Post-modernism is dead. Long live pseudo-modernism. Usually at this point Corporate Blawg throws a glass of water in the face of his philosophical alter-ego, but on this occasion the mental masturbation is allowed to continue. Why? Because financial integration is key to resolving cultural differences between Middle East and the West, and this is important.
The new philosophical perspective appears, like an ephemeral smell in a confined space, that we have lost our ironic cynicism which was so key to post-modernism. We are now critically aware of the realities (and limitations) of our society, our world, and the human spirit. We do not expect utopic harmony or anticipate distopic schism - belief and faith are either aspects of the mind or divine intervention and we do not judge; we are keen to demonstrate good intentions, and we love the internet. We interact but rarely participate, we escape from the world because we observe the shortcomings with fatalist disappointment. These are some of the tenuous connections from which we emerge as "pseudo-modernists". In a loosely held together article by Dr Alan Kirby, in Philosophy Now, Dr Alan describes his new feeling:
In place of the neurosis of modernism and the narcissism of postmodernism, pseudo-modernism takes the world away, by creating a new weightless nowhere of silent autism. You click, you punch the keys, you are ‘involved’, engulfed, deciding. You are the text, there is no-one else, no ‘author’; there is nowhere else, no other time or place.
The criticism and disdain that Dr Alan has for the modern world belies his distancing from it. After every cultural crossroads there are those who were comfortable in the previous and lambast the present, and Dr Alan is showing his age. However, the article does make some interesting observations, and one such observation is that market forces are our excuse why everything is shit, whilst market forces form the commercial realities of why everything is better now than it ever was before (although its still not brilliant):
Pseudo-modernism sees the ideology of globalised market economics raised to the level of the sole and over-powering regulator of all social activity – monopolistic, all-engulfing, all-explaining, all-structuring, as every academic must disagreeably recognise.
Let's hope its true.
Market economics must be the over-powering regulator of social activity because our politicians are greasy, our religious leaders are fanatics, and our celebrities are dumb idiots. The role of market economics to be the potential saviour was highlighted earlier this month, when Ed Balls announced plans to introduce legislation making London a more attractive market for Islamic bonds.
Under Islamic law, you cannot make money out of money. Therefore "interest" is a no-go area. The application of Islamic law is called Sharia-compliant. An Islamic bond (known as a "sukuk") is a shariah-compliant financial security which is based on obtaining a portion of the profit of the company. A non-Islamic bond is based on obtaining interest from a company, which reduces the profits of the company, and therefore has tax advantages for that company. The new legislation will give sukuk's the same or similar taxation advantages as non Islamic bonds. And such bonds can be traded on the open market.
The Islamic financial market is in an early stage of development, but is increasing in size at an enormous rate. In December the London sukuk market was worth £1 billion. In November the world's largest sukuk bond issue was made by the Nakheel Group for a $3.53 bllion issue.
Corporate Blawg finds this very exciting, and a fantastic opportunity for the London and European markets (as the U.S. market remains self-defeatingly cautious of Islamic investments).
And so, market forces may not only be the sole and overpowering regulator of social activity, but also the demolision vehicle of cultural separation. Whereas we appreciated culture in its diversity as post-modernists, now we need to complete the process of integration as psuedo-modernists. Such emphasis does not take the world away from us, but gives us a new set of circumstances to observe and extract moral value.
Which is where this post sadly reaches its conclusions. Corporate Blawg doubts it was accidental that Dr Alan's article appeared in an issue of Philosophy Now which focussed on Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein claimed to have solved philosophy, and perhaps he did. However, Corporate Blawg always understood that the purpose of philosophy was to critically explore the human condition, or at least, provide wise guidance on living and how we should interpret our lives.
Dr Alan's article offers no solutions, no remedies, but is a set of cultural observations with an "ism" to sound official. If every cultural change defined a new epoch of philosphical approach there will be no remedies anymore because every philosopher will be carving out his section of observations from a continuous scale. Rigour would give way to exceptions proving the rule, and connections would end up wholly speculation. This approach will be unpallatable and elitist, serving no purpose to anyone. Perhaps that is already so and philosophy is dead, long live sociology.