Male C. Pig a.k.a. Svinopolist (piggymouse) wrote,
Male C. Pig a.k.a. Svinopolist

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Выписки: McCloskey, Bourgeois Dignity (с дружеским приветом теоретикам Собора)

Ещё немного случайных выписок из тёти Макклоски.

В духе рекомендаций из Пфитца тётя обрисовывает образ своего читателя:

The implied readers of the books are at present rarities — a scientist who takes the humanities seriously, admitting that novels and philosophies are data, too; a humanist who enjoys calculation, admiring even economistic arguments; or a common reader who delights in listening patiently to evidence and reasoning that overturn most of his own left- or right-wing folklore about what happened in the economy 1600 to the present.

Начало главы, где тётя разбирается с альтернативными объяснениями Промышленной революции, о позитивизме и дурном материализме:

Quite a few of my social-scientific and even many of my humanistic colleagues will be strongly inclined to disagree, and not merely about my praise for the bourgeoisie. They have the idea, held with passionate idealism, that ideas about ideas are unscientific. For about a century, 1890 to 1980, the ideas of positivism and behaviorism and economism ran the social-scientific show, and many of the older showpeople still adhere to the script we learned together so idealistically as graduate students. Economists and historians who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any philosophical influences are usually the slaves of some defunct philosopher of science a few years back — commonly a shakily logical positivist nearly a hundred years back.

Важный пассаж про distributive vs commutative justice, а внутри него открытка нам, реакционерам, во главе со стариной Молдбагом:

The leading ideas were two: that the liberty to hope was a good idea and that a faithful economic life should give dignity and even honor to ordinary people, to My Sovereign Lord Cheeseman as much as to Your Grace the Duke of Leicester. The very concept of justice shifted, away from the justice of giving His Grace his due and toward the justice of honoring contracts. The vocabulary (dating from the Latin inspired by Aristotle) was an old "distributive" justice as against a new "commutative" justice, the old justice of status as against the new justice of contract. (The modern left has returned to distributive justice, another of many instances of the modern left resembling in doctrine the old, preliberal right.) Aquinas had said, as if in preparation for the "democratic" shift (though seventeenth-century Holland, not to speak of eighteenth-century England, was hardly democratic): "In distributive justice a person receives all the more of the common goods, according as he holds a more prominent position in the community. This prominence in an aristocratic community is gauged according to virtue, in an oligarchy according to wealth, in a democracy according to liberty, and in various ways according to various forms of community." John Locke replaced such justice by a commutative justice that honored everyone, and not merely the privileged by inheritance, under which the duke was expected to pay his tailoring bills, and property was justified by labor. Adam Smith likewise introduced a democratic redefinition of the old notion of distributive justice, which had favored an elite, by one according honored status to everyone, including the poor. The disruptive outcome of such a bizarre egalitarianism, many Europeans came to believe, should be encouraged.

И ещё апология, и снова едкие пинки налево и направо:

"During its rule of scarce one hundred years," wrote Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto of 1848, "the bourgeoisie has created more massive and colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations." True, and in the next hundred years it created many more, with a consequent betterment of the formerly impoverished, quite contrary to what Marx and Engels expected in 1848, and contrary to what the well-meaning people of the left down to the present, such as the American filmmaker Michael Moore, keep saying. And it raised the human spirit, contrary to what Thomas Carlyle expected in 1829, and contrary to what the well-meaning people of the right down to the present, such as the American journalist Pat Buchanan, keep saying.

То, что Молдбаг называет Собором, the Cathedral, Макклоски называет clerisy. Немеряная открытка любителям старины Менциуса:

In the late nineteenth century the artists and the intellectuals — the "clerisy," as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and I call it — turned against liberal innovation. The treason of the clerisy led in the twentieth century to the pathologies of nationalism and socialism and national socialism, and in the twenty-first century to the pieties of radical environmentalism, and to the dismal pessimism of the union left and the traditional right. The clerisy provided the "scientific" justifications for such attitudes, as in scientific materialism or scientific imperialism or scientific racism or scientific Malthusianism or, lately, scientific neoeugenics. The scientific schemes reasserted an elite control over newly liberated poor people. <…> Sadly, such stuff wasn t "junk science" or "pseudoscience," easily demarcated by methodological rule from the real stuff. It was regular, front-line, widely accepted science, such as now the environmentalism without economic content published regularly in Science. Science is a wonder, but it is not always the same as wisdom. And a little learning is a dangerous thing.

The clerisy's anti-innovation and antimarket and antiliberty rhetoric in the years since 1848, though repeated down to yesterday, misapprehends the scientific history. The clerisy says that every spillover in the environment justifies world-governmental control. Scientific economics suggest that it does not. Some spillovers are best treated at the local level, or by making not less private property, but more. The clerisy says that lack of elite control of human breeding will cause the race to degenerate. Scientific genetics suggests that it does not. Human abilities flourish from diversity, as they will in a while in Africa. The clerisy says that innovation impoverishes people. Scientific economics suggests that it does not, as it has not in Hong Kong. It enriches most of them. The clerisy says that state planning or nationalist mobilization is better than voluntary commercial peace. Scientific history suggests not, as it did not in the USSR. Socialism and nationalism have regularly disrupted the prosperity provided by bourgeois commerce. The clerisy says that the modern urban world is alienated. Scientific sociology replies on the contrary that bourgeois life in France strengthened numerous if weak ties, and freed people from village tyrannies, as it did in modern Spain or Greece. The clerisy says that the market and its economic liberties are politically dangerous. Political science suggests that on the contrary they give ordinary people dignity and make them mild and tolerant, as they have in the Netherlands and Sweden, at any rate by the standards of alternative arrangements.

Selling pessimism as pornography:

On both political wings many of a less ruthless character are dismayed by the spiritual vulgarity they detect in a novel greed. They look into the future darkly. Such pessimism typifies some on the left (though accompanied by a longer-term apocalyptic optimism), who see in every business downturn the final crisis of global capitalism. Another sort of pessimism typifies some on the right (accompanied by no such longer-term optimism), who see in every new cultural fashion a corruption arising from the rule of the vulgar.

Admittedly, myopic pessimism, from the right or left, sells. The late Allan Bloom's right-wing pessimism, The Closing of the American Mind (1987), sold half a million copies merely in hardback. Shortly afterward, at a little conference we both attended, Allan was the assigned commentator on an essay of mine entitled "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" He started with a little joke: "I should note that I now am rich." Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb (1968) sold three million copies total, and little or none of what it confidently predicted came to pass. I bought a copy of Ravi Bahtra's The Great Depression of 1990 (another event which didn't happen) though in 1987 that book, too, sold well) at a prepulping sale in 1992 for $1.57. I show it to my students as an exhibit against economic pessimism.

Tags: economics, mccloskey, reading

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