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 Colbert tells like it is: “Let’s just classify belief in the free market as a religion.”

Hint: drag cursor to 4:40

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for help with dislodging the market fetish, whether I’m talking to undergraduates or economists. Some regular Brainstorm contributors have all been expending a ton of energy on recent posts like this one and this one trying to get finance prof “James” to loosen a white-knuckled grip on his Ronald Reagan prayer shawl. Without much success.So this one’s for valiant Brainstorm regular commenters Lucky Jim, drj50, Unemployed Academic, Joe Erwin, George Karnezis, Maria, “me,” “k,” angry, Annie, Henry C. Frick, Amanda Huggenkiss, David Yamada, and the rest. You know who you are.

Tonight we’ll let Colbert take a shot at explaining the relationship between voodoo and the business curriculum.

The relevant portion begins at 4:40; the rest is set-up. Elaborately inserting tongue in cheek, he begins:

“We’re in a bit of an economic pickle here, but one thing we can’t blame is the free market. Systems governed by self interest will always keep us safe–that’s why I’ve never understood traffic lights. Self-interest would obviously keep America’s four-way intersections accident-free. And I’m not the only one who thinks the free market is not to blame here. CLIP: BUSH 43…So there’s no need to start regulating and turn ourselves into Europe. CLIP: SARKOZY: “The idea that markets are always right is a crazy idea.”

With the set-up out of the way, he quotes the DSM IV on diagnosing delusion: “If a belief is accepted by other members of a person’s culture or subculture, it is not a delusion.”

What this means, Colbert explains:

is that our collective cultural belief that the free market will take care of us is not delusional. No, it is actually a religion. …On judgment day, Ronald Reagan will return on a cloud of glory to take us up to money heaven–that’s what I think will happen if we just believe in the “free market” hard enough. And I can’t possibly be deluding myself–when so many others agree with me.



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