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The end of the world and we missed it

“All too often ‘modernity’ has meant nothing more than the assault of capitalism on tradition, with enlightenment nowhere in view. Commodification, wage labor, and mass production have drastically undermined craft, regional, ethnic, religious, and even familial loyalties and virtues, substituting only the abstract disciplines of the market. Industrial capitalism may be readier than traditional societies to exploit the distinctive virtues of modernity — intellectual curiosity, originality, tolerance, social solidarity — but it does little to foster them. The result is an unanchored moral culture: shallow, fragile, manipulative, in a word, narcissistic. Modernity without enlightenment seems to be a prescription for nihilism. Premodernity, both psychic and political, must be outgrown rather than merely suppressed, as industrial capitalism tends to do. On the other hand, it is arguably only developed industrial capitalism that allows a society the economic luxury of postponing adulthood, whether through higher education, travel, or some other vocational moratorium. Between these constraints, it is difficult to see any clear path to a secular democratic-socialist utopia.” – George Scialabba, “A Prophet, Honored”

Published inEconomicsGeorge ScialabbaPolitics & Law

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