zondag 10 juni 2018

Alexander Douglas over hoe Spinoza over economie dacht - #spinoza

De website Conatus News is a progressive news source dedicated to a perspective built primarily on reason, secularism, and a dedication to universal human rights. Hoofdredacteur is Lucas Lynch.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen heeft op Conatus News een reeks interviews met – de ons op dit blog bekende - Dr. Alexander Douglas die gespecialiseerd is in de geschiedenis van de filosofie [i.h.b. Spinoza] én in de filosofie van de economie. Pas gisteren, in de 6e sessie "Q&A on the Philosophy of Economics with Dr. Alexander Douglas" kwam uitgebreid Spinoza's denken over economie aan de orde. Zie aldaar. Ik neem een eerste stukje over:

Douglas: Spinoza was the most philosophically radical thinker of the Early Modern period, at least in Western Europe. He challenged the theological prejudices of his day while retaining the grand and sweeping cast of mind of a religious thinker. He believed in the power of pure reason with a conviction seldom found elsewhere in Europe, outside of the period of ‘Idealist’ philosophy.

His work informs my views on everything, including on the philosophy of economics. One thing I’ve been interested in lately is the treatment of time inconsistency in economic models. A time-inconsistent policy is, roughly, one that determines what it is best to do now versus what it is best to do in the future. The inconsistency arises from what was previously ‘the future’ eventually becoming ‘now’, in which case the same policy delivers a different result inconsistent with the first. Spinoza was one of the first philosophers, to my knowledge, to consider time-inconsistency. The last few propositions of Part Four of his masterpiece, Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order, discuss how a crucial component of rationality is the avoidance of time-inconsistency.

Spinoza also deals with the social aspects of human desire, in a way that I find more insightful than the standard liberal tradition. Spinoza notices how insecure we often are in our desires: we’re really very unsure about what we want. One effect of this is that we both model our desires on those we seem to observe in others and aim at being emulated in our desires. Having others around us wanting certain things confirms our belief that we really want those things. This plays havoc with the transactions that economists treat as basic and standard. Exchange, for example, is profoundly complicated by the tendency of desires to converge on certain goods rather than being spread stably across diverse goods.

This is, I believe, part of the explanation of why one of Spinoza’s chief influences, Hobbes did not believe that any stable allocation of goods could temper the tendency to rivalrous violence in the ‘state of nature’. This insight puzzled his contemporaries, but Spinoza’s psychological account fills in some crucial details. Here I take inspiration from the work of Paul Dumouchel and Jean-Pierre Dupuy, who have looked from this angle at Hobbes, Adam Smith, and other supposed founding figures in the liberal tradition.

Zie verder op Conatus News.

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten