Social Theory and Economics Questions

In recent years, online, there has also been an intense interest in ‘social theory’, with articles that try to explain group psychology as it relates to society and culture, an example being the study of ingroup/outgroup dynamics, in the hope of trying to find a ‘unified theory’, in much the same way physics has the ‘standard model’, to explain political and ideological divisions, interactions, and human behavior.

This also ties into the post-2008 ‘great economics debate’ that is raging online right now, because economics and social theory are closely related. After the economy imploded in 2008, thousands of people in search of explanations took to the internet to try to explain, debate what had happened. Because economics is a social science, anyone who particpates in the economy (which is nearly everyone), from students to job seekers to the laid off, is a part of the process and lend his or her own knowledge and anecdotal evidence to the debate, with questions and topics such as:

-why jobs have not recovered as quickly as stock prices and earnings

-how much of a role the government should play in the economy

-who has a better economic plan? Trump or Hillary?

-why many college graduates cannot find good jobs

-is post-scarcity and a basic income possible

-will automation make most existing jobs obsolete, and if so how should policy makers respond

-is the ‘middle class’ dead

-does not having a high enough IQ prevent people from succeeding in an increasingly competitive economy

-is college necessary

-is retirement possible

-are immigrants ‘stealing’ jobs

-how climate change will affect the economy

-is China’s economy a bubble

-why textbooks are so expensive

-home ownership vs. renting

-why millennials are delaying adulthood

-how should the student loan debt problem be fixed, if it ever can be

This is also related to ‘shared narratives’ again, as these are problems and questions that affect everyone, regardless of their politics.

Both NRx and ‘rationalists’ converge in their inquiry of social theory, the former from a ‘right-wing’ perspective and the latter from a more centrist or neutral view. Between 2014-2015 Scott brought topics such as ingroup/outgroup dynamics, toxoplasma and rage, and blue/red/grey tribes to the fore. Up until 2013 or so, Moldbug, and to a lesser extent Land, wrote volumes about counter-enlightenment thought as an alternative to democracy, which of course is now called ‘neoreaction’, and through articles on Vox.com and other mainstream publications, has gained widespread notice, in addition to the meteoric rise of the alt-right, which is somewhat related. Then there is Gamergate, which is still ongoing, but its focus has shifted from video and computer games to fighting censorship, in general, by SJWs, such as censorship on social media, and was invaluable in sparking the post-2013 SJW-backlash.

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