- Capitalism and Alternatives -

You tell me

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on September 27, 1999 at 16:39:43:

In Reply to: societal conditions are independent of all? posted by Frenchy on September 27, 1999 at 15:19:15:

: :
Everybody pursues his private interest and only his private interest; and serves thereby, without wanting or knowing it, the private interests of all, the general interests.
: $$$$$$$$$$$$yup$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

SDF: The fact that people generally pursue money says nothing about the general interest insofar as the general interest signifies the improvement of society, though. If people generally pursued the smell of their own fecal matter as it emerged from their own rear ends, would the individual pursuit of fecal matter reflect the improvement of society?

: The point is not that, with everyone pursuing his own private interest, the totality of private interests, that is the general interest, is attained.
: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$That is precisely the point$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

SDF: The point is not that. The totality of private interests is not attained under capitalism, capitalism produces people who cannot work because they are part of the surplus labor force, it also produces people who do not earn enough in wages to afford the consumer products generally produced in capitalist society. Just as capitalist society produces an wide range and quantity of consumer products, it also produces poor communitites. (Note to onlookers: please refer to previous posts of mine where I've statistically charted the number of starving people worldwide, in the US, etc.)

: Rather, from the same abstract phrase the conclusion could be drawn that everybody mutually hampers the assertion of the interest of others, and that instead of a general affermation a general negation results from the bellum omnium contra omnes.

: $$Except that personal experience doesn't bear out the charge of 'bellum omnium contra omnes.'

SDF: If Frenchy persists in believing that Ronald McDonald is just a harmless clown, and not a mechanism for competitively separating parents from their money at McDonalds (as opposed to Burger King, Wendy's etc.) that's not my fault. Capitalism supports universal competition for money, a competition which Frenchy acknowledged above but which he denies here?

: Rather we see that 'quum unum adipiscitur, omnes adipiscuntur'. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

SDF: Translate please?

: The point is rather that the private interest is already a socially determined interest and can be attained only within the conditions set by society and with the means provided by society; that is to say, the private interest is bound to the reproduction of these conditions and means.

: $$$Actually I would say that private interest and socially determined interest may merge or may not merge.

SDF: Marx said that private interest is really socially determined BEFOREHAND. "Socially determined interest" = interest in general.

: Freedoms must be lost when society begins determining conditions and means of mergeing interests.$$$$$$$$$

SDF: Precisely, which is why freedom is meaningless when it has been reduced to the freedom to "work or starve" under capitalism.

: It is the interest of private people; but its content, as well as the form and the means of realization, are given by societal conditions independent of all.

: $$$$$$$$societal conditions are independent of all?

SDF: Yep. Social conditions are independent of all. Individuals can not transform them out of idle whims because they are what created the individuals in their "individuality".

People have no effect on society?hmmmmm......$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

SDF: People make history, but not under circumstances set by themselves. Saying that "people have no effect on society" is a different thing than saying that the circumstances of society are things beyond the control of individuals. If you wanted to be born and raised in a non-capitalist society, could you arbitrarily choose such a background for yourself?

Follow Ups:


The Debating Room Post a Followup