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Capitalism

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Raisin, 11 July 2016.

  1. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    As requested, a thread jumping off from a conversation in the Shoutbox. To begin with, then, the excerpt from Chesterton which sparked the discussion:

    "It cannot be too often repeated that what destroyed the Family in the modern world was Capitalism. No doubt it might have been Communism, if Communism had ever had a chance, outside that semi-Mongolian wilderness where it actually flourishes. But, so far as we are concerned, what has broken up households and encouraged divorces, and treated the old domestic virtues with more and more open contempt, is the epoch and Power of Capitalism. It is Capitalism that has forced a moral feud and a commercial competition between the sexes; that has destroyed the influence of the parent in favour of the influence of the employer; that has driven men from their homes to look for jobs; that has forced them to live near their factories or their firms instead of near their families; and, above all, that has encouraged, for commercial reasons, a parade of publicity and garish novelty, which is in its nature the death of all that was called dignity and modesty by our mothers and fathers."

    Now, I, as the poster, rather like the quote; Valvar did not. His position, if I am not misrepresenting it, was that Capitalism is simply the logical conclusion of man’s competitive impulses, and the economic consequences thereof, within an industrial framework. That is to say: It is of a very general nature, and is not something that can be opposed with success. I, on the other hand, consider it to be a very specific development of Western civilisation, and as such something that is realistically and practicably defeasible. I shall make that case in a moment, but first – the general question for the thread: What is the nature of Capitalism? and by extension, what can be done about it?
     
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  2. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    At the heart of my position is the idea that, for humanity, to give material ideologies the centre stage of society is really quite unnatural; And as such, that they can only be the consequence of a social, or Historical, force: Namely, the collapse of constructive, organic ideals, and the codification of secondary, derivative ideals.

    Thus we can reasonably speak of organic economic orders, which are integrated into a more morally primal social order, - such as the Villa rustica of the Roman Republic, the Feudal system of Medieval Europe, the Fengjian system of Zhou China, - or even the state-centred temple economy of Pr under Pr-aa for the Old Kingdom of Egypt, and the subjugation economy of Qasr and Iqta for the Umayyad Mahometan. We may then speak of the bourgeoisification of that social order: the rise of ager publicus and the slave-managed Latifundium in the Late Republic with the correlate skyscrapers and proscription economics of men like Crassus, the rise of the Hanseatic League and the general urbanisation of Late Medieval and Renaissance Europe, the rise of the silk road and such general reforms as the wangtian system in Han China, the rise of slave economics in New Kingdom Egypt, and the bloody system of Ottoman (et alii) Jasyr and the Esir Pazan wherein great slave raids were conducted by Arabs against the ilâd as-sûdân, Barbary corsairs against the coasts of Europe, Tartars against the Rus, and by Persians against India. And so on, and so forth, does this mercantilism develop, until we see a heavily rationalist and systematic conception of life: Absurdities such as Capitalism and Fascism, Nationalism and Maoism, the Young Turks and Ba'athism, and even the socialism of Mazdak and Sassanian land reforms, - These all taken on a new dimension when seen through a historicist lens of culture collapsing into the sterile.

    Several things appear to be clear about these developed, economic ideologies: The first is that the Marxist view of history in terms of an inevitable sequence of economic systems is completely wrong. There is no progression of economic and social modes from hunter-gatherer to slave-agricultural to feudal-agricultural to Capitalist and ultimately to the end-of-history of Socialist economics: Slavery in particular completely defies that trend, as does the fact that large-scale trade was essential to the civilisation of Araby, and likewise was bureaucracy to Legalist-Confucian Chinese civilisation, from early in their development. The only respect in which economics progresses in a linear fashion is in technological capacity: But how that technology is utilised, - that is, the mode of production, - is socially contingent and thus determined by the history of particular civilisations alone. WW2 presented a competition between Capitalist and Social-Dirigist worldviews, the Cold War between Capitalist and Socialist worldviews: These worldviews were grounded not in an experience of industry and market conditions, - Germany was no less developed than the UK and the USA, - but in the particularities of culture and history, and the ideologies thereof; And these distinct worldviews were able to present alternative (often highly effective) models of industrial production and thus of social life. To consider the victory of Capitalism to be inevitable is fairly revisionist: Sovietism would quite easily have rolled over Europe were it not for the doctrine of MAD, the NATO defences being a mere tripwire; It was only thanks to nuclear proliferation blocking Soviet access to wider fields of resources that they were driven to relative stagnation. And who can say that it is not geopolitics which sustains Capitalist economics today? Namely, the fixed modes of trade and the currency relations which permit an abstracted debt economy to function in the face of global relations.

