Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19th 2012 Economic Theory

     The meaning of “economics” is “society.” One word implies the other.

     The word “economics” implies “society;” or, the word “economics” should imply the word “society.”

     Normally, the word “economics” should imply society. But it doesn't. Something is wrong.

     Interestingly, there may be writers or members of the chattering class who are violently opposed to what is being suggested. But there is a reason for that: in the process of the development of American culture, possibly beginning prior to the American Revolution, the word “society” was expunged from American English. And it was replaced with economics. 
     Here is where all the usual ways of practicing economics unfold. Here is where all the variants of "neo-Classical" economics are most strongly exemplified --- and any other, related or similar projections of economics lore. Behind all of this is a very specific social project --- do not talk about society! As a result, these variants of economics concern themselves with mathematical ways of explaining behavior --- but it is still social behavior that is at issue. Although this is true, and economic behavior -- i.e. capitalism -- is social behavior, economics-as-we-know-it has a simple job. It must work against that fact, in the context of the suppression of that fact. Economics is nothing more than a project to rhetorically bury the knowledge that humans beings are social, by reducing our interpretation of human behavior to one economic, freakonomic model. Consider what this means for a moment. The forward progress of humanity forced humanity to manifest falseness in economic knowledge. That's the price of progress.

Recently, Brooks came out with his book, "the social animal.” This is a restoration of the neglected subject of human sociality or society. He seems to be writing about how we live in a society. Or, how we interact. I don't think it matters whether you call it social animal, or social human. The two just come off a little differently. (It is just that "social animal" looks cooler in quotation marks. According to another "social" writer, Dubos, human means social. These are the variants.) So, finally, we have to turn to the matter of society. It is a no-brainer that a society does exist. And it does not matter whether you like to use the word "society," or, not. You can say "life in general," but you mean living with others of your species.

But we also have something called "economics" and we can see that capitalism spreads out through entire societies, and all use money equally, with less rigid class distinctions. There is no doubt then: capitalism is social. And the American culture, in order the better to become the capitalistic success story that it was until a few years ago, represses that. The most successful capitalist society side-steps all matters of human sociality. Right. We are all just "rugged individuals," if you believe the mainstream literature.

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