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9/26/07


Mind Shadows      Human Values From Adam Smith to Karl Marx: Are The Rich Necessary?

Here is a five minute exercise, and if you want to think about its implications it takes more than five minutes of thought.

Take the poll at Are The Rich Necessary?

Then ask yourself,
Do judgments regarding economic policy rest on premises about values that cannot be fully reconciled?

That is, look at the poll results and notice how there is a disconnect between the way people voted for economic policy and the way they voted for values. In their voting at the web site, people support the policy but their values are different.

There is an irreconcilable conflict between policy and value, one inherent in our economic system, a conflict that cannot be corrected.

There seem to be two approaches to the conflict. One is to acknowledge it, then adjust one's attitude and actions toward a society enlightened on the disconnect.

The other is the one taken by those in positions of power and influence. Acknowledge it, then deny that any substantial disconnect exists and
justify it by observations such as "A rising tide lifts all boats."

This idea stems directly from Adam Smith, the flip side of Karl Marx. Smith argued that through an Invisible Hand a free market system would help everybody. Living in the 18th Century, he injected 18th Century metaphysics into his economic theory, a theory and a metaphysics on which our free market system is based.

Anybody who has been to the grocery store recently can say it's more like "A rising tide lifts all yachts."

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