KZ: James, as an historian I’m always amazed that culture defining changes effecting billions of human lives are so often the result of misunderstanding or just plain laziness by supposedly “brilliant makers of society.” Two of these particularly interest me. Milton Friedman and Karl Marx. I have a similar interest in psychopathic “leaders.” Some obvious, like Joseph Stalin. Others less so, like Ayn Rand.
JB: Ken, you have given four notable examples, in terms of their apparent impact on millions of humans, it seems to me.
RL: As an historian, who approched the modern world through a 19th century, German perspective, I can’t understand all this emphasis on Anglo-Saxonia. Until 1940 German economists dominated the thought world, the view that Smith set the direction of the thought world is anachronistic. It appeared after 1945,when neoclassical economics rode to victory in the us hegemonic thought world. Trump wishes to keep that world going, but the world is a different place today than in 1945 and the thought world needs to change in like with other tradtions, like the organic as opposed to the proprietary view of the firm.
JB: Good point, Robert, to the victor belongs the spoils. The Germans were rattled by WWI & lost much more in WWII. Now that both the EU can & China is challenging US post-WWII cultural dominance, it may be that a balancing of impact among three powerful cultural entities will emerge. I hope so.
Me: Yes, WN and TMS should be read together, and Freidman and Marx, intelligent German moralism and industriousness and its maniacally fanatical counterpart Nazism, and Stalin and Rand together as well. Why? Because it’s the integrative mindset in action. How about a comparative study of the ideas and techniques of the world’s major wisdom traditions and B.F. Skinner’s Behaviorism?
The result of these studies would hopefully evoke an understanding of what I refer to as the cosmic code in action which is a trinity-unity-process superior to the mere dualism of the scientific method because by integrating the first two aspects of the Hegelian dialectic they render a unified entity that becomes a new dualism with the third aspect of it, namely synthesis, that incorporates consciousness into the equation and reminds us of the ultimate and inclusive importance of the end process of the dialectic….so that we become less prone to mere ideological thinking and obsessive contention between the first two aspects of that process…..as most intellectual debate, especially in economics has fallen into.