Is this where the West is heading? - Page 10 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15190404
QatzelOk wrote:
Why do the Amish, Mennonites, Hacidim, etc. reject technology, ckaihatsu?

Don't they realize how fun it is sitting in a pickup truck listening to electronic music while driving to a mall full of other SUVs? Or are they onto something that zoo-dwelling moderns have lost?



You're unwittingly *entertaining* around this topic, Qatzel, but on *serious* matters you're much better with your anti-imperialism.
#15190463
ckaihatsu wrote:No -- the *opposite*.

Any given 'batch' of (liberated) labor value, as represented in labor credits, or as a 'work shift' of voluntarily-provided liberated labor, is strictly *voluntary* and non-coerced / non-imposed.

This 'batch' of labor value should *not* vary in quality-times-quantity, as a discrete batch, at least according to the model, anyway -- 10 (hours) x 1 (labor credit per hour) = 10 labor credits, which could also next-fund 5 (hours) x 2 (labor credits per hour). Etc.

Any given potential liberated laborer (which is *everyone*, post-capitalism, by definition), can opt to *not-work*, subject to prevailing conditions and prevailing social sentiment, of course. (Objective [natural] reality, and objective-and-subjective *social* reality, respectively.)

So it's not so much 'commanding', as it's 'passing-it-forward', meaning that one's labor credits in-hand, necessarily from one's own past socially-necessary efforts, accomplished, allows one to *designate* and/or 'fund', premium rates (or whatever) of liberated labor, to the extent of hours that one can 'afford' -- even to the point of indicating *particular* people that one may favor.


I meant "command" in a metaphorical sense, in the same way someone might "command" respect.

The option to opt out of work (subject to prevailing conditions) does sound pretty great, honestly. I think that society is only getting a very miniscule amount of actual value from the work that I do in test automation, or negative value. It's all so that lenders know what interest rate to charge so that people can buy cars they really can't afford. In cities that are set up so that you are forced to drive everywhere.

I'm pretty confident I could provide more social value as a thinker, philosopher or musician. We have an economy of utility consumption machines - providing what people think they want, but where those desires are conditioned by the social economic system.

I think that the value of labor can no longer be measured in utilitarian or economic terms in a post-industrial, consumer desire based economy. Because what we want is killing us, like a heroin addiction. Perhaps the value of the new form of labor in post-capitalism can't be measured at all, whether in labor hours or anything else.

But something like this labor credits system could help us share the burden of generating socially necessary value, which perhaps can be measured, so that we are freed up to generate the kind of value that no one knew they needed, which can't be measured.

ckaihatsu wrote:No, sorry, there *is* demand in this economy, as shown in the 'periphery' (downward 'sinks') around the central 'point of production' / factory in the diagram.

Demand is ultimately *biological*, of course, which is why humanity has to have some kind of political economy that's suitable to serving human needs and wants, over the whole globe. The illustrative 'piles of stuff' implies that people are going to want to *take* from those piles, and society has a real-world interest in planning *beforehand* about how stuff can be taken from the piles, and who will replenish them, etc.


labor credits framework for 'communist supply & demand'


I think that we could collectively designate a set of goods which are deemed "necessary" and which are more or less interchangeable commodities. Like let's say, toothbrushes, rice, toilet paper. We could just have a giant communist walmart where there are piles of these things and everyone gets a certain number of monthly vouchers to take from the piles (not vouchers in the Marxist labor value sense, but vouchers determined democratically as representing how much of a thing people actually need).

The whole point of this would be that we wouldn't have to think about it, and we would be free to devote our liberated labor to immaterial or artisan purposes. Which I think is kind of like what you're saying.

I think where we may differ, is that I think the bulk of this liberated labor should occur in microspheres, in small scale production. I don't think you would be automatically contributing to a big pile that anyone could take from. Because something made for everyone in many cases diminishes its value in an artistic sense. Although nothing is stopping you from doing that if you like, if you like residing solely in the common macrosphere.

A major advantage of these microspheres is that their organization is left up to the participants. You don't have to specify in advance how they would work. Some may be more individualist or market oriented, others may operate more like a commune. They may or may not operate with monetary units, or labor credits or vouchers or some other system. These are spaces for social and political-economic experimentation. So whatever generalized common system that the macro sphere operates on, would not be the product of purely hypothetical armchair theorizing, but would have a basis in real world social systems, and their effectiveness (or lack thereof) could be demonstrated, before a common system is determined democratically.

Although we are naturally happier and find more meaning on a local scale with face to face interaction, we feel forced to participate in the vast economic machine precisely because we need the kind of bundle of necessities that you would get at a place like walmart.

A voucher or labor credit system could allow people residing in the microspheres to obtain that bundle of necessities by taking from the centralized macro pile, and therefore enable them to produce small scale artisan/immaterial value in environments which they custom design to nourish the particular kind of value that they and other like minded people determine is most worthwhile, and which cannot be slotted into any kind of grid or macro plan. But which nonetheless enriches society on a macro scale when the micro happens to give birth to something larger than itself.

ckaihatsu wrote:Sure -- I think this could be said. More-administratively, given 'x' items of formally-expressed organic-demand, we now know that we need an 'x+e' number of item 'y' in 'pile y001'. (The 'e' stands for a certain *extra* amount of stuff produced, maybe 20% for example, at the discretion / wisdom of the workers there.)

If the liberated-workers there drifted-off, and inventories diminished, and organic-demand became more-intense, then people would have to collectively proactively address the labor shortage, and maybe pool together sufficient numbers of their own labor credits to make an offer of *more* labor credits per hour for the kind of liberated-labor that's now critically required.


I think that a central authority could probably coordinate resources so that supply in the various piles matches organic demand for them. You could even have automatic adjustment of labor credit valuation according to the size of the queues of people waiting in line for an item.

But that's what makes most sense to me - again the advantage of my system is its indeterminacy. There could be any number of possible economic coordination systems that we might agree on for the macrosphere. And we can use the results of socioeconomic experimentation in the microspheres as a basis for that collective decision.

ckaihatsu wrote:Yes, hypothetically people could work as much as they want to increase-the-height-of-piles, but in terms of actual social *need*, the budget of publicly provided pooled labor credits, for scheduled shifts of liberated labor at certain rates of labor credits per hour, would soon dry-up after a certain point since no one would really want to personally fund *excess* unless there was a good reason for it. Those with labor credits would have the social means to 'designate' and 'fund' other people's pre-planned liberated labor work roles, for scheduled shifts, for planned and active projects.

Yeah, it *could* be that way, which would be the *simplest* -- an effortless, non-formal gift economy wherein liberated laborers post-capitalism would simply have to work enough to *replenish* the various piles / inventories. If something goes out of fashion, and the pile stays intact, so-be-it unless special attentions are socially needed to proactively *remove* the pile, for whatever reason, possibly environmental -- this would be the *socio-political*, or 'political' side of the post-capitalist political economy.


The more I think of this as a decentralized Walmart, the more sense it makes to me. You don't go to Walmart to satisfy your most fanciful and "boutique" consumer desires, you just go in there because you need a bundle of stuff and you try and get in and out as fast as possible before the place depresses you. If the production and distribution of necessities can be injected with any more worker-directed energy, that would be a very good thing. I don't know how anyone works there longer than 6 months before dying inside.

If you think about it, isn't our economy more and more resembling a combination of Walmart and Amazon? Walmart contains all the common "piles of stuff" that everyone generally needs. Whereas Amazon carries a truly staggering variety of goods to fit any conceivable consumption niche.

