Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo
‘Life Among The Econ‘ is a satirical paper written by the economist Axel Leijonhufvud and published in 1973. In the paper Leijonhufvud refers directly the great work of cultural anthropology The Savage Mind by the French Structuralist anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss. Before moving on to the paper it is probably best to understand something about Levi-Strauss’ work as I think that the content of the paper would otherwise be lost on many economics-oriented readers.
Levi-Strauss argued that cultural life in primitive societies rested on haphazard and rather arbitrary organisation. People would create symbols and systems of organisation the only purpose of which was to facilitate smooth social relationships. While the members of a tribe might imbue the symbols with seemingly enormous value — and people who violated them might be severely punished — looked at from the outside they seemed rather arbitrary and changed from tribe to tribe mainly…
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