Easy Read

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It is unlikely that anyone will take a sudden interest in something profound, new, or great. People do not suddenly pivot. It is not likely that a person makes a sudden turn, generates a sudden interest, right at the moment she is confronted with something new. But what if there nevertheless is something that is true, profound or great or new? They may glimpse it. But…

they aren’t interested. Because they are attracted to what is easy. Popularity is not with greatness; what we see is that it is what is easy that we turn to. There are commonalities with the animals. And humans are animals. But you knew that, didn’t you? All right. So, like animals, we follow after the instincts.

Without a substantially instinctual soul… Well~ I tell you.

A human being couldn’t survive. There is no other way; for neither humans nor animals could survive — without an animal soul. To be sometimes guided by instinct is normal. In a lot of what they do, humans are guided by instinct and so, we slip into the easy thing. Even if this is so, there is room for the human side, the human potentiality as it is often called. So, you can make the case that the human has something special —in her potential for creativity.

Thus, in additional to our animal instincts, “human intellectual potential” is the truth. This too is a great thing but it makes little difference. If so, the potential is meaningless. Right. So. Might it be the case that we do not use the potential? Actually, I know a few of these humans. They are not so very creative. (Maybe I am making myself sound as if I am going around with the wrong crowd) I don’t know many exceptions even in the literature I encounter when I read. But maybe philosophers are an exception. Philosophers are not an easy read. They are not staying on the animal level, I wouldn’t say. No. I would not say that. Yet they still only write from their period. They seldom write much that goes beyond reflecting the values of their period. They exist in history, that is to say. They do not transcend that. Surely they reflect their own period. Despite this, I want to make clear that I will admit to some original thinking; not so much as we think, but Hey — original shit happens.

What also happens is a lot of knee-jerk reactions to the situations we find ourselves in. So, too, with the philosopher, who is responding to an overall life situation he or she is immersed within. And most of that is instinctive. She is responding to what she sees right there in front of him/her. Maybe it is the fifteenth century. St. Thomas Aquinas was Christian — big surprise there, huh? Yes, he swallowed that whole motif. I suppose he did. Not that he did not write some good stuff. The philosopher lives in his world, and she is trying to come up with something to say

(Quickly bone up! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas. bleh.)

If the creativity displayed by “creative persons” were total, then, when our creative person writes philosophy, he should provide a set of beliefs, or a religion, to go with. That way there would be a context for what they are saying. Nope. They take for granted the existing religion. Not likely that I would do that. Human behavior is predictable, then, and so, not so dang different from the way animal behavior is predictable. Animals go by instinct; and so wit’ hoomins. Am I just another monkey?

All humans (plus monkeys probably) live in their ((corresponding)) cultures and cultures are none but collections of habits. They live in the environs of a habit collection. Habit collections of a human group are the “ethnicity,” and this also sounds like the “culture.” Culture creates regularity. Artists are considered “creative,” and outside the predictable. So, do they nevertheless act within their cultures? They do, and they express a set of cultural values. Japanese persons don’t do Chinese art.

I am not trying to rule out creativity entirely or saying it is not possible. Now, time to talk about capitalism. I do economics, b.t.w. Capitalism is creative. So, this provides an example of creativity. There is the example! Capitalism manifests as a new organizing system for human life. As it is arising, some, seeing the injustices, think it is only a phase, before human life enters into the “socialist” system. It never happened, but in any case, capitalism emerged as a new organizing system for human life only about 250 to 300 years ago. I really think it is not just a matter of copying something, but rather this may be considered something special. (Although I don’t see it in the way most economists do) Now, capitalism won’t save us alone —it needs to evolve. At some point we need to regulate. For Cryin’ out loud we do.

And we are insane not to do this. The whole thing will collapse in our face. Let us understand this particular fact, though, the fact that, when we describe capitalism, it is legitimate to speak of there being something special — special and unique — never did this take place before. Capitalism therefore is a unique event. Certainly we cannot see a precursor on a large scale. Therefore, it is of supreme cultural significance. And it keeps changing. Not in the ways traditional cultures do. (They did not accelerate.) Maybe that uniqueness surprises us. But that figures — because, as I said, we rarely have new ideas. The big question now. It comes to the following question.

What is “capitalism”? The question has never been answered. Schumpeter, maybe, tried to clarify. Okay, so he comes to mind. Capitalism is progressive, he says in a famous piece — obviously. I would add that it is progressive, unique, and goes through changes as it evolves. The reason we see more negative changes today is we refuse to regulate it. It alters itself every few years. Let’s face it: That’s amazing. (You could call it “pretty good capitalism,” like Deirdre McCloskey does, or you could say just the very opposite.) At this present moment in history it is wrong to believe that this pattern of regular alterations would simply go on.

How could that go on forever? Fucking impossible. You have to be an idiot. The usual cast of idiots, however, exists, and these are the ones who say “no regulation,” which is just idiotic. Why doesn’t somebody challenge them? There are changes that come subsequent to some initial period. We could try to label the initial period as “basic capitalism.” The lack of regulation, however, also is something that cannot be accepted. It must change.

There has to be some intentional control exercised. This needs to happen, eventually. There is at this point no other way to evolve any further. What it means is this: There has to be something in the way of guidance — call it “regulation” or anything else. Governance. Modification. It is a very basic concept. This doesn’t mean the end of capitalism, it means that “self-regulating” is the wrong view, of capitalism’s nature.

But let us go back to the idea that it is amazing. The periodic upheavals and changes happened and they have been taking place regularly, say from 1890 to 1910 or 1920 to 1950. The changes involved are big changes; but I think that also our understanding has to evolve. It must evolve to the point where we can see that there is no “easy” way and a time limit for changes to just happen naturally or by themselves. That will stop happening. Time is running out. And you still believe that the simple changes can take care of themselves?

Once you stop giving “free market” idiots your time, once you cast off the established ideological blockage, perhaps of bit of truth opens up and then you see the place for, and the reasonableness of, the idea of planned, direct human intervention. It is perfectly normal; it is not any big deal. What I am saying in other words is that, once capitalism “launches” (Rostow would say “take-off”), there is an absolute limit to how many subsequent changes can just take place by themselves without moving into a period of intentional guidance. If you do not want this period of intentional controls to come, it doesn’t matter: it is over for capitalism itself. Is this getting through?

I am not in favor of “Revolution.” It is more like I am looking for a second period of guided capitalism that would be next. I am in favor of understanding that. Intentional guidance is necessary. At some point you will need guidance. It’s Okay! The opposite view is wrong.

(October 18–19, 2019)

And capitalism has altered itself even since yesterday perhaps. But fundamental problems need to be resolved and we need to stop thinking the idiot theory of: “it will all just take care of itself, without our needing to do anything beyond a little minimal regulation.” Rather, we need to enter a whole new era — if we do not call it “regulation” we can use many other words: governance, guidance, modification, monitoring, assessment. There are many words available for this. Our problem is our own lack of creativity, our dependence on letting business run everything, letting the rich and powerful always have their way, etc.

And if people do not suddenly pivot then we have a limited amount of time to get ready, learn something about economics, and carefully begin to implement intelligent changes.




I had an original idea. New and foundational: I replace private with public in Economics. Now, you get an ‘Economics’ not totally private. Huh? Read, you fool!

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Jack S

Jack S

I had an original idea. New and foundational: I replace private with public in Economics. Now, you get an ‘Economics’ not totally private. Huh? Read, you fool!

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