I love economics because it is the study of and postulations of the possibilities of us! Economics is also a perspective. It is a particular perspective on behaviors. It is a perspective about the world. It is someone’s perspective on everything. Rarely does one ask whose perspective the system is built for, and whose perspective it reflects. Economic theory touches all of our lives in ways that you may have never imagined.
The driving force behind my journey to discover the economic theories I call Socially Conscientious Economics (SCE), is knowing that there has to be a better way. The concepts I address are out of this world, literally. In order to understand, if nothing else, my reasoning for taking this path, I must first highlight the ways American capitalist (and increasingly global) society applies economic thought.
Economics is the study of (and as we will soon learn the determinant of) how resources are shared among beings. As we all probably learned in early childhood, there has to be agreement on the system before sharing can take place. For instance, if I have a toy and you have another, perhaps different, toy, and we agree that sharing means you give me your toy for 6 out of 7 days, we have, in fact shared. The sharing was not equal in terms of days and playtime of both toys, but sharing did occur. The term economist often use is allocate, so for those of you who cannot separate the term share and equality, use allocate instead!
Before we move any further in the discussion, the key point I am making is that allocation does not have to be equal, fair, just, or any of the other righteous word you prefer to use. Those participating in the system only need to agree on the method nothing else. This agreement happens mainly through socialization and indoctrination. For countries that means citizenship, for communities this often happens along the lines of race, class, religion, gender, educational institutions, ethnicity, astrological sign, and any other category you can think of to separate one from another. Bear in mind, in one way or another we have all agreed to this system. Think of it as similar to the first steps in Alcoholics Anonymous (or maybe it’s the 12th step, I am not sure since I have not been to an AA meeting).
So now the question is, what have we agreed to? Well, you have agreed to thinking like a man that has constructed a world that views women as, well- whatever he feels like on a given day, and compared to his view on everything else, that is pretty good! Second, we have agreed that the head man is White, and when no White male is present, the male who most closely resembles White can substitute (but only substitute, never replace). We have agreed on the limitations of the surroundings and by association, of ourselves. We have agreed that our role is to destroy, everything we touch. We have agreed to absolute individualism. That is, to say that we have agreed that our actions are in competition with and disconnected from others, especially those who are not of our box (race, class, gender, etc.). In essence, we have agreed to the terms of American or Western society.
That is the dramatic version of the economic contract. The actual wording of the contract is a little different, but the meaning is the same. The models in use state the following:
1. The economic man forms the basis of economic philosophy.
2. The economic man (as crafted by Mill, Smith, Ricardo, and so on) is most concerned with self-preservation.
3. Resources (and by default our world) are scarce.
4. Consumption is part of the economic process.
Anyone who has studied law knows that the way in which words are structured is essential to deriving a particular meaning, and, therefore, the interpretation of the intent of contracts and laws. In my next post, I will go into more detail regarding these 4 points and their meaning in the market and our lives.
- Why History of Economic Thought Is Important: Whack-a-Mole Wall Street Journal/Arthur Laffer Edition (delong.typepad.com)
- Economics and Culture (conscientiouseconomist.wordpress.com)
- Economic vs psychology. (blogblooms.wordpress.com)