Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Concepts of Ethos and Ethics

In modern usage, ethos denotes the disposition, character, or fundamental values particular to a specific person, people, corporation, culture, or movement.

Neoliberalism - A Review

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek attended the meeting.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. In 1947, Hayek founded an organisation to spread the doctrine of neoliberalism,  the Mont Pelerin Society. It was generously supported  by millionaires and their foundations.

Hayek created a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists.  A series of thinktanks came up to refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. The supporters of neoliberalism financed number of academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Postulates of Capitalism

“Postulate” is a mathematical term.  It is defined by “The Basic Postulates & Theorems of Geometry” Web page as follows: “Postulates are statements that are assumed to be true without proof.”

Postulates of Traditional Marginalism

The first postulate, and perhaps the most important postulate of traditional marginalism, is that “The wage is equal to the marginal product of labour.” “That is,” Keynes explained, “the wage of an employed person is equal to the value which would be lost if employment were to be reduced by one unit (after deducting any other costs which this reduction of output would avoid); subject, however, to the qualification that the equality may be disturbed, in accordance with certain principles, if competition and markets are imperfect.”

The second “postulate” is that “the utility of the wage when a given volume of labour is employed is equal to the marginal disutility of that amount of employment.” It is assumed by the marginalists that no worker really wants to work at all. Performing labor for a capitalist boss is a definite “disutility” from the worker’s point of view. On the other hand, the money that the workers obtain in exchange for their “labor” enables the workers to buy commodities that have a definite utility for them. Indeed, without the “utility” provided by the wage, which the worker can only obtain by selling his or her “labor,” the worker couldn’t live at all.