Sunday, April 6, 2014

Capitalism's Changes

Persons are telling us about how great “capitalism” is, but it is important to ask what they mean by “capitalism.” Capitalism changes, and the present form of capitalism is not the form of capitalism at, for example, some part of the 19th century. At that time, the system was still developing. It certainly had not reached the level that it has now. (Capitalism couldn't grow anymore, in the real sense, unless we reform it.) The old and the new, or for that matter any two stretches of "capitalist time" that we might compare: it is going to be different. When we think that it is all the same, isn't that a big a mistake? We cannot think that every period is the same. In any of the old time slices, the system, or the social structure (that's relevant), was growing--in the sense that it had much virgin space, there was a large area yet to be converted. These were spaces in which to attempt new growth, and this relates to the way in which one makes one’s way through life in some particular fashion. For example, one may find success by having any one of a variety of skills; in more recent times one makes one's way simply playing games with money. Also, these kinds of games have always been a topic of derision, which tells you something.

     On this subject, millionaires used to be mildly amusing. The board game “Monopoly” was invented in their honor. It was a commentary on the fact that millionaires exist, and on the world they created—the reality is that there was wealth to be accumulated through capitalistic development, production. Today these persons may well be seen as figures of grave concern and possibly (they are) speeding us to world destruction.
     At fault? Just the same single-minded emphasis on unilateral capitalism as if it is all one thing. I describe that, above. This would be an emphasis on "capitalism" as something that worked before, and “ought to” work now, just as well as before!but that's not necessarily true. I suppose I would have to concede that, while capitalism does continue to make profits, old and the new are different.

     If you say “capitalism,” I need to ask you to tell me which one. Is it the quaint, old version stolidly opposed by the Left? Could you call that the good old days: I wonder? That one was full of space to growto struggle. And that one had opposition! In fact, at the time of that one, opportunities existed to fill in all those spaces that had been heretofore untouched. It could be astonishingly inhuman, which I we see in the literary work of Upton Sinclair. He illustrated the astonishing inhumanity men are capable of: “The Jungle.” Sinclair was very dedicated to exposing this side of capitalism.
     The process is that after the creation of the first new businesses, these businesses often opened up further spaces, and this process has continued up until recently. At some point that will stop working. This “old” capitalism was still recognizable in the 1950s, although it had at that time an appearance (appearances and rhetoric again) of being a monolith, a gray, hulking sort of thing. Or you may mean the capitalism of today, a system that has already grown very much indeed-—and now expresses and manifests a world-owning “globalization” phase. We are told this is just another form of capitalism.
     It has accomplished so much success; so much, so much growth, that it is “creatively destroying” itself. There is no territory left that has not been visited by those seeking to make capitalist money off of that territory's resources. There is scarcely any ground left to be trod, in this world. There is nowhere that has not already felt the impress of capitalist shoe print and footfall. Note that there's a big difference, between footprint and shoe print.
     And yet, for those who tout the system, like Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, the old shoeprint is always the same. And this is ideology.