B0ycey wrote:You need to look into the study of praxology to perhaps understand why greed is a factor in the things we do - and by default why it could be a problem with the creation of Communism.
Also, self interest according to Adams creates progress and enhances personal wealth - which is also a consideration in why greed is a factor in advanced societies. And he has a point. If you take self interest away then where does wealth and progress come from? Why would anyone serve a system that does not provide gratification? Nonetheless you are not wrong in believing Capitalism has enhanced our greed behaviour. It has to. Its function relies on it.
I reckon I'll need to sometime along side learning about CHAT (Cultural Historical activity theory). They're a bit at odds with one another as Mises and that of those sympathetic to Austrian school tend towards a Kantian a priorism. Which I think is mistaken and leads them to simply denying the empirical relevance of their own work at times.
Below is Austrian fella Hoppe's defense of his Argumentation Ethics against claims of empirical evidence contradicting his work.https://books.google.com/books?id=NR6bRIhY31EC&pg=PA406&lpg=PA406&dq=My+entire+argument,+then,+claims+to+be+an+impossibility+proof.+It+is+not,+as+the+mentioned+critics+seem+to+think,+a+proof+that+means+to+show+the+impossibility+of+certain+empirical+events+so+that+it+could+be+refuted+by+empirical+evidence.&source=bl&ots=aajEOAH3Qt&sig=qKx1kOPVw3N1FsPMWnyx8NjmQfY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiRh6qFjM3fAhXjqlQKHR9xD2oQ6AEwAHoECAgQAQ
My entire argument, then, claims to be an impossibility proof. It is not, as the mentioned critics seem to think, a proof that means to show the impossibility of certain empirical events so that it could be refuted by empirical evidence. Instead, it is a proof that it is impossible to justify non-libertarian property principles propositionally without falling into contradictions. Whatever such a thing is worth, it should be clear that empirical evidence has absolutely no bearing on it. So what if there is slavery, the gulag, taxation? The proof concerns the issue that claiming such institutions can be justified involves a performative contradiction. It is purely intellectual in nature, like logical, mathematical, or praxeological proofs. Its validity, like theirs, can be established independent of any contingent experiences. Nor is its validity in any way affected, as several critics—most notoriously Waters—seem to think, by whether or not people like, favor, understand, or come to a consensus regarding it, or whether or not they are actually engaged in argumentation.
As long as it's pretty on paper and self consistent, that's all that matters which is an inherently idealist approach to the truth to things. But the task is to establish real and true abstractions
that are reflective of the world and not simply castles in the sky so to speak.
The difference between an idealist and materialist is being on what basis the truth of things is established.
And I'm skeptical that because they assert the logical consistency independent of empirical facts, that the aren't necessarily shielded from points of the empirical world because of their preferred attitude towards the reality because the truth of things is its correspondence to what is real and possible. https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/i/d.htm
Idealism can also be understood as the practice of understanding abstractions through other abstractions; where an abstraction is something that does not necessarily have basis nor relation to reality, but only exists in relation to other abstractions. The primary concern for the idealist is to create concepts that adequately explain (and change of viewpoint of) the world as we know it.
For an example of idealism, what follows are the beliefs of three prominent idealist philosophers in regards to what is truth. While truth is an abstract, or ideal from reality; idealists understand such abstractions through equating them to other abstractions:
Descartes: "true are those things that are certain."
Husserl: "truth is doubt"
Hegel: "the element in which truth is found is the notion"
The materialist, on the other hand, understands abstractions by equating them to reality.
But I do find it attractive in it's emphasis on action and mention of intention/goals/aims.
This is something important to the definition of action in activity theory and action is the substance of CHAT.https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/chat/index.htm#unit
Actions are the main units of human life, of Activity. An Action is a purposive act or doing. An Action is therefore both objective, external, material, perceptible movement, and subjective, internal, mental – intentions, plans and feelings. That is, actions are a unity of both consciousness and behaviour. (‘Behaviour’ does not include any subjective component.) (See LSVCW v. 3, pp. 35-50.)
A concern though with the kantin a priorism is tht they would ignore Herder's critique of Kant's summary of the subject which is abstracted of many of the real world qualities.
Kant's subject was a necessary step in understanding but is still too abstract.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/kant.htm
As Kant emphasises, there is nothing of an empirical nature in this conception of the transcendental subject; it is a purely “philosophical” conception. “Substance” is to be understood in its strictly philosophical sense as an irreducible conception at the base of a philosophical system, and not in any sense as a “substance” in the common sense of the term as matter, or “stuff.”
The transcendental subject is a subject “underlying” and preceding all empirical experience, all physiological determination or effect, all cultural and historical determination. It represents only the necessary preconditions for a thinking being.
Although the subject has become a “transcendental” subject, it should be noted that it still resides in an individual, thinking person, the cogito. And Kant has determined that it is (1) immaterial and simple, that is to say it cannot have any attributes or qualities, (2) self-identical, or ‘personal’, continuing in existence as one and the same single person, and (3) immortal, but only in a philosophical sense – he claims no necessity or evidence for life after death. These are the necessary pre-conditions for the existence of “I think.”
Despite the purely transcendental character of this subject, it is a personal subject, though an object of pure rather than empirical psychology, nevertheless, the substrate of an individual psyche.
But after that tangent, I'm not sure how such a method would illuminate human greed's nature if I'm correct in my estimation of their method. And I tend to wonder that the Austrians use a methodological individualism in their approach which fundamentally differs from CHAT and I would say entails so many problems for the nature of abstracting essential elements of human existence.
