Society’s Need For An Ever Higher Culture Of Technology, Economics, And Politics

In the Journal of Macrodynamic Analysis (14) [Brown et al., 2020], Bruce Anderson and Philip McShane invoked the metaphor of the ” titanothore” in their article “The More General and Difficult Fields of Specialization” (pp. 133-53).

A society cannot be like a titanothore, a beast with a three-ton body and a ten-ounce brain, for titanothore is extinct.  Instead, a society must have a three-ton culture in which technology, economics, and politics are properly situated and properly coordinated.

For society to progress towards that or any other goal it must fulfill one condition.  It cannot be a titanothore, a beast with a a three-ton body and a ten-ounce brain.  It must not direct its main effort to the ordinary final product of standard of living but to the overhead final product of cultural implants.  It must not glory in its widening, in adding industry to industry, and feeding the should of man with an abundant demand for labor.  It must glory in its deepening, in the pure deepening that adds to aggregate leisure, to liberate many entirely and all increasingly to the field of cultural activities.  It must not boast of science on the ground that science fills its belly.  It must not glue its nose to the single track of this or that department.  It must lift its eyes more and ever more to the more general and more difficult fields of speculation, for it is from them that it has to derive the delicate compound of unity and freedom in which alone progress can be born, struggle and win through. [Brown et al., 2020, 133]

I cannot imagine a contemporary economist saying anything like that. [Brown et al., 2020, 134]

In his section of the article, Anderson treats a society’s critical need – if it wishes to survive –  for ever higher culture made possible by each earlier series of surplus-basic-cultural expansions.  A society with a ten-ounce culture cannot survive.  For the readers’ greatest benefit, we simply direct the reader to the full article, available in PDF in [Brown et al., 2020, 133–53]

Also see on this website  An Outline Of General Values And Money’s Values, and A Must Read: Fred Lawrence, “Money, Institutions, And The Human Good”

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