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PSCI 2014 Structure & Moral Economy

by: windwalkerr

PSCI 2014 Structure & Moral Economy PSCI 2014

Virginia Tech

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These notes cover the lectures on structure and the moral economy, and include points of view from various theorists.
Introduction to Political Theory
Rohan Kalyan
Class Notes
PSCI, political science, Political Theory, intro to political theory, structure, moral economy, sayer
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by windwalkerr on Saturday April 9, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSCI 2014 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University taught by Rohan Kalyan in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Political Theory in Political Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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Date Created: 04/09/16
On Structure 4.5.16 Moral Economy 4.7.16 Political structures are invisible in a lot of ways. Although we don’t see them, they still shape us in many  ways.   Governments  Markets   Culture  Civil society  Individual Liberty (John Stuart Mill)  Two Maxims of Liberty o No impingement on liberty unless it negatively affects others  o Only those actions that negatively affect others can be subject to regulation  On Liberty  The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized  community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral,  is not a sufficient warrant.  Freedom as Utilitarian   He regards utility as ultimate appeal on all ethical questions; but it must be utility in largest sense, grounded on permanent interests of man as a progressive being  Tyranny of the Majority  If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person was of the contrary opinion,  mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power,  would be justified in silencing mankind  On Free Speech   Can free speech ever become harmful to others?  “no one pretends that actions should be as free as opinions. On the contrary, even opinions lose  their immunity when the circumstances in which they are expressed as such as to constitute their  expression a positive instigation to some mischievous act… liberty of the individual must be thus  far limited: he must not make himself a nuisance to other people”  Truth as a market of ideas Examples of Liberty  Prohibition of alcohol o Social rights vs individual rights   Polygamy among Mormons Adam Smith  Division of Labor   Three results (direct) On Structure 4.5.16 Moral Economy 4.7.16 o Increase of dexterity of every worker  o Saving of time which is commonly lost when moving from one species of work to  another  o Invention of machines which facilitate & abridge labor & enable one man to do the work  of many   Rising standards of living (more & cheaper goods) ­> abundance leads to savings & investment  Markets & Commodities   Labor value vs exchange value   “the actual price at which any commodity is commonly sold is called its market price. It may  either be above or below or exactly the same w/ its natural price” On Monopolies Role of gov’t  Providing for common defense from outside aggressors  Adjudicating disputes w/in society  Public works that go beyond private interest/gain  Culture (Harrison)  DP Moynihan: “the central conservative myth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines  success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture & save it from  itself”   Marx vs Weber  o Economic vs cultural forces in shaping society/history (progress)  o Weber: important of protestant ethic   Why protestant countries grew faster than catholic ones  Why western nations grew faster than non­western ones  How to explain success of certain non­western nations?  Democratic capitalism  It does a better job of promoting human progress & well­being than other systems  But as experience of most third world countries in recent decades shows, building of durable  democratic capitalist institutions can be dauntingly difficult  Four cultural forces 1. Radius of trust: social empathy/community  2. Rigor of ethical system: good life  3. Exercising of authority: impersonal, responsible self­governance  4. Positive attitudes towards work: rationality, education, delayed gratification  Civil society (Putnam)  How to explain disappearance of social capital & civic engagement in America?  