- Capitalism and Alternatives -

(Marxist) Socialism has nothing to do with altruism

Posted by: Stoller on November 27, 1999 at 13:12:44:

In Reply to: Anecdotes and Altruism - for Barry posted by Stuart Gort on November 26, 1999 at 22:32:22:

71% of households own no shares at all or hold less than $2,000 worth in any form, including mutual funds, 401(k)s, and traditional pensions.(1)

Your anecdotes of 'success' NEVER EXCEED 25% of the American population. My figures (skill over a high school education, owners of stock, financial ability to retire) bring to our attention the THREE-FOURTHS of the population stuck in boring, low-wage jobs with little real security.

Security you say! What right have you to security, Mr. Stoller?

Rights---as I told NJ here are ultimately determined by the dominant mode of production in conjunction with class struggle.

: As an aside; you seem to advocate everyone owning stock. You're starting to get it, I think.

Yes, in a way I do advocate 'everyone owning stock.' Only I would call 'stock' the means of production.

Presently the only way a worker can 'own stock' is by selling his / her labor-power---which generally fetches only enough to keep labor-power maintained (according to socially determined historical needs). A pyramid scheme prevents 'everyone owning stock' in the capitalist paradigm---just as it prevents everyone from becoming a boss.

: The measured success of the American stock markets is a far more stable thing than a Marxist revolution could ever hope to be.

See above quote. It's only a 'success' for the MINORITY who own stock.

: The only possibility of creating real economic equality is to disregard the natural variance in human aspiration and expression of ability.

And, once again, you have to fall back on obscurantism---in this case a crude Spencerian human nature. Yuk!

: Or perhaps I've misunderstood something and you only pine away for bloody revolution in the third world.

You've misunderstood something. I've consistently insisted that socialism must be predicated on the capitalist mode of production.

And now---on to your list:

: What ennobles the proletariat?

'Ennobles' is a term I categorically reject.

Dialectical materialism, put simply, is the idea that each epoch produces its own mode of production and its own corresponding social relations. When the social relations become a fetter upon the mode of production, class struggle arises to alter the social relations and to release the creative potential of the mode of production.

: Why is my labor not my own if I invest it and hire employees?

We've done this song and dance over and over before, Stuart. You also OWN the labor of 'your' employees.

: What entitles you to interesting work?

Again: dialectical materialism.

The capitalist mode of production---with its rationalization, automation, and incredible productivity---IS capable of freeing people from drudgery. Only the PROFITS of the minority prevents this from happening.

: Who will create that interesting work handed to you?

You are confusing technological development---the result of science (the endeavors of many people, especially ones no longer alive)---with those who MONOPOLIZE it.

: How can socialism create wealth?

By putting that section of productivity eaten up as PROFIT (i.e. mansions, aged wines, trophy wives) back into INVESTMENT. Also by rationalizing resources, plant, and skill; why have 20 factories making the same stuff when it would be more cost-effective to centralize those factories? After all, that IS the general idea behind capitalist MERGER.

: Where is the biblical mandate for the implementation of secular socialism?

Ask some kook on the street with a sandwich board that says JESUS SAVES.


1. Business Week, 1 September 1997, p. 67.

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup