A Resource for Performing Artists, Scholars and Audiences.
A white bear on the free market
Follow a white bear in Glasgow on www.thewhitebear.info - July 1st - 23rd 2011
it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. (Adam Smith/Wealth of Nations/1776)
In the free trade classic from 1776, with the colloquial name “An Enquiry Into the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nations”, the econoist moralphilosopher and free market pioneer Adam Smith seems thus to say that when it comes to distributing the goods and wealth of this world, humanity is an overestimated idea. It is, it seems not humanity that one should rely on for one’s dinner, but instead what must then be: some kind of bestial selflove. The idea was, that the inner beasts, if they were allowed to trade freely amongst them, should be able to distribute dinner and wealth to all of Scotland.
Later on, in 1863, the russian author Fyodor Dostoyevskij, also took an interest in these inner beasts: In a traveldiary about a journey he took to western Europe he suggested, that “one should try and set oneself the task not to think of a white bear” only to discover that “the cursed thing would come to mind every minute”. With this example, Dostoyevskij wanted to show, how this inner critter messes up the minds of even the best of westerners. In 2009 however, this white bear actually managed to turn the situation around and come out of this dirty morass of the inner mind.
Thus surfaced and superficial, this bear has grown increasingly selfconscious, and sorry, about being nothing but a self-loving creature. It does however take some solace in the fact that people once seemed to believe that such creatures could create universal prosperity. That is why this bear, on 1st of July 2011, will go to the cradle of free trade; Glasgow, where Adam Smith lived and taught. Here it will be residing in the local Contemporary Arts Centre; CCA wherefrom it will venture out to meet up with local scholars, shop at local brewers, bakers and butchers and hopefully discover some new and interesting perspectives on humanity, bears, money and their crises.
During and after the journey, the bear will share it’s thoughts and experiences, in video image and text on www.thewhitebear.info