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Questioning vague notions of relative importance

~atp~

TRIBE Member
(Another partially-drunken rant...my apologies)

Economic theory is like having a pleasant discussion about rape: it takes a lot of effort to get past the awkward realities and move on to the mechanics of the activity.


I took a theory on Economics once, but at that time, I was still convinced that monetary policies could prove beneficial to humankind's welfare on this planet and that the Conservative party actually had some good ideas.

Now, I don't feel that the Conservatives or the Liberals exhibit much in the way of intelligent thought. And I'm not really so sure about the NDP either. But let me get back to my main point: economics and rape.


Right, so the subject of this thread needs some explaining: I spend too much of my time wondering why certain things are important. Like Economics. Which inevitably gets me thinking about what Economics really is. Sure, I sat through an Economics course and learned about fiscal and monetary policy and how they can direct the supply and demand curve, but really, what the fuck does it mean? I'm not trying to get philosophical here, I just want to know why I should care about it, that's all. The expected answer here, from all of you who subscribe to The Economist is: "because your welfare depends on it".

Which is really just a blanket response that gets us nowhere, conducive to the kind of regurgitations that too many of us tolerate from George Bush et al.

When analysts speak so importantly of "the Economy" are we talking about something that encourages activities which make us, the citizens of "the Economy", more content? While there are intricate subtleties within an "Economy" that can have both positive and negative influences on a population, does a "positive Economy" suggest an improvement in the welfare of the citizenry? No, I don't think it does. The status of an economy does not necessarily correlate with the welfare of its citizens. Which brings me back to rape: "Economics" has been stripped, utterly, of its humanistic underpinnings. Economics is based solely on human welfare, yet the theory of Economics is purely scientific and has lost any "moral" importance. I think this is an enormous tragedy. Shouldn't our economic system reflect those aspects of our humanity that we consider to be moral? Shouldn't our economic system reflect, explicitly, those things which are conducive to community, sharing, and other unfortunate cliches?


Why is optimality within our Economy measured by factors that do not account for effort, generosity or community? Why is it measured (and thus inferred) by GDP (national income)?? This is such a false aggregate. Our economic standards in particular rely on notions which are at their core absolutely selfish. "Success" is measured by net worth, not by net generosity. Ok fine, the obvious question here is "how do you define something so vague as 'generosity'?"


Which leaves me here:

http://www.parecon.org/

This site is well-worth exploring. In fact, to gather 3rd-party information on the subject, do a google search on it.


Hmm, I'm not quite certain where I wanted to terminate this little hop along the axon trail, but I will say this: please don't bother bringing up the whole "communism has been proven wrong" debate, or "capitalism is the only natural economic mechanism" argument. That's old. It's fallacious. It makes you look STOOOPID. mmmkay?

What the hell is Communism anyway? Why do people hate it so much? Do the negative associations with the Cold war and Stalin necessarily correlate with the ideals that Marx proposed?
 

Spinsah

TRIBE Member
i could write so much about this topic, as economics, the enviroment and marx have been really my steez as of late.

i suppose a starting point then is, the concept of ecnomics as a total system, when really it is subsumed under the broader system of communication.

where did economics and ecology diverge? i think we need to go back to aristotle then trace the impact of the bible through to hobbes then smith to chart the emergence of the neo-classical school.

i got sort my brain and out post more later.
 

Gunark

TRIBE Member
One of my profs last semester kept using economics (along with astrology) as an example of a pseudoscience. A whole lot of circular theorizing and very little real predictive power. I don't know if I agree with him, but I thought I'd throw it in for discussion.

"Psuedoscience", by the way, is just a nice way of saying "mental masturbation". :)
 

docta seuss

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by ~atp~

What the hell is Communism anyway? Why do people hate it so much? Do the negative associations with the Cold war and Stalin necessarily correlate with the ideals that Marx proposed?
perhaps the ideals proposed by marx are noble, but has communism worked in practice thus far?
people tend to mistrust things that have led to suffering, hence they mistrust communism. (although i suppose you'd wonder why they don't mistrust capitalism equally)

ignorance is definitely at the root of it, as it is with the vast majority of problems. you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) by the number of people who haven't the slightest clue who marx was..

most people associate the word, "communism" with stalin, KGB, cold war, mao tse tung, vietnam war, korean war, tiananmen square, tibet, expansionistic war-mongering, state controlled media, oppression, human rights violations, lies and deceit, etc, etc.

they don't know, or care to know the philosophy behind it all, because what they do know, ie. what they see on their tv's, has never been very pretty.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Questioning vague notions of relative importance

