Economic and Political Myths

While myths are often associated with some religious beliefs or narratives, like the creation of the universe in seven days, they also operate in other subjects like politics, story-telling, or economics. An example of an economic myth is “trickle-down economics.”

Whatever wealth accrues to corporate or individual billionaires is said to overflow into the hands of everyone, eventually, if not right away. The questions remain: trickle down how much, how widely, and how soon? Evidence so far points not to increasing but diminishing overflow. Economic inequality increases exponentially. Trickle-down overall is not more but less. Water flows over the dam in relatively few spots and with waning force. So the meaning of “trickle-down,” is not literal, but mythological. The myth explores an ideal rather than a fact. It expresses the wish that wealth in necessities and beyond should be distributed generously to everyone. It searches the ideal in terms of direction and methods.

An illustration of a political myth is exemplified in the maxim, “My country over all others,” or in the phrase of the Nazi’s Third Reich, “Deutschland ueber alles.” Conservative or liberal, German, Chinese, or American, the title “greatest nation on earth” is one which cannot be logically attributed to all nations. More accurately, it expresses the wish that every nation be as great as it can, not merely in military or economic terms, but in every respect. Belief within each nation that it towers over all others is a doctrine, however contradictory, which is widely spread by indoctrination, propaganda, and self-deception.

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