Editorial - Issue 4 Part 2


This issue of Eruditio contains challenging and possibly controversial themes. Nonetheless, overall, these contributions challenge the frontiers of thinking in different spheres of global relevance.

In “Need for a New Economic Theory”, Orio Giarini has given us a clarified walkthrough of the central conceptions of economics that seem to imprison us today. He then brings in the notion that the forms of wealth or value production are in flux. He identifies the importance of the growth of services as a new foundation of economic value. He notes that this perspective introduces uncertainty and probability as the new rules of the game. However, this simply requires a strong need to redefine economic value in order to understand what scientifically reproduces the wealth of nations.

Edy Korthals Altes, in “Quo Vadis? Cultural Reorientation – Our Shared Journey”, states his provocative postulation at the beginning of his article. He challenges us with his proposition that the spiritual renewal of humanity is long overdue. He has seen that deliberation of the enlightenment, which produced the autonomous man, also produced a creature who seems to have inflated himself. This self-inflation has come at the cost of spiritual deficit. We now confront new crises in which the spiritual dimension of human identity is increasingly lost as money and greed overtake any recognition of deeper and transcendent spiritual values. He underscores the misconceptions that this view produces and wants to get us back to values infused with spirit that are universally relevant. He has a focus on such concepts as interconnectedness, vulnerability, yearning, and awe. From these considerations, he thinks we can emerge with a common platform that might more closely patch together the practical world of science and the transcendent world of religion. He concludes by stressing that at the back of his analysis is the centrality of the most inclusive conception of love, and that “God, goodness, and love, both received and given, give meaning to life.”

Graeme Maxton, in “Privacy is not Dead, It’s Just Resting”, rightly notes that our right to privacy is under assault. The assault is not only led by governance, but also by major corporate personalities. Currently we are in the shadow of the Snowden whistleblower disclosures. These disclosures reflect staggering intrusions in the mega collection of data about individuals. Even foreign leaders are not immune from this. Reports from the U.S. government indicate that these NSA intrusions into private communications violate the American Constitution. He has given a broad but incisive description of a multitude of other ways in which the privacy of the individual may be compromised. A great deal of this is not well known or if known, understood. The author has provided us with a useful introduction to these challenges regarding the common sense right to privacy.

Robert W. Fuller, in “Something America and China Can Do Together”, writes with unassuming but profoundly challenging message. In this article, he looks at the position of America and China as the starting point for his meditation on profoundly important future directions of global, social organization. He sees in the Chinese tradition some timeless Confucius values and he sees in the American intellectual tradition the deeper values tied to the idea of universal dignity. It is this concept that may move us past the imperfections of democracy to a deeper system of values rooted in dignitarian governance. This is a short but profoundly challenging thesis, and one that the editors hope will generate continuing discussions in the World Academy.

One of our contemporary conflicts about basic values is the distinction between one’s liberty and the abuse of liberty namely, license. This is at the back of the issue raised in this article by Graeme Maxton and Octavian Ksenzhek on the “Limits to Nature” about the autonomous Homo economicus and the idea that this player’s autonomy is limitless. This theme is explored in terms of the limits of nature itself and the challenge of knowing the limit and knowing the cost of going beyond the limit.