- Capitalism and Alternatives -

communities only good?

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on September 07, 1999 at 12:59:26:

In Reply to: Capitalism's instability posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on September 06, 1999 at 23:16:29:

: SDF: The ideology of Austrian school economics (von Mises, Hayek etc.) runs in complete ignorance of psychology, assuming that wants are infinite but at the same time assuming that such wants can't be known.

It doesnt pretend that actual wants are infinite, its applied to economic models as a 'close fit'. Hence it would fail if applied to a person who doesnt want a yacht, but works at a large scale in analysing the 'luxury travel' goods.

:Under capitalism the primary mechanisms of behavioral control appear to be 1) advertising, which produces and magnifies surplus wants in the buying public through its promises of instant gratification,

I am glad you said 'appear' for which I read 'appears to me'. This seems to fit with your conception of a malleable 'sucker' mass public. Advertising is glossy information about whats out there but its hardly the only, nor even the major means of creating awareness. Word of mouth is far more powerful ("that brush is good huh? I'll get one"). If you pause to consider people in a light other than Pavlov's dog you would perceive advertising for what it is, without its supposed 'control' feature.

: 4) the competitive nature of capitalist commerce, which replaces pre-existing communal bonds of sharing and extended family with an environment of competition and artificial scarcity.

Theoretical speculation and assumptions of causality. "communal bonds of sharing and extended family " which you assume only to be positive can also be restrictive and strangling despotism for many people, and that moving away from it is for some a benefit not a loss. communal bonds or sharing to be experienced as positive would also need to be provisional and revocable by those within it.

:If you want to see the victims of a capitalist order that multiplies wants until they crowd out the happiness of the indivdidual, check out anorexics and bulimics.

I have noticed the tendency to blame any mental instability on 'capitalism', to assume causality.

: At any rate, for capitalist society, it is the pressure to want yachts etc. (created by advertising, bourgeois American television programs etc.) added onto the difficulty one faces in satisfying one's wants amidst the market order -- even such basic things as food (and I would argue that food has a different moral status as a "want" than a yacht, since you are what you eat)

Oddly enough I argued similar with RD. That yachts are less legitimate 'needs' than food.

:-- that intensifies the desire of the people for everything under the sun. If people had to depend upon each other for their wants (rather than depending on a money system that allows them to imagine ripping off an anonymous public of "masses")

Do they? Perhaps you think this, when I buy something or sell something I dont imagine anything of the sort.

(poetry skipped)

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