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THE TYPE OF MAN or THE MAXIMAND. THE BASIC ASSUMPTION OF A SOCIAL THEORY Social theories is about interactive human action Human action assumes human.

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Presentation on theme: "THE TYPE OF MAN or THE MAXIMAND. THE BASIC ASSUMPTION OF A SOCIAL THEORY Social theories is about interactive human action Human action assumes human."— Presentation transcript:


2 THE BASIC ASSUMPTION OF A SOCIAL THEORY Social theories is about interactive human action Human action assumes human goals/ends Man depicted by goals: the proper way to depict a man Built in Values/preferences (mind set, programme)

3 HOW TO DEPICT MAN? Not one single goal (like happiness) Not a lot of goals (impossible to follow) The best situation=two goals: 1/preferences inversely related 2/costs inversely related 3/easy to compare

4 SUGGESTION The two goals will overlap with fields of our external reality because of the anti-entropic nature of life Anti-entropic Individual not species: sociobiology and economics as well assumes: individual is the unit of selection


6 POSSIBLE DIFFICULTY Can we squeeze down all human goals to just two mega-goals? Nature=absolute wealth Human species=relative power Examples: Interest in sports Interest in dance





11 GENERAL WEALTH:ABSOLUTE WEALTH +RELATIVE POWER (RELATIVE WEALTH) The absolute wealth is associated with the encouragement of activities like maximizing profit as an end in itself, functional asceticism (a level of asceticism which is compatible with absolute wealth growth), rejection of consumerism, encouragement of standardizing life (which is compatible with standardizing production and efficiency), and labour as calling and specialization in one field. The relative wealth or the relative power aspect of wealth is associated with a high preference for leisure, sociability, idle talk, luxury consumption, ostentatious consumption, sports, hunting and all-round education.

12 ABSOLUTE WEALTH For Protestants, “To wish to be poor was...the same as wishing to be unhealthy” (Weber, 1985:163) the type of businessman shaped by Protestantism,...: “He avoids ostentation and unnecessary expenditure, as well as conscious enjoyment of his power, and is embarrassed by the outward signs of the social recognition which he receives” (Weber, 1985:71).

13 RELATIVE WEALTH (RELATIVE POWER) “From the standpoint of possible capitalistic development, the acquisitiveness of Indians of all strata left little to be desired and nowhere is to be found so little antichrematism and such high evaluation of wealth” (Weber,1958:4). “Even Confucius would strive after riches, though it might be as a servant, whip in hand” (Weber, 1984:53).

14 REASONS FROM SOCIOBIOLOGY The orthodox social science=huge difference between human species and the other animal species. Koslowski (1999) argue that reduced competition within humanity is due to the human spirit and the quality of art The GP perspective: Dawkins: the high opportunity cost an individual is facing when he tries to exploit other individuals of the same species. This is a general principle

15 Sources of the high opportunity cost of trapping the other members of the species Power equality Mates/copies of one’s own identity

16 DAWKINS “As far as a gene is concerned, its alleles [alternative forms] are its deadly rivals, but other genes are just part of its environment comparable to temperature, food, predators, or companions” (Dawkins, 1976:38). In characterizing natural selection, Dawkins states: “I think ‘nature red in tooth and claw’ sums up our modern understanding of natural selection admirably” (Dawkins, 1976:2).

17 GREAT SOCIAL SCHOLARS ABOUT THE GP MAXIMAND (I) To be observed, to be attended, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency, and approbation, are all the advantages which we can propose to derive from it. It is the vanity, not the ease, or the pleasure which interests us. (Smith, 1976:50)

18 II For what purpose is the toil and bustle of this world? What is the end of avarice and ambition, of the pursuit of wealth, of power, and preheminence? It is the supply of necessities of nature? The wages of the meanest labourer can supply them. We see that they afford him food and clothing, the comfort of a house, and of a family. If we examined his oeconomy with rigour, we should find that he spends a great part of them upon conveniencies, which may regarded as superfluities, and that, upon extraordinary occasions, he can give something even to vanity and distinction. (Smith, 1976:50)

19 III The greatest part of the utility of wealth, beyond a very moderate quantity, is not the indulgences it procures, but the reserved power which its possessor holds in his hands of obtaining purposes generally; and this power no other kind of wealth confers so immediately or so certainly as money. (Mill, 2004:35)

20 IV We really, and justly, look upon a person as possessing the advantage of wealth, not in proportion to the useful and agreeable things of which he is in the actual enjoyment, but to his command over the general fund of things useful and agreeable. (Mill, 2004:34)

21 V to a man nothing is more pleasant in his own goods as that they are greater than those of others. (Hobbes, 1994:108) At the beginning of Leviathan’s second part, Hobbes states, although in brackets, that men “naturally love liberty and dominion over others” (1994:106)

22 VI The cultural stage based on predatory activity emerges from a “peaceful savagery” and is characterized by “an habitual bellicose frame of mind” (Veblen, 1992:32). Consequently, possessed wealth is evidence of a successful raid. This possession extends from owning people to owning the products of their industry. This group of successful individuals makes up what Veblen terms the leisure class; it is a class of individuals who do not engage in industrial activities (wealth production) but in exploitation.

23 VII The invidious comparison now becomes primarily a comparison of the owner with other members of the group. Property is still of the nature of a trophy, but, with the cultural advance, it becomes more a trophy of success scored in the game of ownership carried on between the members of the group under the quasi-peaceful methods of nomadic life. (Veblen, 1992:36)

24 VIII It was precisely man’s competitiveness and vanity, his desire to dominate and rule, which was the wellspring of social creativity, ensuring the realization of potentials “unborn in an Arcadian Shepard’s life.” (Fukuyama, 1992:58)

25 IX A psychology, or a political science, that did not take into account man’s desire for recognition, and his infrequent but very pronounced willingness to act at times contrary to even the strongest natural instinct, would misunderstand something very important about human behavior. (Fukuyama, 1992:152)

26 X The king of America has a sense of dignity missing entirely from the English day-laborer, a dignity that is born of his freedom, self- sufficiency, and the respect and recognition he receives from the community around him. The day-laborer may eat better, but he is totally dependent on an employer to whom he is virtually invisible as a human being. (Fukuyama, 1992:174)

27 XI In almost all languages, from those of the simplest primitive people to those of Indo- European groups, in Arabic, Japanese and Chinese, there is invariably a term to indicate envy or the envious person. Proverbs of the most varied cultures deal with it in hundreds of different forms. Aphorists and philosophers have touched on it. (Schoeck, 1987:4)

28 XII Social sciences in America particularly present the view that man is a rational or economically rational being, ever striving for direct profit or direct expedience. This utility theory is also applied to power that would never be exercised for its own sake, but used to reach a purpose. The principle of the “economically rational” human being proves to be wrong, even in our culture, and is notably untrue in the field of power. (Mulder, 1977:2)

29 XIII Based on a volume of data unrivaled until that time, Hofstede identifies five dimensions along which cultures vary. Most significant for my approach, the most important cultural dimension within Hofstede’s concept of culture is the power distance norm. In ranking power, Hofstede implicitly ranks wealth; that is, explicitly and implicitly, he ranks the two mega-goods wealth and power.

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