Friday, March 06, 2015

The Economics of Interior and Exterior Poverty

Here's one for the Glass Bead Game: what does idiom -- the unthought language of the self -- have to do with economics?

This question occurred to me while reading this piece on the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto. The question occurred because I immediately recognized the implicit answer. Even now I haven't explicated it -- that's what the post is for -- and yet, I know the answer is there.

In fact, this is a kind of mini-example of idiom in action, or at least an analogous variant of it. It all has to do with recognition -- or re-cognition -- which is "the identification of something as having been previously seen, heard, or known."

Except that I hadn't previously cognized the connection, at least consciously. But the orthoparadoxical term "unthought known" precisely goes to this process of unconscious re-cognition. While it might sound annoying or cute -- like some overworked wordplay the B'ob might force into existence -- it's really the perfect way of expressing it: something we know in our bones but haven't consciously innertained in skulldom. You could call it the realm of the bone-known, but I think you'd agree that Bollas' term is preferable.

Let's start with a question; in fact, Shem's "first riddle of the universe,"-- "dictited to of all his little brothron and sweestureens,"-- "asking, when is a man not a man?" The winner gets "little present from the past."

Give up? "Shem himself, the doctator, took the cake, the correct solution being — all give it up? -- when he is a... Sham."

So, are you a sham or are you the real deal? And how would you know the difference?

Reality is usually thought of as what is outside ourselves. But we couldn't know that reality unless there were something equally real on the inside.

Let's discuss de Soto's view of economic reality; he speaks of how "the Third World's poorest are relegated -- banished from their nations' official economies to what he has called 'the grubby basement of the precapitalist world.'" Now, why are they so banished to this psychopneumatic backwater? Because of "a lack of enforceable property rights."

Now let's go back to idiom, that is, the private language of the self. How is this language spoken? Largely through objects in the external world. You might say that culture is the collective sum total of "psychicized" objects for personal expression.

In other words, culture is in one sense "out there," i.e., exterior to the self. And yet, cultural objects have only the meaning we lend them. If I were to drop you in, say, Saudi Arabia, or interior China, or UC Berkeley, there would be very few objects there -- a very limited vocabulary -- for the expression of your idiom. You would be unable to find -- forbidden from finding -- the objects to express your unique idiom.

Not only that -- and this is a key point -- but your idiom wouldn't even be yours. Rather, with no strictly private property, what's yours really belongs to the state, plus the state puts sharp limits on personal expression anyway.

To take an obvious example, suppose you were an artist working in the Soviet Union or in Nazi Germany. If so, your idiom would have been restricted to socialist realism or classical kitsch. In Germany, for example "modern art was [seen as] an act of aesthetic violence by the Jews against the German spirit." And only Hitler decided "who, in matters of culture, thought and acted like a Jew."

Thus the tyranny of aesthetic correctness, which is ultimately enforced by the absence of any inviolably private property, right down to the first property, which is your soul.

As our fathers told us, certain truths are soph-evident to anyman to the right of the left, that we are endowed by our Creator with the liberty to discover and appropriate our own idiom; and that this right co-arises with -- for it cannot be actualized in its absence -- the right to property.

Looked at this way, "private property" is a kind of language, the idiomatic language of the self. You want what you want, and I want what I want. Liberals hate this idea, because they want you to want only what they want. They want to restrict idiomatic expression to their own idiom.

Or just say PC, which is really a pre-emptive attack on personal idiom, on our cosmic right -- and for Raccoons, our coonstitutional duty -- to be different. Have you ever watched MSNBC? The reason why it is a failure is that it is so dreadfully boring, frankly as boring and didactic as Soviet or Nazi art.

To paraphrase George Carlin, my stuff is your junk, and your junk is my stuff. In other words, stuff I like -- objects that speak to my idiom -- might just be a collection of junk to you, like my shelf full of vintage Barbies.

But on an even deeper level, this is the source of the energy of the private economy: I will give you this for that because I want that more than I do this. Simple as.

Which is not so simple in practice, and can even get you killed in most parts of the world. de Soto himself survived the bombing of his office by socialist terrorists in 1992. As Fox Butterfield might say, "Economist Targeted for Assassination by Leftists Despite Helping Lift Millions from Poverty."

One thinker -- who uses his words instead of bombs to express his idiom -- praises de Soto "for demonstrating how property rights -- often disparaged by left-leaning intellectuals as an instrument of the privileged -- help the poor:

"He has helped explain to convincible [heh] readers how radically egalitarian the rule of law and property rights are. Plutocrats, strongmen -- they have their muscle. They can take what they choose in lawless situations. But the poor and weak are protected by the rule of law and property rights."

So the krugmaniacal Obama, that phony Shampion of the Poor, has spent the last six years undermining the very thing that relieves poverty, both exterior and interior. If he had his way, the whole world would be as financially and intellectually impoverished as MSNBC.

19 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The real and not sham leader of the free world.

3/06/2015 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

From the De Soto article: [A] lack of enforceable property rights [is] why capitalism, despite its triumph over communism and its wealth generation in America and Western Europe, has failed elsewhere.

