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Ideological Contrasts in Psychology: Neoliberalism vs. Marxism

Whilst the sound is not the best, the intellectual argument presented by Prof. Mirowski is thought provoking for the psychology student. Will your professional practice philosophy rely on trusting the market (e.g., if you are a private consultant), or trusting the government (e.g., if you are working in the public service)? Something to consider as an emerging professional in Australia. Here's a summary table of Prof. Mirowski's presentation, inclusive of Q & A at the end:

In a nutshell~ Neoliberalism advocates for the market (business and other forms of trade) to determine what is of worth, real change can happen more efficiently. People will vote with their feet/wallet. This requires trust in the market economy to problem-solve rather than the government. However, not all ideas or products in the market are a success. Or, they may not be accessible to all due to pricing. The process encourages competition, which spurs innovation (including social innovation), which can solve many real-world problems. Simultaneously 'leaving it to the market' delivers amazing leisure and pleasurable products and services to those who can afford the originals. Alternatively, there are replicas...sometimes as of quality to rival that on which they are based, at a much lower cost.

Overall, not everyone has access at the one time to all benefits, and for some, they never will. Also, for those providing products and services which see success in the market (i.e., many purchases), there is a lot of money in the form of profits to be made. Though, not all neoliberal supporters will charge an-arm-and-a-leg.

Alternatively, Marxism promotes greater government control over production and delivery of services, so that 'everyone' gets a fair share. The gap between those that can afford certain things and those who cannot is reduced by state imposed regulations (red-tape) about what can and cannot be produced and disseminated. The goal is to reduce poverty by redistributing wealth. Consequently however, is less efficiency and innovation, due to less competition and motivation to excel. Prof Mirowski points out that advocates of either ideology rarely understand the other side's arguments. Also, that neither side pays enough attention to the weaknesses and potential negative consequences of its stance. Markets aren't always reliable, and excessive bureaucratic control can maintain poverty.

Political ideologies inform, to some degree, human behaviour and societal structures. As such, the theories and conceptual frameworks, modalities and techniques, you choose when working with clients, requires deep consideration. Integrity and other ethical decision-making in your professional life requires grappling with complex ideas and their inherent contradictions. Light & Life~ Charmayne

p.s. Professor Philip Mirowski, is an esteemed scholar bearing the title of Carl E. Koch Professor of Economics and Policy Studies and the History and Philosophy of Science at the revered University of Notre Dame. He also holds the distinguished position of Director of the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values.


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