Monday, June 26, 2017

David Fields — Capitalism is national & transnational, but what about the money?


Marxians picking up on MMT.

Radical Political Economy
Capitalism is national & transnational, but what about the money?
David Fields

39 comments:

David Fields said...

Thanks for the re-post.

Cheers,
D.

Matt Franko said...

How can marxians be picking up on MMT when we were under metals when Marx developed capitalism ? Which using the metals was the source of all the problems he was looking into in the first place?

Now you don't want to give it up? So you are trying to pound a square peg into a round hole?

Bob said...

Reformist-minded Marxians may have a use for MMT.

Magpie said...

Matt Franko said...

How can marxians be picking up on MMT when we were under metals when Marx developed capitalism ? Which using the metals was the source of all the problems he was looking into in the first place?

Now you don't want to give it up? So you are trying to pound a square peg into a round hole?


Say what????

(1) when we were under metals when Marx developed capitalism ?

Marx developed capitalism???????

(2) Which using the metals was the source of all the problems he was looking into in the first place?

Maybe things changed since the last time I went to a secret witches' sabbath, but wasn't the source of all problems the private property of the means of production?????

(3) Now you don't want to give it up? So you are trying to pound a square peg into a round hole?

What have you been smoking lately? :-)

----------

KA-BOOOOM! That was the sound of my mind blowing up. :-)

Magpie said...

Bob said...

Reformist-minded Marxians may have a use for MMT.

I've been procrastinating on writing a couple of posts on the meaning of the words "reformism" and "revisionism": how and when they first were used, how their meaning has changed over time. I should have done that. I'll try to have something soon.

I'm not suggesting that's your case, but people often use those two words in extremely loose fashion.

But the point here is that MMT describes the way money works in a modern capitalist system. Marxists, whether reforrmist or not, are interested in the way modern capitalism works. The match is clear, isn't it?

Tom Hickey said...

MMT also describes how an economy works under the metals, bullion or any other system. These systems are institutionally based and the primary institution is the legal system, especially under a state money aka chartalist regime. But it is also true under a pure credit system independently of state influence.

What Marx held was a form of institutionalism. Marx was also a historical relativist. (I say this with the caveat that I am not a scholar of Marx, and just about everything having to do with Marx is disputed.)

For Marx, the historical institutions that determine the infrastructure determine the superstructure that can be built on it — but changing conditions in the superstructure can also alter the infrastructure, or there would be no change, which is patently false.

Marx's historical determinism is relative historically because it is institutional rather than "natural," like the determinism of the natural science. But once the institutions are fixed, then the outcomes are as determined by positive law as the laws of the natural sciences. But those institutions are not fixed naturally and as human creations are subject to change by humans. So "capitalism" doesn't denote a fixed form but rather a system in which the means of production are owned legally by private parties, are exchanged iaw the law of contracts, etc.

As a historical relativists, Marx would not have insisted that the capitalism he and Engels critique couldn't or wouldn't change. They cannot be critiqued for changes they could not foresee. Contemporary Marxists and Marxians attempt to update Marx and
Engels in light of historical changes including the monetary system.

As I understand it, Marx did view gold as a numeraire that could be used to measure the changes in the monetary system and relative value historically by comparing prices and quantities.

I don't see any problem with this, and in fact, it is largely the way that the bullion market is traded even now. It is also very useful to look at the relative value of various real assets in relation to gold historically. While there may be considerable superstition around gold, there is also some truth.

One aspect of historical determinism is the monetary regime that has been institutionalized in law in all modern societies. From those legal institutions certain economic and financial results necessarily follow to the degree the law is followed and not changed. If the law is changed significantly the entire infrastructure shifts and the so does the superstructure based on it. This what happened when the US went off gold domestically and then internationally too. The superstructure is still adapting and will until this sinks in or is changed..

Therefore whoever makes and enforces the law is the dominant power. Under capitalism it is owners of capital. Under feudalism it was the landlords ( a land "lord" could maintain his own gallows). Under despotism, it is the despot. The kings of old could order the currency cried up or down as they wished.

