Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stephanie Kelton — The Good Society: Lessons Not (Yet) Learned

John Kenneth Galbriath’s book, The Good Society: The Humane Agenda, creates a blueprint for a more just, prosperous and stable world. I’m re-reading it for the nth time because I continue to believe we might just get there one day. Indeed, I’m convinced we must.
Here are some excerpts....
New Economic Perspectives
The Good Society: Lessons Not (Yet) Learned
Stephanie Kelton | Associate Professor of Economics and Chair of the Economics Department, UMKC

A fundamental question of the global intellectual tradition and perennial wisdom is, What is the good life for individuals in a good society, and how to achieve it. The history of thought is about the different answers based on different ontological, epistemological, ethics, aesthetic assumptions about reality, experience, and the place of humanity in it. These assumptions underlie social and political thought.

Economics generally presupposes foundational assumptions and makes theoretical and methodological assumptions based on such implicit prior assumptions that frame the enquiry.

Since the Enlightenment, the design problem has been reconciling social, political and economic liberalism, along with developing institutions and policy based on different design solutions. These solutions differ based on both normative assumptions for example, that serve as criteria, as well as differences in worldview that frame reality differently.

In The Good Society (1996), John Kenneth Galbraith presents his summation of a 20th century liberal position eloquently, and, if one shares his values and worldview, convincingly.

Contrasting positions are developed by: 
These positions are now the dominant subject of discussion in American political economy today rather than Galbraith's The Good Society.

Notable is that there is nothing on the right that mentions society.This is unsurprising since the underlying assumption of these works is methodological individualism grounded in the implicit assumption of ontological individualism.

The exception to this is journalist Walter Lippmann's The Good Society (1937). Lippmann is remembered, however, more for A Preface to Morals (1929) and The Public Philosophy (1955). While very influential in presenting the conservative viewpoint in the last century, he is hardly cited today, like his then famous opponent on the left, American educator and philosopher John Dewey. "... [Dewey] wrote in The Public and its Problems: "Till the Great Society is converted in to a Great Community, the Public will remain in eclipse. Communication can alone create a great community" (p. 142).

Time to again shine the light on the living a good life in a good society and the great community of humanity as we enter the age of globalization and a rising collective awareness of humanity, as well as ecological interdependence in the community of being.

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