    And yet, while the element of geopolitics cannot be overstated in the success of the system, the essence of the system is another matter entirely. For Capitalism, I do not think it can be denied, relies on several elements: A Lockean conception of property, a Private-Professional Corporativist model of production, competitive internationalist markets, an abstracted standard of value for trade, and an emphasis on consumer goods. Remove any one of these elements and you jeopardise all the others. Two things can be observed about this: The first is the precarious nature of the system; The second is its contingency on a particular, and particularly Late Western, moral psychology.

    Much has been debated on the former aspect: Malthusianism vs. Cornucopianism; the chaos inherent in abstract capital relations; the intense wastefulness of production; And so on. But I should note two things as being of particular relevance to a potential crisis: The reliance of Capitalist economics on the exploitation of undeveloped and developing economies, and the assumption of a stable psychological form of man. In many respects, the two are related: Deindustrialisation is often a social phenomena; But certainly it is something that, in order for the Capitalist economy of the nation in question to survive, needs to be counterbalanced by a parallel Industrialisation of a separate nation. Eventually, the corners of the map will be filled in, in that regard. The possibility of mechanical production to further undermine the role of the individual as a producer, - and thus as a consumer, - is also a potential crisis for the core principles of the system.

    The second aspect is the psychological dimension inherent to large-scale consumerism, and thus to one of the cornerstones of the asociality of Capitalist models. This requires significant and persistent activism, most palpably in the form of advertising, to invent objects of psychological appeal which are then to be pursued, - but such activism must also be present in ensuring the absence of alternative sources of value, in the form of modes of life. For the Capitalist successes of the American Dream, of the individualism of Thatcherism, and so on, rest on the eradication of older sources of value and thus in making social aspiration marketable. The support of ISIS in the West, one could say, is a case of a Mahometan population being dissatisfied with the material-hysterical ideals of Capitalist marketeering and its correlate social system; Likewise such phenomena as the Japanese Soshoku Danshi undermines the capacity of a nation to sustain both a consumerist market and the state appendages which guarantee it.

    Capitalism, in short, is not to be thought of as an eschatological force, but as the product of two things: Of the collapse of European culture into individualism; And the triumph of Europe in developing unparalleled technologies, which granted global geopolitical advantage, - and thus in having ensured that the decadent economics of a dying civilisation could be promoted, stifling alternative modes, through the economic system piggy-backing on the power of relatively superior industrial capacity.
     
    Last edited: 11 July 2016
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  3. PrinceRomanicus

    PrinceRomanicus Senior Member

    I do have one question about this, what is the possible organic replacement for Capitalism that can compete with it economically so that modernist states do not destroy the Traditional state through economic control or with a larger military? Is it a matter of what policies dictate the nature economy or the morality of the economic life?
     
  4. fschmidt

    fschmidt Senior Member

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  5. PrinceRomanicus

    PrinceRomanicus Senior Member

    I would caution though, pure capitalism created the modern culture you abhor so much. Imagine every cringy fad, materialistic worldview, and social liberal movements have been born because of the capitalist individualist mindset. I can understand the admiration for handwork and a high standard of living but one must aspire to have these without the negative effects capitalism has on culture.
     
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  6. Boreas

    Boreas Senior Member Staff Member Sustaining Member

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  7. Boreas

    Boreas Senior Member Staff Member Sustaining Member

  8. Boreas

    Boreas Senior Member Staff Member Sustaining Member

    Of course without hard work and toil nothing can be get done and completed, but that doesn't need capitalism but a good local and organic culture without the down sides of the material "progress". But his can be done only after the Kali Yuga, which rules supreme at the moment in the world. Capitalism, Liberalism, Marxism and other purely materialistic ideologies are just one expression of this age, "the spirit of the age" and "the signs of the times" as Guénon put it. The spirit of Man must be slowly transformed into the expression of a planetary consciousness, but that must be done under a true Empire based upon metaphysical and cosmic truths with a respect for local and perennial cultures around the globe.
     
  9. Amerika

    Amerika Member

    I favor capitalism because nothing else works, but with the caution that we cannot rule ourselves with economic and political systems. Culture, race and spirit first. We know that all socialism-derived economies are anti-Darwinistic and create weak people, so those are to be avoided. This leaves us with capitalism, but if mediated by strong leadership, a caste system and a powerful culture, the worst of its extremes can be tamed. The real importance is always having a higher order than material convenience, which comes from the kings and through them, religion.