Friday, March 12, 2010

Markets and complexity. . . .

There seems to be a growing popularity of cut-throat ideologies such as those of writers like Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein. I find this growth interesting because it is happening at the very same time that society is growing remarkably more complex, markets are becoming necessarily more regulated, and the possibility of a right-wing libertarianism is ever less plausible. Even the right-wingers who publicly profess to be in favor of more free-market policies are torn between the internal problems of capitalism which point increasingly away from unregulated markets particularly where there is a growing threat of monopolization which works against the supposed market principles. The two world leaders that claimed to take the most inspiration from ultra-right philosophy in the past generation, Thatcher and Reagan, both ended up working de facto in the opposite direction. By the time the seventeen years of Tory reign ended with the election of Blair, the government in Britain was actually larger, and taxes overall were actually higher. This is not necessarily because the Tories didn't believe what they claimed, but more because the demands of complex modern society inevitably work toward the opposite of what people like Thatcher told us. 

Frankly I have always found the ultra-right wing philosophies quite amusing because even relatively 'primitive' society demand so much cooperation that if any society really tired to live by an extreme individualistic philosophy things would break down pretty quick. Kropotkin, for all of his intelligence may have been wrong about mutual aid in the animal kingdom but I think it is clear that he is right about an underlying principle of mutual aid in human society. Without an extreme degree of cooperation and mutual aid, human society simply would not work. 

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