Economics & Its Crisis of Philosophy Philo Agora 02 October 2012
Why Economics?• The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist • John Maynard Keynes
Theory & Practice WHOM DOES THE SYSTEM SERVE?IS THISDOINGJUSTICE?
Definition• οἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") from οἶκος (oikos, "house") + νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law")• My favourite: the allocation of limited resources to satisfy unlimited human wants (Paul Samuelson)• The task of philosophy will be to question the definition & nature of economics
The Rhetoric of Allocation• Tradition = f (laws & institutions) – e.g., History & legacy• Command = f (strategy & regulation) – e.g., Taxation & money supply• Market = f (interaction & exchange) – e.g., Price, supply & demand • Martin Heilbroner, The Worldy Philosophers
Might or Right?I’m right. You’re wrong. Not in my backyard.• The modern conservative is • With some notable engaged in one of mans exceptions, businessmen oldest exercises in moral favor free enterprise in philosophy; that is, the general but are opposed to search for a superior moral it when it comes to justification for selfishness. themselves. • John Kenneth Galbraith • Milton Friedman
What “Resources”? (L/K)• Natural/Commons: e.g., lands & minerals• Public: e.g., infrastructure & civil works• Social: e.g., national currency• Labour: e.g., energies & skills• Private: e.g., capital & manufactures• Intellectual: e.g., innovations & inventions• Externalities: i.e. desirable & undesirable
Oversimplification Problem• IT IS NOT SIMPLY CAPITAL AND LABOUR OR CAPITAL VS. LABOUR!• SOME THINGS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE PRIVATIZED OR MONOPOLIZED• GREATER VALUE IS NOT IN EXTRACTION BUT GENERATION• BAD GOVERNANCE: PASSING ON THE COSTS TO SOMEONE ELSE
Satisfaction = To Meet Expectations• What are Your Expectations?• Programming the Citizen as Consumers & Producer• How Are Expectations Formed and Met?• Role of Media & Politics: Whose Interests Are Served?
Unlimited Human Wants?• The Quest for Value: From Survival to Wealth• Accumulation (To Have) VS. Creation (To Be)• The Ease By which It can ALL if not ESSENTIALLY be blamed on GREED or OVERPOPULATION• Although there are no limits to human greed, there are also no limits to potential & possibility: What Is “Fulfilment”?
Rhetoric of Capabilities Approach• the freedom to achieve • Amartya Sen & Martha well-being is of primary Nussbaum moral importance • the assessment of• that freedom to achieve individual well-being; well-being is to be • the evaluation and understood in terms of assessment of social peoples capabilities, arrangements; and i.e., opportunities to do • the design of policies and be what they have and proposals about reason to value social change in society
The Philosophic Crisis of Economics• Principles: The Dogma of Market Allocation vs. the Realpolitik of Market Manipulation• Rights: The Program of Owning VS. Being Owned, That We Have No Rights Other than The Properties We Own, Acquire & Defend• Aspiration: Feeding the Greed to Own while excluding others RATHER THAN to encourage excellence of self & others as “fulfilment”.
The Economic Crisis of Philosophy• Economics Has Neither • Philosophy has Been Challenged nor condemned economics Challenged Itself & therefore man to a Philosophically: struggle for existence:• What is economics? • Consumer-Worker &• What ought it to do? the Other as Rival• What has it given us to • Accumulate & live off hope for? the interest of my investments & hope to be remembered
Consistency/Integrity• Do you see yourself as • We must be the change the change you want to we wish to see. see in the world? • Mohandas K. Gandhi OR• Must “other people” • He who holds the gold comply with “the makes the rules. standards the system • Nicolo Machiavelli sets” whether the system complies with them or not?
Redefining the CrisisThe Crisis Is More This ... Than This ...