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This is an abstract: see the full text at:  paper -- part 1 || paper -- part 2 
PRICE INDETERMINACY IN A META-PRISMATIC CONTEXT
Formal economics normalizes price determinacy as a basis for equalizing
supply and demand on the premise that rationality governs choices made
by the producers and consumers of any commodity. On this premise, equity
between productive citizens, subject to self-governing market mechanisms,
will bring an end to historic catastrophes and injustices in the post Cold-War
years. Proponents of free trade in a world economy subscribe to this premise.
In the real world, however, especially as it is evolving today, price
indeterminacy prevails, which is to say that political and social forces
fundamentally affect prices, distorting or re-shaping many long-established
structures of the world system. The outcome will resemble the prismatic
model, a system in which mutually contradictory norms and practices are
superimposed, co-existing in an unstable mixture. An important factor
in this amalgam involves tensions between subsidized and tributary canteens
-- beneficiaries of the former enjoy low prices while victims of the latter
must pay excessively. The rich get richer and the poor poorer, and
hegemonic power shifts from the familiar geographic heartlands to a floating
world of rootless global syndicates. While public attention remains attached
to the spotlighted front stage of world politics with its colorful characters,
the decisive scene of economic and political power shifts to a subvisible
back stage run by colorless men in black. Contrasts between Front
and Back, both global in extent, will replace familiar geographic dichotomies
oriented to the West/East or North/South distinctions.
The latter will be dispersed in a host of mushrooming subvisible industrial
parks now sprouting in weak countries unable to protect themselves from
predatory multi-national operations managed by powerful syndicates able
to supply their own basic needs while exploiting workers, despoiling the
environment, avoiding taxes and corrupting officials -- these are the "subsidized
canteens". By contrast, long-established and more costly industrial
plants found in the industrialized democracies will find themselves, increasingly,
victimized in "tributary canteens" that compel them to pay higher
wages, to maintain environmental safeguards, and to help fund public services
and welfare costs.
Conditions in the more "advanced" countries will deteriorate
while wealth flees. Unfortunately, conditions in the poorer countries
will not improve -- in fact, for the most part, they will get worse. The
accumulated wealth generated by this new form of global price indeterminacy
will be siphoned through a widely-dispersed archipelago of politically
powerless tax havens where luxurious life-styles are available to rich
visitors, and surplus funds can readily be laundered for legitimate
re-investment and conspicuous consumption in an increasingly meta-prismatic
world system. Hegemonic power will no longer be geographically concentrated
-- instead, it will be dispersed in a floating subvisible archipelago.
*Synopsis of paper prepared for International Political Economy
panel at IPSA Congress in Seoul, Korea, August 1997
See the full text at pages:  paper -- part 1 || paper -- part 2 
2. Because this paper offers some new concepts and terms, readers may wish to look at a companion paper called Coming to Terms with Social Science; also prepared for the Seoul IPSA Congress. It looks at the need for new concepts generated by a world in transition and discusses a technology now available for sharing and developing these concepts through a global mechanism made possible by the World Wide Web -- go to my COCTA paper, Coming to Terms
3. An example of the use of this mechanism can be found in another paper, Turmoil among Nations, with related concept records also available on the Riggs Home Page.
4. Several essays that explain the onomantic approach for introducing
new concepts, by contrast with traditional terminological and lexicographic
paradigms for defining established terms, can also be seen on this site.
Questions and requests for a copy of the paper (on paper) may be sent to the author by: e-mail
See COCTA paper on handling new concepts: "Coming to Terms"