Jordan Peterson – Why Comparing our System to a Utopia is a BAD Idea

Jordan: People aren’t taught that comparing what we have to their hypothetical politically – politically, ideologically motivated Utopia is actually a bad idea. You know, because it’s – it just isn’t difficult to take a look at a system like our system and say ‘Well, look at all the problems it has compared to a hypothetical system that doesn’t have any problems at all’ It’s like well, yeah, man problems. There’s you know, we’ve – we’ve taken like 99% of the fish out of the ocean and – and, you know the degree to which our current level of economic activity is truly sustainable without alteration is at least debatable. Even though I don’t think it’s nearly as terrible as people make out – make it out to be. But, I don’t think it’s disputable that our current socio-economic structures are the most productive and the most free structures that have ever been produced by people anywhere in the world. And one of the things you can say about capitalism and free enterprise and – and the Western stress on individuality is that even though it does produce inequality. A) All systems produce inequality. And without any real distinction between the right and the left by the way, because it’s a new book called Uh… The Great Leveler by Walter Scheidel, who I’m going to be talking to later this month. He did an analysis, empirical analysis trying to figure out if you – if you grouped Government’s by right-wing philosophy say, or by left-wing philosophy, and then you calculated inequality coefficient. Would the left-wing… organizations be characterized by reduced inequality? And the answer was no. There’s no evidence that they are, and what that points to, and this is something very fundamental, it’s even it’s far more fundamental than than political, is that inequality is the rule in cooperative/competitive organizations. You can’t posit a value without producing a hierarchy, right? Because you posit a value, say: ”This is worth doing!” Everyone says yeah, this is worth doing. Well then what happens automatically is that it turns out that some people are better at doing it than other people. No matter what it is. Interviewer: I’m gonna get better and better at it like the *unintelligable* principle that we talked about – Jordan: Well there’s that, too. And then they start getting better at it. So the problem is is that without you with – if you’re gonna posit a value -which you have to do if you’re gonna act -then immediately you create a hierarchy and you also build into the value claim – the claim that A is better than B. You also build into that the idea that if A is better than B, then people who are doing better at A should be differentially rewarded compared to people who – who aren’t. There’s no way around that if you’re gonna play the game. And so in it you’re stuck with inequality. But there isn’t any evidence that – that social engineering policies are really very good at dispensing with inequality. Which is a fundamental political problem, and no one really knows what to do about it. But criticizing the entire society is – I mean, the thing about the West, and this is increasingly true all over the world is that it’s generating – our approach generates a tremendous amount of wealth. I mean it even happened in China, you know? Despite their exceptionally totalitarian leanings. And so… You – what happens with the lefties is that they say well inequality is a consequence of the West and the consequence of capitalism which is a palpably false claim. And say, well, because it produces inequality then it’s a corrupt system. It’s like no, every system produces inequality, but hardly any also produce wealth.

  1. 'Since there is inevitably some level of inequality then extremes of inequality are good.'
    Peterson is a poor philosopher because he doesn't understand basic logic. I could increase the inequality in that argument by quite a margin, but he should really start from there.

  2. I am posting this for the person or people who may not have been exposed to these crucial speeches/papers which were given during our early years in America. We were then debating the concept of forming a centralized form of government. 246 free pages of the anti-federalist papers. Vital information for anyone who loves freedom and justice.

  3. Every system produces inequality but hardly any ALSO PRODUCE WEALTH

  4. Oh come on…. you don't actually believe there is no "hypothetical" answer to dealing with the "value claim?"

  5. FYI Jordan our system is broke corrupt and inhuman. Stop trying to defend an evil system.
    Capitalism was good for many years ago before the business elite captured the government and establish new monopolies.
    This system only serves Oligarchs. The rest of us are broke.

  6. Accept structural inequalities and huge actors controlling every detail of your life. Or, to put it succinctly, "clean your room". Donate to my Patreon, buy my book.

  7. I would always err on the side of freedom as opposed to some concept of Utopia. Peterson, and others like him, resonate with people who recognize that life is not fair. We can look to our own lives for examples of that.

  8. Even if peterson is right about hierarchies, does that justify the levels of extreme poverty we experience today?

  9. Definitely have not taken 99% of fish from the ocean, I'm sure populations have been damaged but not to that degree by simple logic

  10. The point I disagree with is that he considers that capitalism is very well implemented worldwide it is a better system than all the others but it has flaws that must be corrected but corruption is very imminent and puts shackles to creative people not to advance in life at least creatively in science

  11. What about europe though? A lot of socialist countries there are pretty much on top of the list when it comes to wealth. I'm not talking about communism, but maybe socialism actually gives poor people a better chance to compete at society.

  12. In my mind, one of the clearest solutions to the problem of inequality of opportunity, which Jordan recognizes as a valid problem, is a universal basic income. If everyone pays taxes into a basic wage for everyone based on survival necessity, those who are hopelessly impoverished have the chance to earn a profit above basic survival, and those who earn disproportionately much are forced to distribute a needs-based percentage of their surplus wealth, limiting their ability to monopolize. I consider it a kind of economic socialism without recourse to identity—not even economic identity, because even the highest income earners would receive the same basic income. The poor would still have incentive to work, because no one wants to only earn enough to eat and sleep indoors, and the rich would still have incentive to work, because they would still end up earning much more than most. It's a way of maintaining the existing hierarchy while mitigating the unbounded unfairness of power imbalances. It would also replace most current social security spending, simplifying the system and eliminating many of its costly bureaucratic complications. For these reasons and more, I'm in full support of it.

    Edit: J.P. disagrees with universal basic income. He also acknowledges that there is a significant portion of the population, as high as 10%, who are simply incapable of taking a productive role in society due to low IQs. For them, the choice is between taking a counter-productive role in society by assuming responsibilities they are unable to meet, accepting social assistance, or having no income at all. Until productive roles for these people become available, social assistance is their only viable option.


  13. well… from the title… who is calling it that? its clearly not that, so who is comparing it to that? need a better bait title, ben

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