I suspect that Andy Blunden has found something useful in identifying collaborative projects as the basic unit of analysis in chat that overcomes a the duality of individual/agency vs structure.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/flourishing.pdf
When Economics builds its science on the assumption of an independent, individual economic agent who makes decisions to maximise their own utility they take as given a society in which the norms of Utilitarianism are universal. In the event that the subjects of a community do not act as individuals maximising their own utility, then the science fails. But perhaps more importantly, governments and firms which make policy on the basis of economic science, and therefore Utilitarian ethics, are acting so as to foster this ethos in the community, with all the consequences in terms of inequality and social disintegration.
Collaboration is a concrete relation whose norms differ widely according to the kind of project involved, but in every case these norms are robust and well-known, and rooted in the self-concept of the shared project. In some cases the norms of collaboration strictly require joint decision-making, in other cases, customer/service provider norms suffice, and in other cases the norms of line management prevail. But it remains the case that the norms of collaboration are in fact, not just in theory, the norms of modern social life.
Consequently, by taking collaborative projects as our unit of analysis we can do realistic science, and insofar as an object of scientific investigation departs from this assumption, it is to that extent also a departure from the relevant ethical norms, and appropriate intervention is warranted. In part, this dependence on the reality of ethical norms is the motivation behind the current reflections on abuse of power.
We also take ‘projects’ rather than ‘groups’ as a unit of analysis. That is, rather than seeing a community as a mosaic of groups of various kinds – ethnic groups, age groups, occupational groups, voters, consumers, etc. – we see the social fabric as woven of projects.
This has a number of implications. Firstly, it means we do not take subjects as nonentities with contingent attributes attached (gender, occupation, ethnicity, ...) by means of which they can be pigeon holed into various groups. We see social life as made up of people pursuing common ends, i.e., projects, and the community as we find it is the product of these projects. This society, with its laws, customs, land, human beings, etc., is all created and shaped by past projects and kept alive by the projects we pursue today. Every individual human life is itself a project.
Secondly, although statisticians prefer the pigeon-holing approach to analysis, the project approach is an eminently suitable lens through which to view society for those of us who are interested in change and who are less interested in people as consumers and voters than in people as agents shaping their own lives and the lives of others through participation in projects.
What Smith effectively explained was man under capitalism, which he then generalized to human nature in general. To which because the political economists were uncritical to the categories they used, they didn't see the origins of things which they were meant to explained and ended up presupposed.
So for example, Smith doesn't illuminate the basis of such self interest he simply asserts its existence and it resonates as true because it reflects the society which he lived.
But this is ideological to universalize that which is characteristic of one's particular social relations, it doesn't establish the necessity of such a universalization.
To which Marx sought to find that the basis of the appearence of greed and competition wasn't something innate to people per se as much as it was derived from people's social relations, to which he sees private property's development through time maturing with capitalism.
But to be clear, Smith isn't just discussing self interest, he discussess an egoism, its a particular sense of self interest. To which Marx is at odds with an abstracted egoism which he sees as going against the social nature of human beings. It's characteristically anti-social once what establishes that the egoist self interest doesn't harmonize with that of society and thus it ends up rational by standards which people one sidedly abstract the political economy but is a problem to well being of humans. Generally the self itnerest which is made universal is that of the ruling class, the capitalist class if it is the rational interest for all.
To which I think of what John Berger once said
The word we, when printed or pronounced on screens, has become suspect, for it’s continually used by those with power in the demagogic claim that they are also speaking for those who are denied power. Let’s talk of ourselves as they.
The history of the political economy shows the ideological nature to try to be a rational science but necessarily gets tied up to issues of class interests. Historically the capitalist class was in a sense the universal interest of humanity when it did away with feudalism and the old order.
But it is now seen that the working class is the particular class which is the basis for the universal interest of humanity.
Parsons defined the problem of order in essentially Hobbesian terms as an abstract problem posed by the anti-social character of human nature. The positivistic theory of action na¨ıvely postulates a spontaneous harmony of interests, and so ignores the need for normative regulation as a response to the problem of order. Enlightened self-interest is a sufficient guide to action and a sufficient condition for a harmonious society. Social conflict arises from ignorance and irrationality and can be remedied by education and science. The idealistic theory of action recognises the inadequacy of this assumption and takes full account of the Hobbesian problem, but it divorces the values that determine the subjective orientation of action from the context of action so that values belong to a supra-individual and supra-empirical order of reality. Both the positivistic and the idealistic theories of action resolve the problem of order by referring beyond action, the former explaining order by reference to the external conditions of action, the latter by reference to the external system of values. Only the voluntaristic theory of action is able to resolve the problem of order within the framework of the theory of action.http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/10867/1/VWills_ETD_2011.pdf
Classical political economy sought to develop a model of the ideal harmonious society within which every form of property would have its proper place. However, the purpose of describing the contributions of different forms of property to the well-being of society as a whole was not so much to develop theoretical models, as to set politics on a rational foundation, the ideal society defining an appropriate form of constitution, and appropriate forms of legislation, taxation and economic and social policy, whence the term ‘political’ economy. While the ideal was to construct an harmonious society, the different theories of political economy attached different degrees of importance to different forms of property, and so inevitably favoured one class against another. However disinterested a particular thinker might be, political economy could not avoid being an intensely political field of study.
