Adapted from Misfortunes of systemic transference.
In Contextualising Economy I mentioned very briefly systemic transference giving algebraic vs economic transference as an example. Today I will expand on the subject by examples of Friedrich Hayek’s and Aristotle’s theories, to indicate that systemic transference, although it can assist in intellectual understanding within and across disciplines, not always translates into successful tools of social management. For the sake of this post I will assume that the reader is loosely familiar with Hayek’s theory of free markets as well as Aristotle’s Politics and will move directly into presenting my views. I will operate within macro and supra levels to illustrate them.
Firstly, systemic transference can occur between disciplines and unless the discipline of application takes into account all factors influencing it, systemic transference will be to the detriment of the structure or system it is applied to. For example, it seems that Friedrich Hayek based his theories of free markets and their movements/behaviour on principles of Darwinian evolution. With a father as a medical doctor and lecturer in botany, Hayek’s early influences were that of a scientist occupied with the world of nature, plants and animals. Ideas of evolution seeped through and can certainly be picked up in Hayek’s later thinking about economy.
This could be considered one of the most progressive systemic transferences but what it did not take into account was the fact that only 1/3 of human construct is biologically driven. Applying Darwinian evolution to predict evolution of markets, which are necessarily concerned with unpredicted human behaviours and external factors could be successful only in part. Hayek believed he had invented an antidote for governments’ intervention in controlling prices and facilitated free choice of an individual, yet he did not predict these governments could still have a grip on the markets which were apparently free. Today we are left with his theory half-applied due to fear of markets collapsing, therefore unsuccessful in its predictions.
Secondly, systemic transference happens also within one discipline across time or timelines leaving us not only with idealist approaches but also little understanding of modern societies.
Aristotle’s Politics has been used as a ‘template’ of ideal politics for centuries. In the West academics across universities refer to him as an authority in the field, thinking that our attitudes could perhaps reach at least some level of political perfection and reasoning present in Aristotle’s ideals. And that’s what they are – ideals. Modelling or referencing any modern system on abstract and rarely relevant theories of the past will result in dichotomy between the application and experience of such a system in the now.
Can we really assume and believe that Aristotle’s political and ethical advice can uplift, organise and stabilise us today? Have we not taken into account the context in which Aristotle wrote and in which we operate? The Spartans would throw their disabled from cliffs as they were of no use to society. In today’s societies, however, we do everything to assist them and/or prolong their lives. Is it progression of modern medicine and social provision or misapplied and misguided sense of service and sacrifice (which have been for centuries preached as virtues from many a pulpit) that influence our decisions?
Taking this irrelevance further – is it real compassion or religious indoctrination that results in denying people euthanasia and dying with dignity? Is it the same ethics then which closes our eyes on the fact that our taxes sponsor war? Is it by the same ethics that we allow children to be born to alcoholics and drug addicts? Whose human rights are we protecting here? And what would happen if for once we applied pure reason, rather than religious stories, philosophical ideals or false compassion, to creation of social and political structures? We would have a revolt of families and Church. This is visible in Islamic state revolting against Western ‘democratic indoctrination’.
But no uplifting of any society or consciousness is possible by bypassing reason. Without true understanding we remain at the level of collective denial. Acceptance of what is and what motivates our collective decisions, happens through looking at what is – ‘exactly’. High Reason can only be practised when family ceases to be the basic and core organisational unit in a society. Only when women take responsibility for what they are, and instead of breeding children, focus on birthing new awareness, will men have a chance to step in and take their rightful place in service of that awareness – empowered rather than diminished in service of a structure (family) incompatible with their soul design. Only when vasectomy for certain groups becomes as common as vaccines will we be able to call ourselves respectable and progressive species.
Transferring Aristotelian theories into what we believe to be current systems will fail us, for it keeps us looking back at something that never existed, therefore could not be adequate in any application. With regards to economics Hayek’s theories could work if applied fully however transferring his understanding into developing any new approach will be necessarily out of date.
Systemic transference can be done successfully for the system which is newly created as well as the structures to which it will apply only if the context and circumstances of the structures to which the system will apply are taken into account for construction of such a system.
Related posts: Reality. Apparently. 27 Dec 2014
Resources / further inspiration:
The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek
Politics (Book IV) by Aristotle