I think that for a post-capitalist system to be viable, it has to do what Walmart and Amazon do at least as well. Socialism traditionally being more about providing necessities to the least well-off, I think is viable in the Walmart dimension. In the Amazon dimension, I'm not so sure. I think you need a very elaborate cybernetic system with some centralized direction but which can account for extremely niche demands. Socialism has never been about positive pleasure from consumption, which is the thing people are most addicted to with capitalism.

Puritan ascetism and excessive concern with the necessary as opposed to the frivolous and excessive / unnecessary, I think ultimately will doom any attempt to radically remake society to address our common needs. There is a common need for joy in life after all.

That is one reason behind my microsphere politics. Because people can define what that means for themselves and do not have to rely on the tastes and preferences of the masses. Whatever is for the masses is by definition common, paraphrasing Nietzsche.

Which doesn't mean that production for and by the masses or the commons is a bad thing at all. Only it is an incomplete politics. And I think its a major flaw in the very concept of communism, which seeks to subsume all under a single plan or vision.



ckaihatsu wrote:Correct -- so people could 'consume' all kinds of *jet airliners*, maybe, especially initially, during the 'redistribution' part of the prerequisite proletarian revolution, but they'd soon realize that a plane requires a *crew* to properly prepare it for takeoff, etc. Maybe those claiming jet airliners, necessarily with their own person and physical presence, would want to offer hourly rates of labor credits for those who want to *maintain* airplanes.


Or all the private jets could be distributed equally among the microspheres, and each of them could figure out what to do with them based on their own systems.

ckaihatsu wrote:Okay, thanks for the visual, but I don't think that more-specialized goods would be 'cheapified' material-economically -- if anything luxury goods production requires *higher-skilled* labor, so that kind of labor, post-capitalism, would be more *premium* and would attract higher rates of labor credits per hour. Actually, at *that* point -- luxury / specialty production -- society may just as well use the *market* system, with currency, for such 'peripheral' material concerns, since such items would be less-socially-critical, less-demanded and *scarcer*, by-definition, as I mentioned in the past. (See the 'Multi-Tiered' diagram.)

People could very well organize *socio-politically* / mass-consciously, to address any unintended reality of scratchy toilet paper, etc. In reality this kind of issue is usually just a different kind of *machine*, anyway, so it's not actually that big a deal.


So luxury production is basically an afterthought, not even "worthy" the main communal system of production? I think that effectively it will be denounced as bourgeois to even want something remotely luxurious, and won't be produced at all.

Socialism at root is a Christian doctrine for which life is something to be suffered through like Christ on the cross. It is not a life-affirming doctrine. It hasn't even begun to transform itself to the postmodern reality that god is dead. That people are going to choose the ability to select from a zillion different goods in a capitalist hellscape over the noblest ideals of communal solidarity.

The paradox is that for such solidarity to even have a chance, it must incorporate and embrace the opposite principle, of difference and individuality. That is why we need at the very least a dual system, not a monolithic one.

ckaihatsu wrote:Okay, as with any luxury / specialty production, higher-quality goods and services would require higher-skilled work roles, which would require more years of education / training / experience, which would attract higher rates of labor credits per hour for those kinds of liberated labor.

And, yeah, I'll readily admit that there would be a 'breaking point' for *anything*, where the labor / funding required, at some point, just wouldn't be *worth* it, for the product, and so the product / machine / whatever just wouldn't be produced, given the larger prevailing social norms, social politics, and attentions / efforts / labor.

What this system of *labor credits* does, in part, is to provide a *universalization* of forward-flowing-efforts, so that any outstanding / unmet 'projects' may reach the *whole world* (over the Internet) to inform everyone that work role 'x' is needed right now, for those who may want to *relocate* to work on that project personally.


Why does everyone in the whole world have to agree to something to incentivize its production? Talk about too many cooks in the kitchen - that's like 7 billion cooks. Producing the blandest possible food, if its even edible. The diversity and variety that makes life worth living is that which thrives in an environment separate and distinct from all the rest. It is that which then can be appreciated by all, if they so choose.

The masses are never "ahead of the curve" when it comes to culture, fashion, technology, philosophy, art, or anything. They are always behind the curve. You can't blame them for it - no one can be an expert at everything. Allowing spaces free from their control, for these things to flourish by those who think differently and who devote everything to their craft, is in their interest. Even if they don't understand it.

I think that the "Amazon" side of my macroeconomy could coordinate the specialty artisan goods created by microspheres so that they are available to those residing in different microspheres. There need not be any specific plan to produce them on a large scale, as particular communities can decide on their method and scale of production themselves.

They would be purchased with credits, vouchers, monetary units, or whatever economic value unit is determined democratically to be held in common in the macrosphere.

ckaihatsu wrote:Well, just as you're asserting / contending here that there would be *no* social dynamism, I'll assert and contend that there *would* be social dynamism. People could certainly use social media, then as now, to say what they think should be produced, and to get others who share that sentiment to 'join' and express that sentiment as well.



Omg, an economy determined by social media would truly be a nightmare. You would replace dominance by financial capital with dominance by social capital / number of followers and "influence."

You'd be free to try such a thing in its own microsphere though of course. Then we can see how well a Twitterverse economy works out in practice.

It's a deficiency of any communal or democratic system really. It magnifies those with social power and those who understand how to play its Machiavellian game of symbolic exchange.

This is why we need a right to exit the communal macrosphere. You can't avoid democracy unfortunately, when dealing with communal matters. But you can do your best to ensure that it does not totalize every aspect of life, and that there are nooks and crannies free from the communal Eye of Sauron.

ckaihatsu wrote:Yeah, everyone could just decide to be 'rock stars', post-capitalism, favoring their own life and interests almost exclusively to the abandonment of everything-else / everything social, but I think that, in reality, this wouldn't be the case. As long as *some* people wanted to do the gruntwork for everyone else's benefit, then *enough* would get done, preferably on labor-leveraging computerized automated mass industrial production, for everyone to get the things they most needed, and maybe even some of what they *want*, too -- the most-common items, anyway.

Maybe such a society would mandate *some* rudimentary revolving work roles as a bare minimum for everyone, so that the most critical stuff doesn't get *overlooked* by everyone.


Hmm, sounds great, we *might* just get some of what we want. If there's time leftover after everyone in the world decides whether or not you deserve it or it deserves to be produced at all.

I think that communists most naturally would gravitate towards the macrosphere in my system, where they would be concerned with coordination of all the social necessities common to all spheres. That's great, to have people motivated to do that.

Where communism goes wrong is in drafting every last person to the task of maintaining the commons. Not everyone is suited for that, or can be their full liberated self in the context of mass politics. It is a very particular type of person who is drawn to that.

Instinctively, a large number of the masses realize this flaw in communism, which is why they aren't attracted to it. Meanwhile, our communal problems fester and aren't addressed. All because those concerned with the communal have the massive ego that everyone in the whole world must sign up to participate in the good (quasi-"Christian") cause. Generally everyone's political philosophy is a reflection of themselves and that which they personally esteem in terms of value, and projecting this onto the world. We have not matured collectively to the point where to allow something means to ban the opposite, or vice versa. The Christian dogmatism of slave morality runs deep.

ckaihatsu wrote:Sure -- I can appreciate the greater common good, and that not everything in the world and political economy is individualist-consumerist. Proceed, if you like.


I am correcting my position here. I think that people should be able to "hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, and debate philosophy in the evening" and they should have space to construct a microsystem where those are the priorities.