The technical weaknesses of Smith’s system only began to become apparent when his sanguine assumptions about the natural harmony of class interests came to be challenged politically, so reopening consideration of the basis of class relations. The question of the relation between the fundamental classes of society was reopened in Britain by consideration of the economic and social dislocation precipitated by the Napoleonic Wars. The Wars had been a sharp increase in the price of grain, and so of agricultural rents, at the expense of wages and profits, and were followed by a serious recession. Although the War was not the only source of strain in a period of rapid capitalist expansion, the increased price of grain created real hardship for large sectionons of the population and, even if it was not the cause, could easily be made the scapegoat for successive waves of working class radicalism. Moreover, the price of grain, inflated by the Corn and Poor Laws and by the debasement of the coinage, on top of a heavy burden of taxation, could easily be blamed for the recession through its impact on profits. Thus widespread grievances surrounding the price of corn, monetary policy, the Corn Laws, the Poor Laws and the burden of taxation directed attention to the impact of economic policy on the level of wages and profits, and so on the distribution of the product among the component classes of society.
Consideration of these questions of economic policy was not simply an economic concern. In France, failure to deal adequately with similar grievances had precipitated a revolution, and radical agitation in Britain was sufficient to make the threat real at home. Thus the point at issue was that of the proper organisation of society, and particularly of the relations between the classes, and this had fundamental constitutional and political as well as economic significance. Thus questions were raised that Smith’s system could not answer. It fell to David Ricardo to bring the classical system to completion.
Smith and Hegel were both concerned to discover the foundation of society in order to reform their own society so that it would accord with the dictates of reason. Both observed that civil society is based on egoism, albeit moderated for Smith, so that the coherence and unity of society, its inherent harmony, is not immediately apparent. Thus for both Smith and Hegel the rationality of society could only be imposed on society from outside. While Hegel looked to the idea of universality to provide the rational principle of unity, Smith looked for the roots of reason in nature. Thus while Hegel wanted to show the nation state as the self-realisation of the Idea, classical political economy strove to see the capitalist economy as the self-realisation of Nature. While Hegel established the rational necessity of the constitutional state, classical political economy established the natural necessity of the capitalist economy. Both Smith and Hegel thereby abolished society, Hegel absorbing it into an absolute Reason, Smith into an absolute Nature. Thus in each case society is abstracted from humanity and attributed to some external force.
The economic categories are determined socially and so the factors involved in their determination are quite different from the factors identified by the classical writers. In revealing the social determination of these categories the critique of political economy uncovers the social foundations of the laws of development of capitaism. In so doing the critique of political economy is able to resolve the contradictions that plagued classical political economy. It does this by showing that these contradictions within theory arise from the attempt to deny the existence of real ‘contradictions’ in capitalist society, that is from the attempt to show the process of capitalist development as an harmonious and co-ordinated process. Correspondingly, once it is recognised that economic laws are not natural but social laws it comes to be recognised that these laws do not determine the fate of humanity, but only the fate of a particular form of society.
Within this framework political economy can be defined by the economic laws on the basis of which it defended its fundamental political principle, the principle of laissez-faire. Following Gide and Rist we can identify seven fundamental laws of classical political economy (Gide and Rist, 1948, pp. 359–71) . The first four derive from the theory of exchange, and characterise any liberal economic theory, whether ‘classical’ or ‘vulgar’. These four are: first, the law of self-interest, which in its most general form states that individuals tend to pursue their economic ends in accordance with their rational self-interest. Economics is concerned to elucidate the implications of action performed on this basis, the most optimistic theories claiming to show that in a world of perfect liberty the pursuit of self-interest spontaneously gives rise to social harmony and social progress. However such bland optimism was by no means generally characteristic of classical political economy, as we have seen.
These four laws were regarded as almost self-evident. If individual capitalists pursued their own self-interest a regime of economic freedom would maximise their incentives and their opportunities and so result in the maximisation of profits and of economic growth. Any infringement of such freedom could only be justified to the extent that the abuse of economic power infringed the freedom and opportunities of others. However it was not so self-evident that the interests of capitalists in economic freedom was shared by the other classes of society, the landed interest and the working class. Economic conflict between these classes over the determination of rent and wages was a feature of capitalist society that could hardly be ignored. The classical theory of distribution was an attempt to theorise this conflict in order to establish the relationship between the capitalist interest and the interests of society as a whole, and so to establish a proper basis on which to achieve the harmonious integration of capitalist society. Although Ricardo formulated the theory of distribution within the framework of the labour theory of value, the economic laws that defined the theory of distribution could equally be presented on the basis of other theories of value.
Early working-class agitation could be put down to the actions of a misguided mob, so that vulgar assertions of the harmony of class interests might be sufficient. However, the persistence of working-class demands, and the development of trade unions to further those demands, forced political economy in Britain to sharpen its ideological defences in the name of its natural laws, in order the better to rebuff demands for reform. Thus classical political economy survived the criticisms of the 1830s; was reformulated by Mill in the 1840s; was vindicated by the period of unprecedented prosperity and social peace that followed the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, and was constantly reinvigorated by resistance to the exaggerated claims of trade unionism and social reform through the 1850s and 1860s. In Europe, however, where effective trade unionism developed later than in Britain and where the major challenge to the rule of capital was a political and ideological one, vulgar economy, in one form or another, reigned supreme.