Originally posted by docta seuss
perhaps the ideals proposed by marx are noble, but has communism worked in practice thus far?
people tend to mistrust things that have led to suffering, hence they mistrust communism. (although i suppose you'd wonder why they don't mistrust capitalism equally)

ignorance is definitely at the root of it, as it is with the vast majority of problems. you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) by the number of people who haven't the slightest clue who marx was..

most people associate the word, "communism" with stalin, KGB, cold war, mao tse tung, vietnam war, korean war, tiananmen square, tibet, expansionistic war-mongering, state controlled media, oppression, human rights violations, lies and deceit, etc, etc.

they don't know, or care to know the philosophy behind it all, because what they do know, ie. what they see on their tv's, has never been very pretty.
But where have we actually seen communism exercised? Don't tell me "communist" Russia was actually a "communist" country, according to Marx's ideals. What you saw was Stalinism.

Further, some would argue that ok, ok, so Russia wasn't Communist. But it was on a path toward Communism, and as proven by Russia's example, it's an impassable route!! But is there only one way to Communism? In fact, what kind of MORON would actually reduce the problem of "Economy" to two models: "Communism" vs. "Capitalism"? ...oh wait, the United States did that when they declared war on Communism.

That's a great idea. Declaring war on an idea. It gives you the ability to declare war on anything, because an idea manifests itself in many ways. Oh, look over there, I see a communist!! All people know is that "Communism" is bad, therefore, we must eliminate it because it threatens our "democratic" way of life. HAHA!


But wait. This thread is NOT about Communism. As I said, you'd have to be a MORON to reduce the science of Economics (remember, rape) to something so utterly simplistic as "Capitalism" vs. "Communism".


In the shadow of the collapse of Communism, and very far from the public eye, a debate over what is a desirable economy has rekindled among a few who cannot convince themselves that human beings are not deserving and capable of better than capitalism. In the past decade a small torrent of books, articles, and symposiums have been published. Conferences of academics and activists have hosted the debate on panels in numerous cities. And the debate erupts periodically on a number of forums sprinkled over the Internet. As defenders of central planning fade into the dust bin of history, anti-capitalists have divided into two camps proponents of some version of market socialism versus proponents of some kind of democratic planning. One model of democratic planning, that we call “participatory economics” has received considerable attention, and by now a great deal of criticism from the market socialist camp. The defining institutions of a participatory economy are: 1) democratic councils and federations of workers and consumers, 2) job complexes balanced for desirability and empowerment, 3) remuneration according to effort or personal sacrifice, and 5) allocation or coordination by means of a social, iterative, decentralized planning procedure we call “participatory planning.” A participatory economy is a non-hierarchical, non-market economy in which worker and consumer councils propose and revise their own activities through a procedure designed to achieve both equity and efficiency. We take this opportunity to clarify misconceptions about our model and defend participatory economics against the most common criticisms.
The rest is here.
 
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OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by ~atp~
Economic theory is like having a pleasant discussion about rape: it takes a lot of effort to get past the awkward realities and move on to the mechanics of the activity.

I took a theory on Economics once, but at that time, I was still convinced that monetary policies could prove beneficial to humankind's welfare on this planet and that the Conservative party actually had some good ideas.

Now, I don't feel that the Conservatives or the Liberals exhibit much in the way of intelligent thought. And I'm not really so sure about the NDP either. But let me get back to my main point: economics and rape.


Right, so the subject of this thread needs some explaining: I spend too much of my time wondering why certain things are important. Like Economics. Which inevitably gets me thinking about what Economics really is. Sure, I sat through an Economics course and learned about fiscal and monetary policy and how they can direct the supply and demand curve, but really, what the fuck does it mean? I'm not trying to get philosophical here, I just want to know why I should care about it, that's all. The expected answer here, from all of you who subscribe to The Economist is: "because your welfare depends on it".
I think you're giving 'economics' a definition that's slightly too narrow to evoke it's true meaning. If you lived in a community where everyone "loved" each other, and you had your own currency, and prospered freely there would still be the basic economic principles at work. I think what you're so discouraged by is the manipulation of the economy to bring about certain results that benifit the few (supply), and how those results are then fed to the massses (demand) as being good or bad with little consideration of how good or bad the effect on the masses they really are. It's like anything else.. it's enough to make you extremely frustrated at the way the system works because in many cases you have to play by similar rules of skewed semantics & bent facts to get anywhere.

