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What’s wrong with the world? Rationality! A critique of economic anthropology in the spirit of Jean Gebser

Pogany, Peter (2010): What’s wrong with the world? Rationality! A critique of economic anthropology in the spirit of Jean Gebser.

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Abstract

Jean Gebser (1905-1973) was a multidisciplinary thinker whose ideas about human consciousness and the future inspire the following five vantage points for the heterodox critique of contemporary economic anthropology: (1) Characteristic attributes of consciousness and those of the environment surrounding the individual are equivalent, eliminating the possibility of single-minded, seamless, rational control, especially during macrohistoric phase transitions; (2) Diaphaneity as a mode of deep and comprehensive understanding (an approach that excludes latching on to any selectively focused explanation) will be needed to deal effectively with emerging global resource and environmental problems; (3) Costs in the form of irreversibly accumulating inaccessible energy shadow our evolving civilization, which our cultural conditioning portrays as pure progress; (4) Rationality, as the most laudable motivation for individuals, business firms and nations, has led to an unfounded techno-fetish; and, for various reasons, it fuels accelerated movement toward collective self-destruction; (5) Signs of chaos (not the harmless and controllable kind found in standard economic literature) corroborate the notion that we have entered a new period of macrohistoric phase transition as interpreted by the thermodynamic comprehension of universal history.

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