It's also why the U.S. has now fallen to number 12 on the economic freedom list. The fascists of the government-corporate complex have no respect for private property rights.

I also noticed in Wikipedia's take on the "Art of the Third Reich" a reference to the Nazi's "conservative aesthetics." No room for Dada.

3/06/2015 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Netanyahu did step it up. I respect him.

I also respect people like Putin even if I don't like what he's doing. He's a nationalist. So is Farage. So is Le Pen. So am I. Nationalists can have conflicting goals. I would like a president and members of Congress who have the best interests of -- oh, I don't know -- maybe America as their goal.

I'd like to get along with Mexico, Australia, Chile, South Africa, etc., but I'd like my country to come out a little ahead. Being a nationalist doesn't mean we have to invade Canada, but we might have to invade D.C.

3/06/2015 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Han Solo crashes on golf course.

3/06/2015 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Do you now or have you ever had your own opinions?

3/06/2015 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

woot, de Soto is now on the list

"Reality is usually thought of as what is outside ourselves. But we couldn't know that reality unless there were something equally real on the inside."

This morning's reading from St. Bonaventure:

"I propose the following considerations, suggesting that the mirror presented by the external world is of little or no value unless the mirror of our soul has been cleaned and polished."

And, a little further on:

"In order to contemplate the First Principle, who is most spiritual, eternal, and above us, we must pass through his vestiges, which are material, temporal, and outside us. This means to be led in the path of God. We must also enter into our soul, which is God's image, everlasting, spiritual and within us."

The Soul's Journey Into God (1259)

3/06/2015 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Maya baptized.

3/06/2015 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

i.e., "we must pass through vestiges which are material, temporal, and outside us."

3/06/2015 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Liberals hate this idea, because they want you to want only what they want.

Or what they want you to want. Just as they don't consider the law to apply to themselves, they don't generally expect to live according to the same rules and culture they would impose upon everyone else.

3/06/2015 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And Magister, thanks for the quotes.

3/06/2015 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"As our fathers told us, certain truths are soph-evident to anyman to the right of the left, that we are endowed by our Creator with the liberty to discover and appropriate our own idiom; and that this right co-arises with -- for it cannot be actualized in its absence -- the right to property."

The complement to that being that in order for individuals to be able to have private property, and liberty, the community must publicly agree to keep their hands off.

The means of keeping that public agreement is the creation of govt, to hold eachother to keeping and maintaining it.

When individuals break that agreement, we have thieves, and when the public agrees to violate that agreement, we get leftists... using what was created to keep the promise, to break it.

Round and round we go... wheee!

3/06/2015 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"...Looked at this way, "private property" is a kind of language, the idiomatic language of the self. .."

...continuing, cue Madison(?) From Federalist #51:

"...But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?"

3/06/2015 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh, I like the Glass Bead game played on this level. It's the only true Game of Thrones.

3/06/2015 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Looked at this way, "private property" is a kind of language, the idiomatic language of the self. You want what you want, and I want what I want. Liberals hate this idea, because they want you to want only what they want. They want to restrict idiomatic expression to their own idiom."

Aye, the idea that private property is a kind of idiomatic language can't be overstated.
Where the left sees "privilege" those who see self evident truth's see, in reality, liberty and creativity.

There is a ton of evidence that proves how repect for private property improves everyones lives in a variety of different ways.

Obama and those of his ilk don't like it because they can't control it, plus they can't control the people who have it, and all the God given rights we have, or are supposed to have.

Of course, no tyrant, fascist, commie, or socialist likes liberty, whether are, at best misguided or at worst, simply power-hungry slavers.

Those of us who love liberty and love truth gno that there are worse things than death, and slavery; physical, mental and spiritual are worse than death.

Hence, give me liberty or give me death,
That ain't just a slogan. We live by it, and will die to protect it if necessary.
Because we gno what the alternative is, and that is hell.

Leftists, whether they know it or not, prefer the security of enslavement, or hell, for the "greater good," although they sure can't demonstrate how it is good in any way, shape or form, except in the form of their wishful thinking.

Ironically, leftists usually do support property rights when it comes to their own stuff.
They just wanna own everyone elses stuff too.

3/07/2015 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Pat Condell, on fire as usual: on grounds of fairness, no one should be denied free speech except for progressives, so they can know how it feels.

3/08/2015 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Watching that, it occurs to me that the purpose of a genuine education is to allow people to explore reality freely, and therefore discover that which is true. And in such circumstances, people are more likely to conform themselves to that which is true.

Nobody needs to enact a code to ensure that everyone acknowledges that 2+2=4. It is simply true, and once taught anybody can demonstrate, in endless ways, that it is so. Similarly, no campaign is required to demonstrate that our species features two sexes, one male and one female, which play different biological roles in the propagation of our species. It is only the lie that requires a campaign of restricted speech and enforced segregation in order to prevent people from even coming into contact with reality. And thus we have Wesleyan University's "safe space" for LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM students.

3/08/2015 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Math and logic were just invented by white males to oppress the innumerate and illogical.

3/08/2015 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I have a safe space. It's called graduating.

3/08/2015 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM?
Surely they can come up with 50 shades of gay more than that.

3/08/2015 09:29:00 AM  

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