Monday, November 11, 2013
An Introductory Critique of Current Economic Philosophy
Originally posted at dpsst25.
Current economic philosophy is rooted in large measure in debates about human nature that took place between Scottish, English, French, and German philosophers between two and three hundred years ago.
Those individuals were echoing debates that have been going on for much longer, debates about whether humans are intrinsically "good" (caring, empathetic, generous, cooperative, altruistic, etc) or "evil" (indifferent, cruel, selfish, greedy, manipulative, etc), and to what degree external circumstances and choice could draw out or strengthen different social qualities.
Whether intentionally or accidentally evolved or imbued by some unseen force, humans have a capacity for various social states and qualities. In adaptive terms, this can be cast a conflict between gene-centric selection (focused on the immediate benefit of the individual) versus group-centric selection (focused on the benefit of individuals as part of a larger social collective).
Contemporary postmodern industrial societies tend to construct their economic perspective on 1) status/wealth as reward, 2) uncertainty of worthiness, 3) scarcity of virtue, 4) abundance of resources, and 5) belief in meritocracy. I'll review these briefly before challenging their effectiveness at creating a just society full of actualized and productive citizens.