So I see no conflict between either Marxists or Marxians, since we now live under a different monetary regime than applied at the time of Marx. A lot of other institutions have changed or shifted too. The system that Marx and Engels were describing is only of historical interest now, but their methods and principles still have application. But Marx and Engels were doing political economy and not "economics," which was a later invention and arguably a step backward.

Bob said...

But the point here is that MMT describes the way money works in a modern capitalist system. Marxists, whether reforrmist or not, are interested in the way modern capitalism works. The match is clear, isn't it?

For the sake of intellectual honesty they should be interested. But given that understanding, what is there for a Marxist to advocate?

One MMT prescription that may be interesting from a Marxist perspective is the JG/NABER described by Bill Mitchell. It could be a reform or a strategic move towards replacing capitalism.

Tom Hickey said...

The only way to replace capitalism (favoring capital as a factor) is by reducing or eliminating its institutional privileges and ceasing to prioritize it over other factors.

Magpie said...

Bob said...

For the sake of intellectual honesty they should be interested. But given that understanding, what is there for a Marxist to advocate?

I think there are some things mainstream economists have right. One of them is the distinction between normative (i.e. what ought to be) and positive (what is) economics. That distinction, btw, is usually attributed to Keynes Sr (John Neville). That is a useful distinction.

I dare say that Marxists, as Marxists, don't do advocacy or normative economics, beyond asking for the expropriation of the means of production and the elimination of class distinctions. Those are our strategic goals. I haste to add that as human beings immersed in an economy and affected by it, Marxists are not indifferent to economic policy. We may prefer some things over others, but we don't have those preferences as Marxists, but as human beings immersed in an economy and affected by it. In those circumstance, we too make normative statements.

There are things important, beyond ultimate strategic goals.

To advance a little on the reformism thing. As a Marxist worker, I certainly see with sympathy laws protecting workers, increasing wages, creating environmental regulations. I too, think the JG MMTers propose would be a good thing. How could I not? They would improve the lives of many, particularly the only many who matter to me: my family, my friends, my workmates, my class (yes, and me included, because it would also benefit me).

Those are reforms. There are many who, for one reason or another, advocate them: this ought to be. They don't put an end to capitalism, they give it a human face (what Wilson calls "breeding a non-aggressive" capitalism, as one breeds tame dogs), they reform it.

But they would never solve the ultimate source of our problems: exploitation in a class society. And they will remain at capitalists' mercy and pleasure: one day they will get sick of it and we'll say bye bye to the reforms, as we did with the golden age of enlightened capitalism.

Personally, I doubt we'll ever see a JG. For one, because capitalists don't want one. But if a popular movement were strong enough to impose a JG (and I hope I'll live to see that day), against the will of capitalists, against their military and their police and their judges and politicians and their media, we would still be better off expropriating the means of production.

If we can make the revolution, why be content with the JG?

Magpie said...

Incidentally, MMT also offers valuable insights on positive economics, which, as far as I can see, are perfectly compatible with Marxism.

Neil Wilson said...

"one day they will get sick of it and we'll say bye bye to the reforms"

And how will they do that in any way that couldn't also be done to stop the 'expropriation of the means of production'.

The Marxist revolution claptrap is so contradictory. Capitalists can easily stop reform by the majority but apparently won't use the same means to stop revolution.

Magpie said...

Neil Wilson said...

And how will they do that in any way that couldn't also be done to stop the 'expropriation of the means of production'.

The Marxist revolution claptrap is so contradictory. Capitalists can easily stop reform by the majority but apparently won't use the same means to stop revolution.


Congratulations Wilson, you've broken your own record. This has got to be the stupidest question you have ever asked.

Just ask yourself how did the so-called neoliberal counter-revolution happened.

Re-read the fucking comment, imbecile.


Bob said...

I think there are some things mainstream economists have right. One of them is the distinction between normative (i.e. what ought to be) and positive (what is) economics. That distinction, btw, is usually attributed to Keynes Sr (John Neville). That is a useful distinction.

