« new piece on competitiveness | Main | 'Trials and Tribulations in Economics' - seminar, 26th September »

June 23, 2014



Frustratingly I don't have time at the moment to address this properly. On the one hand, it's clearly true that our measures influence our thinking - and the idea of measures that relate to collective rather than individual thinking could be really useful.

On the other hand. Some scattered points:

Nescafe (last time I looked) involved exploitation of farmers and the environment, use of processing chemicals bad for the environment and consumers - and the profits, well hardly flowing into a system of equality...

The Desrosieres school of thought is why France didn't (and largely doesn't) collect statistics on the race of citizens, when creating pictures of their society. Unfortunately, this has done nothing positive for racism, employment equality, the banlieus etc. So I think we need to be really careful about pretending that collective statistical reasoning solves all ills...

Steven Lydon

Nice post.

I often wonder, however, why people regard Adorno as a pessimist. Did he use this title explicitly? Did Horkheimer, or even Schopenhauer? If not, it's possible that using the term means unconsciously adopting the standpoint of French Nietzscheanism. Remember that a thought's cheerfulness is not a criteria of its validity. To be critical is not to be wilfully pessimistic, or its cognate, an old bore etc. There's more than a touch of slander in this modern attitude towards the Frankfurt School.

On a more personal note, I find Adorno's critical stance rather cathartic, and hence hardly cause for actual pessimism in any sense.


Good post. I've been wondering on similar lines: the obstinate refusal of the left to re-examine social democracy with any rigour seems to me connected to this romantic fetishism of quality and difference.

The comments to this entry are closed.