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How Does Economic Order Evolve From Carnivore Capitalism?

What is "catallaxy"? Douglas Rushkoff explains Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek on page 226 of Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now.

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May 7, 2013 - 5:00 pm


image courtesy shutterstock / Stu Porter

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All Comments   (4)
All Comments   (4)
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The problem with capitalism is it's a very complex system of systems portrayed as something simple, greed is good.

The problem with socialism is it's portrayed is a very complex system that only your betters can manage, but is actually very simple; we politicians will decide what's best for you based on what makes us the most money and keeps us in power. Now shut up and do it, for the greater good.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Right! Capitalism is not a "system". It is a manifestation of a dynamic, chaotic, ever-changing, and unquantifiable reality. That's why it works.That's why planned economies,which presume that life is finite and quantifiable,don't work. As Martin Malia pointed out,the Soviet communism was an attack on reality itself.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The free market is an artificial construction, much like a fishbowl in the desert. It really shouldn't be there at all, and it's very easy through intent or negligence to kill the fish. This is particularly true since fishbowls attract hungry cats same as power and money attract politicians. You can explain to the cats how the fish will no longer produce if they are harmed, and they might listen for a while, particularly if you brandish your rolled-up newspaper. But you can't keep the cats from licking their chops. It's in their nature.

There is an inherent contradiction built into free-market economies, but it's not the one Marx thought: free economies depend on being kept and cared for by politicians, who are great at restraining others but not so adept at restraining themselves. The free market depends on decisions being made made at a low level by people with the knowledge to make them effectively; whereas, politicians exist to make decisions and they are better off for doing so whether they make good or bad ones. The free market also requires that the decision-makers have skin in the game, that they reap the rewards of good decisions and suffer the consequences of bad ones; whereas, politicians are situated to evade ill consequences -- heads they win, tails you lose.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The trouble is that "catallaxy" is a word that nobody uses except Austrian economists.

But we must get away from the word "system." It suggests Newtonian, mechanical, inhuman. I suggest stealing words from the greens. Let's talk about the economic ecology, the price environment, the credit habitat. The point is to remind us that everything to do with economic life has to do with life, not system.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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