Rich wrote:My point is that the whole Marxist categorisation of of Capitalism, Capitalist, Feudalism and Socialism is flawed. In the West we live in a mixed economy with taxed and regulated private, property as well as various forms of collective or state property. We have a regulated market as well as various forms of planning. We have democracy, that while a million miles from perfection, or the ideals dreamed up in peoples heads, actually gives ordinary people and particucarly the poorest half the population more influence than in any society since the rise class differentiated city states.
I'm curious about your view and what you take to be the basis of Marxist categorization of different modes of production and why they're insufficient.
From this post it seems that you note qualitatively different parts of the economy that don't make it purely capitalist or socialist in your view. But this to me misses the focus on what the essential ground to the economy is and also that it seems to be based on an idea of socialism that isn't Marxist as much as it's the sort of evolutionary/fabian socialist or social-democratic sort that gets labeled socialist.
What I mean is that the regulation of markets doesn't appear to constitute socialism for many. https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/heijen/works/capitalist.htm
The Formulas of the Improvisers Among the improvisers who seek to deny the capitalist nature of German economy, a few have hastily read Marx in order to cull from his works some definition of capitalism which is no longer applicable to the Third Reich. In the main their procedure comes down to defining capitalist economy as a “market economy.” Then they conclude: Since prices in Germany are determined not by the automatic laws of the market but by state decrees, therefore the economy is no longer capitalist. To be sure, the intervention of the state into the sphere of circulation affords certain supplementary channels for the manipulation of prices. But there is essentially nothing new in this. For almost half a century monopolies and cartels have precisely set themselves the task of converting free trade into its opposite. Are monopolies then “non-capitalist” enterprises? The formula of the improvisers is false because they attempt to define capitalism by seeking its essential characteristics in the sphere of circulation.
Marxism teaches us that a correct definition of capitalism can be established only by seeking out the essential relations in the sphere of production, which, in turn, determines those in the sphere of circulation.
The part about public property is particularly interesting when considering modern China and also historical examples of what were referred to as state socialism ie Bismarck's German Welfarism in trying to undercut support for Socialists.
In fact, I see a point made that the mere nationalizing or making as public property is to attached to an appearance to properly denote what should distinguish socialism and capitalism.https://www.marxists.org/archive/connolly/1901/evangel/stmonsoc.htm
James Connoly emphasizes the association of workers changing the quality of state ownership.
Which perhaps also follows how while Bismarck deployed welfarism as a means to undercut socialists, there were forms of support among workers that were then taken up by the state.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/welfare-dependency.pdf
The period of the rise of the welfare state corresponded to the institutionalisation of the organised working class movement. The early trade unions were just as much ‘friendly societies’ as they were ‘class struggle’ organisations; the ‘strike fund’ was an account alongside the ‘distress fund’; and the construction of working class consciousness was just as much tied to the protection of members in their times of need as it was to solidarity on the picket line. The objectification of workers’ ‘mutual aid’ in the welfare state meant that these functions were secured as rights, at the same time as separating them from voluntary class struggle associations. So long as people enjoyed these benefits as universal rights attached to citizenship, like public education, then this is hardly problematic, but this is not always the case.
The very formation of the working class was bound up in systems of mutual aid; a hundred years ago the workers’ movement succeeded in institutionalising these programs as universal rights and benefits provided by the state; the side effect of this institutionalisation, in which workers’ mutual aid was now mediated by the capitalist state, was the subjective and objective gutting of the working class as a class for itself.
But then a point still needs to be made how this constituted socialism either simply because it existed as it would have to be a dominant form of life that disrupts the dominance of exchange value and markets. The existence of a union seems to presuppose capitalist markets as workers are still negotiating with capitalists over a fair days pay.https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/laboraction-ny/1945/v09n15/engels.htm#:~:text=A%20fair%20day's%20wage%2C%20under,and%20to%20propagate%20his%20race.
