Home > Uncategorized > The values of a market society

The values of a market society

from Asad Zaman

Continued from previous post on Subjectivity Concealed in Index Numbers. Because modern epistemology rejects values as being just opinions, and only accepts facts as knowledge, values have be to disguised in the shape of facts. What better way to do this than by embodying them in cold hard and indisputable numbers? This post discussed how the GDP embodies the values of a market society.

From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, the values of European societies were radically transformed by a complex combination of forces. Traditional social values, originating from Christianity, can be roughly summarized as follows:

  1. Community: All members are part of a common body, striving together for common goals.
  2. Social Responsibility: All members must take care of each other.
  3. Duties: Duty to society takes precedence over individual rights.

The transition to a market society led to a new creed, described by Tawney (1926) as: “The Industrial Revolution was merely the beginning of a revolution as extreme and radical as ever inflamed the minds of sectarians, but the new creed was utterly materialistic and believed that all human problems could be resolved given an unlimited amount of material commodities.” As Polanyi (1944) has explained, . . . read more

  1. Econoclast
    February 23, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    Somebody help me out here: 3 days gone by and no comments on one of Asad’s most cogent and useful posts. I am distributing this widely among friends who are interested in economics, as well as friends who are harrassed by intellectual bully true-believers in facts v values who accuse people of hysteria about Bernie or Fukushima or whatever. Why no comments on a good post?

  2. Craig
    February 24, 2020 at 3:46 am

    The zeitgeist/ethic of the age is power/knowledge. By pushing economics fully out of its religious connections it gave it the mixed blessing of modernity (religion of course has always had its own problems with power because the current zeitgeist not unlike the current monetary and financial paradigm has been with us since at least the last mega paradigm change from hunting and gathering to agriculture).

    The only way mankind will truly progress is if the religionists and the scientists BOTH recognize the natural philosophical concept of grace and begin to conscientiously apply its unitary and ethical aspects to themselves and to their systems.

    Too simple for the intellectual vanities of the erudite, too powerful to be denied if one self actualizes it.

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