I have read about this distinction in the past, but it refers to the difference between normative and positive statements. I dare say that 'normative economics' is not economics, it is preaching.

Advocacy is about "what ought to be", as in a better future (progressive) or a return to the past (conservative). Marxian strategic goals are supposed to lead us to an alternative economic system. The economics of that system may not exist yet.

Advocating reform is often done for humanitarian reasons. It may also be strategic, as per the incrementalist approach. I believe there is room for MMT within these camps.

What use is MMT for a Trotskyist? Reform is a distraction from their objective of world revolution.

What use is MMT for those who believe that the ends justify the means? Don't reform capitalism, make it more painful!

If we can make the revolution, why be content with the JG?

Maybe baby steps is preferable to a great leap forward. A functional JG/NBER framework would become an example of 'what is'. Build from there.

Auburn Parks said...

Honest question Magpie

when you say that the marxist goal is "the expropriation of the means of production and the elimination of class distinctions"

Is this tongue in cheek?
If the above quote is not actually just sarcasm, what does it actually mean?

In your marxist utopia, can I run my own business like I do now? I buy foreclosed houses, fix them up and either rent them or sell them for a profit. Do you want this to be illegal?

When you say "no class distinction" do you mean that there will be no such thing as social hierarchy in the marxist utopia?

If private biz is to be illegal in your marxist utopia, do you accept that it would take an enormous totalitarian beuarcratic state to prevent people from creating private markets.

So I looked up the Marxist defintion (per wikipedia) of capitalism a few months ago and it basically has 4 attributes.

"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]"

1. private ownership of biz
2 profit seeking
3. wage labor
4. market based

The reason no developed country has ever freely chosen real socialism (as opposed to welfare programs) is because the above 4 characteristics of capitalism are really just characteristics of human nature and reality.

1. Absolutist Collective ownership is against human nature in large groups
2. All humans want to increase their standard of living aka "make a profit"
3. Almost all humans work for someone else at some point in time and are compensated in some fashion
4. Exchange of any kind is by definition "market based". So thats not something that can be legislated out of existence.

The stupidity of the marxist utopia is only surpassed by the stupidity of the libertarian utopia.

Tom Hickey said...

we would still be better off expropriating the means of production.

I would put it somewhat different, substituting "re-appropriate" or "return" the expropriation of the commons, the people and surplus as a whole. The surplus should be distributed based on 1) need prior to want, and 2) democratically rather than oligarchically by an elite that control the system socially, politically and economically-financially.

This does not imply numerical or absolute equality but rather egality (fairness, reciprocity) based on the Golden Rule.

This would be a much more sustainable from of liberalism than bourgeois liberalism, which portends to end badly.

Tom Hickey said...

@ Auburn

The questions you bring up are a props. Utopian thinking alone is impractical.

The inquiry needs to start with the question that the ancient Greeks asked, "What does it mean to live a good life in a good society."?

Aristotle observed that speculation begins in wonder, that is, curiosity intense enough to spark interest in focus on the statement of a design problem and proposal of possible solutions.

This is speculative knowledge about fundamental principles, which we now call theoretical knowledge and the Greeks called sophia.

The theoretical answer is two fold. The first is utopian, outlining an ideal life in an ideal society. The second is a further question. How to achieve this by getting from here to there.

This is practical knowledge, which the Greeks called phronesis. While speculative knowledge is a body of knowledge, practical knowledge is the result of unfolding skills in critical and creative thinking and action. What we now call planning and execution, or strategy and tactics. This will different based on changing conditions.

It about knowing where you are going and having a plan for getting there.

Setting out without a destination is an adventure rather than a journey.

Having a destination without a map and itinerary is just wishful thinking.

Auburn Parks said...

"I would put it somewhat different, substituting "re-appropriate" or "return" the expropriation of the commons, the people and surplus as a whole."

I have no idea what any of this means in real terms. What surplus specifically? what specifically are you defining as the commons in this context?

