Blog Post: [Part 3] Critical Thinking, Human Development, and Rational Productivity

Richard Paul Archives
Mar 05, 2024 • 47d ago
[Part 3] Critical Thinking, Human Development, and Rational Productivity

{"ops":[{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"[Missed Part 2? "},{"attributes":{"bold":true,"link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/blogPost.php?param=222"},"insert":"Read It Here"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"]"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"What Is the Nature of Human Productivity?"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nProduction is, quite simply, the creation of some "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"utility"},{"insert":". The first question to ask, then, in probing the roots of productivity is, "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"whose utility?"},{"insert":" Beyond production for sheer survival, utility must be judged from a human point of view; and all of the diversity and opposition that exists between conflicting points of view is reflected in judgments of the relative utility of diverse forms and modes of production and productivity.\n \nProduction and productivity can be looked at both quantitatively and qualitatively. Of greatest significance are the standards we use to assess production qualitatively. I suggest that "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"the most pressing problem the world faces today"},{"insert":" is the problem of irrational production, of that production which wastefully expends human labor and precious resources for ends that would not be valued by rational persons nor be given priority in a rational society.\n \nThe modes and nature of production within any given society reflect the nature, development, and values of that society. Insofar as a society is democratic, the modes and nature of production will reflect democratic decision making regarding production. This reflects not only individual decisions that one might make as an autonomous “consumer” and vocational decision-maker but also collective decisions as a citizen who supports some given social and economic philosophy or other. For example, the decision to provide many hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize the development of nuclear energy rather than solar energy was a “collective” decision, heavily dependent on public funds and resources. So, too, were the development of railroad systems, the airline industries, the public highways, and sewer systems. These general decisions and the precise ways in which they were implemented can be analyzed for their implications for the use of public resources and the meeting of public interest and need. Indeed, there are very few “political” or “social” decisions which do not have economic and moral implications. Every expenditure of public or private resources represents both an economic trade-off (in that other possible uses cannot, then, be furthered) and some implementation of a judgment of value for public or private good. A society is not democratic if its citizens are not disposed to participate in this economic and social decision making in such a way as to knowingly and effectively protect the public good and interest.\n"}]}


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