- Capitalism and Alternatives -

We've been over this before

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on November 03, 1999 at 16:49:40:

In Reply to: class is an arbitrary construct posted by David on November 03, 1999 at 13:07:15:

: Aha, the spectre of classism has haunted this board before! I disagree, class is an arbitrary construct, it is simply a way to group together similar components. In this case, these components are humans, and class is the nomenclature of our set of groups in which we lump them accordingly.

SDF: Please do read this post, just as Stoller said. Class is a useful way of understanding the notion of "making a living" and its relation to the system of exchange. And, as I implied here, any attempt to deny the reality of classes is a regression BENEATH the writings of Adam Smith, who certainly did not deny their existence.

: Obviously defining groups of people in terms of class has its benefits, such as comparing socio-economic status and the like.

SDF: This is the sort of "class analysis" that one can find in Samuelson's ECONOMICS. Such an arbitrary grouping of human beings is useless in telling us why the process of capital accumulation results in disparities in wealth; only telling us that such disparities exist, which is something a ground-floor social-science researcher could tell us. To be useful, class must tell us not only "do people have money" but "where did they get the money," did they get it through work or investment, which is why I recommend the model of class linked above.

You cannot, however, just dismiss something as "bourgeois morals."
: It's a double edged sword, now I have to get rid of my "proletariat logic" maneuver.

SDF: Bourgeois morals are morals which assume that entrepreneurs must invest if anyone is to work. The right to work should not be dependent upon elites who move money around.

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