June 25, 2012

Zeitgeist vs. Austrians - Intro

A sociological phenomenon has transpired ever since the movie Zeitgeist Addendum came out in late 2008. The movie sparked a movement which took the name Zeitgeist to identify itself. The movement offers solutions as to how we can improve our society and in essence create a stable, peaceful society where no one has to endure unemployment, poverty, hunger and war. This would mean you have to declare all the worlds resources as the common heritage of all people and use the scientific method for social concern. It means you have to share. It's called a "Resource Based Economy."

That was a message that seemingly struck a (nervous) chord with some people. A certain group of people. On YouTube, a popular video and movie watching website, many videos were uploaded directing critique against the message of the Zeitgeist Movement. After the release of Zeitgeist Moving Forward these monodies not only continued but intensified as well. I was quite flabbergasted to see that these people belonging to this group, all basically parroted the same thing. I am talking about supporters of an "Austrian Economy."

Austrian economists are an unusual bunch. While they label themselves as libertarians upon further examination their views are quite extreme and potentially dangerous. (I'll elaborate in future posts.) Basically they want to let the free market reign over society in its purest form. They want to abolish the State so that only 'actors in a free market remain.' 'Austrians' are generally speaking advocates of laissez-faire policies. Most importantly, the whole rationale of human thought lies within the market place in this doctrine.

After some internal deliberation it became quite clear to me why these people confronted the Zeitgeist Movement (of which I'm a member) and the Venus Project so vehemently. A resource based economy and an austrian economy are diametrically opposed. It's like holding a positive and a negative charged magnet close to each other. And seeing how many Austrians came running over to Zeitgeist videos on YouTube more or less like economic versions of Jehovah's Witnesses and telling us how mistaken we were (to put it diplomatically), I wonder who's negatively charged.

"You're a Statist!" "Central planning can not or has ever worked!" "It's the State's fault, they give power to monopolies!" "What about the economic calculation problem?" "This is NOT the free market." All "mantras" from the Austrian School of Economics. Of course Austrians oppose Zeitgeist because the latter wants to do away with the free market. That's something that gives them instant headaches. Maybe even more fascinating is the psychological, sociological and cultural factors that lie beneath this clash of ideologies.

I've had some discussions with 'Austrians' and I think it's time I put it here on my blog and display my thoughts on this matter. There are many matters to discuss and expand on. This here is just an introduction. More to follow.

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