Stafford Beer: Eudemony, Viability and Autonomy — Jeremy Gross on Red Wedge

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Stafford Beer: Eudemony, Viability and Autonomy — Red Wedge

Stafford Beer: Eudemony, Viability and Autonomy

Jeremey Gross

What if the global economy were structured, not to send wealth into the hands of a tiny group of oligarchs, but rather to ensure the best possible lives for everyone, ensuring that people lived fulfilling lives free from want, engaged in activities that interested them and engaged them, enabling them to pursue their own interests alongside working for the common good? What if people worked in co-operatives, coordinated together to meet the needs of society, organized from below rather than from above, with the workers themselves as the beneficiaries of their labor? What if the global economy elevated workers instead of immiserating them?

Stafford Beer devoted his life to answering these questions. A gifted child, he entered University College London at the age of 13, but dropped out to join the army at the start of World War II.

Art by    Johnny Hammond
Art by Johnny Hammond

Beer was stationed in India in 1947 at the time of the Partition, and was one of the last British soldiers out. During his time in India, he studied yoga and Tantra, and even saw Gandhi give speeches. He was trained in the British intelligence services that emerged in World War II. He learned operational research, which the war had made prominent, and after leaving India, the military trained him as an army psychologist. He got married and entered the private sector, developing the operational research group for United Steel. He began to write papers in cybernetics, and Norbert Weiner, the founder of the science of cybernetics, invited him to MIT, where he met the neurophysiologist Warren McCulloch, who mentored Beer in cybernetics. In Britain, Beer worked with British cyberneticians W. Grey Walter and W. Ross Ashby, and became good friends with Gordon Pask.

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Stafford Beer: Eudemony, Viability and Autonomy — Red Wedge

About the author:

Jeremy Gross is a cybernetic tikkun olamunist living north of Boston, Massachusetts. He is interested in collaborative workspaces that incorporate peer-to-peer and empathetic practices to subsume alienated labor. Social media splash image by Johnny Hammond.

And on https://social.coop/@tikkun_olamunist/103902136779008635

he says:

I wrote an article about the cybernetician Stafford Beer for a left-wing art magazine, and I’m looking to expand it into a book. My background is in mathematics (algebraic geometry) and I’ve worked on medical data integration for the last dozen years or so. Tired of making tech billionaires richer, I want to learn about co-operatives. I have an idea for a residential education co-op for high school students. I want to turn Beer’s ideas into libre software. He/his pronouns.