Saturday, April 15, 2017

Rutger Bregman — No, wealth isn’t created at the top. It is merely devoured there


Must read article on work versus rent and free-riding. 

Attacking false consciousness by consciousness-raising.

The Guardian
No, wealth isn’t created at the top. It is merely devoured there
Rutger Bregman
Crossposted at Evonomics

13 comments:

Schofield said...

False consciousness derives from human beings regarding themselves as singularities rather than networks made up of microbiota:-

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594229/

Bob said...

From selfish gene to conceited phenobiome? This will make great reading :)

Tom Hickey said...

Important for those interested in evolutionary theory. Thanks for the link.

Argues that variation appears to be random at a superficial level, but a deeper look suggests the mechanism lies in the biology. Not yet a definitive explanation in the field, but a direction to be aware of.

Bob said...

An example I read about years ago that cast doubt on the pop science narrative of "random" mutations:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18000520
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleogryllus_oceanicus

Bob said...

The good doctor should not be using the term 'cognition' as he is doing. The properties of cells, viruses and bacterium give them certain abilities. For example, cyanide molecules have the ability to kill the biome that comprises you. Does that bestow upon them a limited awareness?

He doesn't know if these cells are acting individually or in concert with other cells. If they are acting in concert, there is a distinction to be made between cognition and mass effect. When a swarm of locusts devours a crop, is it evidence of cognition or a mass effect? The behavior of locusts changes as their numbers increase, but that mechanism is described as neurochemical in nature.

Troubling use of terms in an otherwise "novel" article.

Schofield said...

I think you need to explain to us Bob how "mass effect" works in regard to immune systems in particular why "choice contingency" should not be available as well as "chance contingency."

Bob said...

Mass effect within the body leads to the growth of tumors. It works through mechanisms, as does the immune system.

Mechanisms can be contingent according to choice. Mechanisms can break down. What they rarely do is function or fail in ways that are random.

Schofield said...

Thanks Bob. Would you describe "being mindful of the needs of others" as a mechanism?

Bob said...

If it's a self-driving vehicle, I would.

Schofield said...

Then amongst “self-driving vehicles” which are biologically functioning organisms “being mindful of the needs of others” is a choice contingent algorithm suggesting that “relationships” drive evolution not just genes and randomness.

Bob said...

The behavior of phenotypes has an effect on who gets to reproduce. This was the criticism leveled at Dawkins and his "selfish gene" metaphor.

The gene-centered view of evolution is analogous to a fasteners-centered view of engineering. The design of new machinery is driven by the requirement of nuts, bolts, rivets and welds.

Schofield said...

I read Dawkins book "The Selfish Gene" twenty odd years ago but recently tried to re-read it. I was stopped in my tracks on page 2 when Dawkins unknowingly demolishes his own argument when he writes:-

"If I were told that a man had lived a long and prosperous life in the world of Chicago gangsters, we would be entitled to make some guesses as to the sort of man he was. We might expect that he would have qualities such as toughness, a quick trigger finger, and the ability to attract loyal friends."

The British philosopher Mary Midgley and British physiologist and systems biologist Dennis Noble have contributed greatly to dismantling Dawkins over-simplistic views on evolutionary biology in their respective books "The Solitary Self" and "The Music of Life."

Bob said...

It's a shame then that the books you mentioned have not been as popularized as much as The Selfish Gene. It's a shame that the version of "evolution" presented to the general public is gratuitously incomplete and misleading.