Saturday, May 20, 2017

Is there a new capitalism? [techo-capitalism]


Capitalism in the digital age. Same old capitalism or a new type of capitalism?

Understanding Society
Is there a new capitalism?
Daniel Little | Chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Professor of Philosophy at UM-Dearborn and Professor of Sociology at UM-Ann Arbor

22 comments:

Auburn Parks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Auburn Parks said...

There isnt even a cohesive thing called "capitalism". Its private sector market activity you say? Well then we've had "capitalism" for thousands of years, and always will. There can be no such thing as "techno-capitalism" because there really isnt a thing called capitalism, at least not in any way that we can distinguish from all of hummann history.

People have always worked for compensation (excepting slaves of course) so that cant be capitalism

People have always trucked and bartered so that cant be it either

There has always been some sort of private property

So what is capitalism anyway? Its either nothing or everything, either way, people who complain about the evils of "capitalism" are fucking retarded when they try to blame the problems of the world on this entity called capitalism that has no agency and no purpose.

People are greedy and always have been thats not caused by capitalism
People want to accumulate power and influence thats not capitalism's fault.

Auburn Parks said...

Like this stupid ass part

"Most notably, capitalism demands that firms constantly seek out new avenues for profit, new markets, new commodities, and new means of exploitation. "

Bullshit, capitalism doesnt demand shit. Humans constantly seek out new avenues for profit, new markets, new commodities and new means of exploitation.

Or should we all convert to a totalitarian socialist state where we dont have any evil capitalism (as if that was even possible), all so humans can get back to our roots and stop seeking out new avenues to improve their relative position, finding new useful discoveries, and then finding ways to use them.

Penguin pop said...

Auburn, I feel some of the people who throw capitalism around like that use it in such a way that it seems like just another conspiracy to fill in gaps in knowledge. Are there flaws with the way the current system in the US? Of course, but ultimately this word has become another buzzword for armchair people with no solutions of their own to whine about, losing a lot of its meaning.

Maybe Matt had a point about people talking about "the capitalists!", "the bankers!", "the Jews!", "Deep State!" and dozens of conspiracies. It seems to stem from a similar thought process. Make a scapegoat and blame all the problems of the world on X. Blame Mexicans for why you're not making enough to pay the bills and so on.

Auburn Parks said...

Penguin-

No doubt. And it goes the other way to. Free market fundamentalists talking about how "capitalism has made the world wealthier then ever before". Bullshit, industrialisation and the scientific revolution is what gave the world its current prosperity.

Penguin pop said...

It's exactly why I advocate that the US really get back on the ball when it comes to being a world leader in scientific innovation and be an example for the rest of the world to follow and seriously invest in way more R&D. That's one way to really gain strength against the likes of China in the future. You go in this direction and you can also make the lives of others in more impoverished nations better with the discoveries made domestically.

I hate the people too who even try to say the internet was 100% because of capitalism and anyone who makes a blanket statement like this without understanding how much government research, especially from the Department of Defense, went into developing a lot of the technology that would make the internet possible. Mixed economies at work here.

Bob said...

Just stick with the Marxian definitions of capitalism, feudalism, and slavery. They're the ones who use those definitions as part of class analysis.

"Techno-capitalism" continues to have owners and non-owners, employers and employees, profit-making and wage earning, organized around commodity production.

Tom Hickey said...

There isnt even a cohesive thing called "capitalism".

"Capitalism" is a high level abstraction. Set of sets of sets.

Capitalism is an economic system but it cannot be separated from social and political aspects, which is Marx's chief argument in Das Kapital, which is an extended investigation of the concept of capitalism as it emerged historically. Of course, Marx and Engels own analysis ended with their lives, which mean that analysis ends with 19th century capitalism as they viewed it.

It is generally agreed that the Adam Smith proposed the first theory of capitalism. This become the basis for classical economics. Marx was writing in response to classical economics.

After Marx and Engels other theories of capitalism were developed. Those influence by Marx developed Marxists and margins theories. Veblen proposed an institutionalist approach. Weber developed a sociological approach. Austrian economist-philosophers developed a liberal approach. Etc. There are many theories of capitalism.

There are two key features of capitalism. The first is the ownership of private property, which leads to law of contracts and establishes the framework for capitalism legally as an institution with definite arrangements (rules).

The second is that capital is favored over labor and land. Favoring labor is socialism, and favoring land is feudalism.

Auburn Parks said...

Tom the private property saying about capitalism that specifically means that capitalism is no different today than it has ever been. There has always been private property in private individual Exchange. So under this part of the definition capitalism has always been and it will always be Which means capitalism isn't a thing and it's not useful for analysis.