Conservative critics did not share the economists’ faith in the power of the hidden hand of the market to achieve social harmony and social integration. They pointed to the costs of capitalist development: crises, unemployment, undermining of paternalistic authority, class polarisation, socialist agitation, the destruction of cultural values and national spirit, and the erosion of the moral and political authority of the state, the church and the ruling class. Political economy neglected the spiritual, moral and aesthetic qualities of the human species and underestimated the importance of the essential ties of deference to and respect for authority that had held the medieval economy and society together, and that were being destroyed by the advance of capitalism. Capitalism was an unviable form of society
Although he accepted the basic class model of capitalist society proposed by political economy, Comte rejected the economists’ belief that class relations could be harmoniously regulated on the basis of the competitive pursuit of individual self-interest. Political economy ‘pretends that the general laws of Material Order can be studied, apart from other laws’ (Comte, n.d., II, p. 329), but the rule of self-interest creates not harmony but conflict as opposed interests clash in the market. It may be the case that the present economic relations were based on the pursuit of self-interest, but such a condition was merely transitional, a symptom of the decline in the moral regulation of social relations in accordance with earlier forms of religion and law. It was a condition that was unstable, as the new forms of moral regulation associated with the Positivist doctrines took effect, regulating the conflicts to which an inadequate moral regulation gave rise by subordinating ‘self-love’ to ‘social-love’ in order to reconcile progress with order.
Thus, while Marx's philosophy proceeds from individuals and their life-activity, and his critique of capitalism is based on its inability to permit individuals to flourish and develop their personalities, his concern with individuals should not be confused with an abstract egoism that opposes self-interest to the interests of society.
Marx's critique of Stirner's ethical egoism displays a philosophical continuity with his explication of the distinction between abstract and concrete individuality in his doctoral dissertation, and the statement, “abstract individualism is freedom from being, not freedom in being” might be just as at home here as it is in that earlier work. For Stirner, the problem of alienation can simply be swept away through a further retreat of the private individual into herself as her only cause or concern, which she opposes to social concerns. Mutual dependencies and interrelations among human beings are regarded as illusory, at best, and dangerously deceptive, at worst. Not only does Stirner's brand of ethical egoism call on the individual to embrace asocial behavior and attitudes, but it argues that the individual should satisfy herself at her present level of development, whatever that may be, rather than strive to further that development. It posits the human person as a static, isolated atom, rather than as a concrete individual, developing and existing within society, and for whom the problem of alienation can only be resolved through a transformation of society, brought about through coordinated human action aimed at common goals.
The connection between individual and society in Marx's thought is further clarified in Marx's defense of communism against Stirner's charge that communism calls for the subordination of individuals to the “good cause” of society. Stirner argues that for communists, “Society, from which we have everything, is a new master, a new spook, a new 'supreme being'” (Stirner, The Ego and Its Own, p.111), for whom the individual must sacrifice himself. Marx answers that far from denigrating the individual, the development of a communist society, and the practical activity required to achieve that society, are the only methods by which the wellbeing of individuals can actually be pursued, a goal which Stirner's “mere moral injunctions” cannot achieve. Stirner is mistaken in believing
that the communists want to “make sacrifices” for “society”, when they want at most to sacrifice existing society; in this case he should describe their consciousness that their struggle is the common cause of all people who have outgrown the bourgeois system as a sacrifice that they make to themselves. (The German Ideology, MECW 5:213)
Stirner, on the other hand, offers no genuine solution to the real challenges that concrete individuals face. He argues against any organized political (much less, revolutionary) activity on the grounds that such coordinated, planned action would subordinate the individual to the needs of a collective. (Stirner does imagine that individuals might spontaneously form a “Union of Egoists” whose purpose is to restrict any social incursion into their egoistic pursuits, but provides no explanation as to how such a union might be achieved.) Marx points to the workers' movement, a real political movement developing at the time of his writing as a means by which the social conditions that limit the ability of individuals to flourish and pursue their own development as an end might be abolished. Stirner turns his back on this existing political current and retreats into the realm of ideas, thereby depriving himself of any genuine explanation of how the problem of alienation might be solved.
Abstract individualism, Marx writes, suffers from the fact that it proceeds from the self-conception of bourgeois actors, taking for granted their selfunderstanding as essentially autonomous persons whose ability to satisfy their egoistic interests is limited by the existence of other, competitive and equally autonomous individuals. However, from a materialist point of view, it is clear to see that these bourgeois atoms exist only in thought; in reality, human individuality can only emerge and develop in and through society, which is not merely some necessary evil erected and tolerated in order to keep the competing atoms at bay. Rather, it is the necessary condition for the development of human beings who exist not merely as what Marx later calls “herd animals” or as exemplars of the species, but rather as real, concrete individuals who interact with the natural and social world in increasingly diverse ways.
The appearance of human beings as atomized individuals striving for the satisfaction of mere “egoistic need” also develops hand in hand with the expansion and sharpening of alienation. As the Hungarian Marxist philosopher, Istvan Mészáros, writes, in capitalist society,
Alienation is therefore characterized by the universal extension of 'saleability' (i.e. the transformation of everything into commodity); by the conversion of human beings into “things” so that they could appear as commodities on the market (in other words: the 'reification' of human relations); and by the fragmentation of the social body into 'isolated individuals' (vereinzelte Einzelnen) who pursued their own limited, particularistic aims 'in servitude to egoistic need', making a virtue out of their selfishness in their cult of privacy51.
