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Thread: Capitalism, Marxism and Related Matters

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    It sounds cool, but does it even mean anything?
    To undestand what it means, consider a thermostat, a device for regulating the temperature of a [room] so that the [room]'s temperature is maintained near a desired setpoint temperature. This is an example of circular causality. Because of this circularity, you may also reverse the causal description and say that a room is a device for regulating the state of a thermostat so that the thermostat's state is maintained near a desired setpoint state.

    Similarly, we can -- in the absence of absolute coordinates -- reverse the usual ascription of the earth circulating around the sun, and say instead that the sun travels in a complicated orbit around the earth.

    A more common example of this is saying that we (humans) don't use genes to reproduce, but instead that the genes use us for their perpetuation.

    Why is this interesting? Because it deconstructs usually implicit assumptions about arrows of causality by means of saying something that is -- upon first impression -- in total violation of common sense, but on closer inspection, is quite reasonable and interesting.

    In the context of capitalism, the original claim seeks to convince the reader that we are living in a world where human needs are not the key focus of economic and political decisions, but instead server only to reproduce the current economic system.

    I don't fully agree with this Marxist claim, but It is not without merit.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by josef k. View Post
    Is the labor theory of value of bullshit - and if so, what are the consequences for so-called Marxist theory?
    I once told a Marxist that I though the LTV was rubbish and he replied:

    Yes, it is true, and updating the Marxist description of capitalist economics is the most important theoretical problem of Marxism today. However for political purposes (i.e. constructing a sufficiently powerful revolutionary party that carries out the revolution) the existing theory is good enough, because whatever the details of a better Marxist theory of capitalist economics, surely the need to overthrow capitalism in a revolution will still be valid. Hence we can leave updating the theory of capitalist economics for after the revolution.

    TBH, no Marxist has ever said this to me, but I wish I would meet one who's got the courage to say this.

    Quote Originally Posted by josef k. View Post
    Do we even still live under capitalism, or have we entered into a profoundly new system?
    If you read the Communist Manifesto, you'll find that its 10 key demands have in essence all been met in the advanced industrialised states, especially in more egalitarian ones. The same cannot be said of the worlds poorest countries.

  3. #18
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    "TBH, no Marxist has ever said this to me, but I wish I would meet one who's got the courage to say this."
    I was actually just trying to compose something to say that the Marxist position was something along the lines of the one you just identified. It seems that having basically lost the economic argument the position has changed to "within capitalism you can't think of anything outside it so we have to destroy it first".
    There was no attempt to suggest an alternative to capitalism in this thread about suggesting an alternative to capitalism

    http://www.dissensus.com/showthread....ght=capitalism

    and I think your wish of a marxist having the courage to say the above has been granted here

    "Capitalism is an inherently destructive and repressively contradictory ideology which unwittingly is destroying both humanity and the planet. Given that any alternative is potentially more preferable, how should we go about destroying, not humanity and the world, but its vampiric enemy, capitalism."

  4. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3 Body No Problem View Post
    In the context of capitalism, the original claim seeks to convince the reader that we are living in a world where human needs are not the key focus of economic and political decisions, but instead server only to reproduce the current economic system.
    And likewise for a mixed conomy, and likewise for tr00 socialist command economy...

  5. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3 Body No Problem View Post
    I once told a Marxist that I though the LTV was rubbish and he replied:

    Yes, it is true, and updating the Marxist description of capitalist economics is the most important theoretical problem of Marxism today. However for political purposes (i.e. constructing a sufficiently powerful revolutionary party that carries out the revolution) the existing theory is good enough, because whatever the details of a better Marxist theory of capitalist economics, surely the need to overthrow capitalism in a revolution will still be valid. Hence we can leave updating the theory of capitalist economics for after the revolution.
    Laugh or cry? Who knows...

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    And likewise for a mixed conomy, and likewise for tr00 socialist command economy...
    I agree!

  7. #22

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    And so it's not "Capital" as such (bluerrgh -- superstitious nonsensical capitalisation), but rather the (abstract) economic 'technology' (be it socialist, capitalist, contested, collapsing, etc) around which social relations are organised that is the "vampire" to which k-punk refers, and indeed, it was ever thus.

    Reminds me of k-punk's thesis actually (I think). You ever read that?

  8. #23

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    Just noticed this in the other thread, and realised it relates to what noel's saying here...

    1. We must remove the incentives to hoard money, in fact it should be very much discouraged.
    There's a problem with that, and I can sum it up in one word: bubbles.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    And so it's not "Capital" as such (bluerrgh -- superstitious nonsensical capitalisation), but rather the (abstract) economic 'technology' (be it socialist, capitalist, contested, collapsing, etc) around which social relations are organised that is the "vampire" to which k-punk refers, and indeed, it was ever thus.
    In fairness, "Capital" is a shorthand for these social relations, as Marx points out repeatedly.

    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    Reminds me of k-punk's thesis actually (I think). You ever read that?
    Some of it. It's quite interesting.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    And so it's not "Capital" as such (bluerrgh -- superstitious nonsensical capitalisation)
    'Kapitalisation', surely?
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  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    There's a problem with that, and I can sum it up in one word: bubbles.
    There is a much more fundamental problem with it: it's impossible -- in some sense -- to hoard money! The cash you put in your bankaccount is in fact reinvested immediately.

  12. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3 Body No Problem View Post
    In fairness, "Capital" is a shorthand for these social relations, as Marx points out repeatedly.
    But (like we've just said) there is no difference between that and anything else!

    Some of it. It's quite interesting.
    I'm thinking of the bit where he describes WWII (?) fighter pilots getting machine guns synced into their rotors -- rather than representing man's mastery over nature, the pilot is a mere switch in a circuit.

  13. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3 Body No Problem View Post
    There is a much more fundamental problem with it: it's impossible -- in some sense -- to hoard money! The cash you put in your bankaccount is in fact reinvested immediately.
    Yeah, that's the whole point...?

    If you want to hoard money, just put it under your bed.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    Yeah, that's the whole point...?

    If you want to hoard money, just put it under your bed.
    ...where it immediately starts to depreciate. To say nothing of being vulnerable to burglary!

    So I suppose there is a good disincentive to hoard money, at least in this very crude and inactive way.
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  15. #30

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    Exactly.

    [Just add that inflationary economic policies are generally thought of as being 'leftist' (in economic terms), BTW.]

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