- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Gee ( si ) on December 09, 1999 at 13:35:06:

In Reply to: So define 'wealth' without reference to any physical criteria, then. posted by Farinata on December 08, 1999 at 14:45:51:

: Correct. So can you have 'wealth' without material?

No, but you can have material without wealth. Its the transformation that counts. Think of it using marxist terminology 'use-value'. What use is a pile of iron ore? What use is a steel plough? I think you can see the point.

: What use is gold if you have no food?

Another good point - wealth is contextual, whats useful or valuable to you today may not be tomorrow - hence transfomations are the key.

: Firstly, you haven't created anything physically new; the physical components of the lump are as they were before the state change. This means that any added value is entirely subjective and immaterial.

You wouldn't be following the subjective theory of value here would you? Yes, the 'added value' is in the increased usefulness of the object. The transformation. And different people do value it differently. Do you really want that plough? No? Ok, but farmer Joe does.

: And I would rather live on a planet with 50% loss of material than on a completely polluted world useless for life but full of PCs, cars, fridges and factories.

But as a socialist who defers to the judgement of society you must recognise that al those things have been considered valuable by your 'comrades'. Who are you to impose upon them? At least I hope you are not suggesting an elite should rule over the masses 'for their own good'?

:You have to find a middle way between complete purity and complete corruption; because we have already lost 50% of the material (in a form that is of use to us.)

Have we? 50%? How did you arrive at that conclusion?

: and that our continuing overuse of these resources is leading us to the point where these possessions will no longer be of use to us. At this point, our notions of what constitutes 'wealth' to us will be redundant, since the things that made us 'wealthy' are no longer of use.

This is a good point, just as SDF's 'carrying capacity' is. But do you consider this ceiling / capacity to be immovable? Its been moved upwards to allow 6 billion to live, why is it now in our lives reaching its 'real' limit when it never did for Malthus, or the predictors of the 60's and 70's?

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