- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The Definitionism that is 'Capitalism'

Posted by: Joel Jacobson ( none, USA ) on March 29, 1999 at 16:14:05:

Let's get one thing straight here. There is no such thing as capitalism . . . except in the particular minds of particular individuals here. We can go back thousands of years and produce situations that could easily be described as capitalism. Tradesmen and guilds have always had a wage relation with "a capitalist" and "a worker". And the ideas of "rule of law" and private property massively predate what you all consider "capitalism".

No, "capitalism" is a definitionism designed to put things in a little intellectual box, thus, making an easy target for criticism. You have taken certain characteristics (private property, working for others, etc) and grouped it into a classification your particular minds label as "capitalism". But it's simply a nominal label that you all personally give to a construct of your particular minds. There is no essence objectively titled "capitalism", except in your minds, of course, and then simply constructs of your particular personal opinions and value judgements. What it does is allow you to criticize these institutions without actually having to produce any meaningful courses of action.

Yes, Gideon does agree with myself and the Chicago School taht the IMF should be abolished. But no one else has given any other ideas, and I'm sorry, but "abolishing money and the nation-state" goes well beyond silly; I laugh my ass off every time I read it. You might respond that "capitalism came quickly", but remember that "capitalism" is a nominal description from your particular minds and loaded with judgements from your particular personal value systems; the roots of, and most of the functions of what you label "capitalism" have been around for millenia. The nation-state, while I'm not a big fan of it, is currently what allows people to rationally and socially interact with one another so as to have an idea where they stand in relation to one another. What would need to happen is a revolution, which even peacefully, would be the hell of it.

This huge upheaval and overthrow of current institutions would require that other institutions arise to allow for rational and social interaction. I have a good idea what would appear: ancient tribalism. But this would no more be common ownership then what currently exists. Sure single ownership would end, but exclusion of access to property would be greater than ever as small groups sought each other out for means of providing consistency in interactsions.

There is no such thing as capitalism . . . except in your minds. It is a nominal label of reference without any analytical determinacy. So, when you criticize "capitalism" as a whole without refering to individual parts that need changing, you are simply railing against a construct of you own particular mind and opinions. I can never criticize your conception of what you see as "capitalism". Such a concept is a particular public manifestation fo a private event, but make no mistake the idea of "capitalism" is solely one of your particular representation of the world.

Y'all don't got nuttn. You merely erect fantastical castles in the air and then proceed to shoot at them. Meanwhile, the world is being changed by particular people who have ideas about how things can be changed. But the change happens in completely unplanned manners with unplanned consequences that peopple continually observe and then change their expectations due to said social changes. It is a continuous trial-and-error process of figuring out one's particular view and values in life. It also allows us to compromise and share our lives and values with other individuals we come into personal companionship with on a regular basis. On the other hand, it also allows us to find common ground with someone we have never met and never will meet again; this is called culture and can never be planned with foreknowledge and certainty of its result.

Society, as a whole, evolves independent of "rational" planning. This has been the course of history and no one here has shown otherwise.

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