|Toward A Common Theory of Value: Part Two|
Aristotle’s economic philosophy needs to be recalibrated for the economic realities of the 21st century, since household sufficiency doesn’t begin to describe the many facets of the commons that we recognize today, writes James B. Quilligan.
Part one in this series can be found here.
4th May 2012 - Published by Kosmos Journal
Beyond The Credit-Debt Pendulum: A Search for Common Value
This series of articles examines the meaning of value in economics. Through the lens of the commons, we hope to stimulate a rethinking of the goals, methods and conceptual structures of economic theory and its modes of action. In Part One, we considered Aristotle’s contrast between C-M-C’ (the exchange of useful things through sufficiency and credit in the household) and M-C-M’ (the money-making activities of commodity trade and debt in the market). This important distinction—which reveals how the early market economies broke away from the legal, customary and ethical constraints of pre-modern societies—has influenced commons thinkers down the centuries. Karl Polanyi called Aristotle’s economic formulation “probably the most prophetic pointer ever made in the realm of the social sciences; it is certainly still the best analysis of the subject we possess” (The Great Transformation, 43). Yet, as Part Two suggests, Aristotle’s guideline needs to be recalibrated for the economic realities of the 21st century, since household sufficiency doesn’t begin to describe the many facets of the commons that we recognize today.
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