This conversation is closed.

indoctrination, I noticed something interesting.

So an interesting coincidence came across me today

i was reading a Noam Chomsky article where he talks about how Adam Smiths philosophy has been butchered by the Chicago school of economics.

There are similarities between Karl Marx and Adam Smith between their philosophy on the division of labor. This seems to have been forgotten
Adam Smiths thoughts

page 4 2b) Karl Marx's thoughts

I just found it interesting that in this talk, Dan Ariely didn't notice that Adam Smith also had similar meaning to Karl Marx.

To me this sort of shows how massive the level of indoctrination and twisting of history has twisted today's society. It's even affected our intellectuals.

What are your thoughts?

  • thumb
    Apr 12 2013: did you know that the classical theory of gravity and mechanics is a christian doctrine? it was created by a guy, called newton, that was a antitrinitarian monotheist. or wait, can we say that his views on other things do not bear any relevance on the theory he created? because it is not the person, but the theory that counts. we remember newton as the guy behind a successful theory. not a theory of the guy that was successful. the order matters. newton's theological work does not stand today. mechanics does.

    chomsky talks extensively about "newton's religious views", that is, smith's selected claims about society. guess what, smith was wrong in many things, and also presented many ideas that might be true or false, but have forgotten since. what is smith's magnum opus? it is the wealth of nations you say. but smith himself considered another book of his the magnum opus, the theory of moral sentiments, which nobody heard of. why is that? because it is not smith and his genius that validates the theory. rather, the theory validates his genius. many of smith's theses don't stand today, debated or forgotten. but his theory about how wealth is created through the division of labor stands.

    in that sense, the contradiction between the "smithian concept" and the "marxian concept" is indeed valid. and chomsky still does not understand it after these many years. probably he does not want to identify himself with marx, and reject smith. marxists are not a very good company.
    • thumb
      Apr 12 2013: What I value particularly in your comment here is that you shine a bright light on a very common logical fallacy. Indeed, it is not a person's genius that validates a theory but a theory that validates his genius.

      Many people are brilliant or had a great insight in one particular area and have no particular insight into another. It can be something like when someone who plays a doctor on TV testifies in Congress about health care or when a legitimate specialist in botany makes claims about economics or physics. Or they can have great insight early in their careers and not at the end of their careers.
    • Keith W

      • +1
      Apr 14 2013: Thats Funny! Gravity a Christian Doctrine? You know Darwin was educated by the church of England. Is Origin of species a christian doctrine?
  • thumb
    Apr 12 2013: Hi Douglas,

    Many thanks for the links - the assembly is worth looking at.

    My thoughts are that the division of labour is an extension of the natural fall into specialisation required by social organisms.
    For it to be properly balanced - and so not to overstep its role, one must first understand the purpose of it.

    To comprehend this, I have had to form a framework by which a distinction can be made between the individual and the emergent social entity that individuals give rise to.
    This framework is based on the notion of perception. An individual alone has a field of perception tied to the field of senses - perception forms a distillation of sense data into information relevant to the well being of the creature.
    By this process, even though the active perception is narrowed to the "informatum" at hand, the potential perception can exceed the field of senses - this has the affect of widening the field of perception beyond the field of senses.
    For an individual, I call this enlarged potential perception "the primary field of perception".
    When an organism become a social organism, the primary fields of potential perception are summed through the device of communication - this gives rise to the secondary field of potential perception.
    Any increase of the field of potential perception leads to an expansion of the field of potential agency - if you know more, you can do more. This is remarked as "freedom" - but is not understood outside of this framework and becomes a meaningless utterance - a tribal totem.
    The balance point then becomes identified at the moment the division of labour disappears from the primary field of perception. In other words, if the task is meaningless to the worker, he is deprived of the secondary field of perception and no longer adds value to the emergent entity of his own community.

    Does that make sense?
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Apr 18 2013: Many thanks John.

        The dichotomy of positive/negative potential agency can also be cast over the self/other axis to form a measure of "morality". But in the end, the bell curve must resolve to the bias of the self - it is the self, after all, who approves or disapproves past agency - on the basis of the current field of potential agency - which in turn forms the history judged by future selves. Measurement is a retrospective activity.
        Truth being the absolute energy state and the absolute causality is not available to the senses - the senses are limited to bandwidth dictated by the specific interests of the self plus a margin at the service of adaptive range. Perception extends this by the application of causality relative to self-persistence.
        Darwin suggests that there is more than one self at work in these dynamics (the genome as a self), but the point(vector?) of agency defines the membrane of that self.
        Here is where we can measure the beneficiary of specialisation.
        Agency is key - who or what do you work for defines the entity which precipitates the agency.
        Indeed, I spent a good deal of time helping corporate entities design their human machinery.
        But inherent specialisation also exists - some are biologically defined .. the tribe functions because all the critical tasks are covered by virtue of age and sex. Beyond the tribe, we experiment with artifice .. but these are all tainted by the interest of the individual - which will bias the advantage.
        I don't believe in laziness .. there is a better word - comfort. Understanding the mechanics of comfort will go a long way to understanding which side of the positive/negative an agency resides.
        Indoctrination/propaganda/advertising/coercion is a symptom of artifice. Artifice is a symptom of biased interests. I would argue that the bias becomes less than the tribe when a tribe exceeds the biological limit to the field of secondary perception it generates. This is defined by brain capacity.
      • thumb
        Apr 18 2013: addendum:
        The field of senses is also critical - such things as measuring instruments expand our non-artificial horizon. But the critical test of any such extension of senses is "real-time".

