Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Adrian Pabst — Building a civil economy

Game theory [competition] or gift society [voluntary cooperation for mutual benefit]? The narcissistic vision of the homo oeconomicus has failed to acknowledge long-documented evidence of the primacy of cooperation. In this Friday essay, Adrian Pabst explores the liberating potential of an anthropologically informed economics for the age of austerity.
Our Kingdom — Power and Liberty in Britain
Building a civil economy
Adrian Pabst
(h/t Energy Bulletin)

Neoliberalism aims for growth as the chief objective based on meritocracy that reward initiative, regardless of distribution. Social liberalism aka modern liberalism and social democracy aim for distributed prosperity based on social justice, recognizing that no one makes it on their own in modern complex society.

Note that the foundation of the universe of discourse is classical liberalism, which provided the intellectual underpinning of the U. S. Constitution. Liberalism traces its history to the Magna Charta in England and to Athenian democracy. The is the meaning of the saying that history has a liberal bias.

The tension within liberalism in general arises socially, politically, and economically from the trifecta of individual freedom, the equality that the rule of law requires, and the exigencies of community and social life. The rule of law and institutional arrangements mediate between individual liberty and social responsibility. Therefore, rule of law and institutional arrangements largely determine the balance of freedom in community. However, the rule of law and institutional arrangements are insufficient. Culture and the level of collective consciousness are also crucial in the balance.

Increase in complexity requires increasing adaptive rate through coordination. Increased coordination involves increased costs. The goal is to secure return on coordination exceeding cost of coordination.

The global economy can never hit a steady state that avoids the increase in complexity as long as population is increasing. One solution is allowing "natural order" to resolve the issue through the eliminationism that results from competition. This is social Darwinism. The other solution is to rise to the challenge together. This is the use of human consciousness and intelligence in a coordinated way.

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