Sunday, May 24, 2015

(second version of a recent post)

Marx and Engels thought that the capitalist system was bound to fail. They believed that, definitely, it would do so. Of course, this is one of their most famous predictions! They also specified details of how that failure was to happen. Here the “proletariat” were involved. But this did not occur, or not so far and not in that precise way. It still may happen; there may be such a systemic failure. But, in any case, the situation is quite different. Whatever explanations there are, they need to account for this difference. The explanations marx and Engels adhered are somewhat, it is safe to say, insufficient.
     How are we to understand the miracle of capitalism? If we fail to understand what it is that is at the basis, or what the basis is, we won't be able to understand the capitalism which is the result. So, I want to take the position, here, that we need to know the basis: what the basis is. Otherwise you are going back to your old position which is one of no understanding. Capitalism is difficult to explain, and there are alternate explanations of “basis.” But, I think we need a basis... What follows is only one way to approach it ... a ... way.

     I contend that capitalism is based on such differences as may exist. There are actors, and these simply comprise the relevant population or society. In fact they are what are called economic actors or players. For example, rich and poor, owners and workers are "actors" in the economic system. These are persons who are different from one another, either individually or as different groups, since individuals may comprise any of various kinds of groups. As to difference: we witness that as time goes by there is the illusion of a leveling of the playing field. There at least seems to be such a leveling. Differences with regard to capitalistic society seem to be reducing. Regarding it as apparent, not real, is helpful. It corresponds to the Picketty narrative, of course. It helps us to remain open-minded. Thus do we investigate this real or apparent tendency that implies a movement towards reduction of difference. Thus, we are allowed to retain our skepticism. (Of course, if the whole "basis" really is difference, then eliminating the basis might also eliminate capitalism.)
     With that in mind, we may observe the way in which average citizens come to eventually realize that, due to society's glorious progress, they too can enter the field of play and be part of the great market, in a bigger way! Again: what is at stake is reality vs. illusion. This had actually been true for a long time---in some sense. But now we see! Now the public realized! That is one possible interpretation, among many. The markets opened up and everyone got the chance to prosper. But if the public did not know that they could do this, in what sense do I was it actually true? Add to this the observation that the United States of America is almost from the beginning based on giving people, citizens, more freedom and we see that it translates to the freedom to work where one pleases, at the career of one's choice, or start one's own business should one want to, or have the energy. But technically it's possible. Under what conditions can "anyone" "succeed in America"?
     The apparent leveling of the playing field does not mean the playing field is level and even more so it does not mean that capitalism proceeded from any such historical basis. What, then, is the real nature of the level playing field? What is the "level playing field principle"? So, here we can return to our basis idea that it is just the opposite, and what capitalism actually requires is difference.
     The situation today is better described as ambiguous. There is a level on which persons are newly seeing the way that capitalism can (Or, alternatively: capitalism apparently can) dissolve differences and thus all they need to do is be the proverbial “nice guys” and they get the proverbial, much-vaunted “good life.” That may be so, and certainly that is what “they” want you to believe. But at the same time, you could listen to what I am saying here. Coexisting with all the apparent “facts” is quite the opposite “fact,” which is the precise idea that capitalism happens only when the actors are different.
     How can both things be true? They could---if the nature of the situation is ambiguous one. So, the "basis" I am looking for is not only difference. It is also that of ambiguity. We see how complex capitalism is. It never led to a crash due the isolation of a class of "proletarians."

No comments:

Post a Comment