Monday, March 12, 2007
‘The Trap – what happened to our dreams of freedom ’ (BBC2 Sunday nights) is adult TV - and the maker Adam Curtis presents clear challenges to us all in the political world.
Core idea – a paranoid view of selfish individualism is perverting our society and threatening our freedoms. We now have a system that assumes that those who operate in public service are motivated by greed alone, and that we all need a system of incentives and targets and surveillance in order to prevent chaos.
We LibDems say we trust the people – the theories examined so critically by Curtis dismiss the idea of altruism and service and more than imply that people such as ourselves are dangerous and destructive zealots.
Later programmes will deal with the Target Culture espoused by New Labour, so it may make congenial viewing for LibDems- but we cannot be complacent, this programme asks us to look at some of our assumptions too. One of the later remarks in the programme apparently is that
The New discipline of behavioral economics has been studying to see if people really do behave as the simplified model suggests. Their studies show that only two groups in society actually behave in a rational self-interested way in all experimental situations. One is economists themselves, and the other is psychopaths.
The Blairwatch website has synopsis of part 1 and part 2 of the programme up on line.
Guardian comment is here.
By the way, for a look at the ‘Public Choice’ school discussed in the programme there is a more positive lay discussion in Todd Buchholz’s book ‘New Ideas From Dead Economists’. And didn’t Bob Marley have something to say about ‘Dreams of Freedom’?