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What’s wrong with the world? Rationality! A critique of economic anthropology in the spirit of Jean Gebser

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  • Pogany, Peter

Abstract

Jean Gebser (1905-1973) was a multidisciplinary thinker whose ideas about human consciousness and the future inspire the following five vantage points for the heterodox critique of contemporary economic anthropology: (1) Characteristic attributes of consciousness and those of the environment surrounding the individual are equivalent, eliminating the possibility of single-minded, seamless, rational control, especially during macrohistoric phase transitions; (2) Diaphaneity as a mode of deep and comprehensive understanding (an approach that excludes latching on to any selectively focused explanation) will be needed to deal effectively with emerging global resource and environmental problems; (3) Costs in the form of irreversibly accumulating inaccessible energy shadows our evolving civilization, which our cultural conditioning portrays as pure progress; (4) Rationality, as the most laudable motivation for individuals, business firms and nations, has led to an unfounded techno-fetish; and, for various reasons, it fuels accelerated movement toward collective self-destruction; (5) Signs of chaos (not the harmless and controllable kind found in standard economic literature) corroborate the notion that we have entered a new period of macrohistoric phase transition as interpreted by the thermodynamic comprehension of universal history.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 26458.

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Date of creation: 05 Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26458

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Keywords: Jean Gebser; global economy; universal history; resource constraints; entropy law; bifurcation; chaos theory;

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  1. Sargent, Thomas J, 1971. "A Note on the 'Accelerationist' Controversy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 721-25, August.
  2. Mototsugu Shintani & Oliver Linton, 2001. "Is There Chaos in the World Economy? A Nonparametric Test Using Consistent Standard Errors," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics 0111, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  3. Paul Krugman, 2009. "The Increasing Returns Revolution in Trade and Geography," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 561-71, June.
  4. Brock, William A. & Hommes, Cars H., 1998. "Heterogeneous beliefs and routes to chaos in a simple asset pricing model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1235-1274, August.
  5. Nicholas Z. Muller & Robert Mendelsohn, 2009. "Efficient Pollution Regulation: Getting the Prices Right," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1714-39, December.
  6. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1975. "An Equilibrium Model of the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1113-44, December.
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