I am also curious what your idea of capital is as you reference capitalist in pre Marian Rome. Where I take it that there was great commerce and private property but there wasn't what we consider to be capital where ones wealth is reinvested into production to expand it and produce more wealth, the very problem that the political economy struggled to explain, how does the capitalist get more money than they initially had. Instead, romans consumed their wealth because the wealthy seemed to be still very concretely based compared to now where money is the universal form of wealth due to how it mediates the trade of so many commodities. I take it that Rome had the potential to develop into capitalism as its understood today, but didn't presumably because of cultural/ideological limits on reinvesting in the way modern capitalists do.
Which makes me wonder if you think capital is synonymous with trade and money and that the present day economy is simply a technical elaboration upon previous production rather than something historically distinct and specific. Which is the conclusion from Marx's criticism of the political economy in naturalizing the categories of production and not seeing their discontinuity in their qualitative difference from the previous production. An ideological although at the time honest mistake of thinkers of the time.
Whenever we speak of production, then, what is meant is always production at a definite stage of social development – production by social individuals. It might seem, therefore, that in order to talk about production at all we must either pursue the process of historic development through its different phases, or declare beforehand that we are dealing with a specific historic epoch such as e.g. modern bourgeois production, which is indeed our particular theme. However, all epochs of production have certain common traits, common characteristics. Production in general is an abstraction, but a rational abstraction in so far as it really brings out and fixes the common element and thus saves us repetition. Still, this general category, this common element sifted out by comparison, is itself segmented many times over and splits into different determinations. Some determinations belong to all epochs, others only to a few. [Some] determinations will be shared by the most modern epoch and the most ancient. No production will be thinkable without them; however even though the most developed languages have laws and characteristics in common with the least developed, nevertheless, just those things which determine their development, i.e. the elements which are not general and common, must be separated out from the determinations valid for production as such, so that in their unity – which arises already from the identity of the subject, humanity, and of the object, nature – their essential difference is not forgotten. The whole profundity of those modern economists who demonstrate the eternity and harmoniousness of the existing social relations lies in this forgetting. For example. No production possible without an instrument of production, even if this instrument is only the hand. No production without stored-up, past labour, even if it is only the facility gathered together and concentrated in the hand of the savage by repeated practice. Capital is, among other things, also an instrument of production, also objectified, past labour. Therefore capital is a general, eternal relation of nature; that is, if I leave out just the specific quality which alone makes ‘instrument of production’ and ‘stored-up labour’ into capital. The entire history of production relations thus appears to Carey, for example, as a malicious forgery perpetrated by governments.
But of course the capacity for specifically capitalist production is shown clearly in the case of colonization where the necessity of slave or convict labor as there can be no economic coercion of workers without a means of subsistence. Production isn't strictly technical but determines social relations and their quality. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch33.htm
First of all, Wakefield discovered that in the Colonies, property in money, means of subsistence, machines, and other means of production, does not as yet stamp a man as a capitalist if there be wanting the correlative — the wage-worker, the other man who is compelled to sell himself of his own free will. He discovered that capital is not a thing, but a social relation between persons, established by the instrumentality of things.  Mr. Peel, he moans, took with him from England to Swan River, West Australia, means of subsistence and of production to the amount of £50,000. Mr. Peel had the foresight to bring with him, besides, 300 persons of the working class, men, women, and children. Once arrived at his destination, “Mr. Peel was left without a servant to make his bed or fetch him water from the river.”  Unhappy Mr. Peel who provided for everything except the export of English modes of production to Swan River!
Markets and value were accidental although they existed in the past, until with capitalism they become the essential and dominant characteristic in which to examine society.https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/articles/universal.htm
The real case-history of economic (market) relations testifies, however, in favor of Marx who shows that the “form of value in general” has not at all times been the universal form of the organization of production. Historically, and for a rather long time, it remained a particular relation of people and things in production although occurring haphazardly. It was not until capitalism and the “free enterprise society” came into being that value (i.e., the market form of the product) became the general form of inter-relationships among the component parts of production.
Similar transitions, of the “individual and accidental” into the universal is not a rarity, but rather a rule in history. In history – yet not exclusively the history of humanity with its culture – it always so happens that a phenomenon which later becomes universal, is at first emergent precisely as a solitary exception “from the rule,” as an anomaly, as something particular and partial. Otherwise, hardly anything could ever be expected to turn up. History would have a rather mystical appearance, if all that is new in it emerged at once, as something “common” to all without exception, as an abruptly embodied “idea.”