Originally posted by ~atp~
When analysts speak so importantly of "the Economy" are we talking about something that encourages activities which make us, the citizens of "the Economy", more content? While there are intricate subtleties within an "Economy" that can have both positive and negative influences on a population, does a "positive Economy" suggest an improvement in the welfare of the citizenry? No, I don't think it does. The status of an economy does not necessarily correlate with the welfare of its citizens. Which brings me back to rape: "Economics" has been stripped, utterly, of its humanistic underpinnings. Economics is based solely on human welfare, yet the theory of Economics is purely scientific and has lost any "moral" importance. I think this is an enormous tragedy. Shouldn't our economic system reflect those aspects of our humanity that we consider to be moral? Shouldn't our economic system reflect, explicitly, those things which are conducive to community, sharing, and other unfortunate cliches?
I think the reason why economics seem so detached from the masses it effects is due to a few reasons. First, little of the effect of what the masses or citizenry are capable of on the market is reported, or identified as just that. Market discipline is a scary thing to the investor, and so any type of momentum that may indicate a trend of revolt on the end-user or consumer end is ALWAYS downplayed. Conversely, market discipline is always the scapegoat when explaining the adverse effects of the economy on the masses -further alienating them from it. Secondly, those who speak so highly of economic welfare are usually those we see with the capability to manipulate it, again alienating the average person from feeling they can contrinbute or even benifit from it's health & welfare -we see it as an old white guy's game where any attempt on our part to enter will be a journey where we're destined to lose.


Originally posted by ~atp~

Hmm, I'm not quite certain where I wanted to terminate this little hop along the axon trail, but I will say this: please don't bother bringing up the whole "communism has been proven wrong" debate, or "capitalism is the only natural economic mechanism" argument. That's old. It's fallacious. It makes you look STOOOPID. mmmkay?

What the hell is Communism anyway? Why do people hate it so much? Do the negative associations with the Cold war and Stalin necessarily correlate with the ideals that Marx proposed?
As far as communism goes, it had an achilles heel in the sense that it's economic structure wasn't designed to compete with the organized greed that's inherent in capitalism, unless, that is, it corrupted itself and broke it's own rules. I'm not saying that communism's only corruptive streak stemmed from the need to compete against certain capitalistic pressures, but the competition with capitalistic growth created a greater incentive for corruptive measures to manifest within the social structures of communism. The lynchpin eventually was a significant factor in bringing about about it's downfall as it eventually mired itself in so much debt that it's inherently static economy could not compensate for or fix.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Gunark
One of my profs last semester kept using economics (along with astrology) as an example of a pseudoscience. A whole lot of circular theorizing and very little real predictive power. I don't know if I agree with him, but I thought I'd throw it in for discussion.

"Psuedoscience", by the way, is just a nice way of saying "mental masturbation". :)
Probably becuase science is bound by rules that are man made, and economic rules are only as solid as the support they have in upholding them. Since economic rules are pliable, and for the most part do not take into account human nature, they are not rules per se, but more along the lines of guidelines.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Questioning vague notions of relative importance

Originally posted by docta seuss
perhaps the ideals proposed by marx are noble, but has communism worked in practice thus far?
people tend to mistrust things that have led to suffering, hence they mistrust communism. (although i suppose you'd wonder why they don't mistrust capitalism equally)

ignorance is definitely at the root of it, as it is with the vast majority of problems. you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) by the number of people who haven't the slightest clue who marx was..

most people associate the word, "communism" with stalin, KGB, cold war, mao tse tung, vietnam war, korean war, tiananmen square, tibet, expansionistic war-mongering, state controlled media, oppression, human rights violations, lies and deceit, etc, etc.

they don't know, or care to know the philosophy behind it all, because what they do know, ie. what they see on their tv's, has never been very pretty.
I think this is a sad reality.. the misnomer the word "communism" has become really leaves no alternative but to abandon it altogether. The same can be said for democracy, since the "greatest democracy" on our planet is somewhat quite different from the original democratic principles that it's supposed to be bound to. We can see this best with it's adminsitration of foreign policy. The conclusion this leads us to is that a political manifesto in practice eventually mutates and becomes unrecognizable in terms of it's original principles. Since this is an inevitability, it must be considered when creating the original policies behind the binding principles. This is where it's real strength lies.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Quick answer:

Economics is the science of scarcity, in other words, the study of how a finite set of resources are distributed among individuals. Since "resources" such as love, generosity, and community are not finite they do not fall under the discipline of economics.
 