The second part of your definition about favoring land capital or labor is also completely useless for our purposes here. Favoring specific sets of special interest witch is what comprises labor land and capital does not fundamentally change the nature of the system.

For thousands of years labor and land were just about the only types of things there were it's the technology thats changed and increased since the Scientific Revolution that's led to a huge diversity in types of goods and services. But the system fundamentals have barely changed it all

Bob said...

In feudalism, the relationship between the lord and the serf was ordained by God (and enforced by knights). In capitalism, the relationship between employer and employee is governed by the legal definition of property ownership. In slavery, those legal arrangements extended to the ownership of human beings.

What is your issue with the Marxian definition?

If the status quo is acceptable, then no definition or analysis is required.

Tom Hickey said...

om the private property saying about capitalism that specifically means that capitalism is no different today than it has ever been. There has always been private property in private individual Exchange. So under this part of the definition capitalism has always been and it will always be Which means capitalism isn't a thing and it's not useful for analysis.

Not. At the time of leading up to Adam Smith, the issue was making a legal institution of the private property of the bourgeoisie (men of property), which was a new class at the time. The issue was freedom of individuals versus the state, which was the crown and aristocracies at their time and remained so in most of the West until after WWI. Louis XIV: "L'√Čtat, c'est moi" — "The state is me."

"Freedom" of the bourgeoisie as the basis of liberalism was based on the legal institution of security of person and property from the state. Eventually freedoms were extended to more people than were initially intended and only with conflict with the men of property that assumed control in the new liberal order in which security of person and property were institutionalized legally.

This is generally agreed by all historians of capitalism.

Tom Hickey said...

See also the Wikipedia article on /Laissez-faire

This began in the 17th century with the impetus on the part of merchants and producers to free trade and industry from government intervention.

Tom Hickey said...

For thousands of years labor and land were just about the only types of things there were it's the technology thats changed and increased since the Scientific Revolution that's led to a huge diversity in types of goods and services. But the system fundamentals have barely changed it all

You are making my case. Capitalism did not arise until the scientific revolution and the development of industry and modern transport. Modern banking, which developed in Italy in the 15th c, was also integral to the development of capitalism by providing efficient access to financial capital.

Auburn Parks said...

Bob-

In feudalism, the relationship between the lord and the serf was ordained by God (and enforced by knights)"

Bullshit. These arrangements were at there most fundamental legal obligations and enforced by the states' agents enforcement arm. Just like legal obligations, police and courts today.

Just because they werent written down and explained in today's methodlogy doesnt mean there is anything really different about them. An obligation is an obligation, today we try to make it more transparent and fair, but thats an evolution of the same type of system, plus now everybody can read which is in large part what prevented this type of legal evolution in the medieval period.

Slavery was the definition of what people consider capitalism today, so that doesnt work for your arguemnt.

Auburn Parks said...

"ou are making my case. Capitalism did not arise until the scientific revolution and the development of industry and modern transport. Modern banking, which developed in Italy in the 15th c, was also integral to the development of capitalism by providing efficient access to financial capital."

No Tom Im accurately making my case. All of the deep fundamentals were the same, its just the expansion of people and technology that has changed.

Serfs exchanged maybe like 10 consumer goods between them selves and the nobles maybe a couple hundred. Today people exchange literally millions and 10s of millions of different types of goods and services.

No different just bigger and more complex which neceestates far more evolved and complex systems and processes to manage it all.

Capitalism isnt defined as some arbitrary amount of complexity or size, as you started the definition its just private property and the predominance of a particular interest group at a particular time land vs labor is timeless and so is wealth aka capital.

You ve yet to provide any reason why capitalism is new. The Sumerians were using accounting to do banking 4000 years ago, the Romans and Persians too both had something resembling banks. Double entry accounnting was an invention that helped make the economy more efficient, it didnt start "capitalism"

Bob said...

They had a narrative and they had a stick, for those who would not accept the narrative. Just like today. No evil there, no siree.

What issue do you have with those definitions?

Auburn Parks said...

Tom

Not. At the time of leading up to Adam Smith, the issue was making a legal institution of the private property of the bourgeoisie (men of property), which was a new class at the time. The issue was freedom of individuals versus the state, which was the crown and aristocracies at their time and remained so in most of the West until after WWI. Louis XIV: "L'√Čtat, c'est moi" — "The state is me."

"Freedom" of the bourgeoisie as the basis of liberalism was based on the legal institution of security of person and property from the state. Eventually freedoms were extended to more people than were initially intended and only with conflict with the men of property that assumed control in the new liberal order in which security of person and property were institutionalized legally.

This is generally agreed by all historians of capitalism."

