Bob Thomson, Paris, 4 October 2012
Many of the processes of economic, political and cultural colonization which have become the accepted doctrines of our Western cultural narrative are rooted in the classical economic ideas of Adam Smith and David Ricardo. They established the basis for today’s “laws” of the “invisible hand of the market” based on self interest and competition, with their emphasis on the exchange value (price), rather than the social, environmental and cultural value of products. These “laws” have been “written” into our minds and cultures as incontrovertible truths via modern marketing and media, and by intellectual monopolies in our universities.
But David Graeber notes that “At a time when ‘the free market’ is being rammed down everyone’s throat as both a natural and inevitable product of human nature, the work of Marcel Mauss demonstrated not only that most non-Western societies did not work on anything resembling market principles, but that neither do most modern Westerners.”