All posts filed under: Philosophy

Who predicted the rise of the populists? Part 2 – Richard Rorty

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Democracy / Economics / Globalisation / Party System / Philosophy / Politics / Populism / Richard Rorty

Looking at who predicted the victory of the populists before 2016 helps us sift through the deluge of ex post facto rationalisations.Second in this series is the philosopher Richard Rorty. His 1998 book “Achieving our country” contains a wealth of predictions about the future of American politics. Many  now appear uncannily accurate. Rorty was a self-declared member of the “Old Left”. Its principle concern was economic equality. He contrasted it with the new “Cultural Left” that he believed would progressively undermine US politics. Eventually it […]

Who predicted the rise of the populists? Part 1 – Edward Luttwak

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Democracy / Economics / Edward Luttwak / fascism / Globalisation / Party System / Philosophy / Politics / Populism

Looking at who predicted the victory of the populists in 2016 helps us sift through the deluge of ex post facto rationalisations. First in the series is Edward N Luttwak. His 1994 book “The Endangered American Dream” made a series of bold claims about the results of globalisation. He believed it would undermine the traditional parties of both right and left. In his view neither could address the concerns of the losers from globalisation. Their failure would eventually open a […]

Seven reasons economics needs to start from scratch

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Business Cycle / Complexity Economics / Economics / Eric Beinhocker / Philosophy

There are a number of problems with mainstream macro-economics so fundamental that they require the slate to be wiped clean and the enterprise begun from scratch. Here is an incomplete (but growing) list of knockout issues with the conventional approach. Economics can’t describe the Business Cycle Economics’ first assumptions prevent it from explaining its central phenomenon. The first question of the economy is the nature of the business cycle. Economics has no useful theory of the business cycle. In fact, since Walras […]

Customer Development – why its an evolutionary algorithm and not a science

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Complexity Economics / Economics / Eric Beinhocker / Evolutionary Economics / Philosophy / Politics

Serial entrepreneur Steve Blank wrote the ‘Startup Owner’s Handbook’ to relay what he had learned from running startup organisations. The book tries to impart the techne of building a profitable startup and does so in a brilliant and original way. He rejects the old business plan driven model for running a new company. He claims that no one can know how a product will fare in the market before they try it out. He recommends […]

The War of Metaphors : Why the Global Financial Crisis Was Marxs’ Revenge

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Business Cycle / Complexity Economics / Economics / Hegel / Philosophy / Politics / Uncategorised

“universal history is the history of a few metaphors.” Jorge Luis Borges On February 20, 1974 Hiroo Onoda, an army intelligence officer of the Imperial Japanese Army, left the Philippine jungle. He had spent the previous 19 years continuing to fight the Pacific War despite Japan’s surrender. Ono refused to hand over his sword until his old commanding officer, then a civilian bookseller, travelled to the Philippines to receive it in person. Onoda’s identity was defined by […]

In the future everyone will be a conservative: the economy’s complexity undermines reform from left and right

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Complexity Economics / Conservatism / Cultural Stasis / Edmund Burke / Eric Beinhocker / Evolutionary Economics / Network theory / Party System / Philosophy / Populism

During the launch of Space Shuttle Columbia’s 28th mission a piece of foam insulation, the size of a small briefcase, broke off from an external tank and struck its left wing. Many shuttle launches had seen similar damage but this time it proved more serious. The space shuttle exploded on 1st February 2003,  as it entered the earth’s atmosphere, killing its crew of seven astronauts. A later investigation concluded that the physical cause of the loss of […]

Iain McGilchrist : the Divided Brain and the Global Financial Crisis

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Complexity Economics / Economics / Eric Beinhocker / Evolutionary Economics / Iain McGilchrist / Left Brain / Margaret Thatcher / Philosophy / Politics / Samuel Brittan / The Master and his Emissary

The hubble space telescope was launched into low earth orbit in 1990 with great hopes of extending our knowledge of the origins of the universe. It quickly became clear that something was wrong with the pictures it was sending back to earth. Instead of appearing as sharp dots, individual stars were surrounded by a blurry halo. Somehow the enormously costly project of putting the world’s most powerful telescope into space had turned out a dud. […]

Traditional economics resembles the Cuban motor industry. How it breaks the basic laws of the physical world.

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Complexity Economics / Economics / Eric Beinhocker / Evolutionary Economics / Philosophy / Politics

Economics, like physics, was emitted from philosophy. Aristotle, Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham viewed themselves primarily as philosophers. These subjects are now studied in isolation from their mother discipline and each other. We can not now expect academics to be familiar with each other’s work. The age of ‘Renaissance Men’ familiar with every aspect of human learning is long gone. But according to Eric Beinhocker’s book ‘The Origin of Wealth’ the compartmentalisation of the academic world […]

Against diversity : why progressive societies don’t progress

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Cultural Stasis / Economics / Hegel / Philosophy / Popular Culture

Diversity is celebrated by ‘progressives’ but its attainment is the death of social progress. When was the last time you came across a really fresh idea? Not an old notion in new packaging, but an original take on the world from a radically different perspective. I’ll hazard a guess – a decade or more. In the words of the painter David Hockney, ‘most fields of arts and culture seem to be stuck somehow’. Across a […]