Capitalism: beginning of the end…
The end of capitalism has begun
December 21st, 2017 •
Re: [Marxism] Fwd: The end of capitalism has begun | Books | The Guardian http://www.marxmail.org/msg132083.html
Paul Mason writes a long, interesting but wrongheaded article embracing the ideas of John Holloway without mentioning him. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/17/postcapitalism-end-of-capitalism-begun http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/17/postcapitalism-end-of-capitalism-begun As with the end of feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism’s replacement by postcapitalism will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started.
Postcapitalism is possible because of three major changes information technology has brought about in the past 25 years. First, it has reduced the need for work, blurred the edges between work and free time and loosened the relationship between work and wages. The coming wave of automation, currently stalled because our social infrastructure cannot bear the consequences, will hugely diminish the amount of work needed – not just to subsist but to provide a decent life for all.
Second, information is corroding the market’s ability to form prices correctly. That is
because markets are based on scarcity while information is abundant. The system’s defense mechanism is to form monopolies – the giant tech companies – on a scale not seen in the past 200 years, yet they cannot last. By building business models and share valuations based on the capture and privatization of all socially produced information, such firms are constructing a fragile corporate edifice at odds with the most basic need of humanity, which is to use ideas freely.
British capitalism is broken. Here’s how to fix it
Third, we’re seeing the spontaneous rise of collaborative production: goods, services and organizations are appearing that no longer respond to the dictates of the market and the managerial hierarchy. The biggest information product in the world – Wikipedia – is made by volunteers for free, abolishing the encyclopedia business and depriving the advertising industry of an estimated $3bn a year in revenue.
Almost unnoticed, in the niches and hollows of the market system, whole swaths of economic life are beginning to move to a different rhythm. Parallel currencies, time banks, cooperatives and self-managed spaces have proliferated, barely noticed by the economics profession, and often as a direct result of the shattering of the old structures in the post-2008 crisis.
We can express hope in citing this speculative analysis, but what real grounds do we have for thinking this is the dynamic that will play out?
I think that it is possible a technological development can bring us ‘closer to the other shore’, but the landing requires our freely created initiative to ‘revolutionize fundamentals’.
Need for a neo-marxist upgrade
Beyond the marxist monopoly of the communist idea… October 22nd, 2017 •
The left has tied its head knots with theory, theory that doesn’t really work, but which has turned into a kind of dogma. The whole question of socialism has been frozen in place in terms of a legacy that was too complicated, confusing, and poorly defined.
It shouldn’t be all that hard to create a viable socialist system if we get out of the straight jacket of Marx’s misdefinition of the problem. Marx posited that a set of stages of history would bring communism to capitalism even as the latter replaced feudalism, etc…This theory isn’t really successful and has confused the issue. A more cogent formulation might simply ask for a communist foundation, as a set of axioms creating a Commons: resources from the commons would become a social entity (and not the same as state capitalism) mediated as economic process not unlike the market version save that the question of private property is superceded. The issue of the working class has also confused discussion. In fact, the idea of a ‘universal class’ is really the same as the working class but focuses on the real working class which is much larger than the
traditional cliché of workers in factories. The tradition of working class focus is a great one, and is easily adaptable to our larger conception but at this point the problems of social reconstruction are far more complex that the question of industrial labor. We may even be leaving the era of factories and workers. And we confront climate change and its call for a radical revolution beyond the factors of production: an ecological framework that just might lead to a world of no-growth economics…
The idea of communism as a fixed stage beyond capitalism failed to specify what was to be done, and Stalinism filled that void. We need to consider capitalism, or liberalism, and communism as constructivist projects in tandem rather than in opposition. We can even have a system of markets in the context of a Commons. The whole nexus of concepts was misdefined from the start in order to create an effective propaganda about the
inevitability of communism succeeding capitalism. In fact, the illusion that capitalism was a stage of history has if anything made the problem worse as we allowed a flawed format to be ‘normal’ as a phase. In reality, the task was to do the job right and create from the start a democratic socialism with elements of both planned and market factors. The market factors proceed without the confusions of private property by reclaiming the entities of ‘primitive accumulation’: it is simply a species of plunder that animates the whole capitalist scheme. Constructing a real socialist communism ought to be as transparent as anything produced in the capitalist legacy: the two are remorphable versions of each other, but with the profound difference of a Commons…
The limits of historical materialism
Kant’s questions about history as a foundation for a neo-marxism… May 20th, 2018 •
Kant in some of his aspects might be a more useful foundation for a neo-marxism than Hegel (who can be rederived via Kant) in the way his view of history non-dogmatically asks a set of questions (answered in their own way by the eonic model) and focuses on empirical research as the basis for conclusions…
R48G: progress toward a perfect civil constitution…
March 21st, 2017 •
The issue of Kant and history… From our developing blogbook…
the basic intent is to simplify the confusion created by Marxism and jumpstart a new and practical approach using elements of the Marxist legacy taken in reserve.
Marxist historical theory doesn’t work and has been critiqued many times. It is a non- teleological crypto-teleological theory about a set of entities far too complex for such a simplified analysis. The danger is that while waiting for the next stage after capitalism we will remain passive until the capitalist era exhausts its potential: the latter will never happen. We will burn out the planet before we exhaust all the useless combinations of capitalism.
We are betrayed by theory here in the puzzle of Marx’s complex deliberations and overly complex analysis. And that includes the confusions over the labor theory of value, and
the latter makes much better sense if you stop trying to produce a theory. Much of Marx’s analysis remains of great interest, viz. analyses of class struggle but overall it belongs to the era of positivism (still quite current) and its ‘scientism’. We need to pay our dues to the era of Feuerbach in which Marx and Engels worked and adopt a secular perspective but there are many ways to do that and we need to consider the limits of the materialism
of the period which gestated socialist thought. Marx’s attempt to create a science confused the issue and the result was never really a science. We see the second international proceed down the garden path of a ‘science’ that should have been something less ambitious and focused on the practical.
Instead of attempts to rationalize ‘stages of production’ theory in the fashion of Marx we could do better by considering a classic essay on history written by Kant: there is the issue of teleology is taken explicitly, but the core of the piece is to ask a question about history and refer the question to the future. The analysis of the eonic effect attempts to point to the probable solution to Kant’s question which also asks for a demonstration of the passage to a perfect civil constitution.
There is a key to a new praxis: can we detect the solution to the riddle of civil
‘evolution’? Indeed we can and the eonic effect (in earlier versions with its ‘discrete freedom sequence’) shows just this. So, instead of a succession of systems in deterministic directionality we have the prospect of moving toward replacing capitalist democracy with renewed progress toward a perfect civil constitution. The current madness is hardly perfection! This is the task of free agents nor mechanical systems or economic structures.