Which again raises my concerns that the concepts you have aren't found in Marx at all and so your asserted criticism doesn't properly show itself in a comparison between of non-marxist concepts against Marxist ones.
In fact, I worry about what you think a concept is because a big part of Marxist work as far as I can tell is a criticism of abstract generalizations/universals against concrete universals.
One many proclaimed Marxists themselves as naive to and often fall into the same arbitrariness in trying to identify the essence of things. https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/chat/index.htm#unithttps://www.marxists.org/archive/pilling/works/capital/pilling4.htm#Pill5
Hegel objected to the Kantian method of arriving at concepts because it made it impossible to trace the connection between the individual and the particular. All objects not included in a class were set against those standing outside this class. Identity (conceived as a dull sameness) and opposition were placed into two rigidly opposed criteria of thought. The direction Hegel took in trying to overcome the limitations imposed by such rigidity of thinking led to far richer results, and it was a method which guided Marx throughout Capital.
For Hegel a concept was primarily a synonym for the real grasping of the essence of phenomena and was in no way limited simply to the expression of something general, of some abstract identity discernible by the senses in the objects concerned. A concept (if it was to be adequate) had to disclose the real nature of a thing and this it must do not merely by revealing what it held in common with other objects, but also its special nature, in short its peculiarity. The concept was a unity of universality and particularity. Hegel insisted that it was necessary to distinguish between a universality which preserved all the richness of the particulars within it and an abstract ‘dumb’ generality which was confined to the sameness of all objects of a given kind. Further, Hegel insisted, this truly universal concept was to be discovered by investigating the actual laws of the origin, development and disappearance of single things. (Even before we take the-discussion further, it should be clear that here lay the importance of Marx’s logical-historical investigation of the cell-form of bourgeois economy, the commodity.) Thought that was limited to registering or correlating empirically perceived common attributes was essentially sterile – it could never come anywhere near to grasping the law of development of phenomena. One crucial point followed from this which has direct and immediate importance for Capital. It was this: the real laws of phenomena do not and cannot appear directly on the surface of the phenomena under investigation in the form of simple identicalness. If concepts could be grasped merely by finding a common element within the phenomena concerned then this would be equivalent to saying that appearance and essence coincided, that there was no need for science.
The basic difference is the abstract universal is that of attaching all the same attributes shared between things, whilst a concrete universal follows Goethe's romantic science
in finding an archetypal phenomenon which includes all the qualities of the whole and underpins all other particulars. This explains why Marx started his analysis with the commodity even though direct trade of commodities not mediated by monetary exchange were rare by the time capitalism was developing in England during his time.
The implication being this arbitrary a dabble of socialism because of these features or dabble of feudalism or capitalism seems to be so arbitrary that the concepts do not denote the essence of a thing.
Which doesn't negate mixed economies as a valid concept, just that this % of an economy being capitalist or socialist seems to not be Marxist but like the difference between arbitrarily identifying people by socioeconomic status (strata, not class) on a scale as opposed to identifying their class relation.https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch52.htm
The first question to he answered is this: What constitutes a class? — and the reply to this follows naturally from the reply to another question, namely: What makes wage-labourers, capitalists and landlords constitute the three great social classes? At first glance — the identity of revenues and sources of revenue. There are three great social groups whose members, the individuals forming them, live on wages, profit and ground-rent respectively, on the realisation of their labour-power, their capital, and their landed property.
However, from this standpoint, physicians and officials, e.g., would also constitute two classes, for they belong to two distinct social groups, the members of each of these groups receiving their revenue from one and the same source. The same would also be true of the infinite fragmentation of interest and rank into which the division of social labour splits labourers as well as capitalists and landlords-the latter, e.g., into owners of vineyards, farm owners, owners of forests, mine owners and owners of fisheries.
This summarizes the matter quite well in regards to the issue with abstract universals against concrete ones.https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/help/foucaul1.htm
The essential methodological error which is common to positivism, structuralism and post-structuralism is the inability to perceive the essence of processes and to understand and distinguish between Essence and the abstract quantitative reflection of the data of perception; the inability to work with true Notions rather than abstract universals.
I suspect your concepts are arbitrary due to this.