2021 Abstracts Stage 3

A Philosophical Analysis of the Existence of Billionaires in Today’s Economic Climate

This project is a philosophical analysis of the existence of billionaires in today’s economic climate. In today’s society, there is an ever-increasing number of billionaires. Meanwhile, there is also a large number of people living in poverty. Many of the wealthiest people today, such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are considered to be philanthropists due to their many charitable actions. Although it is undeniable that these actions are more significant than those of many other billionaires today, it still seems that this is simply not enough in today’s economic climate. This project will aim to understand if there is an alternative to the way society is structured. Firstly, we must consider whether the human desire to have an excessive amount of wealth is something that is fundamental to human nature, or whether we are conditioned by society to think this way. In order to do this, I will consider Thomas Hobbes’ account of man in the state of nature to understand how man is naturally greedy. I will also consider the Marxist critique of capitalism to understand how society conditions us to believe that we are in a state of scarcity and need to work for new symbols of exchange. After fulfilling this research, I will conclude that it is within our human nature to be greedy animals, wanting an abundance of goods, and the society we live in simply facilitates this need. It will then be important to consider how the goods within society could be distributed in order to account for this inherent greed. I will discuss the ideas of John Rawls and Robert Nozick on distributive justice. I will present the ideas of Rawls which seem to be commendable, however Nozick’s critique of Rawls will show that it would be impossible to remain in a state of equal distribution without sacrificing individual liberty – a higher order good. Overall, the project will highlight that wealth is a central element of society today, and the only way to account for the inequalities we see is to diminish liberty; a conflict which is unresolvable.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Money: A Social Network Ontology, Complimented by the Abstraction of Theoretical Monetary Units Throughout Time.

This project argues for Georg Simmel’s Sociological account of money through two means:

Firstly, its ability to explain changes in monetary theory through time.
Secondly, the fact it can explain a nuanced human economic agent in a social network.

Money in a Simmelite Social Network:

My project explored the account of the human subject in Simmel’s The Philosophy of Money and applied this to the network theory from Dodd’s The Sociology of Money. Thus, the essay was able to create and analyse a framework that could both argue for the creation of money through a tool of desiring subjects, and how this interacts with society at large through a societal network.

Changing Monetary Theory Through Time:
This project explores the history of economic philosophy from the enlightenment onwards through four defined periods.

Smith and Classical Economics – Using An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations I was able to explore monetary theory that is reliant upon substance, and the ways Smith’s economic theory often ends up with a reductionist view of human agency.

Friedman and Neo-Classical Economics – Using Capitalism and Freedom I explored monetary theory and the belief that money is simply an economic lubricant, while also contesting the fact that Friedman truly believes in the imperfect being.

Post-Modern Economics – Using Lazzarato, and his influences, I was able to analyse the idea that digitised economics represent power and the desire of the subjects in this network as the creation of this power.

Bitcoin and the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute – This conception of money is a commodity guided by the rules of blockchain, however Bitcoin itself is only substantiated by ideological belief of a small number of active traders.

Throughout this project I argue that the Framework of the Simmelite Social Network can not only explain the beliefs of these four types of theory through time, but also why the path of history towards further abstraction has occurred.

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

A Questionable Interpretation: a study into John Nash’s Game Theory, its reliance on a dubious interpretation of Adam Smith’s economic theory, and how it has been detrimental to competition in modern day economics

The aim, as such, of this writing is to examine the idea that there is a questionable interpretation underpinning modern economics and if it is attacked we are left with the notion that the economics we have is not the economics it should be. This is because the theory of capitalism that we have today is not exactly the one argued for, by its founder, Adam Smith. I also wish to show that we cannot go back to the more true form of capitalism however nor can we move to any other system because of the damage already done. This shall be hinted at by using some segments of Capital by Karl Marx.

The object which has driven me to examine such an idea that something has gone wrong in economics is the film A Beautiful Mind. I believe the portrayal of John Nash in this film is biased and unjustifiable as I believe his wrong interpretation of Smith may have led to an unending cycle of greed that will slowly pervert and consume any form of morality.

My territories of discussion are economics and the application of game theory and within this writing the concepts that I wish to discuss are: Nash equilibria, game theory and competition.

The thinkers and relevant sources that I shall use within this writing are:

Karl Marx – Capital
Adam Smith – Wealth of nations
John Nash – non-cooperative games and two person cooperative games (contained within issues of Econometrica, the economics journal)

2010 Abstracts Stage 3

Credit to Capitalism: a Philosophical Examination of the Most Enduring System of Our Time

The aims of this project are:

-To gain a greater depth of knowledge regarding the origins and definition of capitalism.
-To offer descriptions of the vast differences between Chinese and American capitalism.
-To give in depth analyses of the economies of both the United States and China.
-To open up capitalism as an economic concept to philosophical debate.
-To assess whether notions such as freedom and human potential are relevant in a discussion of capitalism.
-To make philosophical assertions about capitalism in advancing the worth of the human being and encouraging humanity’s ‘flourishing’.

Capitalism is the most enduring economic system of our time, there has to be a reason communism and Marxism have failed and why democratic led reform and capitalism have become the most successful political and economic systems. Capitalism is widely regarded as being able to give every single individual the opportunity to achieve wealth and the opportunity to involve themselves within the business of profit.

Max Weber’s account of the origins of capitalism in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism explains that religious protestant doctrine emphasises the moral goods of hard work, investment and discipline. During modernity, these ideals paved the way for the beginnings of unrestrained and individualist capitalism that is now the norm in the US. Weber identifies that an individual endeavours to involve himself in moral economic activity because of a ‘calling’ which can be seen as an obligation to God. Moreover, economic achievements were seen as the true measure of one’s moral standing.

I shall then focus on John Rawls’ most famous work, Political Liberalism; I believe that it is only in a liberal political system that true capitalism as we know it can be achieved. Liberal politics allows free trade and the opening up of an economy. The philosophical tradition of liberalism is widely regarded as enabling capitalism and engineering the free market that exists within some nations today.

My project will be a hermeneutical explanation of what capitalism essentially is, followed by an empirical investigation into the different strains of capitalism found in the USA and China and assess whether China can really be called a capitalist nation at all.

Sources used- Max Weber –The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and John Rawls – Political Liberalism.