- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Thanks . . . for completely leaving my post unanswered

Posted by: Joel Jacobson ( none, USA ) on April 06, 1999 at 11:05:59:

In Reply to: 'Short, brutish existences' during the hunter-gatherer period....so many myths...... posted by Robert Dunn on April 01, 1999 at 18:45:55:

Only two things:

a) my post was about the complete misunderstanding of those in this room carelessly throwing around the word "commons". They are taking the old version of "commons" where specific people owned specific property (collectively, but still discrete property) and somehow comparing it to a utopian future where everyone has completely free access to everything without any sort of restraint but "manners". I'm pointing out that manners come in a specific form and are exercised toward a miniscule, insignificant fraction of the human race, and a concrete fraction comprised of people who we personally relate to. We cannot compromise with those whom we are not intimate and this utopian dream of compromise with the whole human race is a complete and utter fantasy. It is devoid of any social meaning.

b) I fully agree with you that surviving tribes considered themselves affluent; they were so as there were few differences of opinion within small bands taht almost never competed for any resource. But with the comparitive affluence and relative ignorance of the hunter-gatherer the number of people living in a particular region would increase, thus, requiring expansion, as resources that once seemed unlimited began growning painfully finite. Eventually, expansion began to diminish as livable terrain became less and less available and as people began settling down. These settlements and the property delineations occured as a result of people discovering ways to cultivate the land, which allowed for a more stable and certain way of life. True, when resources seem unlimited we can have "full and free access". But as soon as our wishes and desires occur opposite of the wishes and desires of others we have to begin finding solutions to this, what economists call, scarcity. When people here call for "socialism" it doesn't even mean anything, as they are simply expressing a warm and fuzzy feeling within themselves. Like Marx, only few have ever attempted a comprehensive analyses of how such a world could come about and what it would look like. the few who have attempted such (ala Lange-Lerner) have pretty much re-invented what they themselves label "capitalism".

c) Affluent is relative in this case. Human beings, until Augustine, did not consider themselves as anything other than a part of their society. It has been well under 15 centuries when individuals have really begun refering to themselves in literature and stories as self-aware. Even Plato only talked circumspectly about himself as a person. Thus, human sacrifice was considered completely acceptable and there is evidence that not only did people willingly allow themselves to become sacrificed for the "greater good", but it was actually considered an honor to be chosen for this deed. This is all part of tribal culture, situations taht Lark, Deathy, et al, have no conception of and would recoil at the idea of these coming about. But, ancient tribes definitely could reconcile things such as human sacrifice with considering their tribe well-off. Remember, no competition for resources means that you can pretty much do whatever you want.

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