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~atp~

TRIBE Member
Re: Quick answer:

Originally posted by AdRiaN
Economics is the science of scarcity, in other words, the study of how a finite set of resources are distributed among individuals. Since "resources" such as love, generosity, and community are not finite they do not fall under the discipline of economics.
But the implicit assumption here is that the distribution of resources improves welfare, right? So, one might argue, why study "human welfare" when we can study scarcity (aka limited resource distribution) which is a far more tangible concept...

I want to say more, but not now. I must go back to work and screw the little people in this world. ;)
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Re: Quick answer:

Originally posted by ~atp~
But the implicit assumption here is that the distribution of resources improves welfare, right?
Welfare is essentially the utility (ie., satisfaction) an individual receives from engaging in economic activity. This does not implicity suggest that people cannot get satisfaction from other types of activity, and it does not make any judgement about the relative importance of economic welfare versus non-economic welfare.

If anyone suggests that a bigger GDP = more happiness, they are making a personal judgement, but you cannot blame the discipline of economics itself. In other words, we do not expect psychology to cover economics, so why do we expect economics to cover psychology?
 

Jazz

TRIBE Member
both classical and neo-classical schools of economics put homo economicus (aka economic man) at the heart of economic theory... man is portrayed as nothing more than a walking set of insatiable material desires that lead him to be completely self interested... and that man's primary motivation in life is to fulfill those selfish desires...

this theory is great at validating capitalism as the only economic model that could possibly work, unfortunately the theory is a load of crap... humans are first and foremost a social animal, our most primary needs are that of social relationships - family, friends, community... by ignoring this truth capitalist economic theory fails from their own starting point...
 

docta seuss

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Re: Questioning vague notions of relative importance

Originally posted by ~atp~
But where have we actually seen communism exercised? Don't tell me "communist" Russia was actually a "communist" country, according to Marx's ideals. What you saw was Stalinism.
we haven't, but i was commenting on why many people are fearful of communism. they are told, "this is communism", and they don't question it.
i definitely agree with you, we've never seen true communism exercised.

Originally posted by ~atp~

Further, some would argue that ok, ok, so Russia wasn't Communist. But it was on a path toward Communism, and as proven by Russia's example, it's an impassable route!! But is there only one way to Communism?
that's the question, isn't it.

who can say, but thus far, all attempts at travelling this path have ended rather disastrously.

(granted, there has been little variation in the paths used, but i know i'd be hesitant to try another run at it)
 
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AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Jazz
humans are first and foremost a social animal, our most primary needs are that of social relationships - family, friends, community...
And why do humans need social relationships? For survival ... in other words, a selfish desire for self-preservation. Humans are evolutionarily hard-wired to develop the bonds of family, friends, and community because from our earliest beginnings these relationships allowed us to fend off danger and keep our bellies full. No individual could afford to go it alone.

If you don't believe that self-preservation is the primary motivation, then I am curious to hear your explanation.
 
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~atp~

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by AdRiaN
And why do humans need social relationships? For survival ... in other words, a selfish desire for self-preservation. Humans are evolutionarily hard-wired to develop the bonds of family, friends, and community because from our earliest beginnings these relationships allowed us to fend off danger and keep our bellies full. No individual could afford to go it alone.

If you don't believe that self-preservation is the primary motivation, then I am curious to hear your explanation.

Allow me to entertain this a bit...from first principles, from the ground up.


Your suggestion that self-preservation is the primary motivator is near the mark, but it isn't quite correct. Evolutionary theory is fragmented into the following possible ideologies:

1) Preservation of the individual.
2) Preservation of the group.
3) Preservation of the gene.

Each of these merit a very long explanation and all three have an excellent scientific basis for explaining observed trends. However, I subscribe to the third case: preservation of the gene. Basically (and you can read R. Dawkins for more) preservation of the gene means that the decision which maximizes the odds of that particular gene's survival is the route that is most likely to be followed. Now, don't get me wrong, genes don't "consciously" make decisions, this is simply a statement about mathematics and probability. I subscribe to this particular theory of evolution, and for more information it would be very worth your while to read "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins.


Now, having said that, let's move up one level to this whole concept of Economics. As Otis mentioned earlier (thanks for pointing that out), Economics is a congenital property of any civilization. It exists implicitly, since in order to survive as a species, we must have access to resources in order to maintain a state of well-being.


Before I go further, let me define Economics this way: The scientific study of the choices made by individuals and societies in regard to the alternative uses of scarce resources which are employed to satisfy wants..

