Today is the eighteenth anniversary of the death of my paternal grandfather Fred. I wrote this post brazenly two years ago, and seeing it today I reflected that if I could curate it to make it more sensible, I would have something perhaps, that would be nearly palatable. I am asserting to you that I don’t read the Republic and the Law.
If you log into Facebook, you can see what’s trending on the Internet around the world. If there is major news happening, that is summarized in the list of what’s trending. If it isn’t such a hot day for the news, less pressing issues make the list of trends.
It is a quick and handy guide to what a majority says is happening. No one knows precisely how the world will look a hundred years from now. Quick spoiler: there may have been years and years of global deflation.
By the twenty-second century, the best of economic theory may have disappeared. Following the failure of cryptocurrency, the idea of cash may be completely extinct. What’s trending could resemble the pages of Plato’s The Republic of the fourth century B.C. as much as anything else.
The changing times could land us all amid a congress of ideas. The “temple of a fair society” is nearly inevitable given equality in the sight of God and in the American Declaration of Independence (1776), with inequality in the distribution of income long since dismissed. Humans will continue to enjoy an organized, interdependent society (just without the same economic tools we have to our advantage today).
Society won’t be grown out of Marxism a hundred years from now, but out of a right to life. For Plato, social justice consisted of “giving every man his due” for which Plato’s student, Aristotle, used the term “proportionate equality.” However, this isn’t written in the pages of any economics textbook.
The idea of reciprocity is a range of conventions spanning “market transactions to legislative mandates, tax codes, cultural norms, social pressures, and more” (ie, a fair society). Plato’s foundational argument is informed by “science” and a return to Athens’ Golden Age is likely what is intended to unfold a hundred years from now. Plato, in the Republic, divided the “soul” into three, “appetitive” (nutrition, sex, etc.), “spirited” (emotions, ambition, competitive urges, etc.), and a rational, reasoning element, which he viewed as the primary function.
Human societies contend with these challenges similarly, Plato believed, on the level that the concept of the soul parallels the structure of the society, and in the Republic, his ideal comprised three classes that corresponded to the three elements of our souls. This is in contrast to Thomas Hobbes.
In the Leviathan (from the Hebrew word for sea monster) in 1651, Hobbes said: “I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power that ceaseth only in death. And the cause of this is not always that a man hopes for a more intensive delight than he has already attained to…but because he cannot assure the power and means to live well…without the acquisition of more.”
–Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan: On the Matter Form and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil, 
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