Saturday, July 30, 2011

Our Unlimited Scientific Understanding

We believe greatly in our unlimited scientific understanding. We believe we understand everything when we actually do not. Neither do our pundit specialists, those socially linked to us, those surrogates, who will rescue the community. On the one hand, we feel that believing in ourselves alone, without the "specialist" on T V , we'd perish but on the other hand it seems that believing too much in ourselves creates another problem (which seems to be related to the first problem).
     We live in a world of economy, or economics, but is there any hope of understanding economics? Even the word "economics" is basically useless. What does it conjure? Vague images of dollar bills and empty, clutching hands, I suppose.
     But may I suggest smething? I would like to suggest that maybe it is not really all that hard to grasp the meaning of the term economics. There is no question about our views in the case where most persons are not able to secure a livelihood (or a job---what we call employment). Since everyone agrees that would be a crisis "economics" simply put is a question of whether basically everybody - "most persons" - i.e. nearly everyone in the social unit (general population, society) - every body can "get money"---so it's as simple when you look at it that way---and "money" here means they get the things they need, like food, housing and so forth. Granted this is a kind of poverty thinking or poverty-oriented economics, but it makes sense (isn't that more "economical?). They need that; this is a need-driven approach, not a number-driven approach. The question of economics then becomes that of whether persons can get what they need. We also note a definite distributional bias. That way, economics isn't so difficult to understand. This formulation makes sense; and it is a very basic definition or demarcation of what "economics" is.
     At present persons do not get what they need from the ground, or from engaging in agricultural labor. This is because things have changed over historical time. So, we do not get it from trees anymore and a person must get his living-stuff from what we call "the economy."
     This is the way it is in our world. (Which, I might have the temerity to add, is the world in which we are defining "economics.")
     An economy can thus be understood as primarily being about distribution. (Not so much production although obviously in a technological society we also must produce.) Another important question is that of who these products are going to (being distributed to)? They are persons----the persons of this world, the people of this or that country----in our age, in the age of globalization.

     Now, I am not blind to how disconcerting this is to the normal science of "economics." It takes the humans, or the populace, i.e. the society, and takes them from their peripheral role, a role grudgingly included under "labor" or "employment" and makes the subject of "them," "the people," central. And yes, I know: nobody of the conservative schools want to hear that.
     This (the person) is the bias of the society. This is the wrong view everyone has, which, in short is about the idea that everything in economics is about numbers. It must be, right? Well why?!! So, here's the view I am presenting: when we talk about economics in our time we mean capitalism, and capitalism means paying attention to people. What it does NOT mean is that (as per Marx) there are two entirely distinct classes and the money/wealth never goes to one of them.

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