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Saturday, May 22, 2004

Dynamics v Statics  

Lynne Kiesling at Knowledge Problem reminds me that a capitalist system is inherently about change:
[Chapters 6-8 of Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy] are utterly foundational to the understanding of how real, dynamic economics work, thrive, grow and change. Note the language I've used there: it's evolutionary and focuses on the complex dynamics of economic systems. And that's part of what is still remarkably relevant about Schumpeter, yet has remained outside of the mainstream neoclassical economics paradigm in many ways. On p. 82 he says
The essential point to grasp is that in dealing with capitalism we are dealing with an evolutionary process. ... Capitalism, then, is by its nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary.
These three chapters lay out Schumpeter's famous "perennial gale of creative destruction" argument:
The fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion comes from the new consumers' goods, the new methods of production or transportation, the new markets, the new forms of industrial organization that capitalist enterprise creates. ...

[t]he ... process of industrial mutation ... incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in.
[Emphasis added]
I've often thought that Destructive Creation would be an apter term, properly ordering means and ends, but never mind that.

There is a deep disconnect between those who think the world is fundamentally dynamic vs fundamentally static.

Self-styled progressives are quite often the latter, oddly enough. The desire is for radical change, either overnight or through constant, ratcheting increments - but that's because things will never change otherwise. The game is fixed; the deck is stacked. And the desired endstate is static, too: once society is correctly organized, any dissent must come from reactionary malcontents. So the sought dynamism is a necessary expedient, to move from fixed point to fixed point.

Greens are an interesting subset of Statics. For all the lipservice to evolutionary systems, what they really care about is homeostasis. Change is bad - and human-caused change is a monstrous evil. (Transnationalists are the political counterpart of Greens. For them, the monstrous evil is American-caused change.)

When Statics see change, all they see is the immediate destruction that is the necessary means to the creation of anything new. Arguing, presenting facts, describing the intended outcome - unless there's a static, step-by-step plan to guarantee its attainment - won't alter their viewpoint. That's the way they are, and they don't want to change.

Deep down, they don't really believe in it.

For Dynamics, on the other hand, it's like riding a bicycle.

posted by Kelly | 12:26 PM link