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A Philosophical Investigation Of Human Activities: for a Sustainable and Equitable; Life System

for a Sustainable and Equitable; Life System
Aravind Narayan
Type: Print Book
Genre: Philosophy, Business & Economics
Language: English
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This work is divided into three parts. The first part introduces a set of tools and a framework which allows us to represent our individual activity, as well as our activities as groups, such as in an organization, or other situations requiring coordinated actions. The second part of the work models social entities- starting with the organization, then the individual, and finally the economy, using the tools and framework. It also extends the models to analyze our interaction with nature. The third part uses the models to review different philosophies and understand them better. Here we first analyze the different economic philosophies. The second topic we take up for discussion is our society. The social entities such as Household, Family, Organization, State, Nation etc. is discussed conceptually and reviewed. As part of this discussion, we look at ideas of freedom, concept of republic, and meaning of leadership. The final topic we discuss is our social evolution. Here we assess the speculative philosophy of history presented by classic philosophers. The author is not an academician, and the language is not very academic, and is intended for general reading and application.
The primary innovation in the work is the introduction of two representation tools that we will be using for representing and studying our activities. We call these as 'Process' and 'System'. These are tools adapted from the engineering discipline which was generalized and simplified for application to common situations. In the process representation an action is represented as a set of inputs and outputs. In the system representation an action is elaborated as a set of interconnected processes. We then go on to analyze the cumulative impact of our individual actions by building models. For this we define a particular level of process representation called 'Human Activity'. When we think of our actions in the Human activity scale we can visualize and understand our actions. In order to use this effectively we present a set of simple notations. Next step is to classify and categorize. In our first classification we categorize Human activities as - Production, Trade and Consumption. Production is where we modify an input to produce a value-added new output. Trade is those activities where we preserve a commodity while moving it (transporting) and storing it (shifting by time), in order to facilitate consumption. The consumption activities are those which consumes the commodity for our benefit and transform it into waste. Another categorization we introduce is to classify the Human activities based on the type of output, i.e., weather it is a physical output or an intellectual output. Thus, we have activities that involves- physical commodity production and intellectual commodity production. With these categorizations and tools, we model different entities.
The first entity we model is that of an organization. We review the current philosophy on which an organization is established, which is based on Max Weber's ideas and principles. The management principles developed by Taylor, Fayol, Ducker, and other management thinkers, influenced the structure and operation of our organizations. We use their concepts to understand the present structure of the organizations, and its functions. We then build the model of the organization using our framework. We do this by representing the different functions in its process representation and studying its sub processes. This then allows us to have a deeper understanding of the role and activities in an organization and we can compare our model with our current way of visualizing an organization as a hierarchy of individual positions. We undertake similar modeling activities for our individual actions as well as at the economic scale. We further extend this to show how our model can help us study our interaction with the Environment and Nature. The modeling of these entities allows us to define certain critical functions such as Entrepreneurship, Management, and Investment using its process representations.
In the third part we review current philosophies and paradigms. The first analysis we undertake is of the Economic philosophies. We review the Economic systems of Command Economy (Planned) and Market Economy. We then analyze the economic systems defined by the philosophies of Marx based on the mode of production, i.e.- Communal Mode of Production (with its sub classifications), Feudal Mode of production and the post industrialization economic phases of - Capitalism, Socialism, and the futuristic Communism. Here in this analysis, we can delineate these as different philosophical systems, independent of each other. For example, we currently understand, capitalism and market system, and similarly, socialism and planned economy as to be analogous. Here we separate these concepts and represent it independently. The next analysis we undertake is of society, where we review the different sociological paradigms. We review the ideas of philosophers such as Comte, Hegel, Durkheim, Marx, Engels etc. We then study social entities such as Nations, State etc. based on how different thinkers such as Otto Bauer, Deen Dhayal Upadhaya, Savarkar, Stalin, Weber etc. conceptualized it. Similarly, we use ideas of different thinkers and assess other social entities. Our basis of social analysis is built on a model where the emotional connections between individuals are defined by their underlying process connections. Finally, we make an analysis of our Historical evolution based on ideas of Comte, Hegel, and Marx using the framework to aid our understanding of these concepts. We undertake a review of Hegel's idealistic view of history as well as Marx's materialist view of history presented as Historical materialism.
This is considered as an initial step and the author hopes that the methodology presented can be extended to studying a wide range of topics, which he leaves to the reader to explore...

About the Author

The author is an engineer by training, now working as a sustainability professional. He has worked in major construction projects in India and Middle East, starting with small contracts in the beginning of his career, progressing to working in large corporate consortiums managing mega projects, and then being associated with the government sponsored giga projects as a client consultant. He has lived in different countries and moved around within a country due to the nature of working in construction projects, which gave him the opportunity to observe the different systems and variations in the way of life in different regions. This combined with readings of philosophical texts and experimenting and working to establish processes and systems to implement sustainability, (which was a new discipline introduced to construction), led him to develop the tools presented in the work. Also, the experiences in corporate enterprises allowed him to see how large organizations that involves coordinate actions of thousands of individuals, are established for a mega project. These organizations are established in a hierarchical model, and work is organized in a supervisor-subordinate arrangement, with supervisory pressure and threat of job (and corresponding income) loss being the driving force of production. The author could observe that the best remunerated employees were not the actual producers of value, instead it was the members in the hierarchy who formed the bureaucratic supervisory structure engaged in following up and pressuring the producers to produce. They got the best pay and working conditions and also had reasonable job security. Most of these individuals rarely even understood the value that the producers under them were supposed to produce, and they merely employed psychological tactics to pressure the producers. The current corporate vocabulary for this approach is ‘leadership’ or ‘people leaders’. The philosophical readings and review of different approaches led the author to assess that the - hierarchical model based on Weber’s principles, combined with the organization-employee, relation of ‘workers time’ for ‘money’ as the root cause of the social inequalities and inefficiencies in our productive activity. While this might have been the best structure when it was introduced, while transitioning from a feudal system of production to the industrial way of producing, this structure is currently not the best one and it has run its course. Currently our work can be considered as transitioning from industrialization to intellectualization. However, a solution will need the presentation of an alternate model that can be used to model our coordinated productive activity, and it should be possible to pragmatically apply the model. This work was born as part of this attempt. Once a framework was created for building models, the author saw an expanded possibility of using it to study larger systems as well as individual life. As such the author produced this work as an initial presentation of the Framework with its tools, and a fundamental representation of our present structure. Since the core profession of the author is as a ‘sustainability professional’ this knowledge has been leveraged throughout the work although not explicitly presented.
The author hopes to develop this further to design human activities starting with basic level and mapping out the links between each of our activities, so that we focus on activities that create real value and limit unnecessary activities that is not only detrimental to our social life but the whole earth’s environment.

Book Details

ISBN: 9789357805018
Publisher: Aravind Narayan
Number of Pages: 348
Dimensions: 7"x9"
Interior Pages: Full Color
Binding: Paperback (Perfect Binding)
Availability: In Stock (Print on Demand)

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