The Economics of The Generations of Postmodernism by Hicks:

Three Generations of Postmodernism, by Hicks:

  • Gen 1 – a) From Pseudoscience to Sophistry: High Theory (Rorty, Lyotard, Derrida, Beauregard) Philosophers and epistemology -> Relativism. b) Integrated with Politics – all are Marxists – and adds adversarial organization of the world. (Resistance to truth)
  • Gen 2 – From Popular Activism in Economics to Acacemic Activism in Education by Culture: Shift from Marxist Academy to Postmodern Academy: If we are skeptical, and all is relative, then seek equality – so need space in curriculum for multiple competing narratives. (undermining truth)
  • Gen 3 – From Academy To Mass Production of Undermining Shift to higher percentage of profs who teach marginal (alternatives) … not comparative. And give special preference to the competing narratives (redistribute influence by undermining the institutions of western cultural production. Finally Cancel the dominant (power, oppressor, adversarial) culture: western individual responsibility for private and common. (“An aristocracy of everyone” – which turns out to be impossible.)

Driving Forces (By Curt Doolittle):

  • Demand Incentives: Alienation (loss of understanding, generation of uncertainty, loss of preditctability, loss of perceived agencye)
  • Supply Incentives:
    • Secular Priesthood: Replacement of Priesthood&Church using Tithes(voluntary taxation) with Academy&Media financed using Degrees (voluntary payment) for access to employment, subsidized by the state.
    • Managerial Class: Replacement of Demonstrated Competency (military and industry) with Credentialed Class lacking demonstrated competency in the successful, productive, organization of humans, by incentives.
  • Product: False Promise (fraud) by Freedom from the laws of nature (the universe):
    • Physical (scarcity),
    • Behavioral (acquisition, cooperation, amorality, ),
    • evolutionary (genetics, mutation, load, neoteny, gracility, sex, natural selection, classes, races),
    • and formal (logical).
  • Market:
    • Mass Democracy:
      • Unqualitied Participation in Voting amplified by cheap distribution of information , and mass literacy, produces the opportunity for a repetition of the change from theology to philosophy, into philosophy from ideology.
      • Ascent of Ideology: Where the purpose of ideology is activism in pursuit of political power by democratic (populist means).
    • Mass Skilled Employment: During the war period, and especially in the post war period, then in the period of contraction three factors distorted demand for higher education:
      • Strategic Demand: Desire for Scientists and White Collar Workers during the cold war.
      • Temporary Demand: Temporary asymmetric prosperity in the US economy given the destruction of world production by the wars.
      • State Subsidized Market Failure: Overuse of Four Year Degrees vs Vocational-Technical and Apprenticeship education – such that degrees were required for employment – filtering people out rather than in. And the subsequent impoverishment of middle, lower middle, and working class citizens.
    • Democratization of Credentials: Until 1960, elite universities were schools that prepared rich kids (american commercial nobility) with a demonstrated interest in the civilization. In other words, the university was invented to assist the upper middle, nobility, and aristocracy in the governance of the state, because they were loyal to the state and the civilization out of self interest. So, the west, uniquely, produced an eccentric combination of high trust that both produced a natural aristocracy open to continuous rotation, and one that evaded corruption – partly because of the intentional weakness of the state. Otherwise, the minority of students at elite schoos were ‘smart kids’. After 1960, elite universities converted from assisting in the governance of the state and our institutions, to a system of undermining the state and the institutions and the culture, because the people in them were smart, but no longer loyal to, or invested in, the state, institutions, culture, and civilization.
      • Insight: natural aristocracy is produced in families over generations. Most of the world still operates by selection of elites by loyalty regardless of natural (demonstrated) intergenerational competency. The loyalty to rule of law instead of family clan or tribe was a western innovation. We achieved this through massive militarization (militia). So, Intelligence isn’t enough. Conscientiousness isn’t enought. Only demonstrated competency and investment is enough. Yes, enough intelligence is necessary. But selecting elites by intelligence is demonstrably harmful vs selecting scientists, economists, and mathematicians by intelligence, and elites by demonstrated individual and famiial competency in applied vs theoretical organization of humans by means of information and incentives – information and incentive that aren’t ‘false’. (Note: I would never have expected to have come to this conclusion after 30 years of work on this subject. It is one of the few insights that still confounds me.)

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