It’s obviously been quite a while since my last update. After talking with the rest of the staff, we decided that the weekly schedule was too demanding and restricting, and each opted to release content when we had something on our minds to discuss and had adequately prepared it for public presentation. Unfortunately, I think that all three of us have become sidetracked and that content never really appeared.
In the past few days, however, I’ve started reading The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, and it has rekindled an old interest I had in a certain investigation of the ideal of capitalism. There has been work in critical theory (notably by Adorno and Horkheimer, if I remember correctly) on the conditions in which capitalism developed and the reason it has had such considerable staying power in light of more humanist socioeconomic systems like socialism and communism. To this end, and in order to work on my curriculum vitae for graduate school admissions, I hope to develop a paper.
The purpose of the paper will be to investigate the concept of capitalism as a meme. According to Dawkins (if my understanding is correct), a meme is a sort of gene of idea. It is passed from one generation to another to make up the Zeitgeist and is incredibly selfish in the same way as Dawkins demonstrates that genes are. I think there may be interesting ties to capitalism in this selfish nature that explain its staying power. I am currently reading The Selfish Gene for only the first time, so it is likely that my thesis will change a bit by the time I finish the book, and possible that my opinion will change enough that the entire project will be abandoned. I already feel a bit under-qualified to discuss what I have said so far, but expect future content to be a bit more solid.
This blog will be updated periodically with notes on the progress of my work. The updates will no longer be released on a schedule each week, but whenever significant work has been made and is presentable for discussion and criticism. Please forgive any errors in the content of this post. Again, my understanding of the subject is incredibly limited at the moment, but I find it fascinating and hope to fix this very soon! I think it is important that I update with this statement of purpose for two reasons, because it has been so long since any updates have been posted and in order to set a sort of scope for both myself and any readers that still follow me.
I am not sure what Ben and Robert plan to do. I am under the impression that both of them still intend to update their columns but have been busy with work and study. I should be in contact with them soon, so you can expect an update on them soon from either them or me.
Professional golfer Phil Mickelson stated two days ago that he may retire or move from California due to increased taxes at both the local and state level. The announcement has been generally well-received by conservative and libertarian types as an example of a victim of government spending rising. Mickelson is unsure if he is still being adequately compensated for his work and must decide if it is still worth playing professional golf in at his new income rate. Continue Reading
The wind howls through the trees as the protagonists study the abandoned house from afar. The soundtrack swells into a foreboding melody, and the camera is too late to focus on the figure darting behind the curtains in the upstairs window. The most outspoken of the group fails to notice the ominous nature of the scene and exclaims, “Hey, let’s check it out!” After a period of deliberation, his companions reluctantly agree, and the group heads into the house as the scene fades to black. Continue Reading
Insofar as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists’ requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. -Albert Einstein, Why Socialism?
It seems to me that one of the most difficult and time-consuming things I have to do when trying to argue the merits of socialism to nonbelievers is explaining what socialism is in the first place. It is unsurprising that most Americans do not really understand the concept, because nowhere in their education will they ever be taught what it is unless they specifically seek it out, and the tendrils of capitalism are wrapped so firmly around this nation that the only time its name is heard on news broadcasts or in mainstream discussion is as a bogeyman, a phantom of the Soviet Union to scare us back on the right path when someone stops to think “maybe the super-wealthy didn’t work quite that much harder than the homeless”. In this article, I have endeavored to give a decent (though quite incomplete) idea of what socialism actually is and strives to accomplish, with the hope of being able to introduce those unfamiliar with the concept. The concept is a very broad one, and there are many different forms of it; there are as many different forms of socialism as there are of capitalism, which would not be possible to adequately explore in a blog article either. My goal, then, is to provide a definition common to most systems and benefits that most systems hope to achieve. Continue Reading
It is “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” This phrase is attributed to William Blackstone, an English jurist in the 18th century, and the principle has been used widely throughout history. In Genesis 18:23-32 of the Christian Bible, God assures Abraham that he will spare a city if there are but ten innocent people among its inhabitants. Most famously, Benjamin Franklin raised the amount of guilty he would free to 100 to avoid injustice towards the single innocent. Today we most commonly apply this principle in our criminal justice system assuming that a defendant is “innocent until proven guilty,” but we may forget to realize that there are actions other than crimes to which we can be guilty and ways other than prison in which one might suffer. Just as this phrase deserves to be considered in criminal justice, it has its place in social justice as well. Continue Reading