- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Kentukey Fried Chicken

Posted by: Joel Jacobson ( none, USA ) on March 23, 1999 at 11:10:10:

In Reply to: Weak answer... posted by Red Deathy on March 22, 1999 at 13:16:40:

: we would still have teh networks of production and interaction, on a world wide scale, taht would holfd society together.

No, because these networks of production are not what holds society together. That's one of the failures of historical materialism. It's a new form of animism where the holder of this belief actually thinks something other than human beings are responsible for the customs, beliefs and values held in the present.

: Further, capitalism came in one fell swoo in britain, and in France, and In Russia, and is itself only teh latest stage in that thousands of years of development...

Only based upon your definitions. Your whole conception of the "system of capitalism" is made up solely in your mind. You are going around labeling something based on an observance of questionable relevance (i.e. "the wage relation") and then drawing inferences between situations that have almost nothing similar. I made this exact point in "The Critique of Definitionism" which was lost and posted as someone else's post This is where idealism=materialism.

: No, not really, although it may hurt individual capitalists, as a class it is necessary, because they need to secure teh markets, enforcecontrol over teh working class, etc.

Did you read what I posted? What you define as "the capitalist class" would overall be better off without such rent extraction. You're idealizing here.

: According to Marx, the state is the alienated apparatus of the ruling class, that is it must giove the appearance of being neutral, classless, and above all society- semi-automatous (as the Evil Althusser would say).

And given current Public Choice Theory analysis this is simply untrue, a blatant falsehood.

: It is also a product of division of labour within the class, the state being intelectual labour, which is divorced from teh material processess of production, and it is not far removed from teh eighteenth century system of patronage (from whence it sprang), except that it has lost its direct character in roder to present itself as state.

Again, completely idealistic or materialistic; not that there's a real difference. See above.

: It is a necessary evil, and one that works against individual capitalists sometimes, for teh better functioning of the system as a whole...

Wrong. See above.

: : As philosophers have said "the law that all swans are white is disproven by even one instance of a black swan". In the same manner, the "law of the classes" is disproven by even one instance where the supposed "class interest" cannot explain the underlying social dynamics.

:I never said it was law, one Black Swann would not disprove the tendancy for swans to be white, rather it would confirm it. Likwise one capitalists intere4sts do not disprove the tendancy of capitalists interests moving in a certain way.

Well, Marx and Hegel certainly posited 'laws of historical development' as did Compte, Mill and a host of other historicists. A tendency is not a law. So, as you a Marxist or no?

: : Rent-seeking is just one such example where "the law of class interest" simply does not contribute to meaningful analysis.

: Actually, rentiers are technically a different class, one that capital doesn't like (throw backs to aristocracy, etc.). But I don't ever recall talking about 'Law of class interest'.

Rent-seeking is where one party uses resources to transfer resources to themselves from another party. Overall, the first party might gain but the class, as a whole, loses, which is completely at odds with your concept taht one capitalist might have to suffer in order to further the class interest as a whole. And, no "law of class interest"? Then maybe you're not a Marxist. Post-Marx socialism? This is good.

: Except that the wage relation is fundamental to most people's lives. We have no wages, we have no homes. Simple little syllogism.

And for the capitalist: we pay no wages, we have no products. Simple little syllogism. And of about the same overall relevance as yours. They both simply ignore all the myriad rules and customs existing in society and giving it structure and life.

: : The foundationalist insanity of the materialist dialetic quickly leads us down the road to nihilism.

: this is a total non sequiter...

No. Because of the abject intellectual poverty of historical materialism, as a theory, its proponents constantly have a flawed and idealized manner of social analysis. "Social classes" simply do not follow merely from "the wage relation" and, thus, those who appropriate the label "socialist" for themselves are trying to change society with highly inaccurate information; their views contain massive flaws. Becuase of the poverty of the historical dialectic, and the subsequent failures it creates, frustration with and abandonment of reason leads straight to nihilism.

It's kinda what happened after Kant. The idealists, instead of learning the lesson that deductive reasoning was useless without experience simply gave up reasoning at all. In the same way, when "reason" doesn't give "socialists" what they want they simply turn from reason.

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