Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 08, 2011 ; Fairness and Sharing

There is some question on whether economics is based on fairness or not – most persons would say not.
If economics is based on fairness then it should involve sharing.
This culture handles the subject matter of economics in a way that is not at all obscure. That's because it is blaring out at you as front page news; we do not keep this collective ideology a secret. This is because it is culture. There is a cultural norm, an ideology. Think of culture being something like a shared public property. It is shared: that's why it is "culture". "Sharing" seems (to me) to function as an antonym for “competition.” One cannot be both sharing and competing at the same time. If I own a software company and say, “I am competing with software company z,” then it follows that I am not sharing: the two terms preclude each other, (I guess) in economics.
Of course, it is also possible to say I am sharing, because I am sharing with company z a system of law, a culture, a language – all that. There is so much, all you have to do is think about it. At the same time, it is true that the way the concepts function in the business world, which is kind of like our main culture or the engine of our society, if I were to say to another businessman, “they are my competition,” then the concept, idea or ideology of “competition” arrives, to block or preclude the function that the concept of sharing would have. I have little doubt that the distinction between the words "competition" and "sharing" points to the fact that American society is stuck on the concept of competition all the time. At any rate, “sharing” and “competing” are different and distinct ways of handling that situation/semantic.
What I am saying certainly seems to be so. We have, for many moons, not wanted to talk about sharing or fairness.  It is both a business culture trait and a trait of the general culture to avoid such talk. And culture is always shared, and, as said, the idea of selfishness is a cultural idea to be shared. Since all cultures are shared cultures, etc., selfishness is a shared ideology of America/US, adhering to and functioning within American/US culture. Also this very US/American choice of standard language or trope indicates that maybe --- in some ways maybe we aren’t that fair. OK, so that's true. We nailed that one, at least. So, we mean Americans (or all white people?) don't like the idea of fairness, but, and this is a theme I have been working on for some time, capitalism gets around that. Capitalism in particular -- and what call economics is generally very close to what we call capitalism -- may just be resiliently based on sharing and fairness nevertheless. John Wayne turns over in his grave.
If we are a society that wants to NOT frame itself in terms of fairness, then our usual/normal faux-manly characterization of economics follows right along just like a little puppy dog. We are “competitive” and all of that. Oh. We are all a bunch of macho competitive dorks. OK. We would rather not say anything about sharing or fairness -- thank you. That's what we say about ourselves and that's how we think about ourselves. 
But there is a problem with all of this posturing at "American competitiveness" and so forth, which is that, if we keep pretending we’re such a bunch of tough guys, we’re going to end up as, Um ---- a bunch of dead dorks.

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