To satisfy one's needs in capitalist society, one requires money. And whether capitalist or worker, in order to make money, one has to sell something. Marx writes in “On the Jewish Question”:
Selling [Veräußerung] is the practical aspect of alienation [Entäußerung]. Just as man, as long as he is in the grip of religion, is able to objectify his essential nature only by turning it into something alien, something fantastic, so under the domination of egoistic need he can be active practically, and produce objects in practice, only by putting his products, and his activity, under the domination of an alien being, and bestowing the significance of an alien entity – money – on them. (On the Jewish Question, MECW 3:174)
However, the sale of labor-power to satisfy private, “egoistic” needs is particularly alienating in that “Estranged labour reverses this relationship [between conscious being and species being], so that it is just because man is a conscious being that he makes his life activity, his essential being, a mere means to his existence.” (Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, MECW 3:276). Labor under capitalism alienates the human being from his own essence, and changes “the life of the species into a means of individual life” (Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, MECW 3:276) insofar as man's essential nature as a member of the species Homo sapiens, his ability to labor, is converted into a commodity to be sold in order to satisfy the private, egoistic needs of the individual. It is this inversion which Marx argues would (and should) be set aright in the transition to a communist society.
In a condition of human, rather than merely political, emancipation, the strict division between the public and the private sphere disappears, because the human being is able to act as a species-being—his activity is not the activity of an isolated atom, but rather the activity of an individual cooperating with other individuals, who has an understanding of himself as a member of the species, and who regards other persons as the source of his freedom, not as limiting barriers against it. The rights of man do not:
go beyond egoistic man, beyond man as a member of civil society – that is, an individual withdrawn into himself, into the confines of his private interests and private caprice, and separated from the community. In the rights of man, he is far from being conceived as a species-being; on the contrary, species-like itself, society, appears as a framework external to the individuals, as a restriction of their original independence. (On the Jewish Question, MECW 3:164)
Such abstract individualism is based in the increased fragmentation of social life due to the increased commodification of things. People in practice really are breaking down into atomized individuals although of course our existence is tied to social groups and people.
What the self-interest of the capitalist class has achieved is technological progress, capitalist development is the most revolutionary in human history.
But it comes at the cost of ourselves, the intense alienation of humanity. Such that the good of capitalism is only justifiable to the extent that it is the basis for socialism/communism. We lose ourselves before we truly find ourselves as human beings. Such poverty in order that we can realize a real earthly humanity, not seeing others as a barrier to our own interests but actually the means to our own realization as human beings.
So the self-expansion of capital has been good for production, less so for people and why capitalism does need to be abolished.
But as such I worry that you don't necessarily consider what motivates humans beyond this generalized self-interest to which the self-interest which realizes in practice that it's not opposed to that of other human beings but finds a means to its own realization would be a collbaorative project that seeks to objectify the new kind fo society. People do many great things which isn't merely for profit and the extent that one doesn't see motives beyond making a buck, one doesn't properly consider human beings but only the economic actor or capitalist and generalizes them characteristic of human nature.
The presumption that people won't find gratification in a social life seems to contradict the notion of human beings which Marx has and foresaw in the real existing workers movements of his day.
When communist workmen gather together, their immediate aim is instruction, propaganda, etc. But at the same time, they acquire a new need—the need for society—and what appears as a means has become an end. This practical development can be most strikingly observed in the gatherings of French socialist workers. Smoking, eating, and drinking, etc, are no longer means of creating links between people. Company, association, conversation, which in turn has society as its goal, is enough for them. The brotherhood of man is not a hollow phrase, it is a reality, and the nobility of man shines forth upon us from their work worn figures.
We find satisfaction in other people in themselves and the motive for profit for the capitalist is the level which he personifies the objective necessity of the economy for self-expansion of capital whilst for the worker its the extent that he needs to subsist generally that they need money. But if one had enough money, and one hasn't been kept poor in terms of the content of their humanity, someone who has developed themselves in various ways that they can appreciate things in life beyond immediate satisfaction of a physical need (the condition of many of the worlds poor who are in a sense reduced to animals) one would find a want for things in themselves. Why does person take pride in any hobby or activity, one finds pleasure in the act of cooking and sharing with others, one finds fine craftsman ship in working with wood or playing an instrument. Much activity satisfies our being and the more one internalizes the culture of the world, the greater one's capacity to see in such activities and objects human sensibilities.
I don't think this means all activity would be utterly pleasant in communism, but that activity would have a human character and one would do it freely rather than out of necessity to subsist. Life's satisfaction is in doing things and it is even greater when it is shared with others.
One tends to get a better satisfaction out of going out for a coffee with a friend than necessrily buying ones self something expensive so it is thought in behavioural economics.
The value of things being more their human/social character than their cost in money.
If one seeks out people who really enjoy their job, whilst they might not be displeased with the money they get, one will find many motives and satisfactions based on the nature of the activity itself.
My father in law for example makes a decent living as a lawyer but he says what satisfies him the most is giving people the knowledge and answers to help them with their problems. They come in stressing out and he can help them and it gives him great joy.
This is a recognition of the social side of people which is unknown to an egoism that sees life's joy only in themselves. Such a person would be the epitome of alienation from humanity, they possibly even got decent money and have an empty life with much material things.
I suspect you wonder how communism is to develop but what pops up in my head is those people who get joy out of their work and the basis of it. Generally I associate their pleasure not merely with the activity but in it's relation to other people. One wouldn't work as constantly on a grindstone but I would imagine if the world wasn't as alienated in it's production, where everything was to be a commodity, people would be greatly inspired by things and driving for excellence at many things (Greek Virtue).
Many people who make it rich don't just subsist in the home they try to enjoy life and many still work but in a more leisurely manner rather than one compelled by money as a means to subsist and get the things one really does want out of life.