But the communal macrosystem should be a lot harder and more utilitarian in its orientation towards solving global problems.

Things will work out better when you allow different sorts of people to sort themselves into a pluralistic system allowing for contradictory values.

ckaihatsu wrote:Yup. I think the average person is *mature* enough to act accordingly, and post-capitalist collective work roles would be socially reasonable, especially once freed from having to work for the aggrandizement of private property.


I think that's far from the case actually. People are far more determined by the depths of their irrational unconscious, and capitalism has been extremely successful at harnessing that towards its own ends. Capitalism has already been postmodern for decades. Meanwhile, socialism is stuck in a 19th century modernist rationalist framework.

We *should* have a rational approach to our collective problems. But I contend that this is done against the grain of people's "natural" tendencies. This is one major reason why you need a centralized authority in the macrosphere. And you need a filtering process to ensure that the most rational and "mature" people are assigned to these problems. They are simply too important to delegate to people who are more concerned with the latest TikTok trends or the million other trivial things most people concern themselves with.

Communism in the 20th century "solved" this problem by delegating absolute power to a revolutionary vanguard, acting in the name of the people.

That is not the way forward. We need abstract filtering mechanisms - decided on democratically - to ensure that people are slotted in to the roles which they are most suited to. People who are most motivated to solve the world's problems should not be blocked from doing so as they are under capitalism, where you have to have money to play the game. The filtering mechanism should ensure that they get to work in the productive roles they find the most fulfilling.

There is no implied hierarchy here of "mature and serious" over "immuture and unserious." The latter actually may play a vital role - as any society worth living in will have people who know how to play (Nietzsche - the seriousness of a child at play). But neither should unserious people block those are really are serious about the big technical, scientific, philosophical and organizational problems confronting humanity. It is a win-win for there to be room for all kinds of people in a pluralistic society.

ckaihatsu wrote:
Sure, and thanks for the thoughtful input.

Those who *want* to do liberated labor for labor credits will *necessarily* have to find formally expressed *social need* -- perhaps many in a particular locality have been socially busy lately, with week-in week-out meetings and topics being discussed all over the place, and they've let-slip their daily household toilet-cleaning. Some have been griping and groaning about it, and word gets out, and those workers in that one locale (the same, or nearby, perhaps) announce that they'll help anyone and everyone there who wants their toilets cleaned, but it has to be for 100 labor credits a pop. (The exit-survey work role index says '80'.)

Maybe everyone nearby hears about this offer, but local social-convention things happen to be wrapping-up just around that time, and people start returning to their homes, and their attentions turn to tidying up. *Some* want their toilets done, for 100 labor credits, and so it happens. This would be a (post-capitalist, liberated-labor) *service*, and could really be *anything*, from anyone, to anyone.

Actually, *everything* post-capitalism would be a *service*, because there's no 'ownership', as in 'owning goods', and as in 'paying for goods', because that would be *commodification* and wouldn't be congruent with communism. Goods / products would all be for personal *consumption*, or use, or would be parts of some larger *project*, as for common social infrastructure like a train station or whatever.

Sure, anyone could 'alter the valuation at will', so-to-speak, because *anyone* could charge *anything* for their liberated labor, or even *withhold* it from society, and it really wouldn't matter. They could still access the commons, for their own personal needs and wants, whether they did labor or not, and others *would* want to commit some of their own personal (voluntary) (liberated) labor for the social good. If *everyone* withheld their labor generally then that society would soon be pretty shitty, as you outlined.

Ultimately labor credits would have to be *issued*, for their existence, as you're pointing out, and this could be by a *locality*, on a locality-*debt* basis, or not. Those of the locality would all be individually-proportionately responsible for all outstanding labor-credit debt issued by their locality. Journalism would undoubtedly continue to exist, and could readily document all of this kind of stuff, since it would all automatically be 'newsworthy' and socially significant.

If those from the debt-issuing locality went out, to other localities, to voluntarily do hours of liberated labor, to get labor credits, to bring-back to their debt-burdened locality, to *underwrite* the debt, then that locality would *no longer* be in debt, since the labor credits they previously issued are now *backed* by actual socially-necessary work done, represented by the labor credits brought-back.

If virtually *all* localities just issued batches of their own debt-based labor credits, willy-nilly, whenever, repeatedly, then it would be up to the *liberated laborers* to pick-and-choose which localities they would actually work for, if any, for particular-locality issued debt-burdened labor credits. Maybe some localities' own labor credits would be considered relatively more-'worthy' of receipt, than others -- *reputation*. Those localities, if any, who *did* actually work to bring back labor credits to underwrite their own labor credits out of debt, would *instantly* have a much better reputation than all the others who continued to *remain* debt-burdened in the 'value' / reputation of *their* own localities' labor credits.

Hell, this could even happen on the *individual* level, for *individual* IOUs -- which is what debt-based labor credits basically are -- though I haven't *developed* this model for that, exactly. If I agree to clean your toilet and you promise me 100 labor credits, and you issue me a 100LC 'IOU' once I'm done with my work, what is *that* IOU worth, exactly? Will you clean *my* toilet the next weekend, for the same amount? Will you go out and do work for at least 100 labor credits, to remit to me, the same week?



Your localities ~~ my microspheres?

Must all localities operate in the same fashion?

What if some of them decide to operate with your labor credit system, if they all agree upon it - while others, not so convinced that a society without private ownership of goods of any kind is a good or desirable way to live, set up a different or more hybrid system of the public and private?

Wouldn't you agree there is only limited value in hypothesizing the ideal society, since people are not mechanistic and their actions cannot be determined as if in an equation?

Therefore, is it not more likely that the ideal society will emerge through multiple forms of experimentation rather than theorization - and so, the ideal society *right now* is to ensure that people have as much freedom to experiment with social systems as possible?

On a macro level, people might democratically decide among an array of options, delegating relative importance to the public and private. Since the macro is by definition what is held in common, experimentation can only be serial instead of parallel.

But on the micro level, you could have a great deal of parallel, simultaneous experimentation which would vastly increase the amount of data available to make an informed choice on the macro level.

Rather than relying on pure hypothesization of what "homo politicus" in theory should or should not do, you're basing your decisions on how to structure the macroeconomy on what real people have done and are doing, and the emergent systems they come up with in an organic fashion.

Regardless of how "airtight" your theory of how the macroeconomy should be is in your mind, I think we are beyond the point where everyone can consent to the same system.

In the past, in a theocratic society, you had one religion which had to serve as the basis of everything. The 20th century modernist period secularized this, and supposed that one civic religion (communism) could serve that role. In the postmodern period, where god has died (both in religious and secular forms), you have to make room for a plurality of religious and political views.

Assuming that everyone is going to get on board with banning all private property I think is the surest way to doom your politics to irrelevance. No one person or group of people's vision should rule. Everyone gets their say, that is democracy.

If you are confident your system is the best, then prove it. You should be given the space to implement it on a small scale, and if you can convince people to democratically embrace it on a macro level then you would have that opportunity as well.

ckaihatsu wrote:
Yeah -- I happened to have had the exact same critique, of a 'stock [inventory] rotation system' poster, years ago, back at the RevLeft discussion board.

The 'missing mechanism' here, I would argue, is simply a regular method by which people could make 'demands', individually or collectively, out to everyone else in that locality, and greater (consider PoFo, by *geography*, for example).

