Sunday, May 11, 2014


In Chrysalis (“In the emergency of the day is …emergence”) HERE
"Cat Religion and the Invisible Hand"
"My cat worships the human hand. As far as my cat is concerned, or so it seems, the rest of me is of no interest. I imagine that if cats were to possess more reason, they would probably make a religion and an idol of the Hand. “Paws not good. Only the Hand is good”.
'Skinfulness' would be righteous. Furiness inferior. Fingers divine. Claws corrupt. What is like unto the Great Hand? What is equal to the power of the Great Hand?
Something like a primitive cat religion lies behind the famous “Invisible Hand” of the market society. Neo-liberalism is a primitive religion, in that respect — like cat religion. Maybe even an elite priesthood amongst cats would emerge whose sole purpose was to determine the will of the Great Hand and devise prayers and rituals for invoking stroking and calling down the blessings of the Great Hand from on high. Cat scientists and theologians would study the divine fingers of fate and the mysteries of the opposable thumb, and perhaps cat genetic engineers would dream of ways of changing paws into hands, claws into finger nails.”

In treating a metaphor as a real entity which they believe actually operates in society you end up with fantasies. When these fantasies are believed by economists, including Nobel Prize Winners, you leave reality and belittle claims to economics being a science.  It becomes a mere gossip with as many contributors as there are credulous people dominating the conversation.


Blogger airth10 said...

"In treating a metaphor as a real entity which they believe actually operates in society you end up with fantasies."

Our world is devised of metaphors. That is how we get to understand and know it. And they do express a reality and no just fantasies. They educate us about phenomena that is otherwise not understood or believed.

Metaphors are also used to capture and encapsulates a sensation, like "you eat like a bird" and "as sick as a dog". Likewise does the "invisible hand".

3:55 pm  
Blogger said...

The problem of treating economics as a science is conceptual. The structures of economic systems are designed (or at least evolved under human guidance). Such systems reflect the intentions of their designers. The neoclassical school, whether intentionally or not, will of necessity draw conclusions that reinforce the status quo, given the nature of its assumptions.

12:46 pm  
Blogger The Arthurian said...

airth 10: "Our world is devised of metaphors"

But metaphors didn't get us to the moon. Science did.

The biggest problem with metaphors is that sometimes they seem to explain a lot, when really they are quite wrong.

McGee, the structures of economic systems may be designed, as you say, but economic forces are not.

11:01 pm  
Blogger airth10 said...

"But metaphors didn't get us to the moon. Science did."

There is something obtuse about that remark.

There are lots of things that didn't get us to the moon but that doesn't make them less important to human existence. On the other hand (perhaps invisible hand), without language, which metaphors are a great part of, we could not have gotten to the moon.

10:02 am  
Blogger The Arthurian said...

"There is something obtuse about that remark."

Obtuse, Ten? I don't understand. Perhaps a metaphor would help...

12:22 am  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Metaphors "describe in a more striking and interesting manner" their objects (A. Smith, 1762). They are not real, they do not exist. Similies are not real either. 'eat like a bird', 'as sick as a dog' are different from metaphors, but they are not real either. They describe something else to which they are descriptively similar.

1:36 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Richard McGee
I agree. Designed economic systems are imaginative and neoclassical economists manipulate the imagined relationships. They are not manipulating the real world except in their imaginations.

1:39 pm  
Blogger airth10 said...

Strange thinking!

1:45 pm  
Blogger airth10 said...

It's funny that so much is said about something that isn't real, like the invisible hand.

On the one hand the invisible hand isn't real but on the other it is because it identifies an opaque but perceivable phenomenon.

It's just that some don't like how loosely the metaphor of the invisible hand has been used, way beyond what Adam Smith had in mind.

10:04 am  

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