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Posts tagged ‘Marx’

The Robot in the Market Machine

News reports from yesterday’s sharp drop of the Dow point to the role of computer algorithms that sell stocks when they reach a certain point as one of the main sources of the drop.  This explanation would appear to be the logically absurd conclusion of a so-called free market economy.  Defenders of a free market economy maintain that the market can best distribute goods at the right prices when human beings each act for their own self-interest.  Will Roberts makes the case that this surrender of human decision-making to the market is why Marx argues that capitalism does not cultivate freedom.  In a market economy, human beings no longer deliberate collectively about what is best.  They each act for themselves and the market decides.  They lose the collective work of speaking together about how to direct the community. Read more

(How) Does Capitalism Incentivize? Part I

Cross-posted from The Prindle Post.  

In my youth my parents would defend capitalism by saying that it incentivized work in contrast to communism.  If you thought you could get paid the same amount whether you worked hard or not, you would see no reason to work hard or better.  It isn’t just my parents.  A recent This American Life podcast, “Same Bed, Different Dreams (transcript),” includes a recording smuggled out of North Korea in the early 1980s of Kim Jong-Il saying that North Korean filmmakers have no incentive to make creative and interesting work because of communism.  How did everyone from one of the last communist dictators to my parents come to believe that capitalism incentivizes hard work, creative and inventive work, while communism does not? Read more