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Re: <nettime> Nobel laureate in economics aged 102 endorses the human ec
Newmedia on Mon, 21 Jan 2013 22:54:36 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Nobel laureate in economics aged 102 endorses the human economy...

> Thank you for this wonderful essay . . .
Hurray for the nettime lovefest!  Ed loves Keith.  Keith loves  Brian.  
Brian loves (depends if you mean in public or in private) . . . ??  <g>
Here's the discussion about Keith's *manifesto* on Facebook --
_Mark  Stahlman_ (http://www.facebook.com/markstahlman)  As  I've been 
discussing with Prof. Wang, Prof. "Post-Autistic" Fullbrock and  others, you 
can't talk about the *humans* without also talking about the  technologies 
which we invent, turn into environments and then allow ourselves to  be shaped 
by our own innovations. So far, this understanding seems to be missing  from 
the "real-world" economics movement.

_Keith Hart_ (http://www.facebook.com/johnkeithhart)  You  can't have read 
the paper yet, Mark, so why comment on  it?
_Mark  Stahlman_ (http://www.facebook.com/markstahlman)  Of  course I read 
your "Object" essay, why would you say that I "can't have"? There  is 
nothing in it on the topic of how technological environments shape the  *humans* 
-- is there? Prof. Fullbrock, who edits "real-world economic review"  invited 
me to write a paper on this precisely because, in his estimation, no one  
is taking about it. Please help me by pointing to those who *are* . . .  !!
_Keith Hart_ (http://www.facebook.com/johnkeithhart)  I  don't write about 
how technology shapes humans because it is an outline of an  economic 
approach. But I do say "The social and technical conditions of our era  ??? 
urbanization, fast transport and universal media ??? should underpin any inquiry  into 
how the principles of human economy might be realised." And I underline the 
 role of the digital revolution in undermining the dominant economic form 
of the  20th century. I have also written a book on money in the digital 
revolution. I  haven't reached your particular line, but I don't consider it 
engaging with a  text when you say what it isn't 5 minutes after it was  posted.
_Mark  Stahlman_ (http://www.facebook.com/markstahlman)  Sorry  if I can 
read fast (and if I've been talking with you for many months about  these 
subjects)! <g> Economics is in *trouble* (like the rest of social  science) 
because it leaves out basic realities and these "simplifications" --  whether in 
the service  of "modeling assumptions" or whatever -- have now become too 
important to  ignore. By emphasizing the HUMANS, you have correctly noted 
*one* of the parts  left out. However, the humans are highly "plastic" and 
largely shaped by their  environment -- which, in turn, is mostly defined by 
technology. Do you discuss  this *environmental* effect on humans in your book? 
Is anyone else talking about  it? In 1953 the Ford Foundation awarded 
Marshall McLuhan a $43,000 grant to  study these effects. His partner was Edmund 
"Ted" Carpenter, an anthropologist.  Together, they published the important 
journal "Explorations" in the 1950s. How  does Carpenter et al's 
anthropology of "media" relate (or not) to what you are  trying to do? 
(So far, no reply . . .  )
Keith is an anthropologist, who is interested  in economics.  Excellent!  
But he leaves out the effects of technology  from his paper on "methodology," 
even though other anthropologists have already  done ground-breaking work 
on the topic.  Not so  excellent.
Industrialization is all about technology and  its effects on the humans.  
So was agriculture.  So is our present  "post-industrial" condition.  To try 
to do "anthropology" today without Ted  Carpenter is like trying to do 
economics without Joseph Schumpeter.   Ignoring the effects of technology on the 
humans will not produce a  valid analysis of the "human  economy."
Africa will be the last place on earth to leave  behind agriculture and 
industrialize.  But it will happen.under conditions  quite different from the 
European or North American or Japanese  industrialization.  Like the Chinese 
and Indian drive to  industrialize, African industrialization will happen 
under the influence of  digital technology.  Furthermore, African 
industrialization will  occur under the influence of the bio/nano-technology that will 
underpin the next  techno-economic "surge."  
So far, the African National Congress has not  shown themselves up to the 
task of thinking this through.  Unlike the  Chinese, who discarded "central 
planning" and, crucially, "single-use" military  technology (which they 
inherited from the Soviets) in the 1980s, the ANC does  not seem to have grasped 
these lessons.  Instead, South Africa today  appears to be a patch-work of 
personality-based "rivalries"  between fiefdoms staking out their ground.  
Perhaps it will take a  generation after the death of Mandela (like after the 
death of Mao), to begin to  sort this out.  Best of luck to Keith and his 
"robber-baron"  pot-o'-gold!
Understanding how these massive economic shifts  occur under the influence 
of changing technological environments is the task for  today's "social 
science."  If you leave out these factors, which have been  well known since the 
1960s, because it's too complicated or "not the way we do  things," then 
you will not produce a very useful analysis -- or contribute much  to 
resolving the problems in social  science.
Mark  Stahlman
Brooklyn  NY

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