• Cultural Economics: a New Paradigm for all victims of the global economy—Howard Richards and Joanna Swanger (2003/10/19)
The study and practice of cultural economics advocates a paradigm shift that will engender a world in which decisions are made according to a basic pragmatism: whether they will contribute to meeting universal human and ecological needs. The programs that cultural action implements for greater social justice are evaluated on the basis of whether they contribute to building a cultural economy, which operates on new rules e.g., 1) production for use, 2) stewardship of property, 3) democratic control of resources and 4) social bonds, while preserving those elements of liberal ethics that are the genuine ethical advances, e.g., freedom.
• The Transformative Learning Centre, Toronto, Ontario
The concept of paradigm and its partner, the paradigm shift as originated from Thomas Kuhn's—The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 3rd Edition, 1996. The following are Kuhn's definitions of the concepts.
A paradigm is a universally recognized scientific achievement, which for a time provides the model,* problems and solutions for a community of practitioners, an exemplar, a shared example.* p 187
- defines a normal science
- provides constitutive principles p 133
- defines points at which techniques of mathematical calculations attach, i.e.,, defines the context of mathematical calculations p 133
- governs a group of practitioners p 180
- a basis for further articulation and speculation, like a judicial decision would be within common law
- defines the—rules of the game and
- a consensus based way of seeing: group-licensed or sanctioned; thus, more than just a set of arbitrary or mandated rules or laws
- the process of conversion, likened unto the gestalt shift and neural programming p 20
- requires leaving generalizations that were tautologies: true by definition; thus, by decree: the way the world
- must be no matter what the particular circumstances: criteria p. 183, 184
- changes how one formulates questions and
- changes the methodology one uses to answer the questions p 140
From Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
* The standard dictionary definitions of model and example gave Thomas Kuhn the base from which to create a new paradigm in place of the otherwise blasé word: paradigm.
The new paradigm resumes the ethical development of humanity. Ethics was limited, simplified and universalized by the founding of commercial society. Its principles were first made formal in Roman Law. Today, the normative framework derived from that tradition and extended worldwide is written into the civil and commercial codes that govern market behavior. (In terms of Kohlberg's stages of moral development, public morality is dominated by stage two: justice as established by contracts among economic actors.) Ethical progress means bringing back the diversity and the solidarity that was subtracted from normative frameworks when the Romans compiled their law of all nations.
This account of a new paradigm does mean more than going back to the past. The new paradigm consciously values diversity, while ancient moral codes tended to be ethnocentric, glorifying themselves, while excluding outsiders. The new paradigm is a conscious effort to rescue the positive in Native American, African, Asian and early European cultures, while discarding the hierarchy and patriarchy, which might have been a factor. Therefore, it really is progress, even though it does not regard Enlightenment in Europe as the epitome of progress and even though it is in a sense backing into the future by appreciating ancient and non-Western wisdom.
This new paradigm acknowledges that the dominant modern institution is the market, so that if modernity is to be improved at its basic level, markets need to be improved and linked to other types of human relationships.
The so-called new paradigm is, in fact, often an old paradigm that has returned; it looks new and novel only through our eyes; thus, an old economic paradigm, for example the caritas: care for all others as the first concern, instead of a profit based model of ancient Greece will, in effect, look new and perhaps out-of-place and even dangerous to the ruling order of the world, today.
However, other economic models do thrive within the dominant, glaring fact of a single, prevailing economy. Within the dominant economic worldview, micro market models include:
- the criminal class, which includes these economies of:
- corporate crime
- most all organized crime
- crime committed by political leaders, an
- street-level crime committed by those of lower classes
- informal entitlements, such as begging
- the not-for-profit sector
- volunteer and internship and
- unpaid work, such as
- back-yard food gardens and
- do-it-yourself projects, which do not involve payment or taxation
The new and/or old economic model defined and endorsed here has worked for humanity from our beginning. This pre-economics has never fully disappeared; it finds expression to some extent in nearly every economy in the world today. In a few remote and obscure cultures with minimal to no economy, the new/ oldest no-market ethos still prevails, though the newest market—the global economy—intrudes upon them with haste. Thus, today the impact of the market economy dwarfs its vast, though relatively passive shadow of the real human heart, actual nature, reason and values in the living.
Often, the cultural product born from the oppression of the structural culture responds to that oppression with a culture of revolution; that takes the form of personal and communal arts and arts of peace, nonviolence and creation of community that transcends the old structure. The other world of secure, sustainable humanity has begun again in ernest having never really left us. Purpose
* Culture is the ethos of Ancient Greece, in the broad sense consists of institutions, ideology and other social constructs of the human niche. Culture in the narrow or common sense of the word is largely a byproduct of the underlying culture. In this context, the word structural, in the sense of an institution, such as prison, school, or government, has the same meaning as the word cultural.
A prime expression of the new, though in fact oldest, economic paradigm exists within the Internet. It has been active from the start and through the brief, condensed history of the Internet. Thus, the worldwide web has brought to humans another innovation, which is a re-innovation, beyond the digital and other technologies, to the forefront of modern culture. Much less well-known, respected and understood though vastly simpler and more easily integrated into the human psyche, freeware, which is also known as open source code has been a vital part of the Internet from the inception of the web in the 1980s. Quite likely, the altruist pioneers of high-tech and the Internet were feminists or friends of the movement that rediscovered the ethics of care as the more direct path to equity and lasting security for contemporary society. Much of the ethic of care of the Internet centers upon the conviction that when the tide of literacy and skills rise it ought to lift as many boats as possible. A pervasive spirit of the times on the Internet is that of giving information, knowledge, skills, wisdom and the spirit of community and network. The early technocrats of this may have realized the task before them was to make something organic and lively out of the dry tech matter of keyboards, circuitry and electronic movement of info.
A current expression of freeware and open source known as careware rings true to the paradigm of care, which the ancient Greeks placed above all other economic models. This site describes the early years of Internet as recounted by a computer programmer who was and still is part of other economic model, as it lives on in his work and that of a small, determined groups of others.
The first economy of the Internet was a non-economyspawned by and for the use of the small group of activist academicswho first inhabited the web. Thus, the early worldwide web was a use value, or had use value, which fulfilled needsrather than an exchange value, which demands a profit.The early web served the social code of use rather than exchange, sharing for the slow growth creation more of rather than more profits for rapid growth and the displacement it brings. For the inspired pioneers of the new universe of tool use, this unwritten code sent them soaring out of the box that is market economics. Within the Internet today, this spirit still thrives, though dwarfed by frenetic commerce and its consumerism.
For a few years, the technical genius raised the ethical consciousness to the level of their mastery of the technology they had brought to the world. The old Internet of gift economy, which, in fact, a non-economy, still lives on to once again sit back upon the seat of virtue and, thus, to dethrone exchange value, profit, overproduction: as the result of chronic excess capacity and the treatment of people as little more than a market and resource for expansion and exploitation by the few who own the means of production.