Thursday, February 16, 2012

383: The Utopia of the Free Market NEW PROJECT

Today we start a new project with the title "The Utopia of the Free Market". Of course the current financial crisis makes the subject even more interesting.

However, something keeps itself hidden in a clever way by emphasizing especially the FINANCIAL aspect: we are not facing just a financial crisis, but a moral crisis.

"I am not a destroyer of companies, I am a liberator of companies. What it is all about, ladies and gentlemen, is that greed, for lack a better word, is good. Greed is legal. Greed works.

Greed clarifies, flows through and shapes the quintessence of evolution. Greed in all its forms, greed of life, money, love, knowledge, speeds up the progress of humanity."

These are the words of the notorious banker, Gordon Gekko in the movie Wallstreet (1987). How prophetic that movie was !!!

That we are dealing primarily with a moral crisis is clearly demonstrated by Greece. At the basis of its financial crisis is the general moral sense of responsibility with respect to their society.

They might kill me for this statement, but tax evasion and corruption in certain areas is in Greece such a common thing, it seems.

But there is more. One philosopher has been of great influence and stood at the cradle of the moral attitude, which has become such a common good among people, certainly people in finances: Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982) was a Russian - American philosopher, who developed a very personal philosophy: Objectivism.

But mostly she was a successful novelist, who wrote the thickest utopia ever, I think: "Atlas Shrugged" (1957), about a 600 pages. I have read it in preparation of this project.

This book is the capitalist utopia in a nutshell. In Europe the book is hardly known. Just recently I saw a Dutch translation in the bookstore. Maybe because there is a movie now too.

However, according to a survey of American readers, published in Time magazine, "Atlas Shrugged" is the second most important book of the 20th century. Only the Bible was more important.

The indirect and worldwide influence of Ayn Rand is impressive. One important reason is, that her most dedicated philosophical disciple was Allan Greenspan (1926).

Till 2006 he was the president of the Fed, the American Federal Reserve Bank, of which the monetary politics in this globalizing world are felt everywhere.

In this project I will begin with investigating and analyzing the meaning of Rand's philosophy with respect to the capitalist utopia.

We'll have a look in the historical background of the free market ideology and we'll meet a number of philosopher, who can elaborate on that.

To give you names: Aristotle, Thomas More, John Locke and of course Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham. Not to forger Marx, Durkheim and Keynes.

I'll end the project with an analysis of the question in what way and to what extend we actually made the free market utopia work.

Many people think, that the free market is an objective process that nobody has imagined or invented. Nobody seems to be responsible for the ideology and utopia behind it.

And that is what we are going to find out: who is responsible?

But you'll have to wait for a little while. From 16 to 26 February I'll enjoy a nice vacation in RL. So, next class will be February 28.

The Discussion

[13:19] Farv Hallison: Greenspan changed his mind about Any Rand...Her philosophy cause the financial collapse.
[13:19] herman Bergson: yes yes..Farv, a desillusion....

