In Memory of Kenneth Arrow (1921-2017)

The great American economist Kenneth Arrow, whose work has often been misused, died last month. A great modeler, yes, but also an economist who never forgot on what assumptions the models were based. One of his deeper insights:

“A democratic polity is supposed to be based on egalitarian distribution of political power. In a system where virtually all resources are available for a price, economic power can be translated into political power by channels too obvious for mention. In a capitalist society, economic power is very unequally distributed, and hence democratic government is inevitably something of a sham. In a sense, the maintained ideal of democracy makes matters worse, for it adds the tensions of hypocrisy to the inequality of power.

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About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Academic Conflict, Economic Conflict, Uncategorized, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to In Memory of Kenneth Arrow (1921-2017)

  1. louploup2 says:

    Good one. Here’s Ursula LeGuin’s more profane (i.e., non-economist) version: “Corporate capitalism at this stage of its death-agony can only control, deform, and stupidify everything it touches.”
    (2014, Interview in Real Change, Seattle)

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