Totality and universal: in policy and dialectics

More on the topic of the one off / disjoint views on the economic and social; theory and practice, comes from the analysis of concepts of totality and universal (described more fully in an earlier presentation at the EEA’s 2011 meeting). Just few thoughts:

Society must not be taken as a given—end (bare) result. On the contrary, it has evolved to the stage contemporary to one’s time and continues to evolve as a consequence of individual actions that, at this individual level, are dictated by correspondence to existent social relations, or to borrow the term from political economy: social institutional arrangements. In other words, this is a situation when the universal (Rus: vseobwee) is of each individual, embodying in itself the entire content wealth of each.

The universal, the highest order phenomenon (Rus: высшее), is a dynamic process that transforms in form and most crucially in content. In pure cognition it is the process of reaching a transformational end, which in Hegel’s words “…by itself is a lifeless universal … and the bare result is the corpse which has left the guiding tendency behind it” (Hegel, 1807) that becomes important.

So then observation and static interpretation fitting formal logic (as in conventional economics and the insistence on “markets to clear”) is not sufficient now. It is ruled out. Much more is at stake than an optimal equilibrium solution.

Instead, analytical thought must seek the totality (e.g. capital, with the “K”) as the universal and follow its dynamic evolution dialectically decomposing it into concrete and subtle categories (e.g. individual, value, socially necessary and surplus labor, environmental aspects, sustainability, credit, uncertainty, etc.) before one begins to uncover any objective and meaningful knowledge of social phenomena. That is the rising from the abstract to the concrete.

In policy, the argument remains: reunification of financial, economic, and social as one and account for the inherent social and economic dynamic. That might help derive an appropriate sustainable and socially responsible policy averting a radical and unexpected systemic disruption…

Well, just a thought…