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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Pogany, Peter, 2010. "What’s wrong with the world? Rationality! A critique of economic anthropology in the spirit of Jean Gebser," MPRA Paper 26458, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26458
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sargent, Thomas J, 1971. "A Note on the 'Accelerationist' Controversy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 721-725, August.
    2. Paul Krugman, 2009. "The Increasing Returns Revolution in Trade and Geography," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 561-571, June.
    3. Common,Michael & Stagl,Sigrid, 2005. "Ecological Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521016704, October.
    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, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1235-1274, August.
    5. Common,Michael & Stagl,Sigrid, 2005. "Ecological Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521816458, October.
    6. Mototsugu Shintani & Oliver Linton, 2003. "Is There Chaos in the World Economy? A Nonparametric Test Using Consistent Standard Errors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 331-357, February.
    7. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1975. "An Equilibrium Model of the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1113-1144, December.
    8. Nicholas Z. Muller & Robert Mendelsohn, 2009. "Efficient Pollution Regulation: Getting the Prices Right," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1714-1739, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    • P00 - Economic Systems - - General - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems
    • B29 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Other
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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