germanforestgump wrote:Dear Keith!
Many thanks for Your detailed answer!
Indeed, i was brought up in the 1970ths with the feeling that economy is something "unmoral" and this was a welcome "reason" for me with my massive mathematics dysphoria to take the most farest way possible around it.
It takes my whole life (i´m 51 now) to realise that this is a wrong strategy and that economy is not only life-necessary, but also quite interesting even for someone who is not able to calculate.
I agree with You that it is necessary to have a realistic view on the human beeing in the sence of "evolutionary humanism".
The fault of the ideologies You mention above is the intention to breed a "New Human".
But we have to deal with the human beeings as they are - and the art is to create political and economical institutions and proceedings, which lead to optimal results.
I read Smiths "Wealth of Nations", but why the "unvisible hand of market" often has terrible results, i learned just last days in the book "Why Nations failed".
Kapitalism as it is constructed now is not able to manage the commons for the benefit of whole mankind and planet.
So have we to reconstruct politics and economy considering the findings of Elinor Ostrom about "The Constitution of the Commons"?
I am very interested on the strategies You will offer!
with Kind greetings,
To dovetail this all back into the purpose of the forum:
Smith's later writings made it clear he was aware of the limitations of markets. That is he saw it was a little bit silly to presume the worst of men will always do the right thing for the worst of reasons (capitalism is a little absurd in that regard.) He saw an important role for government. That is, he felt regulation was an emergent property of free and fair exchange. [I'll note that government can be quite a lot like Capitalism, feral and cannibalistic when it runs unchecked but let's try to vilify but one 'ism' at a time.]
The takeaway is that part of "THE KNOWLEDGE" that lets us rebuild a society includes some economic and governance knowledge. If we hope to avoid a period like the Dark Ages where technological and cultural progress stalls for 10 centuries, we need to know how 'play nicely together'. In fact, we might need to relearn to play nicely together to prevent the current system from destroying itself and sending us into a civilization rebuilding effort prematurely!
Somewhat off topic is the "invisible hand of the market". In my old Economics classes we put together elaborate and elegant mathematical proofs of various economic concepts. What was the underlying assumption of the math though? The Invisible Hand - no seriously, the 'science' of economics is based on *magic*. And also on the concept that people are rational actors (its a lot of fun watching economists trying to explain the Kardashians as a result - hopefully that doesn't translate across the pond [celebrities who are famous primarily for already being famous].) People are sort of crazy and don't always respond well to mathematical models. There is a whole new field called "Behavioral Economics" that tries to get at the root of these problems but it is a new can worms and not something a rebuilding society could conceivably need to advance for centuries.