Thoughts: Developing a Culture for Exploitation

Unfinished thoughts

Throughout the course of my studies a pressing question has remained at the forefront of my mind: what accounts for the inequalities across the spectrum of humanity? This broad question entails every aspect of the human condition where disparity exists among men, from normative behaviors between cultures to local differences in educational attainment  among individuals and even differences in progress among civilizations across historical epochs.

What I have discovered is that institutions are the single greatest influence in dictating the success of individual’s and ultimately their society’s successful development. It is through institutions that social construction takes place, where the congenital organization of fundamental values and virtues form that intermediate our every response in thought and action.

Cause and effect is the fundamental relationship of all change, of all progress through time. Regarding society, man is the first cause. Life is the initial impetus that drives all proceeding effect. It is the life’s innate propensity for equilibrium that facilitates action. This propensity is dichotomized between proaction and reaction. Proaction is reflective, while reaction is absorptive. One is master, the other slave. The master embodies a will-to-power that dominates over oppression. The slave embodies a will-to-survive that acquiesces under oppression. One is possessed by self; one is possessed by other. One is prophet; one is priest.

Across every of civilization throughout recorded history there has been a distinctive governing feature permeating them all: language. Each culture took pains to preserve this language through an oral tradition preserved by groups of individuals within the community. In ancient Greece these groups were called cults and associated with upholding the specific oral tradition of a given Temple or god. These cults were comprised of individuals devoting an acute interest in performing duties as priests or prophets for the temple in order to conduct the custom and ritual to preserve the language and myth. In this way cults functioned to preserve the nomos or non-explicit “law” that accompanied all of the normal rules and forms people take for granted throughout their day to day activities.

The reason that cults served such an important function is due to the role that religion played in orchestrating the Greek conception of time. All festivals revolved around these temples.

Cultures of Economy (Economics from Gk. oikonomikos “practiced in the management of a household or family,” hence, “frugal, thrifty,)

What are these institutions you speak of? In 19th and 20th century economics Thorstein Veblen developed a new kind of economic theory dubbed Institutional Economics.

Concepts & Terminology:
Authority (Status; supremecy; preference; prestige)
Hierarchy (Ensures Efficient Transmission; channels)
Power (Ensures Effective Transmission; leverage)
Value (Semantics; Significance; guiding assumptions guiding priority)
Isomorphism (Truth; symbolic relation to truth) (Nietzsche; Rorty)
Utility
Language Games (No Private Language: beetle in a box)
Relationships or orientation
Dialectics (Subjective v Objective; Individual v Collective; Part v Whole; Soul v Body; Immaterial v Material; Population v Typological; Analytic v Empirical; Deductive v Inductive)
Repetition and Duplication (Derrida; Baudrillard)
Equilibrium Theory (Fallacy of Rational Choice)
Rational Choice (assume hyper rational egotist seeks self-maximization)
Traditional Action (Path dependent convention: custom (familiarity) or habit (repetition))
Reflexivity (& plasticity)
Path Dependency (Hysteresis; Habit Formation/ Habit Persistence; butterfly effect; Ratchet effect; Scope creep; feature creep)
Neuro-Plasticity (& reflexivity)
Myths (Rational Myths)
Social Structure (comprised of social relations)
Field (context; market; social network; arena; landscape; Class)
Domain (Content area within field; *see Domain Specificity)
Switching Barriers (Barriers of entry; hedging against foreign intrusion)
Emergence (Network Effect; Metcalf’s Law; Critical Mass)
Power Law (Pareto distribution/ Effect; how path dependency interacts)
Social Action (Rational Actions: primary ends (tactical); Instrumental Actions: secondary ends (strategic))
Collective Consciousness (group-think; herd mentality)
Looking Glass Self (I am not what I think I am and I am not what you think I am; I am what I think that you think I am. -Cooley)
Strain Theory (Tolerance; Opportunity; Open Society)
Corporate-descent group (Kinship; tribe)

Transmission of Order:
Capital (Economic; Cultural; Social)
Economic Capital (Absolute Value; Subject to scarcity)
Cultural Capital (Relative Value; Subject to
Social Capital (Value of social relations; solidarity maintenance; social cohesion; connectedness; social links)
Symbolic Capital
Propaganda (Orthopraxy)
Ideology
Habitus (Social context of socialization of subject)
Socialization
Enculturation
Ideological Apparatus
Linguistic Capital & Linguistic Markets
Nomos (nomie: order; equilibrium; ordering of experience)
Anomos (Anomie: Change; chaos)
Cultural Artifact (Creation by human that gives information about the culture)
Conformity
Practice
Structures
Schemas
Routine
Laws
Principles
Rules (following a rule)
Values
Conduct
Convention
Custom
Virtues
Ritual
Myth
Story
Narrative

Theories of Social Construction and Behaviorism:
Institutional Theory
Institutional Economics (Thorstein Veblen)
Social Construction
Old Institutionalism
Historical Institutionalism
New Institutionalism (Powell and DiMaggio)
Structuralism
Post-structuralism
Functional Structuralism
Explanatory Style
Attribution Theory

Types of Institutions delivering order:
Religious Organizations:
Churches, Temples, Mosques
Academic Institutions:
School
Universities
Political and Governmental Institutions:
Executive Presidential Branch
Congress
Judicial and Legal Institutions
Economic Institutions:
Corporations (through marketing and advertising)
Media Institutions:
Television
News Papers
Internet
Magazine
Community Organizations:
Sports
Clubs
Groups

Mediums Transmitting Order:
Spoken Word (Local)
Written Word (Regional)
Symbolic Image (Universal)

Sociological Theorists of Institutions and Social Construction:
Friedrich Nietzsche (formulation of morality through will to power)
Pierre Bourdieu (The Forms of Capital; Social Distinction; Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture)
Berger
Powell and DiMaggio
Thorstein Veblen (The Theory of the Leisure Class)
Max Weber (The Nature of Social Action)
Jean Baudrillard (Simulacra and Simulation)
Samuel Huntington (Political Order in Changing Societies)
Barrington Moore’s (Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy)
Theda Skocpol
C.H. Cooley (Human Nature and the Social Order)
Durkheim ( The Division of Labour in SocietyRules of the Sociological MethodSuicide, and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life)

Theory of Value:
Value (Capital)
Absolute (Natural goods)
Relative (Moral goods; semantic)
Semiotic Value (value of sign (signified) determined by other signs within the system (signifiers): no internal content, only what surrounding signs dictate)
Value in Use
Value in Exchange

Notes
Path Dependence: “once actors have ventured far down a particular path, they are likely to find it very difficult to reverse course…The “path not taken” or the political alternatives that were once quite plausible may become irretrievably lost. ‘Path dependence analysis’ highlights the role of what Arthur Stinchcombe has termed ‘historical causation’ in which dynamics triggered by an event or process at one point in time reproduce themselves, even in the absence of the recurrence of the original event or process”

Propaganda:“Differences in political regimes matter little; differences in social levels are more important; and most important is national self-awareness. Propaganda is a good deal less the political weapon of a regime (it is that also) than the effect of a technological society that embraces the entire man and tends to be a completely integrated society. Propaganda stops man from feeling that things in society are oppressive and persuades him to submit with good grace.”

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