Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why "conspiracy theory" rhetoric is unproductive

I've found Charlie Skelton's Bilderberg coverage a bit overloaded with cutesy anecdotes, but this is a really good point:

In 2008, when George Osborne, as a private individual, hangs out in Corfu with a Russian oligarch (Oleg Deripaska), Nat Rothschild and Peter Mandelson, the British press has a field day with the gossip – Mandelson "dripping poison" about Osborne, and allegations that Osborne was grubbing around for party funds.

But in 2011, when Osborne spends four days, in his official role as chancellor of the exchequer, cooped up with Lord Mandelson, a Russian oligarch (Alexei Mordashov), and the former vice-chairman of Rothschild Europe (Franco Bernabè) – along with the president of the World Bank, the president of the European Central Bank, the Greek minister of finance, the queen of Spain, the chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, the governor of the Belgium National Bank, the chairman of Goldman Sachs International, and the chief executive of Marks and Spencer …

This isn't news.

Exactly. The reason that it does actually make sense to pay attention to these things is that the individuals who attend them are the sort of people who you would be interested in if they were just meeting up to play badminton together. The category error made by both the people who do the larf-o-larf thing about "maybe the Bilderberg group rules the world LOL!" and the people who fixate on it[1] is to think about the group itself, rather than the underlying structure of relationships and institutional power. "The Bilderberg Group" is just an administrative convenience.

[1] Although frankly there is an asymmetry here - I have never actually met or heard of anyone who holds the naive "Bilderberg is the secret world government" view (maybe Alex Jones), while people who use it as a straw man while holding an opposite view just as ridiculous are all over the place. When you think about it, the word "just" in "it's just a dinner club for rich and powerful people" is having to do a hell of a lot of work.
21 comments this item posted by the management 6/17/2011 01:09:00 AM

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