Fraser Institute

Influence byond reason – Rerun

People involved with a certain unnamed think tank have been making noises about articles in a certain unnamed blog. They are concerned about that which is politely called “publication of allegedly defamatory expression on the Internet.”

For convenience and to avoid the need for searching through more than 300 articles, I bring forward a piece written in 2009. Information in it was gathered from public sources.

The articles attached to this link discuss, in at least a minor way, one think tank of my acquaintance. The blogs are worth review.

Fraser Institute

Our betters at the Fraser Institute believe in freedom. Not freedom from fear, hunger, ignorance and disease; they want freedom from interference with private holdings of wealth.

They would eliminate or minimize public assets and services, environmental laws, public education, universal healthcare, progressive taxation and approximately all business regulations. They believe in free markets but not free competition.

Growth is a cardinal objective and the benefit of wealth is due, not to its creators, but to those who finance its creation.

Markets are incorruptible gods to be worshiped and obeyed. They shall:

…answer the basic economic questions such as what is to be produced, how it is to be produced, how much is produced, and for whom production is intended.

The Fraser Institute is ideologically bound, unable to consider the possibility of error in their anachronous vision of unregulated capitalism as a system where rational individuals operate veraciously within perfect markets.

In How Did Economists Get It So Wrong, Nobel Laureate Professor Paul Krugman wrote this about sacred markets:

Unfortunately, this romanticized and sanitized vision of the economy led most economists to ignore all the things that can go wrong. They turned a blind eye to the limitations of human rationality that often lead to bubbles and busts; to the problems of institutions that run amok; to the imperfections of markets — especially financial markets — that can cause the economy’s operating system to undergo sudden, unpredictable crashes; and to the dangers created when regulators don’t believe in regulation.

Fraser Institute analysis starts with immutable assumptions so its conclusions are predictable results. If favoured theory does not fit fact, it is not wrong, it is merely inappropriate to that particular situation, due to regulatory interference.

By inflexibility, the Institute is ill-equipped to examine 21st century civilization and advise on political economics. Why? Because, they adulate an unjustified conviction that western civilization must continue along the same track of growth and expansion.

It cannot.

Undeterrable terrorism, resource scarcity and irreversible climate change challenge us in unprecedented ways. In addition, accelerated technological change from quantum computing, genetic engineering, nanotechnology and other applied sciences demand radically new direction of industry and commerce.

The Fraser Institute’s purpose is to preserve the present order, complete with its structural disparities of wealth. Unfortunately, the organization wields powerful political influences that will inhibit flexible responses to unique problems confronting western civilization in the next 50 years.

The Fraser Institute is incapable of assisting in development of new socioeconomic protocols simply because, representing today’s wealthiest corporations and citizens, it is their diehard partisan.

John Maynard Keynes wrote in 1923:

Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task, if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.

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7 replies »

  1. Great commentary, Norman.

    What galls me is that the Fraser Institute is considered a charitable organization. While they do not take a political stand (which would disqualify charitable status), they take an ideological stand on the benefits of unfettered markets that to me approaches 'political', especially considering their influence. Would they raise so much money if donations to their 'institute' were not tax deductible?

    Also, the presence of Fraserites (former FI employees) on the editorial boards of the Vancouver Sun and Calgary and Edmonton daily newspapers ensures a steady stream of pro-free-markets propaganda. The FI's school evaluations are starting to do real damage to the public school system. One teacher I know says she feels it is the Campbell government's agenda to run down public education as much as possible: it creates opportunities for private school operators.


  2. Keep up your honest and diligent commentary Norman. I wish I had your energy.

    The Fraser Institute and its membership have had way to much influence and power, particular for those that already have more than their share of wealth.


  3. Dead on Mr. Farrell. You are too nice. The FI has way too much influence as I see it as well. There is no room for small or medium sized business in their world which is where I fit. “Big” rules and is way better at manipulating politicians to allow profits and jobs to flow out of province and country. The FI should get no more stage time than an opinionated housewife. They tend to forget that it is wage earners that buy, vote and invest as well.


  4. Krugman has a message for people in British Columbia when he warns about:

    the dangers created when regulators don’t believe in regulation.


  5. Another part of the Fraser types is the constant fear mongering around the word 'socialism'.

    These people have become 'rich' in a social society and then downplay it as evil. Misinformation around this in the US is mind boggling. Why anyone has to apologize for any support for the common good is beyond me. It is the individualists who should be apoligising IMO. Greedy bastards.

    Thank you for this Norman, it is time that the Fraser Institute be put under a microscope and hope that the mainstream media begin to do so. I know that Murray Langdon on CFAX always has a guest on his talk show, Neils Vedlhouse (sp?) as if he is some sort of expert on the economy. It really bugs me as I see him as just another shill for the rich.


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