For example, I believe one the most fundamental problems we have is that the share of national income going to workers has gone from about 65% average between 1945 and 1983 to its 58% level today. This translates to roughly $1.2 trillion in annual income lost to workers or roughly $10K per year per worker ($1.2 trillion / 120 million workers).

Or I could put it into productive terms, where average wages should keep up with productivity in order to maintain the circular flow of spending, consumption, and incomes.

In either defintion\context, I would describe "returning the expropriation of the commons and surplus blah blah blah" as returning to a more efficient and equitable distribution of national income like we had during the 50's\80's.

Now from this POV we have actual things to discuss and measure. From this foudnation we can have a reasonable discussion. You may believe that 65% of national income going to labor is too little and we can debate that. Of course there are many ways to change the national income distribution share, and we'd probably disagree about what specific measure to take to accomplish our redistriubtion goal. All reasonable stuff and much worth discussing.

But blather about "expropriation" and "surplus" without any context or definition is just meaningless rhetoric just like Magpie's bullshit "marxism". Which is why I asked specific real world questions about her marxist utopian vision.

Auburn Parks said...

"The questions you bring up are a props. Utopian thinking alone is impractical."

No Tom my questions are not "props" they are legitimate questions about the extent of Magpie's (or for that matter any other self described "socialist") ideology.

I want to know if in their vision for the future, what I do to make a living will be illegal. It doesnt get any more down to earth then this.

"The inquiry needs to start with the question that the ancient Greeks asked, "What does it mean to live a good life in a good society."?
"

I disagree with this. Because their are no clear answers to the question. You and I alone would be unable to come to a common understanding and set of principles without a tremendous amount of difficulty. And thats just the two of us, finding this answer for a country of hundreds of millions is impossible.

For example, part of my personal definition of "good society" would include far more foreign policy intervention then your personal definition. I dont believe libertarian principles are a good way to run a domestic society, and since foreign policy or nation state actions in the "domestic Earth" are largely identical to the problems and interests of a deomestic polity, libertarianism wont work internationally any better then it does domestically. I believe in hegemonic stability theory and that the US empire can and should be a force for good in the world. And better us then China.

You and I have talked about this stuff at length over the years, and we are no closer to coming to a consensus. So if you and I cant come to an agreement on just this tiny sliver of the whole that makes up the concept of "the good society" why would you think problem would get any easier when considering the whole pie on the scale of 100s of millions and not just the two of us?

We cant and so your entire premise as to what the most pressing problem (defining what it means to live a good life in a good society) is flawed and inoperable. You cant start with this proposition because you can never find a consensus that means anything on this issue.

Tom Hickey said...

I have no idea what any of this means in real terms. What surplus specifically? what specifically are you defining as the commons in this context?

In the hunter-gatherers stage of human development, there was no private property, no means of production, no wages and everyone survived cooperatively at the substance level. There was no surplus above subsistence.

With the advent of agriculture and primitive technology, a surplus over subsistence became possible and the surplus was capable of supporting classes that were not involved directly in production, that is, a warrior class necessary to guard the territory and surplus, and an intelligentsia that developed early STEM. These developed into the palace and temple and institutionalized elite classes that governed society and distributed the surplus and enclosed territory as they chose if at all. In many cases the productive class was enslaved and lived on subsistence allowed by the elite classes — if they were lucky and had kind masters instead of being worked to death.

John Locke's narrative about the natural origin of private property has no historical merit and it is a just-so story, like the narrative about the first economies being barter economies.

The actual history and anthropology is the story of forced enclosure of the commons and forcing the productive class to be either slaves, servants or hired workers.

In other words, the conventional narrative is bullshit. The fact was expropriation and exploitation using violence or the threat of violence.

That needs to be reversed after having been institutionalized as various "—archies" that were not true democracies. Those institutions need to be changed democratically to bring bourgeois liberalism to an end and install an integrated social, political and economic liberalism that doesn't make a sham of liberalism.

Tom Hickey said...