Here's the 'demand' side, including anything *novel*, which may or may not *resonate* with others, at greater scales:

"
consumption [demand] -- Every person in a locality has a standard, one-through-infinity ranking system of political demands available to them, updated daily


consumption [demand] -- Basic human needs will be assigned a higher political priority by individuals and will emerge as mass demands at the cumulative scale -- desires will benefit from political organizing efforts and coordination


consumption [demand] -- A regular, routine system of mass individual political demand pooling -- as with spreadsheet templates and email -- must be in continuous operation so as to aggregate cumulative demands into the political process"



I don't think its impossible for that to work. Effectively the capitalist monetary system does the same thing with aggregate consumer demand, but in a very unequal fashion. Because the rich's demands count more since they have more dollars.

ckaihatsu wrote:
Yeah, well, then, that's a *political* issue, and would have to be discussed by everyone in all towns, and taken-care-of.


It really allows your theory to relax when it leaves spaces for indeterminacy and local decision making, right?

ckaihatsu wrote:Sure -- maybe technology would enable fish to participate on PoFo, and they could post their experiences, in words, as well.


The spheres approach inherently recognizes that it concerns itself only with what is appropriate to that sphere. Otherwise, it leaves it alone. So it is ecological, because the anthropic sphere is only one among many.

ckaihatsu wrote:"Wouldn't towns A and B then competitively bid to attract the star liberated laborers from town C to the projects benefiting their locality? "

Sure -- where's the problem with that?


Nothing, from my perspective. I thought it sounded a bit too much like a monetary auction for your approach.

ckaihatsu wrote:Yeah, that's about the empirically correct assessment. When I was growing up I thought it was something about the *baby boomer* generation in particular, to have such avalanches of social-assholism come tumbling down, but as I became more politically-literate I realized that's just how the whole system *is* -- the U.S. still hasn't dispensed with its past *aristocracy*, basically, while France *did*, decisively, in the French Revolution.


Hmm, I've never been to France but it does seem they are quite a bit further advanced in worker consciousness than we are in the US. As in, we are only just seeing it after decades of being dormant from capitalist propaganda.

I think the abortion stuff can be traced more to the US's puritanical religious history than aristocracy. I believe that some of the early colonists were probably escaping domination from landlords and capital in Europe, to establish communities where they were free to practice their religious beliefs. (almost like establishing their own sphere?)

Of course they just ended up replicating the aristocracy. Didn't France as well, to an extent?

ckaihatsu wrote:Okay, and I think your politics is more 'orthodox' with this distinction, while I've come to look at the structure *logistically*, and prefer to emphasize the 'human need' / 'organic-demand' aspect as the independent / determining variable, plus I have an eye on current *technologies* that would serve to *highly leverage* human labor power in the conceivable present-day-based post-capitalist political economy.


I'm with you on that - I meant generalized worker control in terms of determining which logistics and technologies should be deployed on a macro level.


ckaihatsu wrote:I'll suggest that my 'Emergent Central Planning' approach covers the same terrain as what you're describing. Feel free to comment.


Emergent Central Planning


Replace your "factory" / locality nodes with microspheres and that might not be too different from what I'm proposing. There would necessarily be some system involving economic coordination of the microspheres on different levels, where they can issue demands for goods and services and receive a supply, with an emergent central planning, but the precise form I am being agnostic about.

ckaihatsu wrote:Yes, and I don't mean to *imply* that the post-capitalist political-economic social organization should be left to chance, or to any kind of material-economy-facilitated economic *spontaneity*, as might be interpreted from my 'labor credits' model.

I think regular everyday *discussions* could take place, everywhere, as on PoFo, so that social organization can happen according to *topic*, or *chronology*, or *geography*, or *relative importance*, etc. -- perhaps done as simply as a *sort* of one's threads that one is subscribed to.

No one would necessarily be so socially *disconnected* and *disempowered* as people are currently under capitalism's economic *alienation*.

I'll ask you to consider each and every person on the planet individually *listing* their own personally-considered most *important* items, according to *priority* (#1, #2, #3, etc.), for personal consumption, and for social urgency, potentially daily.


I think that may work fine for necessities. But a political economy limited to providing necessities - or leaving "luxuries" to an afterthought - is by necessity, impoverished.

Alienation is not due solely to capitalism, but to modern industrialized society where everyone is reduced to a cog. Your individual voice is drowned out in a sea of others. What does a single discussion accomplish, effectively, on a macro scale? Nothing - not even in a socialist economy. It doesn't matter what you think, you are outvoted by a million others by default. We can see this in how disillusioned people are with democracy itself - the few spheres that are somewhat democratic in our capitalist system are just as dysfunctional as everything else.

We are not worker ants. The human desire for meaning and recognition, and the feeling of power to shape one's environment, necessitate local spaces where small communities are free to do so. It is simply not possible to achieve that sense of agency by submitting your one vote amongst a million or a billion others. Or by submitting your list of demands to some abstract system.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with democracy on a vast scale like that - in fact I think it is necessary - it is not sufficient for our vitality. If you want a thriving mass worker culture, that means that we must have a sense of agency particularly in the local domain. It would be an emergent culture from an array of diverse ones. Not a monoculture.

ckaihatsu wrote:'Demand' / 'demand signals' / 'organic demand' / 'demand tree' / 'socially necessary' = *consumption*.

'Supply' / 'supply signals' / 'organic supply' / 'supply tree' = *production* (with labor power).

So, sure, I'd concur that 'socially necessary [consumption]' is the 'given', *independent*, *determining* variable in Marxism, and my 'labor credits' model / framework / approach is *congruent* with this, possibly even more-so than a more-orthodox *worker-consumer* necessary *duality*.

I mean to say that not everything that everyone does is necessarily going to be *socially beneficial*, or 'socially necessary', and so then how are we supposed to *address* that inherent material schism between 'work for the common social good' and 'work for oneself' -- ? How do we *schedule* for it -- ?

I'll simply restate that a post-capitalist collectivist political economy would intrinsically have a collective interest in *automating* as much work as possible, so that *no one* would have to do it.


The producerism of Marxism isn't entirely wrong either though - we derive meaning from work. And a large part of that is its social connection. Automation of everything wouldn't necessarily be good.

We can only have meaningful social connections to what, 200 people? I think that means that if we want meaningful work, we should arrange it on a macro scale so that units roughly of that size have enough repeated interaction that they can form meaningful ongoing social relationships. If they are contributing to a common project, that would be ideal.

It is impossible to address the schism between work for the faceless billions and work for oneself, without the intermediary of work for a meaningful social unit.

ckaihatsu wrote:You're treating politics like it's a *popularity contest* -- no, the political economy doesn't shapeshift according to the whims of the electoral winners. I'll refer you to base-and-superstructure at this point.

Also you're conflating communism with liberalism, inadvertently, and the entirety of your critique of communism here rests on this characterization which you may want to *elaborate* on -- '[communism's] puritan attitude towards capital and markets'.


Communism is not a purely materialist doctrine, despite its pretensions. It was always a form of secular messianism fused into the prevailing 19th century rationalism and structuralism.

And politics always was a popularity contest - that is why communism offered an entire identity and sense of purpose, for the great cause and tradition of striving for liberation. It was a secular religion, operating under the alibi of materialist analysis.

Now, both the material and ideal components of Marxist communism are out of date. If political economy is a base-superstructure, then both have evolved far beyond what they were in Marx's time. This evolution has created a new consciousness in workers. The ideal component of Marxism no longer appeals to this new consciousness, on the whole. While it may still be successful in igniting the zeal of some, especially the young, this is bound to turn into a kind of doom and nihilism when it comes up against the fact of capitalist realism.

