- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Our goal should be to REVERSE the misery caused by capitalism, not so supercede it.

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on January 12, 19100 at 15:34:14:

In Reply to: Are you arguing for efficiency rather than freedom posted by Lark on January 12, 19100 at 15:03:45:

Barry I agree with Lark. Why must the socialist future be built on the basis of the crimes of capitalism? Our goal should be to REVERSE the misery caused by capitalism, not so supercede it.

You bring up an interesting point about the cars. However, I think it won't wash, because the key point you leave out is that cars being produced was an example of "artisan produvction" or whatever IN A CAPITALIST ENVIRONMENT. The reason that cars weren't available to the people before Fordism is because production was Capitalist, not vbecause it was artisan.

On a side note, not everyone in the socialist future is going to have cars, simplky because that would be an invironemntal disaster and an impossibility. PRobably no one should have individual cars; we can allot cars to registered drivers in groups of 4. Right now the ratio of cars to drivers in America is more than 1 to 1. A 75% reduction in the number of cars in America would do wonders for the enviromnemt. I'm not sayoing thsi woudl nbecessarily work- but we could at least try it.

Incidentally, did the East Germans and teh Yugoslavs use assembly line labor when they made cars for the people? I have a hard time be;lieveing that they would use dehumanizing Fordism.

Barry, you criticize, quite correctly, teh capiatlist system for dispossessing peasants, driving towards efficiency at all cost, etcetera. But then you argue that we must incorporate such features into the socialist future. No way. Dispossessing peasants is wrong, and good thngs can't be built on the basis of it. Socialism should give the land back to the peasants, and freedom back to teh workers, which capitalism took away.

You argue that pre-assembly line production allowed goods only for an elite. But if that was so, then capitalism would have decreased inequality, amking the standard of living fro workers better, vbecause now they could afford to buy cheap goods. But that's simply not true. Teh standard of living fro workers was higher in the pre-industrial age, when there was a lot less inequality and a fairer society. Teh improvements that have come about since then are diuue to scientific and noral progress, not to capitalist "industrialized production".

Barry, do you know what the European travelesrs and merchanst said when tehy went to West Africa in the 1700s and 1800s? It's very interestoing. There are many accounts which all stress =one feature; in African pre-industrial cities, the standard of living for the poor was higher than it was in European cities. These explorers, remember, came from a capitalist society.

If pre-capitalist production only allowed teh needs of the wealthy to be satisfied, while industrial production allowes for mass production (according to you) then teh implication is that inequaity must have been rampant in all pre-capitalist societies. Hwoever, that just isn't true. Capitalism increased inequality, it didn't decrease it. I believe the San of soutehrn Africa were doing just fine (ALL of them, there WERE no 'rich' qnd 'poor') before South African ranchers came and annexed their land.

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