For example, I believe one the most fundamental problems we have is that the share of national income going to workers has gone from about 65% average between 1945 and 1983 to its 58% level today. This translates to roughly $1.2 trillion in annual income lost to workers or roughly $10K per year per worker ($1.2 trillion / 120 million workers).

Or I could put it into productive terms, where average wages should keep up with productivity in order to maintain the circular flow of spending, consumption, and incomes.

In either defintion\context, I would describe "returning the expropriation of the commons and surplus blah blah blah" as returning to a more efficient and equitable distribution of national income like we had during the 50's\80's.


You are assuming the continuance of the capitalism system. I am not and I don't think that Magpie is either.

Neither reform nor revision will ever resolve the internal contradictions of capitalism such as the liberal paradoxes I have been setting forth.

The game needs to change.

Bob said...

1. private ownership of biz
2. profit seeking
3. wage labor
4. market based

Expropriation of the means of production can mean nationalization of banks and the 'commanding heights' of the economy. It can mean running businesses democratically, where workers are also owners. It can mean redistributing profits in the form of a citizen's dividend.

If we are all owners than class differences between employer and employee dissolve. Fixed wages are replaced with profit and risk sharing.

Marxists prefer that some goods and services be distributed on the basis of need, not sold in a market as commodities.

Tom Hickey said...

No Tom my questions are not "props" they are legitimate questions about the extent of Magpie's (or for that matter any other self described "socialist") ideology.

I want to know if in their vision for the future, what I do to make a living will be illegal. It doesnt get any more down to earth then this.

Autocorrect again. " a props" should be "apropos"

I want to know if in their vision for the future, what I do to make a living will be illegal. It doesnt get any more down to earth then this.

To be determined in the future. Humanity is still developing.

Marx & Engels were not for abolition of all private property initially. They were against private ownership of the means of production in the hands of an ownership class — the rentier land barons and the industrial capitalists that controlled technology — that was not itself productive.

As they saw the problem in their time, there were three major classes, 1) the proletariat (laborers that didn't own any "property," that is land or means of production, 2) petite bourgeoisie like shop keepers and trades people that owned their means of livelihood but were small scale, and 3) the haute bourgeoisie or "capitalists." The intelligentsia were largely the minions of capital, dependent on capital for support. Then there were the land barons left over as a remnant of feudalism and they constituted the rentiers.

Marx and Engels complained that the petite bourgeoisie identified with the haute bourgeoisie and aspire to rise to their level, or at least their children. They felt that the petite bourgeoisie needed to be educated that their real interest lay with the workers, and together the proletariat and petite bourgeoisie could oust the haute bourgeoisie.

This was not really possible through democracy at the time, so the only avenue seemed to be revolution. Marx and Engels were aware that the American Revolution worked somewhat satisfactorily while the French Revolution was kind of a bust. The challenge was to mount a liberal revolution by workers and small owners of property against the control of the land barons and industrial capitalism that represented a iteration of feudalism.

This is now possible to do democratically at least in principle in liberal republics.

The ideal would be to reinstate a system comparable to the freedom of the hunter-gathers in a developed society. This would not be possible initially but would take time to raise the level of collective consciousness to the point at which class power would disappear in a truly liberal society based on reciprocity, social value and human dignity.

The Marxist POV is not too much different from Catholic social teaching, to the degree that market fundamentalists regard Pope Francis a Marxist in funny clothes. The pope would likely even agree that conventional religion has been an opiate and has little to do with the actual teaching of Jesus. I would say that he has said as much, at least obliquely.

Auburn Parks said...

Tom-

wrt to your first reply (the one about our history). none of that does anything to answer the question I asked you. I didnt ask about your perspective on the abstract concept of "surplus" from the very begginnings of human society. i asked what it is specifically you want to do today wrt to the system as it is now. Your history lesson doesnt give me any clues about the how you would answer my question.

Auburn Parks said...

Tom

"You are assuming the continuance of the capitalism system. I am not and I don't think that Magpie is either.

Neither reform nor revision will ever resolve the internal contradictions of capitalism such as the liberal paradoxes I have been setting forth.

