- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Value/Production, Production/Value, and circular reasoning

Posted by: Joel Jacobson ( none, USA ) on March 24, 1999 at 11:38:26:

In Reply to: Bloch. posted by Red Deathy on March 23, 1999 at 13:41:20:

: : 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.

: Erm, networks of production are human interactions- Humans, in order to work togetgher in a specific way, and satisfy their needs, develop relations of production. Production is teh means of sustaining and reproducing a society. Humans develop values to fit the way they ineract in the world.

And humans develop new methods of production in order to further their currently held values and interests. It's a completely circular arguement: production affects values, and, in turn, values affect production. Foundationalist arguemtents, such as these, go mind-bogglingly nowhere. But to say, as did Marx, per my quotes that you minimally responded to, that the modes of production are the cause of societal institutions is simply without basis, and merely speculative.

: Erm, look, Capitalism is the investment of money in production to make more money-

No. I don't even accept the word "capitalism" as a valid reference to anything. The term was popularized in 1903 by a propagandistic work of a Fabian entitled "Kapitlismus der [I forgot the rest]". When you say "capitalism" you are refering to a particular conception in your particular mind.

: now, can we agree that the Industrial Revolution took place in the 18th C.?

It's particular happening? Yes. The nature and relevance? Probably not, as the claim that 'modes of production' produce their correlative social forms is simply an unproven statement. A statement which against which I can produce particular historical data. (EX: Protestantism developed in unindustrial Germany while Catholic Holland and Anglican England industrialized. This and other data simply falsifies the claim that the particular 'modes of production' produce correlative social institutions.

: because that is teh birthplace of Industrial Capitalism.

No. It's the birthplace of the factory. "Industrial Capitalism" is of particular significance to your mind.

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: : What you define as "the capitalist class" would overall be better off without such rent extraction. You're idealizing here.

: No, as a class they wouldn't be,

Argh. Yes,,,,,they,,,,,would,,,,,,be!!!!!!
(see the 'deductive reasoning' bit below)

: because they need to ensure themselves against the working class, against one of their fellows gaining undue pre-ordinance over the others, to Guarantee teh reality (interesting history that word) of their money. It also allows them to develop necessary infrastructure, without on of their rivals seizing control of it, and extracting rent in the same way (roads for example). There are otehr uses for the state, which means tehy ahve to put up with it- but I am sure taht they do not like rent extraction.

This is not empirically provable one way or ther other. You are deductively deriving this whole statement from the premise of historical materialism. If historical materialism is disproven, per historical data such as I offered above, then you have to throw this whole comment out the window (i.e. without a valid premise deductive reasoning has no basis).

: You do believe in the division of labour don't you?

It's occured for tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of years. It even occurs with plants and animals. Does this make them "capitalistic", in your thougt, of course.

: Yes, I think there are laws of Historical Development, but I don't think there is a Law of Class. For instance I beleive in the Law of No Profit No Production, which is teh achilles heel of capitalism.

I would classify this as a law (according to you): a person's "social class" is determined by their relation to the means of production. Is this true or no? If you agree then I don't see how in the world this can't be a law (according to you) as it appears in the form A causes B (weird, that's undialectical).

: : 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.

: Yes, they pay no wages, we suffer extreme poverty, they have large reserves to fall back on, we come crawling to them for work.

But only if they have a collusive monopsony on purchasing labor, which they don't. They continuously compete for labor, driving up the price for labor, and completely falsify your picture of the crawling little worker. Again, 'the relation to means of production' is simply incapable of providing a complete, and in many case any, anlaysis of social interaction. And if a hypotheses we hold cannot explain phenomena that arises then our hypotheses is incomplete and flawed. Thus, the claim taht history, and its abstractions, are defined by 'relation to means of production' is simply incomplete and produces a grossly flawed analysis of social evolution and interaction.

: I am not 'ignoring' other factors, however, the need to find wage labourers, and the need to sell labour, are the two fundamental movements of our society that determine class.

Okay. I'll say this about your "class" distinction:
1) "social class" is based on the wage relation, in which case it's woefuly inadequte in analyzing social interaction.
2) "social class" goes far beyond the wage relation and allows us to analyze social relationshipx.
Which is it? The first or sencond? The two are mutually exclusive; either "social class" transcends "the wage relation" or "social class" is of minimal relevance.

: Social classes flow from a relation to the means of production, which leads to the wage relation (and I think this is where you are getting confused).

No. Your claims are either:
1) mostly irrelevant or
2) wrong
If "social class" does follow from said 'wage relation' then "social class" is of minor relevance. But, if it is of major relevance then it doesn't follow from 'the relation to the means of production'. Let's leave the nebulous "social class" out of this and get to the heart of the matter. Your claim is that history, and the individuals it constructs, are driven by their relation to the means of production. Per the example I gave above this is simply baseless. If I can show historical data taht contradict historical materialism then all the deductions you draw from this theory need another basis.

: I have never turned away from reason thank you. you do, regularly, by deploying obfuscatory tactics,

Like what? Earlier we went through 20 or so posts with you denying that you were a neo-Platonic essentialist. Now I see a post where you are claiming that "capitalism" is an essence. Which is it?

: simply denying that an object exists, or teh possibility of examination.

Not really. For instance, your definition of "capitalism" is simply your definition of "capitalism". The word for me means next to nothing. And I'm not sure which objects you're referring to.

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