Two things today. Freedom and wealth creation (but this latter point is still in the rough). Without further adue, from my humble abode let’s forego the preview and jump right into the thick of things.
The prof was talking about freedom as understood through the lens that is Hegel. We didn’t dive head first into the shallow end today, no no, with such a complex philosopher (at first anyway), learning how to wade in the shallow end may prove imperative. So. What’s up with freedom. Hegel brings to our attention that we are only free, or can only think of ourselves as free IF (i refrain from using IFF; iff and only iff, for I am not certain if that limitation is genuine) the institutions of state treat us as free individuals able to act as free agents. Now this got me thinking. Oh really, so wait, if the treats us all as free beings, able to pursue everything in our realm of negative freedom, then we are free. Hmm.
There must be a quirk somewhere. And I personally believe there is. You and I were born into a world in which previous events are alien to us. Our parents existed before we even knew what life means. That in and of itself boggles the mind, my mind at least. Without going into that perplexing sector of the discussion, I just want to put forward the idea that from the moment we are born until we in this instant, we fight to reconcile what and why it is that we even exist in the first place. I have read a fair share of philosophers to know by now that the theme for most is this acceptance of the chains we are born bound by. [As an aside, if we are born in chains, we never know how it is to be without; making this notion of an excess, something of a conceptual nature only, and not something that practical measures employ – a construct].
Why mention the chains? Well these chains, and yeah I know Rousseau made use of this very same analogy, I am borrowing; copyright . This freedom we speak of, the treating of citizens or subjects or individuals belonging to a particular community in such a way that maintains this notion of freedom, I find, to be particularly faulty. The institutions, from the moment we are born tell us what to do; they read to us our operations manual. We follow by mimicking. The moment we step outside the shell or sphere that is private and familial, we encouter the public sphere with its own tenticles and institutions…again, putting forward ever growing options and alternatives for us to choose from on how to live our life. So how are we really free? I am led to belive that we are not.
We are a product of the times, a product of our natural capacity to be, and the nurture that goes into expanding upon that natural capacity. Yeah I know this is nothing new and to make matters even more exciting, what I just said has been to a certain extent passed down to me through literature from the likes of Plato, Aristotle, etc.
Hegel does make a further point. That history has an end, and that every outcome of a particular action has a certain logic and reason driving it. If that is so, for him, the logic/reason in what I said, if adequate or true, is sufficient and adding to his conservative nature makes Hegel’s point about such a valid one.
There was another philosopher who argued for the end of history as being the 20th century, furthermore, that of capitalism and liberal free trade (globalization). But I digress, and since the point of this first point was to put forward a few issues about freedom and its relation to Hegel’s account, what has just been stated is surplus but not to be discounted by any means.
Yeah we all heard of Adam Smith. I went to a lecture last term (I believe it was an Anthropology class discussing the population paradox – with different twists ). Someone mentioned they had no clue about what the Cold War is or was. Dumbfounded as I found myself I realized that not everyone is up to date with the current or even if not so current events I may take to be trivial or second nature. Adam Smith did talk about wealth creation, value and value added. In a nutshell, I am currently thinking/developing some sort of value hypothesis different from that the economist proposes as his/her account of what value is. Wealth is created by creating some sort of value. I have utility for something that is not elastic or roughly equal or to not even mention “big words,” the same as everyone elses. We’re not all trained to be the jack of all trades, not most of us anyway. Because we all need thing we can’t produce (or do we…and that’s just a can of worms I intend NOT to open…hehe), someone else fills in that value gap.
Now there are two approaches or lenses. The seller or the capitalist “merchant” wants to create as much desirability or artificial utility in the marketplace so that he or she may be the first to capitalize on that particular good, product or service. So how is value created, and how is that linked to wealth, and to tie all of this into what was said above, are we all really that free when institutions (from the instance we’re born) create for us the concept of value and utility and despotically announce what we do or don’t need?
I’m currently thinking, trying to figure out some way around the mess. What is probably certain is the fact that although the system can be exploited the virtues that are useful to provide for that very task are on the flipside the very vices that will ultimately stretch the limits of scarcity and make room for income inequalities, discrepancies in wealth distributions and, well…you can probably enumerate the rest.
I have an essay to write – for next week, so this will probably go on hold, but you never know, things are always happening, the flurries are always coming back, and my mind which has a mind of its own, may surprise even myself.