- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Marx himself castigated capitalism for commodifying EVERYTHING, not just labor.

Posted by: NJ ( DSA, MA, USA ) on February 07, 19100 at 16:11:32:

In Reply to: Like any other service posted by Barry Stoller on February 07, 19100 at 10:33:52:

: : In a society, socialist or otherwise, there are going to be people of different religions. Let's say that half the community is Catholic, and wants to spend some of their resources on ensuring that the functions of a Catholic priest are performed (let's say by a number of individuals, part-time; after all, there are LOTS of part-time priests in the world, e.g. missionaries.) The other half is Hindu, and they want to devotre some of their resources to getting Hindu rituals performed, etc... What I do have a problem with is society as a whole alloting resources in this regard- because Hindus provbably won't want to fund Catholic services with their labor, and vice versa. This means that on some decisions at least, decision sabout prosduction and labor CANNOT be made on a FULLY socialized basis, you will have to dissect society into smaller interest groups and let those groups make some decisions for themselves.

: As I see it, religion would be a service and service is a product.

That is precisely the problem and precisely the reason for detesting capitalism. I mean, come on. Marx himself castigated capitalism for commodifying EVERYTHING, not just labor. There's some line of his where he talks about love, faith, etcetera all being reduced to cold cash. I mean, a socialist society should avoid the worst aspects of capitalism, don't you think?

: Therefore, the allocation of religious services would follow the general line of allocating any other service, such as music concerts or pizza preparation.

Not a valid comparison. Religion means far, far more to people than pizza parlors and concerts ever will. To reduce it to the level of a Bob Dylan concert or a Domino's delivery trivializes religion, which for most peopel provides a basic understanding of the meaning of life.

: As I said before:


: A REAL democracy would permit the 'summer mansion minority' its opportunity to make its summer mansions---proportional to the numerical strength that desire represents. Example: if 10% of the population chose to make summer mansions for itself as its TENTH priority (say, after food, primary housing, child care, and so on), then that 10% of the population would receive 1% of its working time to do so.

: This leads us to the question of how much can actually be ACCOMPLISHED with only 1% of the social productivity going into the construction of summer mansions. After all, what characterizes the incredible productivity of industrial manufacture are the economies of scale requiring unremitting production. Example: a plant that runs only 1% of the day sacrifices 99% of its productive capacity. Thus luxury commodities are not mass-produced, itself a reason that they are so expensive...

: Returning to the example of summer mansions, if only 1% of social production went into making them (and, certainly, the 10% that desired them could spend any amount of its FREE TIME working on making them), then productivity perforce would be low---and slow. After all, only a small aliquot part of the entire productive capacities of social production would go into making them. That would be 1%.

OK, let's examine this closely. In what way are workers going to be supplying 'religion as a service'? As I see it, in the following way. Trained priests, like everyone else, will work half their working hours doing skilled labor, and half doing skilled labor. During their skilled labor hours, instead of working as a doctor, a scientist, musician, etc. they will work as a priest / religious thinker. Whatthsi emans is that there will be a little more skilled labor to go around for the other people. Since the priests are not escaping their 50% unskilled work quota, their presence does not increase the amount of unskilled work for anyone else.

If we understand job rotation in this light, which you sort of implied in a past post 9i.e. everyone does ONE skilled job and ONE unskilled) then the presence of priests isn't a problem. If, hwoever, the government begins ALLOCATING priests, and PRESCRIBING the number fo priests, that IS a problem. The problem fundamentally being that religion is an INDIVIDUAL covenant between each man's soul and his God, not a SOCIAL deal. Check that. Religion actually is BOTH individual and social. It ahs a compomnent of each, but the two are separate spheres, and social pressures cannot be allowd to fringe on the individual's freedom of (religious) conviction.

: Regarding your concern that 'Hindus probably won't want to fund Catholic services with their labor, and vice versa,' I would suggest that in a truly democratic application of production everyone would be conforming to the wishes of society as a whole in the allocation of services and products (except free time could be used in any productive manner by voluntary associations). This conformity would be justified by the simple observation that industrial activity is, by its nature, socialized labor. If only five people wanted to--say--build a spaceship, let 'em (find out how socialized industrial activity really is).

Well, no, because what about if the atheists wanted NO resources to be diverted to Catholic priests? I suppose consensus might be theoretically possible, but even then it woudl eb undesoirable, because it forces some peopel to go against their deep inner convictions. Religion is a unique field.

: Returning to my above examples, I would not propose 'banning' religious services any more than I would suggest 'banning' music concerts or pizza parlors.

That''s good. I genuinely appreciate that. It kind of surprised me, given your anti-clerical statements in the past. This is, of course, where I REALLY get pissed off with the Spartacists, their contempt for religion. Depriving men of religion is like depriving us of food.

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