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March 20, 2012



"Daniel Kahneman’s work on cognitive biases can be read as corroboration of Marx’s theory that capitalism generates an ideology which prevents people seeing its injustices."

Can it? I haven't read Thinking, Fast and Slow but the idea that the cognitive biases that he discusses are the product of capitalism is a hard one to swallow. What about the communists of old who'd seek comfort in fanciful denials and justifications of Stalin's crimes? Doubtless, some conditions exacerbate our biases, and perhaps the K-man had a point there, but I doubt we'd be beacons of rationality under another system.

All of this, by the way, is evidence - or, at least, purported evidence - for Marx's diagnosis of capitalism rather than his ideas of what will or should replace it. (John Gray argued last year that he was right on the former and wrong about the latter.) I suspect it's what Marxists produced - the whole dictatorship and death thing - than those ideas that have discredited him.



I don't think Chris is saying that they are a product of capitalism; moreso that their existence contributes to the process of ideology being trapped by economic systems that Marx described.


*Nods* Makes sense.


And how do we get to socialism/communism exactly? Say what you like about libertarians but they can at least tell you what policies a libertarian government would introduce, even if they can't tell you or agree amongst themselves what a libertarian society would look like.


This is well worth a read:


* Based on US data profit rates have not consistently recovered since the 1970's due to tendency of the rate of profit to fall.

* Neo-liberalism failed to restore profitability despite the claims.

* Falling rates of profit/accumulation lead to lower investment leading to lower profits etc.


If capitalism did collapse are we sure what would replace it? Marx is probably not responsible for Stalin; and Bismark would have reviled Hitlers expansionism; but their successors claim to be their followers. And to be developing their system. Classical communism does seem to be very vague about the future utopia. This rather vague unclear quality permits all sorts of people to claim to be building socialism yet all having different policies about what socialism entails. You have to consider the possibility that this very vagueness has helped to preserve capitalism. Marxism is often rather like the science fiction of HG Wells; when you first read it it all seems clear and convincing and high tech. But if you examine the story in detail the actual mechanisms of social organisation in the future state are invisible or implausible. All we usually know is that a period of disaster of some kind has eventually ushered in the NEW AGE of rule by the scientific elite after extreme suffering and misery has swept all else out of the way. Which is fine if your alive after the crisis but not reassuring if it has yet to arrive!

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Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright....lol.

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Doubtless, some conditions exacerbate our biases, and perhaps the K-man had a point there, but I doubt we'd be beacons of rationality under another system.

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