Yes thanks for the history lesson that I already know about. However, what you are failing to realize is that none of what you wrote started something completely new.

There has always been a distinction between the state and indiviudals. No this wasnt written out as explictly as before the Magna Carte and all the follwing legal documents. But that doesnt mean there was unwritten rules before they were written down.

It is not the case that Before written legal documents = no capitalism and after = capitalilsm. This is my entire fucking point here. Everything youve written just describes the steps along the path from less complex to more complex systems. The systems arent really any different at a fundamental level then they have ever been. And thats because reality sets extremely tight boundary conditions.

PEople exchanging apples for bananas is every bit as much capitalism as people exchanging derivative contracts.

Laissez faire is an argument for a specific level and type of regulation in order to favor one of our three interest groups over the others in this case capital over labor and land. Its not a description of a capitalist\non-capitalist system.

Similarly, Adam Smith did not write a theory of capitalism as much as he tried to describe the way the system worked and might work in a systematic way. Adam Smith didnt invent the small shopkeepers exchanging things in their own self interest and thereby improving the world, he simply described what they were doinng in a new and interesting way.

Well guess what, the Chinese have had small shopkeepers exchanging goods for thousands of years. So again, capitalism isnt new. Its always been with us and it always will be since their will always be private individuals exchanging things with each other, and the value of these things will fluctuate and be different for every person.

Bob said...

Serfs weren't engaged in commodity production, nor was there a place for them outside of their lord's estate. There were markets in those times, but they were incidental to how food was produced and civilization maintained. Feudalism, in Marxian terms, was the system by which production was organized. They identify slavery and capitalism through this framework.

Auburn Parks said...

"They had a narrative and they had a stick, for those who would not accept the narrative. Just like today. No evil there, no siree."

Dont know what this means

"What issue do you have with those definitions?"

The Marxian definition per Wiki

The capitalist mode of production is characterized by private ownership of the means of production, extraction of surplus value by the owning class for the purpose of capital accumulation, wage-based labour, and, at least as far as commodities are concerned, being market-based.[2]

There always has been private ownership of the means of production. Therefore capitalism is not new. Most people think capitalism started in the 17th century ish, but according to this part of the defintion, its always been around.

The 2nd part about surplus value and accumulating capital aka wealth. Well thats always been around too. You dont think Crassius started that Fire department to make money off of people suffering fire in Rome for the benefit of the state do you?

Wage based labor is also not new. Sure modern currencies are new, but states have hd money for thousands of years and almost all workers but slaves were compensated for their labor. Again, this is timeless and useless in helping understand the system we currently operate.

And human exchange has always been market based as there is no other way to exchange things. Sometimes prices are set, sometimes, administered, sometimes they are freely determined but the. Because there is no such thing as objective value (an apple's value is purely subjective to the beholder) there is no escaping market based value exchange. Shit even monkeys and apes understand fair exchange and reciprocal action.

Auburn Parks said...

"Serfs weren't engaged in commodity production, nor was there a place for them outside of their lord's estate. There were markets in those times, but they were incidental to how food was produced and civilization maintained. Feudalism, in Marxian terms, was the system by which production was organized. They identify slavery and capitalism through this framework."

Raising crops is literally the defintion of commodity production. And serfs often were made to pay their rents with crops. And the churhc and king usually got a cut too. And then what was surplus was exchanged for other goods. How is this not exactyl what we have today?

Bob said...

Dont know what this means

You tell people there is a 'natural order of things', to get them to accept whatever status quo exists at the time. Of course, it is usually necessary to back this up with the use of force.

Private ownership, surplus extraction, accumulation, wages, markets are referring to differences in kind. It has always been necessary to produce a surplus, if we are to survive. It's necessary to feed and house a slave, if that slave is to continue working. It is necessary to allow serfs to keep some of their production so that they may live and reproduce. The question is how these activities take place and in what context.

Capitalism is not characterized by slave labour or indentured labour. It's not characterized by communal production, although there are some businesses that are worker-owned and managed. The relationship between an employer and employee is not the same as that of a lord and serf, or owner and slave. Lords did not accumulate their surplus by producing and selling commodities as is done today.

There was a time when markets were not used to exchange and distribute goods. You'd have the lord or a council of elders decide who got what based on need, or deservedness.

Bob said...

Raising crops is literally the defintion of commodity production. And serfs often were made to pay their rents with crops. And the churhc and king usually got a cut too. And then what was surplus was exchanged for other goods. How is this not exactyl what we have today?

It's not a commodity, as it was consumed by the serf, or the lord and his hangers-on, or stored. It is what we have today in kind. Division of labor and transportation has changed the context.