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In the discussion thread: "Freedom(s)" and "self-interest" [View all]

Response to PETRUS (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 01:39 AM

3. A really good read.

How about the freedom to live in a world where not everything has dollar signs on it?

Or freedom from the fear that getting sick could bankrupt you and put you on the street. In a world where everything is bought and sold, how free am I if I can't afford to buy anything?

I also like the way the author deconstructed the "self-interest" paradigm that seems to be taught like a religion to college students in economics classes. He draws our attention to the pitfall of accepting the self-interest vs. altruism framework. Solidarity is a much better concept for framing the choices of rational actors in some situations. If economics students are being indoctrinated with the idea that unlimited insatiable greed is the normal mindset of a rational person, most of them will believe it and behave accordingly, both in their personal lives and when they have a chance to influence the community.

And that relates to the author's other point that the way we organize society changes us as people. Government and social policy is not just about allocating resources. The kind of society we live in also affects our personalities and changes who we are. So we should ask basic questions about what kind of society we want to live in, and what kind of people it will turn us into. Like do we want a society where access to medical care is related to one's ability to pay? I would say no, because it is an affront to human dignity and it encourages the idea that it is ok to treat each other like human garbage, or not, based on ability to pay.

It's worth reading all the way through. Thanks.

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Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
PETRUS Jul 2012 OP
Steerforth Jul 2012 #1
Starry Messenger Jul 2012 #2
LineNew Reply A really good read.
limpyhobbler Jul 2012 #3
socialist_n_TN Jul 2012 #4
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