Communication and the Transformation of Economics

2015-07-16 - Culture & Society / Literature / Theory

Robert E. Babe’s (1995) compilation of essays provides a profound critique of the reductionist conception of information and communication in neoclassical economics.

Here are some outtakes:

[D]ue to perfunctory and ill-conceived conceptions of information and communication, maintream economics promotes and “justifies” policies (summarized in this book as “neoconservative policy agenda”) that increase disparities […]. (ibid., p. 2)

Can money, the economists’ measuring rod of value, and the carrier of information concerning value, itself measure the value of information, or carry information concerning the value of information? (ibid., p. 10)

Information can be viwed either as a factor of prodcution or as a final commodity. […] Information, as a factor of production, however, inherently means that production proceses are continually changing, with the effect of marginal cost is evanscent. […] While information must be either materially encapsulated (print, film, vodeotape, for instance), or encoded in energy flows (gesture, music, speech, Morse code), such encapsulations and encodings are epiphenomenal to matter and energy. (ibid. p. 15f)

 Commodities, the theories of discourse imply, are symbols or signs in flux. […] If each commodity is a signin a semiological system that a “self” uses to “compose” statements concerning self-identity and relations with others, then all goods become “complementary goods”, modifying one another syntagmatically. (ibid., p. 25)

 Mainstream economics, premised as it is on the ubiquity of commodity exchange, needs to treat information as commodity in order to account for information within the mainstream or orthodox paradigm. Information, however, does not fulfill the definitional and conceptual requirements of commodity, thereby placing the discipline in a crisis concerning its own internal validity. Moreover, insisting that information is commodity obscures not only many essential properties of information, but as well consequences of informational exchange, creating thereby also a crisis of external validity. (ibid., p. 28)

… t.b.c. …


› tags: critique / democracy / economics / philosophy /

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