[13:21] herman Bergson: Thank you.... ㋡
[13:21] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you Herman!
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: oki
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:21] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): That was short
[13:21] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remakrs...plzz go ahead
[13:21] Mick Nerido: Free Market= supply and demand Theory?
[13:22] herman Bergson: Funny you say that merlin....
[13:22] druth Vlodovic: you have my condolences on having read atlas shrugged
[13:22] Jaelle Faerye: Thank you Herman
[13:22] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes?
[13:22] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Thank you Herman
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes because the lecture was as long as any other lecture...
[13:22] Lizzy Pleides: isn't the opposite of the free market an utopia too?
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes Druth..I KNOW what you mean....
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: wb Beertje
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I thought they were usually about 20 minutes
[13:23] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you
[13:23] herman Bergson: the plot is ok, but what all these people say is a horror..
[13:23] herman Bergson: no..max 10
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): aaah ok
[13:23] druth Vlodovic: I find it funny that people try to sell selfishness as a viable "moral"
[13:24] Farv Hallison: we take 10 minutes saying hello to each other.
[13:24] druth Vlodovic: I suspect they do it in order to cause their victims to accept what they do
[13:24] herman Bergson: Atlas Shrugged is only bearable from an intellctual point of view....
[13:24] herman Bergson: in the sense that you have to have read it...
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Herman, when you started off saying 'Greed is good' etc... Was that your view?
[13:24] herman Bergson: No Merlin it was a quote from the movie Wall Street
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): OK well I recognised that it was a quote
[13:25] herman Bergson: I accept that greed exists in us...
[13:25] Mistyowl Warrhol: I had it very clearly explained to me once, there is a big difference, in being selfish and taking care of self. When we are taking care of ourselves properly, that is good.. being selfish is not good.
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: greed is never good, just thinking about oneself cause of money
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: and to get all for yourself
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: thats greed
[13:25] Jaelle Faerye: bye all, sorry have to go
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye Jaelle
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: but thats how way too many thinks nowadays
[13:25] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): tot ziens jaelle
[13:26] Mick Nerido: Greed envy sloth etc all not good...
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes Misty...big difference
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Pride
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol, thats another one
[13:26] druth Vlodovic: well, you don't want to go overboard into automatic martyrdom either
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I quite like Sloth myself :P
[13:27] herman Bergson: Sloth ???
[13:27] druth Vlodovic: but if you are to interact with others you should care for them at least a bit, in a society it is necessary to care for the society and it's members
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: very important
[13:27] Mick Nerido: Sloth=lazyness
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Somehow I think there is a bigger picture
[13:27] herman Bergson: Well Druth...and THAT is exactly the big problem at the moment...
[13:28] Mistyowl Warrhol: I am going to find myself not getting on one of my soap boxes, with this topic !!!!
[13:28] herman Bergson: Money isn't there to serve society...
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): the future of civilization
[13:28] herman Bergson: money is there to make more money
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: no its to serve only the ones who already have it seem nowadays
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: take banks for ex
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita...
[13:29] Mick Nerido: power corrupts us...
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: now we have to pay to even get our payout from work out at least for the ones not using the internet
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: and everything goes down in the bank directors pocket
[13:29] herman Bergson: One of the complains here is that banks arent interested in their clients but only in their own interest..making money
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: before in time banks was for us, now we are for the banks instead
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: no good development at all and get worse and worse
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: the rich gets richer the poor poorer
[13:30] Mistyowl Warrhol: Come to the USA.. We can teach you about GREED.
[13:30] herman Bergson: You need a bonus, Bejiita ㋡
[13:30] druth Vlodovic: actually one of the problems is that the bank doesn't have any real existence, the CEOs of the bank make decisions in "their" own interests and the bank itself can go hang, often
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: haha id wand to steal those bonuses and give to everyone
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: like Robin Hood
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: we'd really need someone like that today
[13:31] Farv Hallison: Obama is Robin Hood
[13:31] herman Bergson: Welcome back Alaya ㋡
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: hmm i think obama is a not so bad guy , kind of nice
[13:31] Farv Hallison: hello Alaya, kiss
[13:31] herman Bergson: That is why the republicans want to hang him, Farv
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: like his attitudes in general i think
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: but not so involved in details
[13:31] Mick Nerido: Thanks Herman , have to go...
[13:31] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): hi^^
[13:31] JFA (janfolkert.alter) is Offline
[13:32] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): bye Mick
[13:32] Farv Hallison: bye Mick
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: cu Mick
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: bye
[13:32] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Apologis
[13:32] Mot Mann is Offline
[13:33] Mistyowl Warrhol: I judge how well a politician by how fiercely the republican go after them.. So by that standard, Obama is a great Pres.
[13:33] oola Neruda: Obama IS good...