        There are a bunch of idiots out there who prattle on about the "singularity" . none of them recognise the real-time limit to artificial senses.

        Instead, they create new entities - new selves .. new mouths to feed .. in short - parasites.
        The singularity then becomes dependent on the quantity of blood we can spare.

        This is very heartening - the parasites will replace war as the cull mechanism that draws all species back to their biological self-limit - they die with their host.

        A good thing I think - no less death .. just less blame. In the ultimate long term test of morality - blame has no place.
  • Apr 13 2013: Perhaps I have an excess of confidence on humanity, and it is true that laziness can prevent us for doing so (double-check). But I am sure that when something rings a bell (in the sense of feeling that something is not according with your knowledge or experience) while listening or reading this kind of conferences, at least the listener or reader doesn´t use that information as if it were true instead of an opinion of a speaker.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Apr 13 2013: " I hope the audience clever enough to double check"

      most certainly not
      • Apr 14 2013: I agree with your point of view, although I hope the audience clever enough to double check this kind of data as you have done. Thanks for the precise data. It helps to separate opinion from reality.
  • Apr 13 2013: Don - I hope you are right. What you are talking about sounds more like John Wesley which is good, but even that man would admit while he studied and knew Jesus, he was not Jesus. The Grace of God is not the same as being sacrificaed for man's sins. But good job Don. I guess I got lost in the narrative, but i enjoy Noam Chomsky's writings too - not that I agree with or understand them.
  • thumb
    Apr 12 2013: It seems to me each generation of people has different frameworks of experience, which are largely affected by what was happening when they were growing up. For example the people who survived the poverty and depriviation of the second world war wanted to create a 'utopian' society where everyone was valued and the vulnerable 'cared for' etc. Children were treasured and well resourced and offered a vision of the future where 'anything was possible'. The next generation rebelled against their families and became 'the first teenagers' with this age group being amongst the first to have spare disposable income. The next generation wanted things instead of relationships so money (mainly in the form of credit) was necessary. The next generation are now facing the consequences and are feeling so angry and bitter and disenfranchised. Appreciate this might sound simplistic. There is something about each generations experience of hope and fear and each generations experience of their societies overarching frameworks in all of this. Value laden words like good and evil unhelpful but need to be viewed in the context of the way a community communicated at the time. An education where people feel safe to question and test and reflect and a society that offers that opportunity becoming increasingly scarce. Well done Mr. Renwick - do agree the idea that there is only a limited amount of interpretation and one truth does very much influence academia and creativity and ultimately the resources that make an economy strong and resilient.
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Apr 15 2013: Sorry have said so many times before do not have the appropriate technical vocab for such a highly complex subject. I understood the conversation to be a mixture of philosophy and economics and ideological perspectives. From an experiential point of view noticing huge changes in working practices due to the impact of technology, whole raft of the 'small' jobs like secretary, telephone operator, mechanics etc, all being replaced by machines - this is great when everyone still has some access to a way to pay the bills but not great when most people living hand to mouth, for the economy as a whole. Adam Smith writing at the start of the Industrial Revolution when people moved off the land into the cities to provide labour in the factories. Karl Marx writing at a time of massive social change. Economies meant to run in ten year cycles but now complicated by interconnectedness of so many different economies. Do understand, can only offer word from sociological perspective 'anomie'. Other talks on TEd about how funding sources affect academic direction and yes so frustrating when so much potential and talent wasted because people not able to tick the right boxes. A strong skill set and enough creativity and imagination to resolve problems and sufficient individual reward - whicfh I always understood to be the American way.
  • Apr 12 2013: Oh come on Adam Smith tells us man is evil. Isn't that sometimes true. Karl Marx gives us a great deal of Sunday school stuff. Want to know what happened to that guy in sandals with a beard? Okay if he were here today he wouldn't be crucified, he'd be assissinated like Gandhi. Myself - I prefer Ricardo.
  • thumb
    Apr 11 2013: You said ... "To me this sort of shows how massive the level of indoctrination and twisting of history has twisted today's society. It's even affected our intellectuals."

    First I agree that we have been and continue to be indoctrinated ... and second it would depend on who you consider our intellectuals.

    Reading Noam Chomsky articles will interfere with input from intellectuals ... you must chose which path to follow grasshopper ... you will never walk the rice paper if you follow bad advice said the master.