We know very well what we're doing, but still we keep doing it - this is Zizek's formula for ideology today.

Why do we keep participating zombie-like in capitalism? I think it is because we have to revisit the formulation of the problem, and re-frame it. There is some need that is being satisfied by capitalism, that keeps us attached to it. I think it is primarily on the consumption side. When it comes down to it, we like things. We like to own them. We like to accumulate them. And if we don't have them, then we wish we did.

The ideal component of communism is totally at odds with the fantastical imaginary we have developed under capitalism, the imagined paradise of consumerist luxury. This imaginary is part of who we are now. And communism threatens it, by trying to cut off and deny the objects of pleasure. So its demands of an economy with no privately owned goods, no accumulations, can only be perceived on a general level as a drive towards puritan ascetism.

So far from leading to proletarian revolution, I see the symbols of communism being deployed because they are the available tools lying around, with which we can express our discontent. But ultimately I think they will prove inadequate in constructing an alternative system that the working class as a whole will endorse.

There is too much of capitalism in us, I'm saying, for us to discard it entirely. And from a standpoint of historical evolution, all of our discontent with it will not amount to a complete replacement with something else, but rather it will amount to a force vector pushing it in some new, unknown direction. Perhaps once we go far enough along that path, we will have reached a point which we can no longer call capitalism. But we won't recognize it - or ourselves - at that point.

ckaihatsu wrote:Sure, we could say that the *practice* of Marx's Marxism was an objective of *progressive taxation* at the time, which *would be* transformative, but also -- as with *all* political-minded fetishes / objectives -- was *fetishized* and wouldn't necessarily be the strategy-of-choice for *today's* situation.


Right, and what I'm saying is that applying the Marxist materialist method to Marxism itself, results in something very different. Marxism as a political doctrine is itself a kind of fetishized object.

From the Flisfeder paper:

Flisfeder wrote:"whereas modernism, as Perry Anderson
(1998) has described, defined itself as anti-bourgeois, postmodernism occurs when,
without any (apparent) victory, that adversary is gone"


The bourgeois adversary is gone. We have become the thing we hated. Now what? I think that any Marxism which is afraid to move into this new territory is not appropriate for today's situation.

ckaihatsu wrote:I'm hearing *paeans* here, presumably, but if you have any actual political *insight* from this intellectual school that you think would be *pertinent* here, well let's *hear* it then.


Here are some pertinent passages we might discuss. Basically, what the paper is getting at, is trying to move beyond postmodern deconstruction and incredulity towards metanarratives. This leaves us paralyzed, unable to assemble ourselves as subjects to divert the dystopian course of capital. Essentially, this new dialectical materialism seeks to create a new symbolic fiction, a new utopia which can serve as a master unifying signifier to create positive change. Communism can be a kind of "common sense political unconscious" - a way of narratively unify around the reality of class struggle, which evades symbolization.

Flisfeder wrote:"If modernism may be understood as a code that subverts commodification, new media
and realism, and the bourgeoisie, postmodernism can best be grasped, not as the
point at which subversion disappears, but as the point at which it becomes
hyperextended – when it becomes everything (see Jameson 1998)"

"As Žižek again puts it, the postmodern end of grand narratives, or big
explanations (like Marxism and psychoanalysis) “is one of the names for this
predicament in which the multitude of local fictions thrives against the background of
scientific discourses as the only remaining universality deprived of sense” (2008: 33).
The problem as he sees it is the existence of various parallel discourses, caught in a
chain of equivalences, none of which has been able to radically intervene in the
capitalist relations of production. All they do, he claims, is supplement the dominant
narrative with other local narratives that do not effectively disturb the existing system.
Instead, he says,“the task is to produce a symbolic fiction (a truth) that intervenes into
the Real, that causes a change within it”
(Ibid) – and isn’t this exactly what Jameson
has in mind with his notion of “cognitive mapping”? "

"Like these other examples, Marxism, according to Jameson, proposes its own
“master code,” which he says is neither the “economy” (as in much of the reductive
criticism of Marxism which sees it as a practice of “economic determinism”), nor is it
even the class struggle. Instead, it is, according to him, that absent cause of the
system, itself: the mode of production. How might the mode of production be
conceived as an interpretive master code? History, as we have already seen from
Jameson, “is not in any sense itself a text or master text or master narrative.” It
remains, according to him, “inaccessible to us except in textual or narrative form”
(Jameson 2008: 452). Historical materialism provides in narrative form an
interpretation of the historical and material transition from one mode of production to
the next. It provides an explanation, from the perspective of a dialectical materialist
understanding – that is, from the subjective position of the proletariat – of the historical
transformation from one mode of production to each successive mode of production,
and the internal forces of each, its contradictions, which are sublated in the shift from
the one to the next.
"

" All class consciousness – all ideology – is ultimately utopian. Jameson (1981)
has proposed this thesis in different ways, but along the lines of two contradictory
formulations – contradictory, that is, from the perspective of the class struggle – that I
think are pertinent to the context of the class struggle. He has, one the one hand,
looked at the relationship between reification and utopia, as well as, on the other hand,
that between realism and utopia. Jameson explains that every class consciousness is
utopian insofar as “it expresses the unity of a collectivity.” Such a unity is an allegorical
one in the sense that the achieved collectivity is utopian “not in itself, but only insofar
as all such collectivities are themselves figures for the ultimate concrete collective life
of an achieved Utopian or classless society.” Because of this, “even hegemonic or
ruling-class culture and ideology are Utopian, not in spite of their instrumental function
to secure and perpetuate class privilege and power, but rather precisely because that
function is also in and of itself the affirmation of collective solidarity” (Jameson 1981:
291)."

"A realist utopia is one, conversely, that does not make any claim to the organic
composition of the collective unity of the community.
In fact, its operation is to
pronounce fully the presence of the antagonism that prevents the collective unity of the
society, while simultaneously offering a glimpse of an emancipatory resolution to the
problem. It accomplishes, in other words, a mediation of the antagonism that leaves it
intact while simultaneously elucidating that which remains true on both sides of the
contradiction. The latter is also how I understand the category of the totality. A cultural
example that both Jameson and Žižek cite is the David Simon television series, The
Wire (2002-2008) (Jameson 2010; Žižek 2012). What they both show is that each
season of the series portrays a genuine social problem – the conflict between drug
dealers/organized crime and the police, which is ultimately also a racialized conflict;
the struggles of labour unions and the disintegration of organized labour; problems in
public education; and the problems with what is now commonly referred to as the “fake
news” – but each season also proposes some ultimately utopian scenario in which the
problem is ideally resolved; the solutions, however, are only ultimately defeated due to
ill political will, and the context of power within the existing class struggle. To cite
Žižek, who refers to Jameson’s piece on the series, “The Wire is a whodunit in which
the culprit is the social totality, the whole system, not an individual criminal (or group of
criminals)” (Žižek 2012: 101). He goes on to ask, “how are we to represent (or, rather,
render) in art the totality of contemporary capitalism?... The point is that the Real of the
capitalist system is abstract, the abstract-virtual movement of Capital” (Ibid). And isn’t
this in fact what Jameson means when he refers to the mode of production as the
absent cause, of History as being only available to us in textual form? Nevertheless,
the aesthetic rendering, and particularly the utopian realist one, provides access to
and represents the unrepresentable absent cause: the Real of the class struggle."