[13:33] herman Bergson: Good one Misty
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:33] herman Bergson: Well....
[13:34] herman Bergson: I think we will study some basic Tea Party believes here in class ourselves...
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: and definitly much better then bush "world destroyer"
[13:34] herman Bergson: Ayn Rand will help us...
[13:34] Mistyowl Warrhol: Obama's sin is he supports the EPA, which seriously, will cut into the profits of the polluting.. er, bad guys.
[13:34] herman Bergson: just take the title of one of her books "The Virtue of Selfishness"
[13:35] herman Bergson: I guess we better leave American national politics outside this philosophy class ^_^
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: its a global problem and the middle classes have to pay everything
[13:35] druth Vlodovic: I'm still trying to work up the necessary lack of sense to read my copy :(
[13:36] druth Vlodovic: try to keep it "philosophical" :)
[13:36] herman Bergson: I guess you have a point there Lizzy...
[13:36] Mistyowl Warrhol: LOL you can talk about us, if you dont mind some blood shed !!!
[13:36] herman Bergson: Let's keep it philosophical ㋡
[13:37] druth Vlodovic: the divide between "middle" and "low" classes seems to me to be a divide and conquer tactic by the powers that be
[13:37] Farv Hallison: From Greek philosophy to Greek demostrations in the 21 Century.
[13:37] druth Vlodovic: the middle classes have more wealth but much less time, and much more to lose, so they can be controlled if isolated
[13:37] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): what is the philosophy behind free market ideology?
[13:37] herman Bergson: issue is indeed how to divide the wealth among the members of a society....
[13:37] Mistyowl Warrhol: (For those of you that do not know me well, I live less than 50 miles from what was known as the "Bush Ranch". I am a liberal in the heart of Tea Party country.
[13:38] herman Bergson: ssssstttt Misty.. !!!!!
[13:38] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): hehe
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: hahah
[13:39] Lizzy Pleides: middle class is the only class who can pay, poor people can't pay and rich people save their money
[13:39] herman Bergson: I think we have a good subject for this project...
[13:39] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): i think that a bottle of milk is the same price for anybody
[13:39] Mistyowl Warrhol: There is a difference in giving to others and assisting them.
[13:40] Farv Hallison: The tax code favors those in power by taxing them at a lower rate.
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well my friends, a new project is born....
[13:41] oola Neruda whispers: i think we need to include the role of propaganda in the
[13:41] herman Bergson: And from what I hear in this discussion...
[13:41] oola Neruda: "selling" of the financial situation
[13:41] herman Bergson: it can be a lot of intellectual fun....
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: can be really interesting for sure
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: look forward to it
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: it will be exciting because we are all concerned actually
[13:41] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): oh good. we usually go off-topic
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: yes exactly
[13:41] Mistyowl Warrhol: It is not going to get boring, I dont think :-)
[13:41] druth Vlodovic: ah, I'd love to see an analysis done here on the effect of propaganda on people's thought processes, and their actions as part of a society
[13:42] herman Bergson: Ok then...thank you all for this healty kick-off....
[13:42] oola Neruda: do we consider Ayn Rand propaganda?
[13:42] oola Neruda: nowdays?
[13:42] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): lol
[13:42] Lizzy Pleides: have a nice vacation herman!
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Druth that sounds like one for Thothica
[13:42] druth Vlodovic: you're very daring herman, i hope you survive the project :)
[13:42] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Isn't it all simply like dogs with bones? Those dogs that have snatched the bones try and defend them as best they can. Those without try and steal off them.
[13:42] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): it is a old thing resurrected
[13:42] druth Vlodovic: I'll have to suggest it to sim :)
[13:43] Mistyowl Warrhol: Take care everyone.. I will bring bandaids and ointments for our next lecture :-)
[13:43] herman Bergson: I'll do my best Druth....!
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: i can say it gets my blood flowing for sure when i read about like here in sweden how the old people starve to death so that the owner of their care center can get a wealthy computer controlled home
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: when i read about that recently i really got mad
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: insane and this happens in sweden?
[13:43] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Something a bit like that in UK too
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: cause of a scandal company named carema
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes...the Free Market
[13:44] druth Vlodovic: it is a complete lack of proportion, the ability to assess costs to others is basic to morality
[13:44] herman Bergson: Our next target!
[13:44] herman Bergson: Thank you all!
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: they privaticed the elder care to them and it went a hell
[13:44] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): maybe it will turn into a flee market to pay depts
[13:44] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Thank you Herman
[13:44] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Thanks Herman
[13:44] Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): byby herman
[13:44] Velvet (velvet.braham): Thank you
[13:44] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ㋡
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: aa have a good vacation now herman
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:44] Farv Hallison: Thank you Herman
[13:44] Mistyowl Warrhol: Well, in Texas, we just balanced our budget by withdrawing money from utility companies, from funds set aside to help seniors who could pay the bills..
[13:45] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: looks forward to this for sure
[13:45] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye everyone
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: cu
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: and happy valentine
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: \o/
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: || Hoooo!
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: / \
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