect the market. Likewise, there are many things are indirectly affected by the market. The driving force behind the market, however, is the human mind.

The indirect forces are quite strong. Physical needs force people to engage in the market. Conversely, the market motivates people to take actions in the physical world. It is also notable that people tend to keep physical tokens including metal coins, pieces of paper or even splotches of electrons on computer discs to keep track of their position in the market.

The value of these tokens is not inherent in the token, but assigned to the tokens through a collective bargaining process that originates in our minds.

Considering that the market is a product of the mind; then the ideas we have about the market are paramount. It is through the market that our minds shape the reality around us.

People use the term "ideology" to refer to a collection of ideas.

Pundits love to give names to ideologies. However, there is an infinite number of ideas, meaning that there is an infinite number of possible ideologies.

There is a subtle point to be made here. If the market is a product of a collection of ideas, then, pretty much by definition, there is an ideology that rules the market at any given moment.

The ideas that rule the market change on a frequent basis. For example, in 2007, people thought mortgaged backed securities re-insured by the Government Sponsored Enterprise FreddieMac were a sound investment. That changed in the mortgage mess of 2008.

At any given time, you will find the market being ruled by a different mix of ideas (ideology). The mix of ideas that exist at any time transcends all of the named ideologies. The collection of ideas that rule the market at any given moment is transcendent and changing. This collection of ideas is an ideology, none the less.

So, if my contention that the market is a collective product of our minds, then the market at any moment entails a collection of ideas. A collection of ideas is called an "ideology."

This means that, no matter how we mince the debate about reform, the debate will involve discussions of ideologies.

As I write, there is a great deal of concern about market reform. To have successful market reform, we must be able to talk about different ideologies.

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