"What is ultimately paralyzing about the end of history and the end of ideology,
about the postmodern incredulity towards metanarratives, about the breakdown of the
signifying chain or the demise of symbolic efficiency – what is ultimately paralyzing
about all of these things is the loss of the utopian imaginary that drives historical
progress.
Therefore, those who have proclaimed the end of history, as well as those
who have chided the tyranny of the signifier, regardless of what they may attest to with
regard to their criticisms of the present system, are today the true utopians of the
present. They are those who miss the retroactive determination of the imaginary
required for emancipatory cognitive mapping, which in the same gesture that it
deconstructs the hegemonic signifier of the present, brings – through its radical act – a
wholly new one. The Communist imaginary is not one that premises a necessarily
inevitable, absolute teleology; it does not conceive a predestined historical outcome.
Rather it provides for us the co-ordinates for regulating the movement away from the
dystopian trajectory of the present that is maintained by the cynical resignation of the
dominant postmodern consciousness. Communism is a signifier of retroactive
speculation – or of retroactive signification. And, if postmodernism means in some
ways the elevation of subversion into the reigning ideology, then perhaps the signifier
of contemporary radical politics needs to be Communism, not as subversion, but as
our new common sense political unconscious.
"

"Communism as our new common sense master code arises in Jameson and
Žižek’s recent projects, from Žižek’s volumes on The Idea of Communism, to
Jameson’s essay “An American Utopia” (contained in the book of the same name,
edited by Žižek, which we might also count as another volume in The Idea of
Communism series). What they both continue to demonstrate is that in the face of the
absolute foreclosure of the signifier, the deadlocks of capitalist exploitation, as well as
its own inherent internal contradictions, can only go on and transform into absolute
excess. As Žižek has put it, “when people tell me that nothing can be changed [my
response is] – no it can, because things are already changing like crazy. And what we
should say is just this: if we let things change the way they are changing automatically
we are approaching a kind of new perverse, permissively authoritarian society, which
will be authoritarian but in a new way” (Žižek 2013: 50). Against the Deleuzo-
Guattarian-inspired #accelerationist view (see, for instance, Shaviro 2015; and,
Srnicek and Williams 2015) that seeks only to exacerbate and heighten existing
contradictions, or at the very least continue to maintain the deterritorialized flows of
capital, without – that is – imposing a new signifier, we might take the advice of both
Jameson and Žižek that it is today increasingly necessary to re-invent utopia!
"


What I am saying in relation to this paper, is that any Marxism uninformed by postmodernism, is simply residing in the modernist mode of subversion for its own sake. Subversion that doesn't accomplish anything because it doesn't realize that subversion is now the dominant ideology. Capitalism constantly subverts itself.

It is only by going *through* postmodernism, that the other side of Marxism represented by Zizek and Jameson can be reached. We can dialectically produce a symbolic fiction which is appropriate to the times. A utopia which may never be reached - but that's not the point. Rather it allows us to symbolically orient ourselves so that we can overcome the paralysis of late stage capitalism and actually act.

I think that is kind of what you're doing already actually - let me know if you agree.

But for me, I find myself moreso deeper into postmodernism. I might be more of a Deleuzian. I find it very difficult to accept any metanarratives. But I at least acknowledge the need for one, and the need for a kind of unifying symbolic utopia, so that's what I am trying to do in a way that makes sense to me. Doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what Zizek or Jameson would advocate, as they are Marxist and communist in a strong sense, whereas I am only those things in a weak sense at best.

ckaihatsu wrote:"
Maybe the dictatorship of the proleteriat is only ever an orienting principle, a vision which coheres together progressive working class forces. Not something that will ever actually happen. What if the actual evolution of political economy is the successive overthrow and replacement of one form of class rule for another? In the process, some problems are solved, new ones are created, history continues. "

And why bother taking-a-side -- ? One could just passively, intellectually 'take a tour' of class politics, and point-out certain sightseeing 'attractions' while sipping on an oversized soft drink.


This is exactly what Flisfeder / Zizek are attempting to address with their symbolic fictional utopia.

The fact that it is self-consciously fictional, means that we can constantly rewrite it according to our subjective needs.

The disappearance of a neat, easy division between proletariat and bourgoisie, represents the postmodern era. Street wear is high fashion. We all might be just a little "bougie."

That's okay. Rather than a puritanical demand to reject this transformation and turn back the clock, we can re-invent the narrative to incorporate the capitalist consumerist imaginary that is in our heads - but in a more liberatory direction than what capitalism provides.

ckaihatsu wrote:It's not that workers control is not politically significant / relevant, or that it's not the ultimate aim, but rather that it's not immediately *feasible* for realization, especially if the empirical *political terrain* is not so *conducive* to immediate victory right now.


What if worker control is self-consciously a symbolic fiction then - and that symbolic fiction is a precondition to any kind of victory at all? We have to reconstitute ourselves as subjects of history, in order for liberatory change to be feasible.

ckaihatsu wrote:And yet that's what communism is -- a decisive *break* with bourgeois hegemony, history, norms, practices, culture, etc. (I would argue).

Collective workers control of social production *is* almost unprecedented.


A complete break which won't happen - but which we nonetheless advocate?

ckaihatsu wrote:Hmmmm, sorry to hear it -- do you think society could *potentially* be more meritocratic- / egalitarian-minded in a post-capitalist political-economy context, than it is now -- ? Would those of that society 'work' at it, consciously -- ?


I think that whatever systems we create, could certainly be more meritocratic and egalitarian. Never perfectly so. We will always be working towards it. There is no end to antagonism - if it does not appear in one form, it will appear in another. Such is life. And I think we like it that way - can you imagine stories with no drama? No conflict?

A utopia without struggle - where we can all peacefully lay down and die - is no utopia at all.

ckaihatsu wrote:Well, I don't *disparage* theory / theorizing, as you do. I think it's quite *important*, and *crucial*, mostly because proletarian revolution has to be mass-*conscious*, so why-not just discuss it in advance, at least, as we're doing here.


Consciousness, A Material Definition

Your metaphor is forcing the world's working class to sound *passive* and *incapable*, unfortunately, which is *definitely* not revolutionary.



Utopia is relative to what appears within the scope of the collective imaginary. I agree that theorizing is important and vital - but if it strays too far from what is collectively imagined as possible, I believe it becomes impotent. It exists in a dialectical relationship to our scientific understanding of our place in the world.

Perhaps, at one time, the utopia of an ocean without sharks will collectively galvanize the fish towards actions which lead to not being eaten.

But at another time, when fish understand that there will always be sharks, or some other animal to fill that evolutionary niche, the fictional utopia must be rewritten, where the fish can unify to achieve their ends but with no final victory over their adversary.

What appears as passivity from the perspective of one utopian vision, could be the exact opposite from an alternative vision. And in fact, a utopia too far removed from the symbolic understanding of the agents who are supposed to bring it about, virtually guarantees their passivity.


ckaihatsu wrote:Ethnically I'm half Japanese and half Lithuanian. My avatar photo is me.


Interesting - I'm pretty much all British, on both sides. My great-great grandfather emigrated from Britain to Texas in the late 1800's I think because of a some sort of allergy condition that he thought the move would alleviate.

ckaihatsu wrote:Um, it's *way* more serious than this -- Marx's Declining Rate of Profit indicates that capitalist employers may want to class-consciously *not* fully-automate because then there would be no organic labor value in the production process, and no profits for *anyone*, as a result. It's comparable to why the capitalists don't allow *full employment*, for consciously class-hegemonic reasons.


I'm not sure that full automation is even possible or desirable if it were. Generally you can only automate tasks which are repeated indefinitely. It is not holistic or syncretic. Machine intelligence, while extremely impressive in many domains, simply is of a different category than human intelligence. We won't be totally replaced. Well, most of us.

