Greetings once more!
This post has been triggered by my awareness that much more needs to be said about the issue raised in my last post ( "I'm just making this up as I go along."), and also by my having just read today the very interesting review of Michael Sandel's book "What Money Can't Buy" in the Guardian of May 27, 2012 by Decca Aitkenhead. It is obtainable by googling Michael Sandel and Decca Aitkenhead jointly. Or, go to
The review and the book, too, are interesting, because they unknowingly skirt around the very issue to which I am trying to draw attention in my own book, that is, the processes that we unknowingly take for granted in our own efforts to make sense. They are also pertinent to the central thrust of two other very interesting books. One, by David Graeber (Debt, The First 5000 Years) takes a slightly different slant than the other (Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein), but both, of course, are available to people who are OK with paying for the right to possess them. Eisenstein makes a very strong case in his Introduction for introducing his book to the public under a "Creative Commons" licence, in order to at least register his attempt to by-pass the constraints of a society organized primarily as a money economy.
(How often, in argument, do we find that our interlocutor expostulates "I don't buy that !")
The crucial trigger for this current post, though, occurred as a result of my attempt to post a comment on the Guardian review of Sandel's book on their website. In order to do so, I had to register, and in so doing, agree to the terms for use they required me to adhere to. One of those terms was that I agree not to use my comment for any commercial purpose. Since I had intended to refer to my own book, and, indeed, to this blog, in order for readers to understand the deeper ramifications of meaning in my comments, this particular requirement I felt I could not meet, and so, did not post my comment.
This, I now understand, is a difficulty that we all at some point encounter in our everyday transactions––we already exist in an international economy which is primarily organized around monetary transactions, rather than the moral implications of every interpersonal interaction. My own book did not consider the specifics of any prescriptive plan for freeing us from constraints unknowingly accepted as givens; it simply outlined the characteristic assumptions any such prescriptive plan should incorporate if it were to be effective. Obviously, we all need to consider carefully not only the issues identified by Sandel and by Graeber, but also the emotional, intellectual and pragmatic dynamics that both produced them in the first place, and subsequently protect them from change.
Over to you!
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