Where we are and where we will be

Where we are and where we will be
The idea of Edinburgh is a combination of place, soul and symbolic leadership of a nation

Friday, 4 July 2008

A statue for an "invisible hand?"

The unveiling of the statue of Adam Smith today in Edinburgh is a fitting acknowledgement of some-one who has influenced how we see the world in ways he could not have imagined.

Its interesting that he is always described as "the father of economics". The metaphor of "father" is used a great deal in public life; "father of the house", "father of the nation"," city fathers", founding fathers". Is this because, as the American thinker George Lakoff suggests, its too complex to explain something like the beginnings of a nation, or the story of econ mics so we use a metaphor we understand, a family metaphor.

I think that there is something in this idea. The trouble is, as Lakoff shows, if our idea of family is one where there is a strict, authoritarian father who sets the rules and imposes harsh discipline for those who break the rules so that's how we will see how society should be, whereas if we see family as a place of nurturing parents where caring for others is how we care for ourselves, so we will want society to have the same values.

Politics and economics are human constructs so must be about values. Making sure we know how are values are shaped is as important as know how to speak of them. And we need know that how we speak of them is not the way in which they are being shaped.

No comments:

Surgery Times

1st Wed @ Piershill Library, 30 Piershill Terrace.
2nd Wed @ Craigentinny Community Centre, Loaning Rd.
3rd Wed @ Duddingston Primary School, Duddingston Rd.

All 7:15pm -7:45pm

and the last Sat. Lochend YWCA, 198 Restalrig Road South
12noon -1pm

(no appointment needed, all during school terms)
Printed and Published by Ewan Aitken on behalf of the Edinburgh Labour Party, 78 Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9NH