There's a reason it is defined this way. The study of Economics, as I've mentioned, exists because humans need access to resources in order to sustain their welfare (physical/psychological health). If everyone's desires (physical and psychological) were satisfied without engaging in any activity related to the production or consumption of any resources, then the term Economics would not need to exist.
So, ultimately, if individuals in a society are in a state of optimum welfare without engaging in any production or consumption, then there is no Economy; there is no trade, there is no consumption, there is no need to measure the scarcity of any resources. Of course this situation is pure fantasy, but I'm spelling out the dependency here: human welfare.


So here's the catch. Remember the definition? It is the study of the choices we make in regard to the use of scarce resources. Great, but what's the objective? I mean, as a scientist, it's neat to observe, but eventually you want to find out what the subject under study is trying to achieve right?

The objective should be clear: to maximize human welfare. Current models make the enormous error that this process can be achieved by measuring supply and demand of scarce resources and letting the "free market" relax into a "natural" equilibrium; what's key here, is that the system is based on physical/tangible resources. Why the hell should the economist worry about the emotional well-being of an individual? Isn't the objective to simply manage scarce resources? No and no. Here's why:

Suppose I'm a factory worker. I go in to work and I put in 8 hours. What have I done while at work? I've probably contributed some production value to the Economy by fitting tires on the wheel at the assembly line, right? I've produced this thing because there is demand for the product, and thus my job is to contribute toward its supply.

Here's the key: what other things have been produced while I was at work? What about my psychological and physical state? (Let me abbreviate psychological/physical state to PP state). I was in a certain PP state before clocking in. I left for the day in a different PP state. Isn't my PP state an important (and quite possibly) critical part of my welfare? Isn't my PP state defined by my actions throughout my life? Don't I spend a lot of my lifetime contributing to an Economic model which does not account for (or care for) the PP state of any individual? Why do we place so much trade value on the tangible items I produced on the assembly line, and none at all on my PP state? Why is my well-being not valued at all???

You might say: well, these things are just intangible. They can't be measured and they're purely subjective. How can you allocate supply and demand for something as ambiguous as psychological needs? These are good questions, but they are also representative of the huge defficiencies in our current Economic system.

Another refutation of this is the old (and rather silly) argument that satisfying consumer demands improves human welfare. This is not true, examples of this are easily seen (I hope!).


So where does that leave us? http://www.parecon.org/

:)
 

Spinsah

TRIBE Member
Re: Quick answer:

Originally posted by AdRiaN
Economics is the science of scarcity, in other words, the study of how a finite set of resources are distributed among individuals. Since "resources" such as love, generosity, and community are not finite they do not fall under the discipline of economics.
what about information?

is it a finite resource?
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Quick answer:

Originally posted by Spinsah
what about information?

is it a finite resource?
Most large service providers would have you think it is. One of the most disconcerting movements of our time is the privatization and the subsequent eradication of digital democracy.

One of the most beautiful things about the electronic age is that the information-sharing enabled by Internet technologies knows no cultural boundaries; there are some subtleties I am ignoring (like ISP BGP routing wars), however what has emerged is, essentially, the free exchange of information, a huge ENABLING technology, as opposed to those that strap us down (need I name a few?).

Anyway, the reason the Internet exists the way it does today is solely due to OPEN PROTOCOLS such as TCP/IP, ARP, Ethernet, etc.

Are you aware of the move toward removing these open protocols with "closed" or "proprietary" protocols? While this has already occured within routers, for example, many ISPs would like to implement proprietary technologies and differentiated service to control what you see. So instead of delivering data indiscriminately, the service provider will discriminate the information based on various criteria, including how much you are paying them for the service. This is not democratic.

And before you tell me that "hey, they're a private company, they can do what they want!" why don't you hold yourself in check and tell me that it's ok to differentiate the kind of education you receive as a child, based on your wealth.




....this is a bit of a digression from the thread subject though. ;)

Check this out:

We know, as progressive people, Roemer aside, that we do not want to pay people more because they own some piece of capital. We do not believe humans should be ranked by how many pieces of gilded paper they have in their pockets. We don’t want this differentiation to even exist. Because this idiotic way of rewarding people without reference to anything they have done or are doing is grotesque, But what about rewarding contribution to output?

Well, rewarding contribution to output rewards social luck (whether you are in a productive workplace and able to contribute more to output or not), genetic endowment (as in the cane cutters and problem solvers), schooling (as in someone who learns productive skills versus someone who doesn’t), and effort (as in working hard or loafing).

