RL: My first book was called French Legiitimists and the Politics of Moral Order in the Early Third Republic. Princeton, 1974. Politics of Moral Order is what trust is all about, and it is an old subject, dating back in the modern order to Montesquieu and in the 19th century to Tocqueville. The point usually is that one cannot make those with vested interests guardians of moral order. In most discussions the least respected guardians of moral order are businessmen and the “people” who are egoistic and subject to manipulations. Usually one finds a group or groups of specially trained people to be guardians of the moral order, a natural aristocracy perhaps, etc..
R: A truly great post.Shares great understanding and valuable insights on the subject of public trust through careful study of history.
May I add, A public’s trust in its institutions begins with a trust in their money. Economists can drone on like they have everything figured out and under control but people can tell if the money is crooked. Inequality caused by crooked money is enforced by crooked institutions that display inconsistencies in their actions. Withholding trust is a defensive action.
Money can be made to measure accurately.
In the real world, measurement by comparison to a standardized unit of length,mass, volume etc is amazingly accurate, understandable, affordable to the point of being cheap, by everyone.
The economic “pluralists” should take note that virtually the same weights and measures standards of all units except money are recognized, if not used, by all nationalities, ethnicities, genders,capitalists, dictators, socialists and communists alike. Because the system is trusted and because it is a trustworthy system subject to correction if a defect becomes apparent
Money can be made trustworthy.
Me: Yes, ideas and the experiences behind them are what guide humanity. That is why paradigms are so powerful, why it is so important to be aware of current paradigms and the signatures of new ones. Considering that the current paradigm of finance, that is, Debt/Burden/Additional Cost Only has held humanity down for the entire history of human civilization it’s way over due for a change. And if the concept behind that new paradigm is the concept behind every historical paradigm change…how powerful could that idea be?
RL: “Yes, ideas and the experiences behind them are what guide humanity”
No serious student of history would subscribe to such a view, which is one reason I learn so little in this blog. History is not the study of ideas that guide humanity but of the unexpected and irrationality of historical outcomes that surprise the hell out of people. Nobody entering WWI expected the outcome would destroy Western civilization, except a lucky guesser. We all read them after the events not before. Napoleon said that between a battle gained and a battle lost, there are empires. Winning and losing a battle can be a close run thing, like the battle of the Marne in 1914. If the Germans had won, no fascism, no Hitler, no WWII. No new paradigm.
KZ: I might phrase it a bit differently, but Robert is spot on with this comment. The implicit, hidden, lied about, forged, mistaken, and misunderstood play much larger parts in what happens in human societies than any “paradigm,” “philosophy,” or “code of ethics.” The British have it right, except they often forget they have it right. Life is a muddle. Best we can do is “muddle through.”
Me: With all due respect history while valuable from a rear view mirror perspective is really the study of human UN-consciousness. Wisdom/paradigm perception is the integration of history and full consciousness. It may not be perfect, what human discipline is, but it’s a damned site better than the enforced un-knowingness/unconsciousness of the paradigm of Science ONLY. The proverb applies: The wise man sees trouble and hides himself, the fool goes on and suffers for it.
“Like Craig you focus on the point of retail sale being that at which exchange value exists. What you show no signs of realising is that that is the neo-Classical position, which eliminated the mass production side of Adam Smith’s Classical economy – and sight of all the injustices which had gone with it. What “uniform distribution” does not resolve is the issue of motivation of production, to which Capitalism provided a clear answer in terms of power and profit on the one hand and threat of starvation on the other. It does so by valuing commodities, whereas “uniform distribution” in effect starts by valuing human beings as such: the most marvellous things in the universe.”
My focus on retail sale results in two policies that combined actually sets both the individual and enterprise free from the death grip of finance dominated economics with a satisfactorily guaranteed level of income. Once you’ve done that and applied Occam’s Razor on private money creation with the establishment of a national banking system and central bank guided by the same concept behind those two policies….all of the falderal of prior theorizing and obsessive calculation of complexity either dissipates entirely or aligns with the resulting new paradigm. That is what history has shown us regarding new paradigms which are moments of great advancement enabled by the all too slow scientific process of cogniting on an imminently applicable aspect or aspects of the NATURAL philosophical concept of grace to the body of knowledge at hand.