So… just how persuasive was Dr. McCloskey in her presentation? Well, was the primary objective here to convince us with little to no resistance? I doubt it, but if this was the case, McCloskey clearly came short. If, on the other hand, the goal was to engage her audience and encourage responses (whether pro or con), then the answer is she was very persuasive. Her final remarks in the form of a rhetorical question pointing towards our possible “hatred” of capitalism suggest that one thing: the proverbial seed was planted, to which even our initial resistance will serve as its irrigation. Think in terms of the dialectic method here.
It is little wonder that few of us would have liked to discuss some of her claims a bit further. Nicole’s and Anne’s blogs (as with this post) are excellent examples.
My takeaway from McCloskey was the “bigger picture” she was selling. The good of “what we unfortunately call capitalism.” One of the questions I would have to ask her concerns the role of resistance to capitalism—however much the result of our hatred: How instrumental has the left been (for all its resistance and endeavors against capitalism) to this apparent accumulation of wealth, particularly in the bettering of the lower classes? What becomes of capitalism without the resistance of the left?
Also, and perhaps most importantly, can we account for the good of capitalism as a stage in the dialectical processed outlined by Marx? In other words, if the path of capitalism, as McCloskey suggests, has been in an ongoing route of improving conditions for the poor, can we infer that capitalism is bound towards an equalizing state? I would not mind spending some time in class discussing McCloskey’s talk.