So if we take these aspects of rewarding contribution each in turn, first, why should we reward social luck in economic activity? There is no incentive effect (we can’t improve our luck in response to the incentive of higher pay if we are even luckier). There is no moral justification for it. Second, why should we reward luck in the genetic lottery? A person gets groovy genes, so we pay them more to boot? Where is the morality in that? And, again, there is no incentive effect, we cannot alter our genes in pursuit of higher pay. Third, why should we reward schooling? Think about it. Again, there is no moral reason to pay someone more because they have learned something useful (except, of course, in proportion to the sacrifice and effort that went into the learning, which is usually rather low compared to what goes into work). Yes, we can go to school to learn more to get higher wages, but, are higher wages needed to get us to school? You don’t have to pay a lot in their later jobs to entice people to go to school now. No, the only issue is effort and sacrifice and that is what a good economy ought to allocate income in proportion to, and it is the aspect of schooling that ought to be rewarded as well.
 

man_slut

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by ~atp~
Here's the key: what other things have been produced while I was at work? What about my psychological and physical state? (Let me abbreviate psychological/physical state to PP state). I was in a certain PP state before clocking in. I left for the day in a different PP state. Isn't my PP state an important (and quite possibly) critical part of my welfare? Isn't my PP state defined by my actions throughout my life? Don't I spend a lot of my lifetime contributing to an Economic model which does not account for (or care for) the PP state of any individual? Why do we place so much trade value on the tangible items I produced on the assembly line, and none at all on my PP state? Why is my well-being not valued at all???
I would say economics on a macro level isn't concerned about "PP". But on a micro level there are some corporations that are considering employee psychological and physical states. They provide benefit plans in order to satify an employee's PP state. I'm sure there are a lot of other examples of which I don't have time to investigate.
 
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~atp~

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by man_slut
I would say economics on a macro level isn't concerned about "PP". But on a micro level there are some corporations that are considering employee psychological and physical states. They provide benefit plans in order to satify an employee's PP state. I'm sure there are a lot of other examples of which I don't have time to investigate.
You're just treating a symptom though. It's like wrapping a bandaid around necrotic tissue.


By the way, bambam, that site looks interesting and well thought out. I'll read through some of it. Thanks.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by ~atp~
Why do we place so much trade value on the tangible items I produced on the assembly line, and none at all on my PP state? Why is my well-being not valued at all???
There is no inherent economic value to your PP state ... but that does not mean your PP state has no value at all, and it does not mean your PP state cannot affect economic activity. I'm still having trouble understanding why people expect economics to be an all-encompassing discipline. Do we criticize scientists for ignoring economic implications in their research? No. So why do we expect economists to be scientists or psychologists?
 
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~atp~

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by man_slut
Sorry can you expand on that?

The current system does not (in fact, cannot) place a value on the PP state of a worker.
Production units (workplaces) have stuff going into them, and stuff coming out right? You have (possibly) intermediate goods, plus labor, and raw materials: very basic economics (I am in no way an expert in this field, so please correct me if I fuck up. ;) ).

Anyway, you have stuff going in and out, and you can identify these production "institutions" by their roles: they all have similar roles across these production institutions (I'm using the language of economics that I've tried to pick up recently).

So remember what I said about stuff going into these institutions? I said: raw materials, labor and intermediate goods. But what about our welfare? Isn't our physical state going in? Isn't a different one coming out? Don't relationships develop and change while in the workplace? What about your state of mind? And aren't these things important, since, as I've mentioned we are concerned with human welfare? (The whole point of Economics is to sustain our welfare right?)

So, there are more inputs and outputs to the economy than your standard lesson on Capitalism, and the reason those other criteria aren't considered because then Economics would become a very difficult "science": there would be no way (in its current implement) to properly evaluate how well the economy is actually doing.

Therefore, it should be clear that under the current system, the objective of production is not necessarily to better the welfare of others, but to maximize output, or better yet (and more accurately) maximize profit. Consequently, the worker's welfare is not considered. Therefore, compensating this defficiency with "benefit plans" and other VIP programs will only temporarily mask the flaws that exist inherently in our current system. The objective remains to maximize profit, not welfare. These two things do not correlate, and for as much as you compensate the drawbacks of a work environment with benefits, this will always be superceded by the inevitability of profit, as it is the objective of our economic system.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by AdRiaN
I'm still having trouble understanding why people expect economics to be an all-encompassing discipline. Do we criticize scientists for ignoring economic implications in their research? No. So why do we expect economists to be scientists or psychologists?
I expect Economics to solve the problems that it entreats. Does it not treat the problem of human welfare?
 
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