…..but we can start here. The definition I know is a political-economic system of special privilege for those that serve the leader of the State……nothing is above the State…a symbiotic relationship between the State and Nobel’s back in the day…..today business…....this is a philosophy that the individual and the proponents of Natural Law fight every day since before Christ….450 years before Christ, from the Western’s world roots in Greece. Remember where I posted about Plato….this picks up from there and the State of Absolutism.
Polis translates to city…..at their time city state
Their (Plato & Aristotle) aristocratic bent and their lives within the matrix of an oligarchic polis had a greater impact on the thought of the Socratics than Plato's various excursions into theoretical right-wing collectivist Utopias or in his students'
practical attempts at establishing tyranny. For the social status and political bent of the Socratics coloured their ethical and political philosophies and their economic views. Thus, for both Plato and Aristotle, 'the good' for man was not something to be pursued by the individual, and neither was the individual a person with rights that were not to be abridged or invaded by his fellows.
For Plato and Aristotle, 'the good' was naturally not to be pursued
by the individual but by the polis. Virtue and the good life were polis- rather than individual-oriented. All this means that Plato's and Aristotle's thought was statist and elitist to the core, a statism which unfortunately permeated 'classical' (Greek and Roman) philosophy as well as heavily influencing Christian and medieval thought. Classical 'natural law' philosophy therefore never arrived at the later elaboration, first in the Middle Ages and then in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, of the 'natural rights' of the individual which may not be invaded by man or by government.
Plato's search for a hierarchical, collectivist utopia found its classic expression in his most famous and influential work, The Republic. There, and later in The Laws, Plato sets forth the outline of his ideal city-state: one in which right oligarchic rule is maintained by philosopher-kings and their philosophic
colleagues, thus supposedly ensuring rule by the best and wisest in the community.
To keep the elite and the subject masses in line, Plato instructs the philosopher-rulers to spread the 'noble' lie that they themselves are descended from the gods whereas the other classes are of inferior heritage. Freedom of speech or of inquiry was, as one might expect, anathema to Plato. The arts are frowned on, and the life of the citizens was to be policed to suppress any dangerous thoughts or ideas that might come to the surface.
Along with the rise of the absolute state, theories of absolutism arose and began to throw natural law doctrines into the shade. The adoption of natural law theory, after all, meant that the state was bound to limit itself to the dictates of the natural or the divine law. But new political theorists arose, asserting the dominance of the temporal over the spiritual, and of the state's positive law over the natural or divine order.
Mercantilism as the economic aspect of absolutism.
By the beginning of the seventeenth century, royal absolutism had emerged victorious all over Europe. But a king (or, in the case of the Italian city-states,some lesser prince or ruler) cannot rule all by himself. He must rule through a hierarchical bureaucracy.. And so the rule of absolutism was created through a series of alliances between the king, his nobles (who were mainly large feudal
or post-feudal landlords), and various segments of large-scale merchants or traders. 'Mercantilism' is the name given by late nineteenth century historians to the politico-economic system of the absolute state from approximately the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Mercantilism has been called by various
historians or observers a 'system of Power or State-building' (Eli Heckscher), a system of systematic state privilege, particularly in restricting imports or subsidizing exports (Adam Smith), or a faulty set of economic theories, including protectionism and the alleged necessity for piling up bullion in a country. In fact, mercantilism was all of these things; it was a comprehensive system of state building,state privilege, and what might be called 'state monopoly capitalism'.
As the economic aspect of state absolutism, mercantilism was of necessity a system of state-building, of Big Government, of heavy royal expenditure, of high taxes, of (especially after the late seventeenth century) inflation and deficit finance, of war, imperialism, and the aggrandizing of the nation-state. In short,
a politico-economic system very like that of the present day, with the unimportant exception that now large-scale industry rather than mercantile commerce is the main focus of the economy. But state absolutism means that the state must and maintain allies among powerful groups in the economy, and it also provides a cockpit for lobbying for special privilege among such groups.
With SO MANY people that derive their “station in life” from the government in these times it is virtually impossible to get people to listen to these ideas, people dependent on the State will tune out because they do not what to be accused of being part of the problem.
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