The game needs to change."

There is no other system then the capitalist system. As there are no other realistic ways to organize society other than through

1. wage labor
2. markets
3. profit seeking
4. private ownerhsip

And this is obviously the reason why we have always had capitlism in the post hunter gatherer epoch and the reason we will always have capitalism. So your belief that there is a post capitalist system is just non-sensible. Which is of course why I asked my original sensible question.

In your future utopian world, will my present business be legal?

Auburn Parks said...

All systems have paradoxes as all systems have pros and cons. Your socialist utopia also has paradoxes. Why dont you ever talk about those?

"Marx & Engels were not for abolition of all private property initially. They were against private ownership of the means of production in the hands of an ownership class — the rentier land barons and the industrial capitalists that controlled technology — that was not itself productive. "

Tighter\fairer rules of ownership =/= end of capitalism

"The ideal would be to reinstate a system comparable to the freedom of the hunter-gathers in a developed society. This would not be possible initially but would take time to raise the level of collective consciousness to the point at which class power would disappear in a truly liberal society based on reciprocity, social value and human dignity."

Utopian nonsense. Hunter gatherer societies were only like that because of their small size, there is no comparison to the global village and billions of directly interacting people. Class power comes from many different things: money, knowledge, law, land, people skills, speaking skills, imagination etc there can be no situation (nor would we want one) where there can be equality through all the domains of human and natural life, and because there can be no equality there will necessarily be asymmetries and these naturally and inevitably lead to power differences. Thats why hierarchies are pyramid shaped, there can be no perfect equality.

So as usual, you answered none of my questions. Youve jjust given me some fluff about a utopian fufture. You dont engage or address any of the paradoxes of human nature and large complex societies. You just say that things are terrible right now and they can be better if only humans all followed your own philosophy. This is not any more helpful or realistic than libertarians who believe that everything will be better if we just get the govt out of the way.

Tom Hickey said...

wrt to your first reply (the one about our history). none of that does anything to answer the question I asked you. I didnt ask about your perspective on the abstract concept of "surplus" from the very begginnings of human society. i asked what it is specifically you want to do today wrt to the system as it is now. Your history lesson doesnt give me any clues about the how you would answer my question.

First, publicly acknowledge what historians and anthropologists have long been saying. There is no natural "right of private property" and that history shows that the origin and develop of private property was based on force used by an elite to feather their nests on the backs of the less powerful.

Then inquire what to do about it setting this straight through the democratic process, similar to the demand oppressed people for reparation.

This likely won't happen until the ownership class sees the guillotines blades being sharpened.

Tom Hickey said...

There is no other system then the capitalist system. As there are no other realistic ways to organize society other than through.

That is a huge assumption based on what? The capitalist system suppressing any attempt to reform or replace it? This is in fact what American hegemony is about.

Tom Hickey said...

@ Auburn

Opponents of capitalism are not obliged to provide anything more than a criticism and a beginning to replace it. No one can can reasonablly envision what the end result will be now, because there is never an end result in history. Capitalism as "the end of history" is just nonsensical unless it ends in extinction, a distinct possibility.

Let's hypothesize that people at large perceive an extinction event looming with TPTB planning to leave them on their own while they fly of their havens somewhere, which they are already preparing to do in earnest.

There will be change, and what it look like be Is unpredictable. Maybe a series of repeats of the French Revolution.

Either we start changing now, or else that eventuality may not be far off.

Magpie said...

Bob said...

I have read about this distinction in the past, but it refers to the difference between normative and positive statements. I dare say that 'normative economics' is not economics, it is preaching.

This is not important, Bob, but the distinction is between economics. God knows, I ain't no fan of Milton Friedman but you can see that distinction in his infamous essay. In fact, you don't need to read past its title: "The Methodology of Positive Economics"

What use is MMT for a Trotskyist? Reform is a distraction from their objective of world revolution.

That's a good question. I'm no Trotskyist, so I'll have to guess. Knowledge of how money really works in modern capitalism should be extremely useful. MMT, as positive economics, offers that.