    Karl Marx sat in the London libraries writing his thoughts and never reading the thousands of books surrounding him or interfacing with real people or experiencing real life issues.

    As for Smith .. There is a great deal of conflict between The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations; the former emphasizes sympathy for others, while the latter focuses on the role of self-interest.

    I can compare many people but it will always be made to serve the point I wish to make. By the way Smith was a bit of an odd duck ... he would probally have been evaluated and maybe even instituationalized in todays world.

  • thumb
    Apr 11 2013: Ignore anything Chomsky says he is very confusing and IMO not useful but a liability.

    I followed the link below your link to Adam Smith, this one:

    Skip down to where Rothbard talks about the Division of Labor. I don't have time to read all of it right now but this should get you going the right direction.

    I learned something after listening to Nail Ferguson I thought Smith was a God, Thanks.
    • thumb
      Apr 12 2013: Hi Pat,

      Many thanks for the link.. there are some good points there .. a lot of opinion, but the thought process is useful.

      I disagree with both Marx and Smith on the point of the affect of meaningless repetitive labour tasks. Although it seems reasonable to assume that such labour will cause the mind to atrophy, it would take some empirical research to prove - a thing quite easy to do these days with FMRI technology. We have, for instance, found that the hippocampus will shrink with habitual use of navigation aids such as GPS units.
      From personal experience, I found that mind-numbingly repetitive tasks actually freed my mind to explore ideas while the body was busy at mechanical work .. although this is anecdotal, it may lead to a better understanding that the Enlightenment thinkers failed to address - the assumption is that the mind was already prepared to think independently of the body .. this may not be the case for everybody. One has to ask - what went before? How is it some are crushed by repetitive work, while others are not? And why were Smith and Marx lead to believe the assumption that all would be crushed?

      Have you any published work yourself? It would be great to explore your over-all theory in detail.
      • thumb
        Apr 12 2013: A little context, Robard talks about plagiarizing, the truth is ideas have sex, so no one is completely original. But the importance of the service differential concept cannot be overstated. This alone solves the mind numbing work problem. The guy who cannot stand it gets himself educated to do something else, or he automates the process, or because of the service differential he figures out a way to trade with someone else through a mutually beneficial arrangement. This is the very process that has raised the standard of living of the world. Robard mentions that Smith did not apply this to foreign trade, major oversight.

        I'm glad I read this as I like everyone else thought Smith was the father of economics where Robard shed some light on this for me.
        • thumb
          Apr 12 2013: Yes, attribution is a fuzzy area. Smith gets the gurnsey because he articulated the ideas of his time - in the right arena for personal recognition .. whether or not he enjoyed it.. well, Jimi Hendrix was not around to enjoy the bulk of his attribution.
          Also - the principle of service differential is obvious - when you see it done. The idea extrapolates into the incredible power of a free market.
          The question of externalities is yet to be properly understood - this is the great failure of writers such as Smith, Keynes, Marx etc - and I suppose that, as you say, ideas have sex, this aspect will, in turn, fall to the children of ideas in the generation appointed to them.

          The other notion that snags my curiosity is the incentive role of attribution .. we attribute prestige even though it is obvious that each breakthrough depends on the breakthroughs before it - and that many get the same idea at the same time. The practice and the reality are in conflict - and yet, no one would listen to me saying that the works of Hendrix were derivative .. though, I'd be hard pressed to argue that he was not unique.
      • thumb
        Apr 12 2013: Why are the practice and the reality in conflict?
        • thumb
          Apr 12 2013: That's the million dollar question.

          I'd be guessing, but it seems that the need for recognition from the point of view of the contributor is a function of the gregarious drive of the social animal .. Just what is at the heart of this gregarious drive .. I haven't found any empirical study .. Somewhere in there will be our answer.
          The rational point of view is as you stated - ideas have sex ... and they are markedly promiscuous .. Galileo's telescope was a twin-child born from him and another guy, who's name we don't remember. James Watt did not invent the steam engine alone - he was the one who was awarded the patent. .. Of course, these examples are more folk-lore than reality .. but they get used to illustrate what happens all the time. In microcosm, we larf when 2 friends say the exact same thing in conversation. What Jung called "synchronicity".
          So the need to own one's expressions .. I'd say is connected with the sense of security derived by our perceived value to others - right or wrong .. we seem to be wired that way.

          What's your take?
      • thumb
        Apr 12 2013: I guess it is the difference between interesting and interested the line that is crossed when one start believing his own PR.

        The one who makes the clam gets the reward. So there is benefit to being good at promotion which gives Edison the brass ring with poorer technology over Tesla.
        • thumb
          Apr 12 2013: Hi Pat,

          I appreciate your insight!

          PR is the art of working belief systems. Indeed, the gap between rationality and actuality in people lies in the noise-component of our perceptions.
          I'll think some more on this.