I think you have a point and I agree with you here. Humans are just like any other creature and they will adapt to their surroundings and always look after their self interest first. So if it is best to look after the collective interest to maintain their own interest they will do that. Under capitalism there is not much will to do that and so private property is a thing. If we were to work as social creatures and share our possessions then it gives Communism a chance. Nonetheless it must be a factor that a high number of people will need to give up what they have gained first against their current self interest (you could forcably remove I guess), for the best of the group and that any form of hierarchy within a socialist system you create first would need to avoid any form of corruption for Communism to have a chance of existing as well. And these are traits that are factors found within humanities desire for greed today that need to be over thrown tomorrow btw.
Well there is will in that people to often try to resist the alienation of their lives.
It's just that this in itself doesn't dissolve the basis of such alienation and is the real task at hand.
And whilst its not my study right now, true to your emphasis on the success of the anabaptist communal groups being their ethics, I see the possible working class movement of the 21st century as being characterized as an ethical revolution as much as it is an economic one.
And the possibility for such is opening up some: https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/For%20Ethical%20Politics.pdf
Well I agree with Marx. Doesn't everyone want the sense of having? The problem I see today is that whilst Capitalism provides sufficiently for the majority of Western people they will accept the inequality of the system to maintain what they have as it is in their interest to do so. In other words, it is not in their self interest to over throw a system that they in some form profit from. When that is no longer true they will over throw the system. But then what? Will Napoleon provide for the nation that gave him the farm or just turn into another farmer? Will he go against his own self interest for the good of the collective or will he take the collectives interest over his? History says he will look after is own self interest over that of the collective. But for Communism to work he needs to look after the collectives interest over his own.
Well the issue Marx raises with this sense of having is that its at the expense of human sensibilities.
I haven't studied Lenin's work but what you're writing makes me think of the wealth taken from third world countries and sustains the wealth in the west.http://burawoy.berkeley.edu/Marxism/Marxism%20As%20Science.pdf
Luxemburg had formulated an earlier version of this argument, but Lenin's was the most comprehensive reconstruction of the original Marxian theory of the dynamics of capitalism. It addressed a number of anomalies and made a number of predictions, some of which indeed came to pass. Thus, Lenin, never one to ignore the importance of nationalism, anticipated that a major challenge to capitalism would come from wars of national liberation in the colonized Third World. In the core countries, on the other hand, Lenin argued that the spoils of imperialism would trickle down to the working class to create an aristocracy of labor. Therefore, certain sections of the working class had a definite material interest in imperialism. and this was the material basis of the "refo-sm" of social democratic parties and of their support for national wars. Lenin also saw how the expansion of capitalism into backward countries would uproot the population and provide a pool of cheap labor, further balkanizing the labor movement in advanced capitalist countries. In characterizing the world system in terms of core, colonized and semi-independent nations Lenin had already anticipated contemporary world systems analysis.
But a lot of that wealth doesn't meaningfully get to the majority of the popuation a lot of the time.
If so many people are poor amidst such opulent wealth like in the US with some of the richest people in the world amidst such homelessness and other social problems, the GDP of the country means fuck all if people's quality of life is shit because they're denied a meaningful part of that society. But
But what I see is that we're stagnating in the west, austerity measures increasing with no reasonable defense for the gains objectified in state rights (or in the case of the US, rights they never got like universal healthcare). Industrialization which is brutal but tends to give a sense of technological progress has moved out of the west for the most part, all the cheap labor is in asia, south america and so on.
Things which had already been completed in the west.
But there is a political issue on immigrtion which does cause tensions and difficulties for the working class. TO which I agree with this person's summary against open borders: https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2018/11/the-left-case-against-open-borders/
It's allowing great success for right wing populism and the possibility of increased sympathy for neo-fascism.
But then I'm not sure how much one can meaningfully change immigration when its dependent on the interests of the most powerful capitalists who can push the government to their interests.
As such, I sometimes don't think there is much success in struggling for or against immigration stuff as much as countries like Austrlia and the US necessitate struggling with those most exploited rather than having them excluded as many of the now failed unions (knights of labor) tried in the US. Compared with the attempt for working class unity of the International Workers of the World.
But the political climate simply isn't that good for the left wing in much of the world, especially a place like the US where it needs to re-establish itself.
Because the lack of class consciousness of many Americans and their attatchment to the categories of race have them in fighting and entirely missing the basis of their problems, seeing only an appearance.
But there can be hope for 'em just as there have been for people of the KKK to see that their poverty wasn't due to some black fella: http://college.cengage.com/english/chaffee/thinking_critically/8e/students/additional_activities/p198.pdf
Solidarity is the concept that needs to be realized in any working class movement and is an ethic which is most relevant in modern life which is so fragmented. A world of self interested egoists indeed would not constitute the real existing movement of workers or what ever. But the present state of things isn't eternal and things change for the better and the worse and I retain much hope in what is possible that things can change.
One wouldn't be able to foresee a movement when it doesn't yet exist, but such things do emerge unexpectedly.
But I don't think what Marx expressed made individual self interest and collective interest mutually exclusive.
And I think they remain to abstract a categories to illustrate where an individuals interest overlaps with a groups.
But movements and such expresse such a unity between one's interest as shared in a group, one realized in Blunden's idea of collaborative project.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/On%20Political%20Representation.pdf
The problem of representation does not arise from the diversity of people; it arises even when I represent myself. (See Hegel, 1821, §115) I have innumerable different needs and desires, but at every given moment I nonetheless form an intention and act according to that intention. My intention furthers a purpose which resolves the contradictions between my various desires and the constraints imposed by those of others. I cannot act at all other than through momentarily resolving the contradictions between my various desires, and formulating a purpose, even while I take myself to be an single, independent human being – I cannot do two things at once, nevertheless, I must act. So in representing myself I face the same contradiction that confronts the representative who acts on behalf of a group. In selecting a representative and instructing the representative, the group implicitly resolves these contradictions and thereby forms itself into a subject, a personality.
