- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on March 24, 1999 at 15:26:03:

In Reply to: Value/Production, Production/Value, and circular reasoning posted by Joel Jacobson on March 24, 1999 at 11:38:26:

: 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.

1:Economic necessity existed prior to human consciousness.
2:Economic necessity is usually stronger than consciousness- if a eprsons consciousness is at odds with the economic system chances are they can do little about it, individually.
3:Any materialist view of consciousness must accept that environment determines consciousness, and if the productive base determines environemnt, then the latter also determines consciousness.

Of course consciousness affects teh base, but in general that is an effect of environemtn itself (but its not a closed mechanical necessarian model).

A wee example if the rising bourgeoisie- they lived relatively idividual town lives, with their accounts books, and their trading, free from Feudal ties. Hence they came up with utilitarianism, the ethics of the acocunts book, and the first great privatisation of Capitalism, was that of Marriage, hereto-fore a means of maintaining fuedal power. History shows the changes in consciousness acconmpanying different classes- look at nineteenth century engalnd, there were clearly differenta attitudes and mores among the middle class than among the aristocracy and working classes.

: 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.

OK, lets call it the Industrial market system shall we? When I say capitalism I am referring to something recognised by a lot of people, a society dominated by fiscal capital, rather than by fuedal ties, or religion or whatever.

: 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.

Erm, Engalnd and Holland were Protestant during the Industrial Revolution, protestantism being the clarion call of the revolutinary bourgeoisie- in germany it was the Town dewllers, the Burghers who invented protstantism, with its emphasis on personal conscience, its repudiation with the social features of catholicism (prayers for the dead), and later with its emphasis on the elect and predestinarianism, it became a justification for making money.

All I was asking about the Industrial revolution, was that you recognised that it brought about an entirely different society than the one before it.

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

But the factory represents an entire social formation, peculiar to it, specifically investing money in production to make more money. Do you agree with that statement?

: 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).

However your example turned out to be false.

: 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.

Not actually, no. But you therefore accept that them as think are divided, socially and economically, as them that act?

: 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).

Yes, a relationship to the means of production does determine class. The relationship is dialectical since the produyctive base provides a master signifier affixing positions within the social system, providing Being and its negation.

: 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.

No, because even when wages are driven up, this effects the whole lifestyle of the working classes, and effects the relationship between the workers and teh capitalists, however, as I noted elseplace, if wages rise too high, production falls,a nd unemployement ensues. Competition between capitalists does not invalidate the wage relation as a basis of class. Its simply your assertion.

As an example, take this room- Me and SDF and otehrs have fdifferent views, and we compete against one another, the anracho-capitalists enter the equation,a nd we all turn and unite against them.

: 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.

No, class is based on relations to the means of production, the fundamental charactieristic of the working class is the wage relation.
From the wage relation springs other social interatctions built onto it (superiority of the rich, inferiority of the poor, the need to keep on the bosses good side, seniority, wage differentials, contempt for the unemplyed, etc.).

: 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.

\It does both actually, since many relations are uilt up around the wage relation- however I wouldn't analsys a husband wife relation in social class terms, thats a social relationship.

: 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.

Except that most people's livlihoods, and pretty much their whoel social status is depenadant upon their wage, and their relationship in work. For sociology it is fairly unimportant in that almost all of us recieve a wage, so for examning the vast majorty of relationships its not important, but overall in society it is crucial.

: 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.

Except that your example is flat out wrong.

: 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?

That, my dear was a wind up, and unlike plato's essences Hegelian essences don't exist.

: 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.

I have shown you a thousand times how my terms relate to teh expenditure of money into production to create more money is teh defining feature of capitalism. you do accept that that happens, don't you?

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup