- Capitalism and Alternatives -

One and a half answers

Posted by: bill on November 10, 1999 at 10:19:21:

In Reply to: Two questions posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on November 09, 1999 at 10:45:10:

: : Or - as Max Stirner put it:

: : "I secure my freedom with regard to the world in the degree that I make the world my own, 'gain it and take possession of it' for myself, by whatever might, be that of persuasion, of petition, of categorical demand, yes, even by hypocrisy, cheating, etc.; for the means that I use for it are determined by what I am. Property is what is mine."

: SDF: What a great quote! Could you refer to a text & a page number?

Sorry I can't. Snipped it from a review by Neala Schleuning found here. (9th paragraph down) (Apparantly it is from his: "The Ego and Its Own")

: (skipping)

: : On the other hand, for those who have power, freedom must be defined in some other way. For them it is in terms of some essential, almost existential Principle.

: SDF: Do you mean freedom as the "right to throw one's money around"? The expanded access to consumer privilege available to the owning classes, the owners of capital? Doesn't seem so essential to me.


Gad I Hope not!

Actually I should have used the word essentialist - as a belief in some inherent or "natural essence", a sort of pre-determined core of being, rather than a socially constructed one, and used as some kind of a priori justification for greed.

The irony here is that our cultural conditioning teaches us that the "right to throw one's money around" is a natural expression of individualism. The Maori of New Zealand do not view themselves in individualistic terms. Self-identity for the Maori is relational. Identity is culturally shaped to produce a sense of being part of a larger group.

I would think that for a Maori, "throwing one's money around" (in the manner you describe) would be a profoundly anti-social act - (*essentially speaking*)- "anti-human nature".

In other words, as you state at the end of your original post:

"Concepts of "property," "the individual," or "freedom" cannot
therefore be detached from their cultural contexts and looked at "in abstract" without losing their real-life substance."

Follow Ups:


The Debating Room Post a Followup