15 November 2010

A zone of inseparability

Private property and the exludibility that comes with it forces all interaction to be transaction, which means that all decision-makers become substitutes for each other so that they can relate to each other exclusively through the trading and trading off value that can be quantified, value whose entire meaning can be captured by the quantity of some measure along some dimension. That is why trades in the neo-classical model need to be deemed anonymous: the dignity of an individual is more than what could be captured in its entirety by the measure of some quantity along some dimension. 
Dignity resists such quantitative measures. When two agents or two goods complement each other we get not only super-additivity, we get a zone where what the two can make together is inseparable. The story of Solomon cutting in half the disputed baby is the story of the non-quantifiability of such inseparability. The baby could not be divided into smaller units, and only the baby's mother was sensitive to that quality of the child's life. That meant the mother was willing to acknowledge a relationship with the other woman that the other woman denied. 
Spouses with children who are willing to divorce are willing to divide the integrity of their children in a way that true parents would never do because the objective of parents is to foster the integrity of the character of their children. The covenantal bond between the parents is embodied as the integrity of the character of their children. 

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