Sunday, November 16, 2008

You see, I was reading Tillich, and then this blog entry came...

Paul Tillich's perspective is theologian one. Starting from there, then, Tillich provides, in a 1952 monograph, a discussion of an interesting contrast. This contrast involves the two concepts of individualization, and participation. The monograph is a book, divided into chapters with subsections. In the "participation" subsection there appears also the word "collective." The discussion as we said is from 1952. The fact that it is 1952 means that this is before the words "participation" and "collective," which are examples of words that have long been the subject of a general, sustained cultural onslaught, were successfully driven out of circulation, the results of which are now manifesting as a toothless American culture. Or: tool-less, rule-less and theory-less. That discussion could still be alive -- if the human race were less corrupt!

A truly healthy discussion would present us with both of these concepts, which is to say the very project Tillich was engaged in, and I would like to add here that, just as the ideas of individual and collective will never be (we may add, "collectively") settled, neither can we be successful at putting the individual parts of capitalism permanently together for a theory representing a dead or static capitalism. Because it isn't dead or static. Instead there are a number of considerations at once. There is no way to finally unite all of them in one theory because of the way these variables represent as life itself. Here's an example based on train travel. These considerations are simultaneous and never equate with one another.

Are there any empty seats? (demography or demand)

What exactly is the price? (quantitative)

Which is the quality of the product? (qualitative, not quantitative)

Add to this the existential "to be or not to be" questions (why capitalism at all? Will a terrorist attack come? Will travel even be safe? Why does Amtrak actually exist in that space, and if so, why not privately owned? Why instead government owned?) and I think it irrefutable that no one theory can ever be created as to how all these combine. No way. It cannot be done -- not the way economists do it at any rate. In connection with this consider that in the world everything is in flux, therefore not stable. The mere fact of living in a capitalistic society does not have the power or authority or authority over logic to drive a conclusion that this can be analyzed with the kinds of explanations, theories and conclusions that derive out of the field of economics. This is personal vanity on the part of economists.
Capitalism is in flux, and it is part of a changing, insecure world.