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ALIENATION AND ECONOMICS by Walter A. Weisskopf

ALIENATION AND ECONOMICS

By Walter A. Weisskopf

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1971
Publisher: Dutton

A reworking of Weisskopf's philosophical and economic essays from the past 20 years. The latter bear a heavy imprint of the reified ""affluence,"" ""cybernation,"" and ""futurist"" thinking of the period. The west is ""overdeveloped"" and only the greed of acquisitive individuals inhibits a redistribution which would solve the problem of poverty ""overnight."" How deficits in public services would be solved by this means is not explained; the problem of development is not pursued; the persistence of acute deprivation in ""the overdeveloped economies"" is bypassed; and Weisskopf fails to account for the fact that material production has actually begun to decrease. He ponders the preferability of the simpler life of the Mexican people implying that the poverty stricken ""like to live that way."" There is an interesting exegesis of neoclassical economics, but the subject of Marx leads Weisskopf into a swamp, guided by Hannah Arendt's misunderstanding of the Marxist labor theory of value, and he ends up perched on the false dichotomy between the ""early"" and ""late"" Marx. Additional distillations of current platitudes and misconceptions may be found in Weisskopf's assertion that the triumph of welfare economics has killed the distinction between ""productive"" and ""non-productive,"" and his observation that the flower children express ""subjective consumerism."" All this is rendered in an irrepressibly insipid style: ""As in all human affairs, this is a question of balance and not a question of either-or. . . ."" Marginal.