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A brief self-reflection: what is it like to be an “anti-economist”

These last days i´ve been reflecting on the subject. What did i in fact mean by choosing that term- “anti-economist”- as part of the blog´s title.  I suppose there are more answers than one but one  could possibly be found in the following words  of  the german sociologist Norbert Elias (translated from the german):

 “It´s a widespread idea that  members of social formations that are in their way downward attach themselves to power and fight for it to the utmost mainly because they don´t want to surrender the “material advantages”- a higher level of consumption or the chances of being served by subordinates- thanks to which they own that power. Certainly the loss of these advantages plays a role in their fears, in their foresight of an unfriendly future and leads them to fight by increasingly desperate and cruel means even if developments out of  reach of their influence  keep openly turning against them. But an explanation for such a behaviour  based on “material” or, as is often said, on “economical” reasons is nothing more than a part of the explanation. Linked to the loss of power , whatever this may imply,   members of ruling social formations experience always a serious disruption of their self-perception and often enough a complete destruction of what in their eyes gives meaning and value to their lives: they are threatened at the same time therefore by a loss of their identitity- a loss of oneself. And it´s first and foremost this – the threat that it´s posed to what they feel to be their identity, their worth, their status among individuals- what makes for them impossible to regard their situation soberly as it is and to adapt their objectives and feelings of their own meaning and worth to the changing circumstances. Almost without exception they won´t be defeated by the physical or social superiority of  the ascending opponents but by their own sentiment that life is no more worth living if the old order in which they held the leading position disappears. Life seems to them meaningless and worthless if the attributes of their social superiority are missing. If whole groups of individuals  placed in such a situation do their utmost to resist change, if in order to preserve their leading position they are ready to fight and sacrifice their lives, this happens not only out of fear of an existence deprived of  material comforts, neither does it chiefly happen due to the loss of means of subsistence or of their profusion, but roundly because that change poses a threat to their way of living. And first and foremost it´s their self-respect, their pride, what is being threatened.”

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