MMT also offers a series of normative proposals to reform capitalism. I suppose a Trostskyist would not like them much. I myself am ambivalent about them. I agree they are very attractive, but they won't fix capitalism.

Maybe baby steps is preferable to a great leap forward. A functional JG/NBER framework would become an example of 'what is'. Build from there.

To get a JG up and running may require pretty much a revolution. You don't need to take my word for that: Kalecki in person wrote about a popular movement as the way to get full employment against capitalists' wishes.

But one doesn't need to appeal to Kalecki's authority. It's a matter of common sense and experience. Just think of Occupy Wall Street: the cops were ready to start killing people. And the thing people criticised Occupy Wall Street is that they had no demands whatsoever! We've read about that in this very blog.

Syriza, Sanders, Corbyn. All these cases generated a backlash out of proportion to what those guys really demanded.

The Latin American pink tide is all but gone.

Do you really believe a popular movement demanding the JG would be treated any better?

One thing you can be sure of: it will take a lot of political struggle to get the JG.

Magpie said...

Auburn Parks said...

Honest question Magpie

blah, blah, blah,

Is this tongue in cheek?
If the above quote is not actually just sarcasm, what does it actually mean?

blah, blah, blah,

The stupidity of the marxist utopia is only surpassed by the stupidity of the libertarian utopia.


Okay, Auburn, let's try to comment/answer one of your "questions".

1. Absolutist Collective ownership is against human nature in large groups.
2. All humans want to increase their standard of living aka "make a profit"
3. Almost all humans work for someone else at some point in time and are compensated in some fashion
4. Exchange of any kind is by definition "market based". So thats not something that can be legislated out of existence.


I'm feeling generous. I'll assume you are not a young-earther or intelligent designer.

Our species -- perhaps you know -- is called Homo sapiens sapiens and it is hard to precise when it first appeared. Some conservative estimates are about 150,000 years ago (there are other estimates, around 200,000 years or more, but we'll be conservative).

The earliest Neolithic is dated about 10,000 years ago. Before that our species existed as nomadic Paleo/Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, basically without any private property. So that means that private property has existed, in the most generous estimation, 6.7% of our life as species. Yet, private property is part of human nature. We know that because you, in your infinite erudition, tells us.

They no doubt wanted to "increase their standards of living", but they against your wisdon, didn't do that through "a profit".

Those pre-Neolithic nomads may or may not have considered the land they inhabited as the group's collective "property", but two things we know for sure: (1) if they considered that land their property, that property was not transferable, it wasn't for sale. They couldn't give it away, lend or lease it, give it as a collateral for a loan, as you can with your houses. If it at all was property, it was a property very different from that charaterising the houses you buy, fix and sell. (2) It wasn't any individual's personal property.

Magpie said...

I again will be generous: you do know that there was a time when people were considered items of property. They were called slaves. Since the Neolithic slavery became fairly common.

In classical Greece labour, being performed largely by slaves, was not considered occupation of proper gentlemen. They, like their Roman counterparts later, did not work for wages. Still, wage labour is part of human nature.

It was in Rome, some 2,100 years ago (1.4% of our species' existence), when there finally appeared a substantial group of wage-earners. If memory serves it was a consequence of the Marian reforms: the Roman legionnaires. A military of some 80,000 to 160,000 men in an empire of 20-30 million people. Still, wage-labour is human nature.

After that an for centuries, wage-labour all but disappeared and only became prevalent in the latest 250 years. And, yet, it is human nature.

Magpie said...

I tire of this exercise, Auburn. The point is that you presume to speak of human nature. What human nature you speak of? That of the Romans? Roman family heads had in theory the right to kill their children, but they condemned human sacrifices. Germanic/Celtic barbarians performed human sacrifices, but condemned pederasty, which Greek citizens enjoyed. Is incest against human nature? Egyptian princes had a taste for their sisters. Is human nature to work hard? Ask Plato.

You have no idea what you are talking about and, what is worse, you don't know that you don't know. To put it bluntly: you are an ignoramus.

