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16 July 2007

The Trap

I just recently came upon this documentary from the BBC. It's a three part series called "The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom." The videos are linked below. I'd be interested to know what you think of them.

Part One: Fuck You Buddy

Part Two: The Lonely Robot

Part Three: We Will Force You to be Free


btmc said...

I watched the first episode, really amazing. I will watch the rest later, and give more views. for now I want to say, I think I see a gigantic fundamental difference between what zinn is saying and what nash said. this idea of communal action and love and sharing is so vigorously peppered into zinn's history of the united states, it is treated as flashes of a pie in the sky, a possibility for human existence. whereas nash only sees fear and paranoia as possibility. somewhere in between would appear to be reality, yet which would be better to work towards? would either? does working towards one or the other ever cancel out one or the other? have we gotten anywhere in communism or brutal darwinistic capitalism? where are we? where have we been, where are we going.

Thanks Jeremy, interesting ideas

Jeremy Trombley said...

I think you're right, Brendan. Nash's model of humans is completely antithetical to Zinn's and, by extension, the communist/socialist model in general. Nash and the other game theorists see humans as wholly individualistic and competitive. Whereas Zinn sees them as wholly altruistic. It's important to remember that both are just models and therefore leave out a wide range of characteristics. I think you're also right that the truth is somewhere in between. If you think about your own actions you'll find that there is usually a matrix of motivations behind them - some altruistic, some individualistic, some which are neither and some which are both. It's never wholly one or the other. However, culture and social structure can bring one set of motivations to the fore - which is what the series goes on to argue.
As for your question of communism versus capitalism - I don't think there's a concrete answer to that. I do believe, however, that the complete hegemony of either ought to be opposed outright for the simple reason that there is no single way for all of humanity to live and the best state is one of a multiplicity of lifestyles and cultures. I think the most important thing to work for is the decentralization and deconcentration of power, and to set up socio-cultural systems to keep it that way.
Two side notes. One, I think it's interesting that the game theorists, when they tested their game on the pool of secretaries and it failed to produce the expected results, did not question their model but decided that the secretaries were bad subjects. They used the model to prove the model. Two, the recent nobel prize for economics went to a group of economists who used the game theroy model to determine market mechanisms. I forget what their theory is called, but apparently it's very influential.

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