It is by acting in the world that an individual makes themself into a personality and in just the same way, by choosing and mandating representatives, a group transforms themself from a collection of individuals into a subject, an actor on the stage of history. There is no implication in this that internal differences are dissolved, overridden or ignored, but they are transcended.
So we have two concepts here of what constitutes a person and what constitutes a representative. On the one hand, a person is seen as someone with a certain gender, age, education, experience, nationality, etc., etc., and on the other, a person is someone who pursues certain purposes, has commitments, a life. The former is the object of surveys of voter preferences, the passive object of political policy and action. The latter is the active subject, who pursues ends collaboratively with others and changes the world.
Because one can't make sense of things like workers movement, or womens liberation movement or the civil rights movement if one is asserting the self interest of those people were at odds with the movement. Rather they participated as they saw themselves in it's ideals and aims.
To which the task is against taking the particularties of the many movements of the 20th century but giving them a totality. https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ot/zizek1.htm
Today, we already can discern the signs of a kind of general unease — recall the series of events usually listed under the name of “Seattle.” The 10 years honeymoon of the triumphant global capitalism is over, the long-overdue “seven years itch” is here — witness the panicky reactions of the big media, which — from the Time magazine to CNN — all of a sudden started to warn about the Marxists manipulating the crowd of the “honest” protesters. The problem is now the strictly Leninist one — how to ACTUALIZE the media’s accusations: how to invent the organizational structure which will confer on this unrest the FORM of the universal political demand. Otherwise, the momentum will be lost, and what will remain is the marginal disturbance, perhaps organized as a new Greenpeace, with certain efficiency, but also strictly limited goals, marketing strategy, etc. In other words, the key “Leninist” lesson today is: politics without the organizational FORM of the party is politics without politics, so the answer to those who want just the (quite adequately named) “New SOCIAL Movements” is the same as the answer of the Jacobins to the Girondin compromisers: “You want revolution without a revolution!” Today’s blockade is that there are two ways open for the socio-political engagement: either play the game of the system, engage in the “long march through the institutions,” or get active in new social movements, from feminism through ecology to anti-racism. And, again, the limit of these movements is that they are not POLITICAL in the sense of the Universal Singular: they are “one issue movements” which lack the dimension of the universality, i.e. they do not relate to the social TOTALITY.
Here, Lenin’s reproach to liberals is crucial: they only EXPLOIT the working classes’ discontent to strengthen their position vis-a-vis the conservatives, instead of identifying with it to the end.52 Is this also not the case with today’s Left liberals? They like to evoke racism, ecology, workers’ grievances, etc., to score points over the conservatives WITHOUT ENDANGERING THE SYSTEM. Recall how, in Seattle, Bill Clinton himself deftly referred to the protesters on the streets outside, reminding the gathered leaders inside the guarded palaces that they should listen to the message of the demonstrators (the message which, of course, Clinton interpreted, depriving it of its subversive sting attributed to the dangerous extremists introducing chaos and violence into the majority of peaceful protesters). It’s the same with all New Social Movements, up to the Zapatistas in Chiapas: the systemic politics is always ready to “listen to their demands,” depriving them of their proper political sting. The system is by definition ecumenical, open, tolerant, ready to “listen” to all — even if one insist on one’s demands, they are deprived of their universal political sting by the very form of negotiation. The true Third Way we have to look for is this third way between the institutionalized parliamentary politics and the new social movements.
The ultimate answer to the reproach that the radical Left proposals are utopian should thus be that, today, the true utopia is the belief that the present liberal-democratic capitalist consensus could go on indefinitely, without radical changes. We are thus back at the old ‘68 motto “Soyons realistes, demandons l'impossible!": in order to be truly a “realist,” one must consider breaking out of the constraints of what appears “possible” (or, as we usually out it, “feasible”).
I think the development of the different particular groups with their own particular interest is characteristic of postmodern times which (without any awareness) is opposed to abstract universals, emphasizing the plurality of things. But such identity politics is limited in it's range and todays political landscape is that of alliance politics which I think Andy Blunden theorizes well as to how it can develop into a meaningful and modern movement that isn't like that of the workers movements of the past with vangaurds and parties.
It's something with more radical potential.
It feels like what ever movement of people emerges today will be more concrete in a way because it'll be of many determinations of different interests and demographics.
With alliance politics no one group can dominate and its now basis for a new ethic of 'what we do is decided by you and me'. It at present isn't guided by certain ideals but in struggling against a certain issue or predicament to which I think Blunden illustrates a useful concept with the Greek Amphictony
where its possible for independent subjects to not dominate one another but collaborate towards some shared end where the good is based in the project itself and isn't about temporary self interests of the different subjects.
The remarkable success of the amphictonies must cause us to reflect on their significance for our own times. The establishment of an amphictony recognises that the relevant subjects do not intend to make an alliance or union, but are prepared to deal with each other as moral equals and make common sacrifices in order to protect and maintain something of common value to them all, and are prepared to continue doing that even when at war with one another. Participation in an amphictony in no way sacrificed the sovereignty of the participating states, since maintenance and protection of the sacred site was the only responsibility of the amphictony, even though that duty could have profound repercussions for any state.
The inclusion in the scope of an amphictony of the inviolability of water sources gives us a clue as to what a modern amphictony would mean. It is the institutionalisation of the recognition by subjects, that there is something which transcends them and whatever may separate them. The nearest thing to a modern amphictony would be a league of independent sovereign subjects which accepted the responsibility to protect the environment or a particular feature of the environment relevant to them.
