Students of Socrates

The Socratic method is renowned as the foundation of western philosophy. Through asking questions and critiquing implicit assumptions, Socrates destroys the value foundation of Homeric Athens, bringing about a new age of ideas. This age, German philosopher Hegel argued, paved the way for our own time, free from felt values or thought ideas. ‘The debate … Continue reading Students of Socrates

The market of music

Music is a peculiar fusion of emotion and technicality. The coldest of cold sciences, mechanics, is integrated with the warmest of warm poetries, music, to produce something lukewarm: the market of music, a unity of technicality and artistry. But the market itself threatens the balance on which it rests. As value is transformed into prices, … Continue reading The market of music

The rebirth of the market state

Recent events have brought into question the durability of the ‘market state’, a system of political protection over a system of economic transaction. The state, by outlawing war, makes possible a system of peace through trade. At least, that’s the idea. But the US-China trade war put into question states’ ability to maintain peaceful trade … Continue reading The rebirth of the market state

The birth of the market state

In the beginning, there was power. This was the power to sort and arrange the layers of reality into a complex whole, reassembling what had been divided into something resembling unity. In Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, the 'real unity' of the state plays this role, uniting the divided 'Multitude' into a seamless 'Commonwealth' under the leadership … Continue reading The birth of the market state

What we don’t know: Between planning and possibility

The limits of knowledge occupy a central position in political and economic thought. Hayek’s arguments against state control of the economy rested on the limited knowledge of any individual or organisation about the total economic data of a given society. This problem, the problem of what we don’t know, demanded an institution distributed enough to … Continue reading What we don’t know: Between planning and possibility

Love for sale: Capitalism, romanticism, and the market of marriage

One of the foremost literary products of capitalism is romanticism. This should be no surprise. Under capitalism, or market society, the economy encroaches on every area of life, as more and more things and activities become commodities for sale. Love is often considered one of those most precious elements that ‘money can’t buy’. Try telling … Continue reading Love for sale: Capitalism, romanticism, and the market of marriage

Why so satirical? Against the cult of shallowness

I’m starting to notice something, about the way we behave in the 21st century. And it’s not OK. George Herbert Mead, the sociologist and father of the theory of ‘symbolic interactionism’. Historically, people have interacted in all sorts of ways. Symbols of gods and kings and angels and fairies abound in human history, and often … Continue reading Why so satirical? Against the cult of shallowness

On the origin of societies: A theory of social evolution

In 1859, Darwin explained that species had their origin not in fate but blind chance: traits were passed on depending on how adapted they were to helping individuals survive, and reproduce, in a harsh world characterised by competition over scarce natural resources. Charles Darwin, author of On the Origin of Species Societies, like species, survive … Continue reading On the origin of societies: A theory of social evolution

The fork in the path: The stakes of the UK general election tomorrow

Tomorrow, something important's happening. Though it has become a cliché, clichés are sometimes true, and this one is: tomorrow's general election will define the UK's future. Here's why. The NHS: At risk of privatisation (Creative Commons) If Boris's Conservatives win a majority--even if Boris himself loses his seat--the Conservatives will go through with their manifesto … Continue reading The fork in the path: The stakes of the UK general election tomorrow