The Kantian Person/Thing Principle in Political Economy

This is Chapter 4 in my book: Ellerman, David. 1995. Intellectual Trespassing as a Way of Life: Essays in Philosophy, Economics, and Mathematics. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Ethical theories can be broadly grouped into utilitarian theories and rights-based theories.  Modern economics is so thoroughly utilitarian that most economists would be hard-pressed to cite the application of a rights-based argument to economic institutions.  Yet the normative principles outlined in the first two chapters, the labor theory of property and the de facto theory of inalienability, are squarely within the rights-based tradition.  The democratic principle of self-determination is also a closely allied rights-based theory [see Ellerman 1992].

The Libertarian Case for Slavery (A Spoof on Nozick)

This is Chapter 3 from my book: Ellerman, David. 1995. Intellectual Trespassing as a Way of Life: Essays in Philosophy, Economics, and Mathematics. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Liberalism is living a lie.  It pretends that the contract to sell all of one’s labor, the self-enslavement contract, is an invalid contract beyond the pale while the contract to sell one’s labor piecemeal (by the hour, day, month, or year) is a perfectly valid contract above reproach.  The self-enslavement contract is one of the skeletons in liberalism’s intellectual closet.  Defenders of liberal capitalism are quick to accept even the most superficial arguments against voluntary slavery just to shove the issue back in the closet—just so long as the arguments do not carry over to the current contract to rent oneself out, the employer-employee contract.  Who wants to be seen as, in effect, defending voluntary slavery by showing how most arguments against the self-sale contract are baseless (aside from one “J. Philmore”)?

Myth and Metaphor in Orthodox Economics

This is Chapter 2 from: Ellerman, David. 1995. Intellectual Trespassing as a Way of Life: Essays in Philosophy, Economics, and Mathematics. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Discussion of the fundamental questions of political economy is today almost completely clouded and distorted by a number of basic myths and metaphors.  Deconstruction is necessary before constructive discussions can begin.  The myths and metaphors are concerned with basic conceptions about property and contract, not with prices and markets.  As layer upon layer of distortions are removed, new facts and new perspectives on old facts will emerge.  These facts have fairly direct normative implications, but the disagreements and controversies are about the facts, not about norms or prescriptions.

Trespassing against the Happy Consciousness of Orthodox Economics

This is Chapter 1 in my book: Ellerman, David. 1995. Intellectual Trespassing as a Way of Life: Essays in Philosophy, Economics, and Mathematics. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
This first chapter addresses the problems of trespassing involved in understanding the arguments presented in the first five “controversial” chapters of the collection.  These chapters challenge the whole idea of the employer-employee relationship that is the institutional basis for our present version of a private-property market economy.  The problems of trespassing against fundamental orthodoxy in the social and moral sciences are of a completely different order of magnitude than the problems of trespassing in the natural and mathematical sciences.

A Basic Duality in the Exact Sciences: Application to QM

This approach to interpreting quantum mechanics is not another jury-rigged or ad-hoc attempt at the interpretation of quantum mechanics but is a natural application of the fundamental duality running throughout the exact sciences.

A Pedagogical Model of Quantum Mechanics Over Sets

The new approach to quantum mechanics (QM) is that the mathematics of QM is the linearization of the mathematics of partitions (or equivalence relations) on a set. This paper develops those ideas using vector spaces over the field Z2 = {0.1} as a pedagogical or toy model of (finite-dimensional, non-relativistic) QM.

Talk Slides about European ESOP

These are slides from a talk about the European ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) developed by the Institute for Economic Democracy in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Worker Cooperatives and other so-called “Cooperatives”

Most cooperative organizations today do not exemplify any cooperative activity; non-worker cooperatives do not represent any cooperative activity of the members since the only joint activity of the organization is carried out by employees. The idea that cooperatives are democratically governed does not apply to non-worker cooperatives (based on the employment relation) since the members are not choosing the managers or governors of their own activity but of the activity of the people working in the cooperative.

New Logic & New Approach to QM

The new logic of partitions is dual to the usual Boolean logic of subsets (usually presented only in the special case of the logic of propositions) in the sense that partitions and subsets are category-theoretic duals. The new information measure of logical entropy is the normalized quantitative version of partitions. The new approach to interpreting quantum mechanics (QM) is showing that the mathematics (not the physics) of QM is the linearized Hilbert space version of the mathematics of partitions. Or, putting it the other way around, the math of partitions is a skeletal version of the math of QM.

Heteromorphic Approach to Adjunctions

Saunders Mac Lane famously remarked that “Bourbaki just missed” formulating adjoints in a 1948 appendix (written no doubt by Pierre Samuel) to an early draft of Algebre–which then had to wait until Daniel Kan’s 1958 paper on adjoint functors. But Mac Lane was using the orthodox treatment of adjoints that only contemplates the object-to-object morphisms […]