- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The pros and cons of realism

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on October 04, 1999 at 10:51:44:

In Reply to: The Pros and Cons of Capitalism posted by Frank on October 03, 1999 at 19:43:29:

: For many a capitalist society is the answer to the economic problem, and for others it is just an unfair economic power of the wealthy.

SDF: Contrast this critique with the critique of capitalist society made by Karl Marx in the CRITIQUE OF THE GOTHA PROGRAMME:

Does not the bourgeoisie claim that the present system of disribution is 'just'? And given the present mode of production is it not, in fact, the only 'just' system of distribution? Are economic relations regulated by legal concepts of right or is the opposite not the case, that legal relations spring from economic ones? Do not the socialist sectarians themselves have the most varied notions of 'just' distribution?

Marx's point is that "justice" does not make a coherent rallying cry for those trying to overcome oppresion, but that, when capitalist society is overcome ("aufheben"), our perceived notions of justice will appear irrelevant because they will be rendered unnecessary as apologies for the oppression caused by capitalism.

: Capitalism is a social system based on Economic Freedom which has it's pros and cons.

SDF: I thought capitalism was a social system based on business owners who accumulate capital, by meeting the effective demand of those with money.

: Capitalism is a modern Invention. It would not have been possible without certain notions, such as freedom, individuality, progress, and the mechanical world view. The most crucial component is the concept of the individual. As Ayn Rand says in her book, Objectivism the philosophy of Ayn Rand,"The Virtue of Independence consists in a man's primary orientation to reality, not to other man.

SDF: How is this distinction real, if reality IS our relationship to other people?

: In fundamental terms, we said, the independent man is as alone in society as on a desert Island." (381)

SDF: The influence of society can be wished away, I suppose, if it can be repressed, as it is here with this quote of Rand. The real repression of society occurs on the factory shopfloor, where factory owners wish away the humanity of the working class every day, while employing its labor-time. Any Randists posting to McSpotlight C&A should be forewarned nevertheless about this post of Barry Stoller's.

: Before analyzing the pros and cons of Capitalism, we should learn about the man who's interpretation of the reality of the Industrial Revolution became the base for a pure capitalist society. In that society, supply and demand establish the prices of products in a market and the government has no power over this. This man was Adam Smith, who was considered "the Father of modern Economics." He influenced economic thought throughout the Victorian Era. Smith was born in 1723. He first distinguished himself as a student of philosophy and in 1740 was awarded a scholarship to attend Oxford University.

SDF: Yeah yeah yeah. Pile on the honorifics as a prelude to the romantic cult of genius.

: The freedom to be able to buy or sell whatever is produced by an individual, being a company or a single person.

SDF: Imagine that! And I thought buying and selling was contingent upon the prior possession of wealth!

: In addition to personal freedom,

SDF: The only personal freedom required in capitalist society is the freedom of investors to invest. Other freedoms may be allowed to individuals in capitalist societies, but such freedoms are not required by capitalism itself -- witness life in Singapore for instance. Frankly, I am glad to be in a place where I can enjoy such freedoms even under capitalism.

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