Divining the News (DTN)

Not Mainstream News

Is Capitalism inherently contrary to human nature?

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We all cringe if we see a dog run in front of a moving car, empathy is inbuilt, if for dogs then why not for humans. Given our current paradigm we are left to intellectualize everything.

First of all here are excerpts of an article using scientific analysis to say we are naturally moral beings, and that the unfolding economic crisis is going to hasten a return to our natural state.

Capitalism Short Circuits Our Moral Hard-Wiring

In a recent New Yorker piece, Naomi Klein astutely observes that “The crash on Wall Street should be for Friedmanism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for authoritarian Communism, an indictment of an ideology.” One hopes so. The financial system’s collapse in 2008 offers a rare opportunity to question certain underlying assumptions about our state capitalist economy and its neoliberal ideology.

For the last few years I’ve been writing about neuroscience research which shows that the human brain is hard-wired for empathy, the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes. This is the discovery of the mirror neuron system or MNS, a finding some scientists believe rivals what the discovery of DNA meant for biology.

[…] However, this is not to underestimate the barriers to the public’s appreciation of these findings. At the apex of misunderstanding is the cynical, even despairing doubt about the existence of a moral instinct for empathy. From doctrines of original sin and Ayn Rand to Alan Greenspan and David Brooks, certain interpretations of human nature have functioned to override empathic responses. In the words of famed primate scientist Frans B.M. de Waal “You need to indoctrinate empathy out of people in order to arrive at extreme capitalist positions.”

We know that cultures are set up to reward some people and disadvantage others. Capitalists maintain domination, in part, through subtly but actively creating society’s prevailing cultural norms.

Antonio Gramsci’s writing reminds us that this control is achieved through the mass media, education, religion and popular culture as subordinate classes assimilate certain ideas as “common sense.” It isn’t that individual deviations don’t occur within the interstices of society but generally they don’t threaten elite control.

If we assume that the human brain or more specifically, the aforementioned mirror neuron system, is the implicit target of elite propaganda, then the current economic meltdown provides an almost unprecedented opportunity for us.

Perhaps not since the 1930s have our citizens been more skeptical of received wisdom about our socioeconomic system. That is, the carefully manufactured narrative of market capitalist identity and its assumptions about human nature are now thrown into sharp relief.

Not only has economic reality made a shambles of the canonical model of Homo economicus but robust empirical evidence offers promising alternative responses to basic questions about human nature.

Parenthetically, other highly regarded cross-cultural studies reveal that the self-interested behavior predicted by the selfishness axiom simply fail to materialize and cooperation is the norm.

Of course there are also predatory and cruel urges within our nature, complete with their own neural correlates and evolutionary origins. But now we know that organizing an alternative to our vicious system of “natural” hyper-individualism will enhance the opportunity for the empathic aspect of our nature to flourish. Social historian Margaret Jacobs captures my optimism with her insight that “No institution is safe if people simply stop believing in the assumptions that justify its existence.” Therein lies both our challenge and responsibility.
Gary Olson, Ph.D., is chair of the Political Science Department at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. Contact: olson@moravian.edu

TopotheHat: travellrev

More: CommonDreams.org

Published on Thursday, December 18, 2008 by CommonDreams.org by Gary Olson

We have evolved into needing Laws and a system. That being so, what will replace capitalism? Communism, Islam, or a little bit of everything?

There is a diehard loyalty to capitalism at the moment. Witness the bailouts going to the financiers and not the people. All help needs to be filtered down through the interest bearing institutions.

Poor ‘may face state loan charge’

The proposals would see credit unions taking control of crisis lending
Emergency state loans given to the poorest people in the UK could cease to be interest free, under changes being considered by ministers.
The social fund currently extends 500m a year in interest-free loans to some 1.2 million benefit claimants.
But the government says in future some loans could be run by credit unions, who it says typically charge annual rates ranging from 12.68% to 26.8%.

The Tories accused ministers of acting like “loan sharks”.

Source: BBC

It is a religion, the debt economy, a serfdom, everyone needs to be in debt. There is no real money.
That opposition parties are against it, is just politicking. The string pullers would do the same to whichever party was in power. And then the opposition Labour would oppose.

Written by morris

December 22, 2008 at 1:13 pm

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  1. We teach the animals Capitalism to prove to ourselves that it is natural.

    Orangutans learn to trade favours

    Orangutans from Sumatra and Borneo are among our closest relatives
    Orangutans can help each other get food by trading tokens, scientists have discovered – but only if the help goes in both directions.
    Researchers from the University of St Andrews found orangutans could learn the value of tokens and trade them, helping each other win bananas.
    An article in Biology Letters, claims it is the first evidence of “calculated reciprocity” in non-human primates.
    Gorillas and chimpanzees were much less willing to co-operate, they report.
    Two orangutans – Bim and Dok – who live in Leipzig Zoo, Germany, were especially good at helping each other.
    Initially, they were given several sets of tokens, and learned the value of the different types.

    It’s not just humans that calculate about giving; orangutans do that too

    Valerie Dufour
    An animal could exchange one type for bananas for itself, another type could be used to gain bananas for a partner, and a third had no value.
    Initially, Dok, the female, was especially good at swapping tokens to get bananas for Bim, the male. Sometimes Bim would point at the tokens to encourage her.
    But he was less interested in trading tokens that would win bananas for her.
    As she became less willing to help him out, Bim responded by trading more and more, until their efforts were more or less equal.
    “So we have a calculation behind the giving,” explained Valerie Dufour who led the research at the Scottish university.
    “If you don’t give me enough, then I don’t give you either; but if you give me enough, OK, then I buy your co-operation, and I secure it by giving too.”
    Many animals exchange goods and services with each other; the grooming of primates is an obvious example.
    But the researchers say there has been no experimental evidence before of “calculated reciprocity”, where animals adapt their own behaviour in response to how another is helping them.
    “It’s not just humans that calculate about giving, and it’s not just humans who expect to be given something in return when they are co-operative,” Dr Dufour told BBC News.
    “Orangutans do that too.”
    However, other apes – chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos – were less able or willing to play the game.



    December 24, 2008 at 9:39 am

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