High School Week 3-4 Discussion: Political and Economic Systems and ¨the Father of Capitalism¨

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To continue our unit on what exactly a Model Society may look like, it is necessary to discuss politics and economics, and of course review a little bit of the classic literature on the subject!  Last year, we looked briefly at Plato´s The Republic, which at the time (approx. 300 BC), was meant to act as a working guide for Society, from the government official right down to the peasant farmer.

This year we have shifted forward to 1775, when Scottish political scientist and philosopher Adam Smith, who is thought by many modern-day scholars to be regarded as ¨The Father of Capitalism,¨ wrote the first edition of An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

This book would prove to be one of the most influential works in 19th and 20th century economic policies, inspiring the likes of Karl Marx, Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman.  As is with The Republic, the book is far too long and complicated to read in our Debate and Critical Thinking class, but we will read parts of it, and more importantly, we will seriously consider Smith´s recommendations for a wealthy and thriving nation.  Key concepts to analyze and discuss (Compare and Contrast, Argue) are the following:

  • The role of the State
  • The role of Business (private enterprise)
  • The well-being of citizens (the public sector)
  • Sovereignty and the Commonwealth
  • Debt
  • Defense and Civil Justice
  • Taxes
  • Divisions of Labor and Wages

LINK TO FULL TEXT PDF  (Read: Intro pp. 4-6, p. 300, p. 545, p. 558, p. 568)

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Amongst scholars there has been considerable debate on Smith´s opinion of an ideal society, an especially debatable topic is the concept that Smith calls the ¨invisible hand.¨

There is disagreement between classical and neoclassical economists about the central message of Smith’s most influential work: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Neoclassical economists emphasise Smith’s invisible hand,[79] a concept mentioned in the middle of his work – Book IV, Chapter II – and classical economists believe that Smith stated his programme for promoting the “wealth of nations” in the first sentences, which attributes the growth of wealth and prosperity to the division of labour.

… This last statement about “an invisible hand” has been interpreted in numerous ways.

As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it.9   (Wikipedia)

 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Nux5JbNOg4

6.00-8.00 (excellent analysis of shift from liberal to neoliberal)    9.00-10.00 (trump)    13.00- (fall of globalism)   16.00 (lies of business school)  17.00-18.00 (unsustainable debt vs cancelled debt civil justice)   22.30 (controling language)  24.30 (writers in prison)

AFP Debate, Chile

http://www.24horas.cl/economia/bajas-pensiones-ponen-en-duda-la-efectividad-de-las-afp-479747

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administradoras_de_fondos_de_pensiones_de_Chile

http://www.consultancy.uk/news/2932/countries-with-the-best-pension-systems-in-the-world

AFTER VIEWING OUR SOCIETY THROUGH AN ACADEMIC LENS, WE WILL NOW ANALYZE IT THROUGH POPULAR CULTURE:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Changes” is a hip hop song by Tupac Shakur featuring Talent. The song makes references to the war on drugs, the treatment ofblack people by the police, the perpetuation of poverty and its accompanying vicious-cycle value system in urban African American culture, and the difficulties of life in the ghetto. “Changes” remains one of Tupac’s most notable and popular songs…

… Released posthumously on his album Greatest Hits, the song talks about all of the different issues that were related to Tupac’s era of influence – notably racism, police brutality,drugs and gang violence. The “Huey” that 2Pac mentions in the song (“two shots in the dark, now Huey’s dead”) is Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party. The song refers to the possibility of a black President of the United States, claiming “we ain’t ready”. Further, the last verse of the song refers to Tupac’s anxiety about being shot to death, mimicking the sound of a gun with the phrase “rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat”.

Lyrics 2PAC

 

AND HERE IS AN ARTICLE ON ISIS THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS TOPIC, BUT VERY INFORMATIVE.

 

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