You started your braying thus:

Honest question Magpie

It's my turn to be honest, Auburn. Among a great many other things, you don't know what the word "honesty" means.

I am not suggesting you are thief stealing from those poor devils whom, I imagine, work for you. What you do is legal: to profit from their labour, from their misfortune, like a parasite that you must be is not against the law.

The honest truth is that hierarchy you find part of human nature is what allows an illiterate slob like yourself that. Learn self-awareness and find your place, filthy piece of shit.

Matt Franko said...

Mag, You can't say work is misfortune while at the same time advocating a JG....

Tom Hickey said...

Mag, You can't say work is misfortune while at the same time advocating a JG....

Of course you can if you assume gradual rather than sudden change.

Sudden change is disruptive and the outcome uncertain.

Gradual change is usually preferable.

This is why it is foolhardy for TPTB to create a situation where they are led to the guillotine and change is revolutionary.

The American revolution was fairly successful. The French Revolution was messy.

Bob said...

But one doesn't need to appeal to Kalecki's authority. It's a matter of common sense and experience. Just think of Occupy Wall Street: the cops were ready to start killing people. And the thing people criticised Occupy Wall Street is that they had no demands whatsoever! We've read about that in this very blog.

Syriza, Sanders, Corbyn. All these cases generated a backlash out of proportion to what those guys really demanded.


The powers that be are scared of losing the narrative and then losing the vote. Are the cops ready to start killing voters?

Bill Mitchell's latest blog post states that employment should be a human right. That sort of change would not require a revolution. And full employment policies used to be de rigueur in Australia.

Bob said...

I ain't no fan of Milton Friedman but you can see that distinction in his infamous essay. In fact, you don't need to read past its title: "The Methodology of Positive Economics"

Sure, but Friedman was an ideologue. His economics was positively tainted.

Tom Hickey said...

The so-called positivism of people like Friedman is actually normative, that is, ideologically driven and aimed at justifying the ideology with a rationale based on "reason. . He is pulling a fast one, and I think he is smart enough to know it.

Ayn Rand pulled the same thing, but I am not sure she was smart enough to realize it.

Magpie said...

Bob said...

Sure, but Friedman was an ideologue. His economics was positively tainted.

:-)

Still, that doesn't deny the distinction is useful. Besides, coming from Keynes (J.N.) it must be a good thing. :-)

Tom Hickey said...

Actually the positive-normative distinction comes from philosophy.

Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte 19 (January 1798 – 5 September 1857)[4] was a French philosopher who founded the discipline of praxeology[5] and the doctrine of positivism. He is sometimes regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term.[6]

Influenced by the utopian socialist Henri Saint-Simon,[4] Comte developed the positive philosophy in an attempt to remedy the social malaise of the French Revolution, calling for a new social doctrine based on the sciences. Comte was a major influence on 19th-century thought, influencing the work of social thinkers such as Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, and George Eliot.[7] His concept of sociologie and social evolutionism set the tone for early social theorists and anthropologists such as Harriet Martineau and Herbert Spencer, evolving into modern academic sociology presented by Émile Durkheim as practical and objective social research.

Comte's social theories culminated in his "Religion of Humanity",[4] which presaged the development of non-theistic religious humanist and secular humanist organizations in the 19th century. Comte may have coined the word altruisme (altruism).[8]


Wikipedia

See also David Hume on the distinction between "is" and "ought."

The is–ought problem, as articulated by Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume (1711–76), states that many writers make claims about what ought to be on the basis of statements about what is. Hume found that there seems to be a significant difference between positive statements (about what is) and prescriptive or normative statements (about what ought to be), and that it is not obvious how one can coherently move from descriptive statements to prescriptive ones. The is–ought problem is also known as Hume's law, or Hume's guillotine.

A similar view is defended by G. E. Moore's open-question argument, intended to refute any identification of moral properties with natural properties. This so-called naturalistic fallacy stands in contrast to the views of ethical naturalists.


Wikipedia