But yeah, what you're saying isn't unreasonable. Even though I'm not sure I agree with the necessity of a falling rate of profit - it's definitely in the interests of capitalists as a whole for labor to participate in the monetary and economic flow. Without that things would probably break down.

ckaihatsu wrote:Oh, so you're fatalistically saying that Stalinism is inevitable. You're neither pro-working-class, nor pro-revolutionary, if you think that the working class can't organize social production for itself, on its own terms, independently of the capitalists, with this line of yours.


I'm definitely no Stalinist. What I'm saying is that there is no final victory. There is always struggle. That is only fatalist if you're coming from the perspective of a final unity.

Again to quote Flisfeder
A realist utopia is one, conversely, that does not make any claim to the organic
composition of the collective unity of the community. In fact, its operation is to
pronounce fully the presence of the antagonism that prevents the collective unity of the
society, while simultaneously offering a glimpse of an emancipatory resolution to the
problem. It accomplishes, in other words, a mediation of the antagonism that leaves it
intact while simultaneously elucidating that which remains true on both sides of the
contradiction.


That's what I'm trying to do with my vision of utopia.

ckaihatsu wrote:You're saying that capitalism's reformist measures are *insufficient* to address global warming and climate change. I agree, but you've just written-off (in the previous segment) the world proletariat's *agency* for getting humanity past class-divided social relations, once and for all, as for the purpose of comprehensively stopping global warming -- and the pandemic, too, for that matter.


Why do we have to completely transcend an antagonism to have agency? Doesn't agency lie in the drama and struggle itself, pushing back, overcoming blockages, being confronted with new problems which require a re-assertion of force?

ckaihatsu wrote:Nope, sorry -- this is a fundamental *divergence* in our respective politics, because the world *continues* to utilize industrial-manufacturing processes, like for the aforementioned *microchips* in fucking-everything. Finance itself is *not* materially-economically productive of *commodities*. (Finance / capital is *not* a service-commodity.)


Finance is a closed loop, a game with relevance only to itself. We offshored manufacturing to China. Now China is financializing their economy and outsourcing manufacturing to Africa (I think). Finance I think is the critical dynamic of capitalism we must understand today. To the extent that Marxist analysis requires a manufacturing framework, it is woefully inadequate to the task. Marx's theory of money for example is very outdated. Modern Monetary theorists have had quite the time dissecting that.

ckaihatsu wrote:
Again, I'm *not* a Stalinist, so I don't advocate any 'central organizing body', because such would have *separate / separatist organizational interests* from the rest of society and would most-likely not be a part of producing socially necessary commodities for the social good, as *workers* do.

I use the term 'liberated', and not 'freedom', because 'liberated' means *liberated from the rule of private property*, which is *specific*. 'Freedom' comes from past historical merchant-minded *bourgeois* rights, over monarchical / aristocratic rule.


I don't think that having a central organizing body in your politics makes you a Stalinist. That implies that the central body has total control over everything, a command economy.

A realist utopian vision which posits a dialectic between central organization and decentralized divergence is definitively not Stalinist. You think Stalin would have tolerated anything less than total control?

I think that distinction between liberation and freedom may be more of a European thing. In the US they're synonymous. Regardless of whatever garbage historically has been attached to the signifier - but that's the case with any signifier. "Communism" too.

ckaihatsu wrote:No contention. Do you have any comment on *nationalization*, then -- ?


Sure. Nationalize the major industries, the banking system, etc. That should be the core of the macro economy. It could be something more like China's state owned enterprises though, where they have guidance from the state but are formally distinct entities.

ckaihatsu wrote:
Fair enough. I'll proffer the following diagram:


[7] Syndicalism-Socialism-Communism Transition Diagram


What if this is interpreted as a spectrum of utopias, with various degrees of realism? The beauty in communism is precisely in the fact that it will not be realized - it is an organizing principle. Instead of a hierarchy, where communism is pitted against socialism as a lower form of worker consciousness, socialism could be seen as more towards the realist side. So sure - dwell all you like in the less realistic utopia. But don't forget that when an opportunity comes up to seize something a little closer to what is realizable, we should take it.

ckaihatsu wrote:Hmmmm, global-Stalinistic -- that's a new one, though I can see the current pertinence, given today's 'global-medievalism' (my terming) of power distribution. You're saying 'nationalization', but at the *global* scale. Interesting.


It would not be Stalinistic, because the form of the macroeconomy would be determined democratically. But yes, significant authority would be delegated to some kind of central planning body. One that has significant control over the global parameters, but which leaves local spheres to their own devices. Essentially, they would be a kind of "black box" to the planners - they couldn't reach inside to manipulate them, but they could figure out how to fit them in the macroeconomy in terms of their inputs and outputs.
#15190471
Noumenon wrote:
I think that the value of labor can no longer be measured in utilitarian or economic terms in a post-industrial, consumer desire based economy. Because what we want is killing us, like a heroin addiction.



Um, would you mind *specifying* what 'that' is -- ? You're sounding like Qatzel's anti-consumerism, but to be *principled* about such, as he is, is to be entirely too dismissive, since there's no way to draw-the-line on 'anti-technology'. (No one gets to use *fire* -- ?)

Perhaps the problem isn't simply material / economic *consumption*, since we all have to do it, but rather the problem is everyday run-of-the-mill consumer *fetishism* -- 'affluenza'.


Noumenon wrote:
Perhaps the value of the new form of labor in post-capitalism can't be measured at all, whether in labor hours or anything else.

But something like this labor credits system could help us share the burden of generating socially necessary value, which perhaps can be measured, so that we are freed up to generate the kind of value that no one knew they needed, which can't be measured.



Exactly. *Very* well said, and thank you -- it's nice to be appreciated.

(I think I'll be tackling this latest post in *chunks*, to pace-it-out.)
#15190609
Noumenon wrote:
I meant "command" in a metaphorical sense, in the same way someone might "command" respect.

The option to opt out of work (subject to prevailing conditions) does sound pretty great, honestly. I think that society is only getting a very miniscule amount of actual value from the work that I do in test automation, or negative value. It's all so that lenders know what interest rate to charge so that people can buy cars they really can't afford. In cities that are set up so that you are forced to drive everywhere.



I hear ya -- I have to note that your labor is *internal* to the business itself, since it regards the machinations of capital ownership specifically. (A past discussion revolved around the topic of whether a janitor at an office building does *productive* labor, or not.)


Noumenon wrote:
I'm pretty confident I could provide more social value as a thinker, philosopher or musician. We have an economy of utility consumption machines - providing what people think they want, but where those desires are conditioned by the social economic system.



Undoubtedly, and, yes, the decision-making / empirical process for what's provided to consumers is an interesting one, because it's not purely markets and it's not purely corporate diktat, either.

The interest of capital is strictly to *exploit labor*, at *something*, but it turns out it helps if that 'something' is also popularly economically demanded, to *extend* the period of labor being exploited, producing those things.


Noumenon wrote:
I think that the value of labor can no longer be measured in utilitarian or economic terms in a post-industrial, consumer desire based economy. Because what we want is killing us, like a heroin addiction. Perhaps the value of the new form of labor in post-capitalism can't be measured at all, whether in labor hours or anything else.



Yeah, I think we can directly attribute this socio-economic dynamic (of 'affluenza') to *commodification* itself -- we're *politically* (officially) *disempowered*, but some of us are empowered as *consumers*, and what kind of "empowerment" is it, really, to just collect a bunch of stuff, financially and/or with material items -- ?


