- Capitalism and Alternatives -

More reflections

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on April 14, 1999 at 10:57:50:

In Reply to: certainly the way you see it. posted by Gee on April 13, 1999 at 17:39:32:

: The majority of political arguments are about which form of collectivity to reside under, which tyranny to tolerate, which democracy gives which people the most power over otehrs. the alternatice is to erode the power of one person over another. If I am and idealist it is not in the idyllic scenario (people working for pride n pleasure etc) that you, Red, describe - but in such a manner that is sustainable, that acknowledges the nature of man as specific.

SDF: It seems that Julian Simon and Marx are in agreement as regards the idea of "more growth is sustainable". Please note especially Chapter 4 of Simon's book, and the celebrated passage from the CRITIQUE OF THE GOTHA PROGRAMME:

In a more advanced phase of communist society, when the enslaving subjugation of individuals to the division of labour, and thereby the antithesis between intellectual and physical labour, have disappeared; when labour is no longer just a means of keeping alive but has itself become a vital need; when the all-round development of individuals has also increased their productive powers and all the springs of cooperative wealth flow more abundantly == only then can society wholly cross the narrow horizon of bourgeois right and inscribe on its banner: From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs!

: The socialism you describe sounds very pleasant, except I dont know who will populate it. An expectation for 'mass consciousness' is a hopeful one, the unengineered trend of mankind has been away from tribalism and collectivism toward individuation.

SDF: Individuation, as I have explained here, is one of the most prominent forms of the current trend of the collectivity. I will explain further the difference between "tribalism" and "individuation" in another post, drawing upon the wisdom of the anthropologist Victor Turner, who describes the progression to modernity more in terms of a shift from the rituals of "liminality" (i.e. communal spontaneity, which as an anthropologist he has thoroughly studied) to the "liminoid" rituals of industrial society as they are characterized by "choice" and "leisure." I will elaborate on the significance of this depiction of modernity later.

: Individuality does not mean *having* to go around being nasty.
It *has* to mean being free of others,

SDF: Others supply you with the things you need to live, unless you are Robinson Crusoe, and thus you are not "free" of these others, you are DEPENDENT upon them and their capacity and willingness to labor so that you may live. Are you suggesting that we divide the planet up into six billion untamed islands so that we may all live as Robinson Crusoe supposedly did in Defoe's novel?

: and that freedom, to mean anything, requires rights to life, natural property (body & mind) and material property. Other utopias, which require massive changes in the way humans interact with themselves and others are, as you have said, an abstract utopia, not a concrete one, drawn from the possibilities of our current society.

SDF: Go back and read Bloch: RD was referring to your utopian vision as "abstract" meaning in Bloch's terms UNATTAINABLE. RD, your thoughts? Perhaps you've read Bloch more carefully than I...

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