- Capitalism and Alternatives -

And again...

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist party, Uk ) on March 25, 1999 at 11:10:44:

In Reply to: And then again . . . posted by Joel Jacobson on March 24, 1999 at 11:40:25:

: No. "Capitalism" doesn't exist at all, either as a particular pheonmenon or an essential things-in-themselves, which we can never know anyway. It is simply a label you have given, based upon your particular value judgements, to something you see wrong.

No, its an identification, through means of difference, of a certain selection of social practices, clearly identifiable.

:If a free market economist, such as Milton Friedman, makes a reference to "capitalism" they simply are refering to a broad category of instances where there is an acceptance of discrete property, exchange currency (private or public), and a mixture of various factors.

Which is exactly the same use as I put it to, except I define the various practises differently.

:The term "capitalism" as you use it is from a propagandistic 1903 work entitled "Kapitalismus der [I forgot the rest]" and simply refers to an idealist construct of your particular mind and based upon your particular value judgements and opinions.

No, it is based in my mind, with my signifiers, upon specific social practises, and as a description for a type of society where said practises predominate as the means of social production and reproduction., as opposed to otehr observable insctances of social interaction.

:Milton Friedman and I do not need the terms "capitalism" or "socialism" at all as they do not lend any relevance to how we order our lives, beliefs and actions.

Then why does he use them? Basically, what you are trying to do, if I may impute a motive to your actions as you do mine, is eface any differences in social modes, and present one, the current one, as the only, eternal optimal system, a singular Being without an Other, without alternatives.

:You, however, must have these terms as they represent specific ideals for you pertaining to some future, but one of which you can neither bring about or even give a semblance of events of how this might be brought about.

I believe I can bring about socialism, and know how to- I'm doing it now.

: "Capitalism", for you, is a whipping boy when no reasonable courses of action present themselves. "Capitalism", for me, is merely a convenient reference (one without which I would still completely retain my ideas), one covering any combination of a multitude of factors. For instance, ancient trading centers in Messopotamia were capitalistic.

I'd call them mercantilist, there is a difference. And yes, 'capitalistic' behaviour can be found centiuries back, but ours is the only society where it is the dominant mode of production- we don't have fuedal tenures, we don't have slave production, we don't (by in large) raid, nor gain land and booty through warfare. But to have a society called 'Capitalist' we'd have to have the deployement of capital, that is social resources ploughed into production for profit.

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