Economism: The Philosophy of Wealth Being Everything

in #politics3 years ago (edited)

olu-eletu-38649-unsplash.jpg

The art of government consists in taking as much money as possible to a class of citizens to give to another—Voltaire

@Vieira's recent post on how social hierarchy works got me thinking. If you read his post you can see a pyramid where the masses are at the bottom and the belief of materialism is at the top; in the middle of the pyramid it shows the corporate and government power, which together make up the State as they are essentially fused as one entity. What's interesting about this representation is how a certain belief is at the top which essentially controls the way civilization operates. When you read the popular works and polemics against the status-quo, you don't often encounter this idea that a particular philosophy people follow is what actually controls things, though it does seem to be true.

This mode of thinking is materialism; or as Mr. Nock puts it—economism, a broader term for the moral and social philosophy which "interprets the whole sum of humanity in terms of the production, acquisition, and distribution of wealth". Contrary to some of the subsequent more well known libertarians and anarcho-capitalists who praise markets and economic factors as the end-all-be-all of living, Nock was too educated and saw things for what they are to get caught up believing this prevailing philosophy was correct. There are other things which make the humane life worthwhile and something unique apart from other life forms. These are the activities in the realm of spirituality, art, intelligence, and manners; and they make up a large portion of what humans are "suppose" to be about, compared to the the lopsided approach of only thinking about economic gains at expense of devaluing the other aspects of a wholesome and healthy living.

What causes the masses of men to obsess over and be controlled by this social materialism? I think a general fear in believing scarcity is the norm, something outside of ones own control, is definitely a major contributing factor; this insecurity leads to an unbalanced need and striving for money and resources—capital, to secure their perceived stable living conditions. After establishing the need to produce, acquire, and distribute wealth to deal with the problem of scarcity, basic human nature then follows where humans seek to satisfy their ends with the easiest means possible. All sorts of values and customs are created to cater to this supposedly main issue regarding humanity; and this is why you see propaganda conditioning people at all levels, institutional and personal, to go along and pursue rampant consumerism.

The State exists because humanity is inherently disconnected, it's a manifestation of the present collective malady. The masses are by design, kept sick and unaware in order to have a small group of people establish control and authority over certain systems including education, medicine, governance, religion and anything else institutional. By not letting individuals satisfy their needs with complete autonomy, the whole idea of freedom is thrown out the window; and by allowing a parasitic social arrangement to exist, it's seen as taking the path of least resistance, as whoever gets a hold of lever of the State can determine who, what, and how much wealth someone may have. If only people were aware that self-preservation entails things much deeper than just gaining material, especially in the long run, perhaps true freedom could run its course.

img src

Sort:  

What causes the masses of men to obsess over and be controlled by this social materialism?

Although it is a Marxist concept, I think the answer to this is found in what is described as Cultural Hegemony by Gramsci. Those who control the State, whoever they are, place themselves in the position of power and make up the ruling-class. The ruling-class, being ruling, imposes its culture above all others, who see those at the top as a figure of success. The so-called "public opinion" can only exist if a centralized entity controls it, be it the State or the media, since not all people think the same, and they don't have similar worldviews, thoughts or ideas.

So for people's opinions to be similar, as they are today, people must be basing their beliefs on the same sources. These sources are the State, the media of all kinds, and even in many cases the Internet, because if we base our beliefs on the same pages as Wikipedia, we will probably reach the same conclusions, because we will only know one face of history. "Public opinion" can only exist as long as society is directed to the single thought.

I don't know if I gave myself to explain very well. But the fact that "economism" is so present in modern society clearly indicates to us that society is addressing a Marxism, which is essentially the mother of "economism", by describing human history as a struggle for productive and material factors. This process may be consciously, or unconsciously, it may be guided, or inertial, but the truth is that it is happening right now, and this is just one of the symptoms.

Well said. It does seem clear that the masses have been consumed by Marxism, and it's interesting that so many so called free market people or capitalists rail against it, when they themselves are following the same ideology.

One thing is certain: We will have change, either by design or by disaster.

What causes the masses of men to obsess over and be controlled by this social materialism?

I'd like to feed you back with your question and ask you on a personal level: Do you include yourself as being affected by social materialism respectively is there a probability that part of you as well is practicing it but not having been discovered yet by you?

I think a general fear in believing scarcity is the norm, something outside of ones own control, is definitely a major contributing factor; this insecurity leads to an unbalanced need and striving for money and resources—capital, to secure their perceived stable living conditions. After establishing the need to produce, acquire, and distribute wealth to deal with the problem of scarcity, basic human nature then follows where humans seek to satisfy their ends with the easiest means possible. All sorts of values and customs are created to cater to this supposedly main issue regarding humanity; and this is why you see propaganda conditioning people at all levels, institutional and personal, to go along and pursue rampant consumerism.

Propagandist messages and views are not one way delivered from governments, it's a back feeding dynamic. In fact, governments and its corpses reflect to a considerable degree the will and conviction of its peoples. A politician who wants to commit political suicide just needs to claim the desire and need that the price for one liter gasoline should rise up to five Euros.

A majority in my country favors still driving cars. I am actually a minority and you might as well be also one.

Every single person who has even the least given education is aware of the fact that transportation and cars are a huge problem, to stay with my example. His rational mind is very well capable of discovering the missing logic in still maintaining, owning and driving a car while public transportation is not only better for the environment but a lot cheaper, too. People outnumber hugely the elected parliamentarians and could easily do the reckoning. So, it is something which does come more from the citizens themselves - the power of the people is there. But when I prefer to see myself as somehow brainwashed and manipulated I do not have to take responsibility for my actions and omissions.

Politicians are like flags in the wind. They align themselves from where the strongest wind blows. That is quite understandable and humane.

I see myself as part of an Avantgarde who reduces my lifestyle to the max. No car, no 40 hour working week, no traveling by aircraft but bartering goods and services within my local realm and striving towards a changing lifestyle. I think I may not see that my role modeling here will be copied by many people within a short amount of time and on a grand scale as the development of people never happens at the same time and in the same intensity and maturation. But still, this doesn't hold me back to maintain my lifestyle and discover also what blind spots before my eyes might be left I have to look after.

So I am leaving you with the question to encourage me (and hopefully other readers): what are your personal changes in your lifestyle? How does it effect your work, your ethics, your communal activities, your relationships? I think, you might also have some conflicts with people - because I do. But do you see that as needed and also positive?

Thanks for the nice response.

One thing is certain: We will have change, either by design or by disaster.

Absolutely. And it seems the later is more likely at this point.

I'd like to feed you back with your question and ask you on a personal level: Do you include yourself as being affected by social materialism respectively is there a probability that part of you as well is practicing it but not having been discovered yet by you?

No man is an island, though I believe that I actively try to be aware by seeking wisdom and understanding to minimize being effected. This is the most important task we have as individuals.

Propagandist messages and views are not one way delivered from governments, it's a back feeding dynamic. In fact, governments and its corpses reflect to a considerable degree the will and conviction of its peoples. A politician who wants to commit political suicide just needs to claim the desire and need that the price for one liter gasoline should rise up to five Euros.
A majority in my country favors still driving cars. I am actually a minority and you might as well be also one.
Every single person who has even the least given education is aware of the fact that transportation and cars are a huge problem, to stay with my example. His rational mind is very well capable of discovering the missing logic in still maintaining, owning and driving a car while public transportation is not only better for the environment but a lot cheaper, too. People outnumber hugely the elected parliamentarians and could easily do the reckoning. So, it is something which does come more from the citizens themselves - the power of the people is there. But when I prefer to see myself as somehow brainwashed and manipulated I do not have to take responsibility for my actions and omissions.
Politicians are like flags in the wind. They align themselves from where the strongest wind blows. That is quite understandable and humane.

Yeah, exactly the underlying culture is the problem. Institutions such as governments are a reflection of people and politicians are people; so if the people are sick and disconnected, which I don't see why this can't be true, then we are going to have a corrupt and evil institutions. Focusing on reform and the economy is rather superficial and not getting to the root. There's cause for all this and economism or social materialism is an ideology brought out by whatever made people disconnected to begin with. A possibility that I have been entertaining is what many great thinkers and social philosophers have spoken about and is something we do everyday without much thinking—what we put in our body; which subsequently effects our health and collective health.

I see myself as part of an Avantgarde who reduces my lifestyle to the max. No car, no 40 hour working week, no traveling by aircraft but bartering goods and services within my local realm and striving towards a changing lifestyle. I think I may not see that my role modeling here will be copied by many people within a short amount of time and on a grand scale as the development of people never happens at the same time and in the same intensity and maturation. But still, this doesn't hold me back to maintain my lifestyle and discover also what blind spots before my eyes might be left I have to look after.
So I am leaving you with the question to encourage me (and hopefully other readers): what are your personal changes in your lifestyle? How does it effect your work, your ethics, your communal activities, your relationships? I think, you might also have some conflicts with people - because I do. But do you see that as needed and also positive?

Thanks for these questions, they are very useful and good to increase our understanding.

I am thankful for the fact that my questions were of use to you.

Yeah, exactly the underlying culture is the problem. Institutions such as governments are a reflection of people and politicians are people; so if the people are sick and disconnected, which I don't see why this can't be true, then we are going to have a corrupt and evil institutions.

Problem is to stop focusing on this. We continually reaffirm these statements to each other of the sickness and mistakes but after having done so: How do you feel? For my turn I feel the same as before, and sometimes even worse. Not easy to find a sensible activity and examples of good practice, no?

Focusing on reform and the economy is rather superficial and not getting to the root.

We must focus on economy and dig deep into it. Economy is the thing we have to deal with. I copy you part of a reply I gave to someone else:

There is this German economist named Niko Paech. He talks mostly about an era of post-growth economy and delivers particular solutions for de-growth. Which does not mean to eradicate global trading chains but to substitute some of the products for which this is sensible and possible. The study you can find here:
https://www.regionalwert-hamburg.de/2016/12/09/pressemitteilung-100-bio-regional-ist-theoretisch-möglich/

Scroll down until you see the term "PRESSEMATERIAL UND WEITERE INFORMATIONEN" and then click on the first word "Digitale Pressemappe", you will download a zip-file where the PDF-document with the study can be found. It's in English! I highly recommend to read it.

Other than that: Becoming an ethical person is the root you mentioned, no?

Thanks for engaging with me.

Congratulations @superfluousman! You have received a personal award!

1 Year on Steemit
Click on the badge to view your Board of Honor.

Do you like SteemitBoard's project? Then Vote for its witness and get one more award!

Congratulations @superfluousman! You received a personal award!

Happy Birthday! - You are on the Steem blockchain for 2 years!

You can view your badges on your Steem Board and compare to others on the Steem Ranking

Vote for @Steemitboard as a witness to get one more award and increased upvotes!