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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 4 / 2014 (593)

Reversed triads

„The upward trend suggested by the conceptualization of desires generates, paradoxically, the lower rung material precariousness. Meanwhile, the materialization of desires is possible, in an equally paradoxical way, only through the inflation of beliefs.”

The most challenging problems of consistency in Economics are the ones relating to intuitiveness. Economic reality can be intuited by excessively - and somewhat primordially - resorting to the intermediary cognitive forms of mechanical physics. A testament to this is the invasion of terms such as mechanism, force, energy, dynamics, system, equilibrium, potential and propagation.

The conceptual baseline of Economics originates in the transfers of terminology from the science which has directly fuelled the first industrial revolution. Beyond that, following the theoretical breakthroughs in Biology - by way of Darwinian evolutionism, and of sociology - through Spenglerian evolutionism, Economics acquired nuances of its own cognitive representations.

Understandably for the academic view on the pace of knowledge, Economics profited from the gains of other sciences in order to fortify its explicative function. Except that the massive imports of conceptual representations from the better situated sciences on the scale of cognitive performances have complicated its educational function on the public perception of its standalone conceptual architecture. The main effect of this was the appearance in the social consciousness of a demotion of the epistemic individuality of Economics’ conceptual body of representations. The weak distinctiveness in the armoury of formulas employed in the intuitive process of Economics has hidden, under a thick layer of borrowed concepts, Economics’ specific cognitive structure.

It is obvious that this fact has reduced to the extreme the adequacy of knowledge to the logic of economic evolution. Among other things, for instance, the basic defining elements of economic reality have become blurred; a fact of a subjective nature, human behaviour has been usually dissolved into expressions of materialist determinism. The epistemic arc of Economics was thus unhelpful to the understanding of the universe of meaning of the humane, as it was constrained to an actional synthesis generated in the tensional spectrum between two imponderable values: desires and beliefs. This is how, for centuries, Economics has resorted to perpetuating its inadequate vision on reality, with economic education promoting the perceptive and intuitive alignments brought from other forms of knowledge and other ontological states.

The key to rearranging the constitutive parts in the natural position is to remove from Economics the layer of cognitive habits, which covers the paths of conceptualization defined by desires and beliefs. One extraordinary fact which must be noted is that desires, as a structuring force of economic reality, paint a picture of materiality, while beliefs substantiate desires through a formula worthy of alchemy, achieving the transmutation of spiritual elements into material elements. Through this unnaturally moving vortex, the opposing limits suggested by the functional duality between desires and beliefs - the cognitive asymptotes to the order of materiality and that of spirituality - have been reincorporated into Economics’ intuitive body of representations.

From the category of the conceptual ordering of desires we have profit, wealth, fortune, win, success, added value, while from the category of beliefs there’s an honourable place for money, credit, representations of the possible, visions of wonder, materializations of the trust that it happens for something to occur as a result of the cause without a cause. Out of this epistemic lair come expectations, hopes, illusions, exuberances, panics, motivations, satisfaction, notoriety, authority.

Conceptualizing desires into categories can resort to simple and intuitive forms, whereas the categorical conceptualization of beliefs is diffused and confused, somewhat harder to fit into the guidelines of rational thinking. Not at all accidental, the symbolism and ritualization of a theological nature are accessories of the explicative constructions of the monetary economy.

The precarious unravelling of the weaving between the two universes of Economics impedes on the understanding of the formulas with which reality can be intuited. Centring the understanding of the essence of the economy on desires is a power so great that the real foundations which give purpose to the concepts are simply being excluded. The conceptual order of desires arrests knowledge and makes it unilateral, hindering the choice of efficient solutions.

Among many other distortions, this epistemic sequestration turns the targeting of material performances into a reversed image to the intuitive representation of success, for instance. The upward trend of material success, tonic in the material order of desires, obscures the understanding of the sense of reality - its non- systemic configuration on the principle of exclusion. The glorious expression of the typical upward trend of success can be found in the global statistics and its conclusive form “85 billionaires own half of the world’s fortune”. By formulating the economic problem in the binary terms of individual-society, the solution aligns with the downward sense of reality, while a falsely ascending trend is suggested to reason; the relevant informative content of the conclusive form above targets poverty, not wealth, as the centre point of the reasoning and, thus, of economic cognition. Deciphering the lower triad of individual-society-poverty is the true rational challenge of Economics. The upper triad, suggested by the ascendance of the individual - society - virtual (money, credit, trust) relationship, is represented just as deceivingly as a conclusive form by recent analyses as “the volume of currency transactions is 14 times greater than the global GDP”.

The upward trend of the conceptualization of desires generates, paradoxically, the lower rung material precariousness. Meanwhile, the materialization of desires is possible, in an equally paradoxical way, only through the inflation of beliefs.

The inversion of senses between the two triads, which can be intuited from the conclusive expressions mentioned above, reveals the epistemic inconsistencies of Economics. The golden key allowing the return to normality is the conceptual reconstruction using the intuitive formulas sourced from another - eminently rational - relationship: the one between means and ends, instead of the one between desires and beliefs. The correct positioning of terms, in alignment with the means and the ends, certainly demands that the transformation of means (which are derivatives of desires) into ends should be avoided, so as not to reverse the explicative triads.

A better definition of the ends in the economy will become possible through this conceptual reconstruction. The ends will now bear the meanings of the concepts whose intuitive sense stems from the critical mass of the positive facts which insure the intension of the purpose of life: development, wealth, comfort etc.


Reversed triads
Marin Dinu

Open acces




The Economicity. The Epistemic Landscape, Marin Dinu, 2016


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