Amphictony provides for bonds with other subjects with whom we would not form an alliance or even make a peace, but which is in many senses stronger and more long-lasting than an alliance. An amphictony can be exceptionally long-lasting because the object to be protected defines its continuity, rather than the parties.
An amphictony differs from a hegemony because the controlling entity (on one hand the hegemon, on the other the sacred site) is outside, and it is not a subject. Amphicton, the mythical founder of the Great Amphictonic League was born of the soil of the sacred site. The maintenance of shared festivals (like May Day) and institutions (the unions) are possible examples, but above all of course, protection of the environment, create opportunities for the establishment of amphictonies.
At a deeper level, what the amphictony represents is the collaboration of mutually sovereign and independent subjects in a common project, itself a sovereign and independent project outside or above the life of each participating subject. The shared religious rituals and beliefs of the Greek people provided this opportunity, just as do shared religious beliefs and institutions today, though it is stewardship of the environment which is more paradigmatically modern.
I think this is what will allow people of such diverse beliefs and backgrounds to rally together. It'll be about the project more so than merely the competing ideas about things. To which one does see such a diversity of views in a lot of protests and such. There simply cannot be the hegemony of a stalinist/trotsky party or some shit.
Those who are trying to proselytize people are confused about the political landscape today.
I always enjoy and is interested in your input and clarity of thinking Wellsy. But as Capitalism works to gain profit, I cannot concur that it is not a system that is primarily driven by greed.
Nonetheless I do think that Communism is natural and perhaps based on humanized nature. That is, capitalism isn't natural and without it as a concept that we invented, humans by default would create a society that is more communal and based on shared interest (and shared procession) like most of the rest of the animal Kingdom. But today it is a concept. And we function under it. So if I look at dialectical-materialism and make a guess to where we are heading I can only see two outcomes. We either go authoritarian or go communist. Unfortunately I think that authoritarian is more likely just be reflecting on history. But if humanity stands united against authority if it heads away from their own interests, there is no reason to believe that communism cannot be achieved I guess.
Well what I'm trying to emphasize is the objective necessity of such profit irrespective the subjective/psychology state of people within it.
It can indeed foster greed, confuses people with commodity fetishism (a facet of alienation where we imbue objects with our own activity and power). But the emphasis is that capitalism doesn't necessarily stem from greed within the individual but has to be based within the real world relations which people have developed within. No doubt many a capitalist personifies greed, but it is a necessity of the position rather than simply something inherent to them as a person. It originates from the position and relations which essentially govern them. The idea being that the problem isn't that we're trying to fight greed exactly but the foundations of it.
Because its very different to argue against private property than it is against a concept of greed which seems universal and above any historical circumstance as it exists across humanity through its history.
Well I don't know I care about whether capitalism is unnatural or what ever, I wouldn't consider it that artifical than most of human societies have existed in their own way. Rather the point is that it doesn't accord with the best for human nature because it alienates us from our essential nature.
As a tangent, Marx never dissociated man from nature and its this metaphysical foundation which solves a lot of epistemological problems by making their mutual ontological interdependence primary.https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/en/jordan2.htm
For the understanding of Marx a different point is, however, important. The Marxian conception of nature, of man, and man’s relation to nature disposes of many traditional epistemological problems. Marx neither needs to prove existence of the external world, nor disprove its existence. From his point of view both these endeavours are prompted by false assumptions concerning the relation of man to nature, by considering man as a detached observer, setting him against the world or placing him, as it were, on a totally different level. For man, who is part of nature, to doubt the existence of the external world or to consider it as in need of proof is to doubt his own existence, and even Descartes and Berkeley refused to go to such a length.
This conclusion is of considerable significance for the interpretation of Marxian philosophy. As Marx refused to dissociate nature from man and man from nature and conceived man not only as part of nature but also nature in a certain sense as a product of man’s activity and, thus, part of man, Marx’s naturalism has no need of metaphysical foundation. Moreover, since man knows only socially mediated nature, ‘man’, and not natural reality, ‘is the immediate object of natural science’. To use Marx’s terminology, the natural science of man is logically prior to all other knowledge. What Feuerbach said about his anthropological materialism applies even more fittingly to Marx’s naturalism. ‘The new philosophy’, wrote Feuerbach, ‘makes man, including nature as the basis of man, the sole, universal and highest object of philosophy, makes, therefore, of anthropology, including physiology, the universal science.’ This conclusion is of considerable significance for the interpretation of Marxian philosophy. As Marx refused to dissociate nature from man and man from nature and conceived man not only as part of nature but also nature in a certain sense as a product of man’s activity and, thus, part of man, Marx’s naturalism has no need of metaphysical foundation. Moreover, since man knows only socially mediated nature, ‘man’, and not natural reality, ‘is the immediate object of natural science’. To use Marx’s terminology, the natural science of man is logically prior to all other knowledge. What Feuerbach said about his anthropological materialism applies even more fittingly to Marx’s naturalism. ‘The new philosophy’, wrote Feuerbach, ‘makes man, including nature as the basis of man, the sole, universal and highest object of philosophy, makes, therefore, of anthropology, including physiology, the universal science.’ 
Mankind works on nature to satisfy his human needs and has created new social needs as the complexity of society and its organization of labor has changed. Capitalism is in no sense more or less artificial than earlier societies and modes of production. Much of what we recognize in ourselves as human is based on such production.