Rethinking Capitalism: like the Feynman lectures but for economics


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/17/innovation-and-public-purpose.html


#2

How can you rethink capitalism? It sprang fully-formed from the forehead of St. Ronald Reagan, right? It would be like rethinking St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, except conservatives actually believe in Reagan.


#3

But the first point in her lecture is that comparisons to natural sciences are bad! Please don’t frame this as the new Feynman!


#4

I do a lot of re-thinking, nowadays.


#5

OK, sounds like someone doesn’t understand what being a professor means…


#6

A) No it was not.
B) Economics is not a natural science.


#7

I’m doing some re-thinking right now.
While drinking scotch.


#8

I’m having seconds thoughts. Does that count? Or am I doing it wrong?


#9

Yeah, that’s marginal, but I’m giving you the point.


#10

IMO This is yes and no, depending on the base definition of economy. Theoretical capitalism is certainly not. But we can (and have) study the “economies” of other (particularly eusocial) species, like ants, and produce natural science. So if you start from the basis that Economy = the collection, production, and distribution of resources and services throughout a given population, then you can theoretically generate a scientific framework (and hopefully a unifying theory like plate tectonics or cell theory) to describe economics.

Obviously we haven’t done this yet. But some are certainly trying.

ETA: typo, eusocial


#11

Which is what we’re talking about, not critters. There are plenty of people who proclaim that the capitalist system is natural as the environment, and that nothing we do as humans can shape it - despite the fact that it is very much a social relationship. It does not exist outside of us, so therefore, we can shape it to be more effective, responsive, humane, etc. I think that’s what the professor is getting at.

And I don’t know if ants are out there thinking about what they are doing as economics either, to be fair! :wink:


closed #12

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.