- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Slaves and 'tribes' (good God, not that word!)

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( EFZ, MA, USA ) on April 15, 1999 at 15:00:38:

In Reply to: answered questions posted by Gee on April 15, 1999 at 11:34:32:

: : no-one will necessarily guarantee you subsistence in return for what you offered. Why should others promise you subsistence in return for your labor, if they can keep you begging, and retain you as their servant?

: If there was only one unavoidable 'employer', for instance in a totalitarian state they could. In every otehr situation there is choice.

Here, here, let's not take the choice thing too far. there are ,multiplke employers but they generally pay around teh same wage for teh same kind of work, a wage which in many, many cases is simply not enough to live adequately. A porter in Nepal is never going to be paid a living wage, no matter who employs him/

: : Why would people change their views of each other after several generations. Agricultural society has existed for ten thousand years, and people are still "beasts of burden," so why should this change? Of course, the capitalist world offers dignity, wages, etc. to "beasts of burden" -- this doesn't make them any less "beasts of burden"...

: It does remove the harness. That the oppressed workers can become business owners (and some both at once), that social mobility is possible (I didnt say easy) is in opposition to the notion that a slave society still exists (in the feudal or totalitarian sense)

I'll actually have to disagree with you here, it's very interesting. Social mobility is not a new feature of capitalist society, it was a feature of slave society as well. Not in America or Western countries, but in most other slave socety=ies, slaves were not slaves for life- they could gain money and influence and eventually become successful politicians or tradesmen. Numerous African societies had slaves becoming important members of society or political advisers. In India there was even a group of kings called the Slave Dynasty. Even in America, slaves could sometimes buy tehir freedom and become prominenet citizens. So you tell me; Does social mobility under slavery make slavery OK?

: : This above opinion would however explain why you think of yourself as a utopian, yet you've offered no suggestion so far as to what should be done to end racism, sexism, or slum-poverty.

: Racism an sexism is the result of thinking about other people in a collective way, and ignoring individual characteristics in favor of the tribal mindset. Slum poverty has so many causes each would need to be resolved. Infact because its source is so diverse its easily lept upon by many as 'proof' of the evils of capitalism.

It's interesting that you keep using "ollective" and "tribal" as terms of abuse., while I would see them as terms of praise instead. Kind of liek the way "market economics" is for you a term of praise while it sets me off like a raging bull. Different people can respond to words in such different ways. But back to teh point- Gee, did you read my responses to one of Joel's posts about "trivbal society"? In it I argued that "tribal society" is a meaningless term that was invented by colonists to lump together everything that they didn't like. It's emaningless because it lumnps together pacifist and militarist, polygamist and monogamous, ritualistic and realistic, polytheistic and monotheistic, slave and free, hierarchical and equalitarian, monarchical and democratic, "entrepreneurial" and "communist", isolated and cosmopolitamn tribes, all under the same roof. America and teh Soviet union were far more alike than many pairs of tribal societies I could name. the diversity in political, economic, social and religious syetms is unelievable. tribal society provides models taht i would consider near-perfect societies, while it also contains models that you woudl geratly admire. So- I udnerstand your point, but can you PLEASE think of a more accurate and descriptive, less "loaded" term? Because right now, your using "tribal society" evbolkes the same response from me as if I saidto you, "So and so is evil because he believes in market economics."
: : This is precisely what the IWW has advocated. Are you planning to join them?

: They never do and never will unite in the way suggested, because they compete with eachother. The dont compete because theyve been engineered into doing so by some mysterious force of capitalism. They compete because its in their interests to do so. Likewise the instigators if new wealth, the creators, will not unite for the same reasons.

: Neither 'side' has to worry over that one.

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