o Not just civic but community engagement  On Structure 4.5.16 Moral Economy 4.7.16 The problem  Time spent on informal socializing & visiting is down since 1965: PTAs, church attendance, etc  o Increased isolation  Possible explanations  Busy­ness & time pressure  Economic hard times or rising affluence  Residential mobility  Suburbanization  Movement of women into work place & two­career families  Disruption of marriage & family ties  Disillusion w/ public life due to cultural revolt against authority & visible corruption  Growth of welfare state  Civil rights revolution  Television & tele­communications revolution  Television  As opposed to newspapers, TV is a low social capital activity (encourages disengagement rather  than engagement)   TV viewers are isolated, distrustful of others, pessimistic about politics & society, passive  Moral Economy 4.7.16 Brief history of capitalism 1. Rise of industrial capitalism, transition from feudal mercantile capitalism  2. Rationalization of economic science, disembedding of market/economy from society at large  3. Planned/centralized national economies (Keynesianism)  4. De­regulated economies (Neoliberalism), rise of financial capitalism, dominance over industrial  capitalism  5. Crisis economics (post­2008), rise of populist economics?  Moral Economy (Sayer)  “moral economy embodies norms & sentiments regarding responsibilities and rights of  individuals & institutions w/ respect to others”   “these norms & sentiments go beyond matters of justice & equality to conceptions of the good;  for example, regarding needs & ends of economic activity/ they may also be extended further to  include treatment of the environment”  He wants to use the term “moral economy” to refer to the study of the ways in which economic  activities are influenced by moral­political norms & sentiments o Also how those norms are comprised by economic forces  So much so that in some cases norms represent little more than legitimations  entrenched power relations”  Grappling w/ the market On Structure 4.5.16 Moral Economy 4.7.16  Market comes into being as soon as abstract people replace abstract activities w/ people that we  do know  What is gained & what is lost in transition to market society? o Gained: spatial & social mobility, questioning of status quo, creativity, entrepreneurship,  individualism, critical attitude  o Lost” traditional communities, social solidarity & identity, prejudice & provincial bias,  social roles (gender, class, ethnic)   These transformations are not isomorphic (don’t follow same pattern) * simultaneous, but rather  piece­meal, uneven, & fragmented. Some things change while others remain the same, become  more rigid, etc  Early moral economists   What sayer says about them:  o “looking back at work of Scottish Enlightenment authors such as Hume, Ferguson &  Smith, one cannot help but be struck by extent to which they saw moral sentiments,  involving sympathy as cement of society”  o Along w/ increase in market relations comes fragmentation/extension of society  o “But Hume & Smith were also well aware of extent to which such moral sentiments  tended to decline w/ distance’   From here the shift occurs From moral to market economy   As growth of trade increased proportion of economic relations w/ others, they adapted their  theories accordingly, giving increasing emphasis to more abstract, reason based notions of justice  rather than moral sentiments o In case of Smith, to self­interest as regulator of economic activity   Even smith retains his social conception of morality. He only comes to defend pursuit of  individual self­interest on grounds that it increased collective welfare of society at large  Continued  Are moral economies pre­capitalist?  Is economics amoral?  o Meaning, without moral? Detached from questions of morality?  Is there hidden morality in contemporary economics that conceals fundamental political  orientation?   What is gained/lost from demoralization of economics? How economics was demoralized  Construction of “national economy” (methodological nationalism_ o In what ways is such an economy fundamentally de­territorialized?  Individuals as rational economic agents (methodological individualism) o Utility maximizers (pursue self­interest) ­> eliminates moral question bc utilitarianism  harmonizes egoistic behavior w/ general good/social welfare o To what extent is ability to be selfish universal? On Structure 4.5.16 Moral Economy 4.7.16 Are markets really ‘free”? (Chang)  We are told by economists that markets need to be kept free of gov’t interference in order to  operate efficiently  “free market doesn’t exist. Every market has rules & boundaries that restrict freedom of choice.  Market looks free only bc we unconditionally accept underlying restrictions that we fail to see  them” o “how ‘free’ a market is cannot be defined. It is a political definition. Gov’t is always  involved & those free­marketers are as politically motivated as anyone else. Overcoming  myth that there is such a thing as an objectively defined “free market” is the first step  towards understanding capitalism”   Example of child labor laws o Before their enactment “many people judged child labor regulation to be against  principles of free market” o Their argument: the children need and want to work, & factory owners want to employ  them so what is the problem”  Freedom of a market is in the eyes of the beholder  o Should there be a free­market in wage labor?  o Wages in rich countries are determined more by immigration control than anything else,  including any minimum wage legislation. 


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