Noumenon wrote:
But something like this labor credits system could help us share the burden of generating socially necessary value, which perhaps can be measured, so that we are freed up to generate the kind of value that no one knew they needed, which can't be measured.



'Socially necessary' would be *very* tricky in a post-capitalist context.

By default, as you mentioned previously, 'socially necessary' is conventionally accepted as a *given* in the revolutionary political culture. The consumer would be 'king' even moreso than *now*, under capitalism, which obviously occurs to one as being *problematic*.

If there's *no* formal value, then I think everyone would become stuck in *localism* since there'd be no established way to *generalize* material-economically across localities:


Rotation system of work roles

Spoiler: show
Image



And what would it mean to 'share' value, as an input to the production process, if all production processes everywhere were 100% automated and human-labor-free, but still *finite* altogether -- ? (Meaning that society doing more of 'this' means that it then has to do less of 'that'.)

You're indicating that even the *consumer* needs some kind of societal 'information' about what can be procured, and what can't -- this would be 'the kind of value that no one knew they needed', from your wording.

Capitalism's money-and-pricing regime is *not that bad*, technically, from the consumer's point of view, given sufficient spending power, which *isn't* a given, of course. Many would readily argue that use-of-money beats standing in line for a strictly in-person, 'cafeteria' method of government-rationed access, and I would tend to agree, though the critical variable is *what's available*, exactly, at this cafeteria of availability. Maybe it would be *worth* waiting in line for.

Capitalism used its 'primitive accumulation of value', and socialism needs something similar -- my labor credits model uses the mass-aggregated daily individual prioritized lists of 'organic-demand', to formally provide society with a mirror reflection of what its needs are at any given moment. The post-capitalist society could then *socially organize* itself in line with that total formal expressed organic-demand -- to delineate the liberated-labor-value that's empirically required of itself. (Does society need a new building? Which type of building, etc.? Where? Any objections? Plan 'A' or Plan 'B' (etc.) -- ? Then we need 500 laborers, doing these work roles, at this schedule.)


Noumenon wrote:
I think that we could collectively designate a set of goods which are deemed "necessary" and which are more or less interchangeable commodities. Like let's say, toothbrushes, rice, toilet paper. We could just have a giant communist walmart where there are piles of these things and everyone gets a certain number of monthly vouchers to take from the piles (not vouchers in the Marxist labor value sense, but vouchers determined democratically as representing how much of a thing people actually need).



Oh, this is 'rationing', but I've recently argued *against* any and all 'rationing' approaches, mostly because such would require a *state* / bureaucracy / government / administration, which means that those specialist standing administrators / bureaucrats would *not* themselves be producing commodities for society, like toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper. (And, of course, there'd be nothing to guarantee their *accountability*, by economics alone.)


Noumenon wrote:
The whole point of this would be that we wouldn't have to think about it, and we would be free to devote our liberated labor to immaterial or artisan purposes. Which I think is kind of like what you're saying.



I appreciate that we have the same kind of politics in mind.


Noumenon wrote:
I think where we may differ, is that I think the bulk of this liberated labor should occur in microspheres, in small scale production. I don't think you would be automatically contributing to a big pile that anyone could take from. Because something made for everyone in many cases diminishes its value in an artistic sense. Although nothing is stopping you from doing that if you like, if you like residing solely in the common macrosphere.



Okay, but your 'localism' isn't a valid approach -- like rationing -- because consumer items like toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper *shouldn't have to be* produced by each and every locality for localist self-sufficiency. The *redundancy* of effort, over the whole, would be *socially* / socio-politically intolerable, because everyone would *know*.

And, regarding *production*, a post-capitalist social order would have a collective interest in *automating* all production so that *no one* would have to do it. (Consider present-day *messaging* / communication, for example, over the Internet, with *no labor required* for such -- only infrastructure.)

Do people really need toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper to be 'artistic' -- ? No, these are intrinsically *mass-production* and *mass-consumption* items that *can* be standardized and mass-produced, while people could still use individual artisanal techniques to make *their own* customized toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper *if they choose*, but they would still be able to brush their teeth, eat, and wipe their ass *regardless*, *without* having to commit *any* work, because of present-day technologies of computerized automated mass industrial production -- that make toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper with *minimal* human-labor work inputs, for *millions* of people.

Another way to phrase it is that if people *couldn't* brush their teeth, eat, and wipe their ass, then they wouldn't have the personal *means* to artisanally make customized toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper.


Noumenon wrote:
A major advantage of these microspheres is that their organization is left up to the participants. You don't have to specify in advance how they would work. Some may be more individualist or market oriented, others may operate more like a commune. They may or may not operate with monetary units, or labor credits or vouchers or some other system. These are spaces for social and political-economic experimentation. So whatever generalized common system that the macro sphere operates on, would not be the product of purely hypothetical armchair theorizing, but would have a basis in real world social systems, and their effectiveness (or lack thereof) could be demonstrated, before a common system is determined democratically.



Yeah, except that all of this isn't some kind of *mystery*, that empirically calls for the 'experimentation' that you're describing. Do people need toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper? Can it be *mass-produced* -- ? Then it can be *automated* so that no one has to *labor* for the production of it. Any objections?


Noumenon wrote:
Although we are naturally happier and find more meaning on a local scale with face to face interaction, we feel forced to participate in the vast economic machine precisely because we need the kind of bundle of necessities that you would get at a place like walmart.



Well, *some* people do, and they're mostly in China.

Do *you* 'participate in the vast economic machine [for] [the] bundle of necessities that you would get at a place like Walmart' -- ? No, you don't. I don't. *Most* people don't, but *someone* has to do it, somewhere on the globe, possibly at *your* local area, but possibly *not*.

So how does (global) society determine exactly *which people* are to dedicate their labor over *years* of their lives to the production of socially-necessary commodities, for others -- ? Presently, for historical reasons, it happens to be millions of people in *China*, but why *China*, or wherever-else -- ?

Should it based on *heredity* -- ? Or *property ownership* -- ? Or *race* -- ? Or *gender* -- ? (Etc.)


Noumenon wrote:
A voucher or labor credit system could allow people residing in the microspheres to obtain that bundle of necessities by taking from the centralized macro pile, and therefore enable them to produce small scale artisan/immaterial value in environments which they custom design to nourish the particular kind of value that they and other like minded people determine is most worthwhile, and which cannot be slotted into any kind of grid or macro plan. But which nonetheless enriches society on a macro scale when the micro happens to give birth to something larger than itself.



Again, I have to *object* to my 'labor credits' being treated like *money*, because it's *not* -- it's *never* exchanged for goods because 'exchanges' implies *commodification*. As soon as there are economic *exchanges* there's *exchange value*, and then it's basically *capitalism*.

My question for your formulation here would be 'Who actually produces the necessities'? Why would they even *bother*, if they could just get their vouchers-worth of necessities, from society, *without* having to work, like most everyone else -- ? (Like *today*, with private property ownership, and rent / interest payments on that capital.)


Noumenon wrote:
I think that a central authority could probably coordinate resources so that supply in the various piles matches organic demand for them. You could even have automatic adjustment of labor credit valuation according to the size of the queues of people waiting in line for an item.



Labor credits are *not money*, so their 'valuation', so-to-speak, is strictly in terms of labor-hour *multipliers* -- that one work role, say, work-from-home mattress-testing, is only 'worth' a *tenth* of the kind of labor that *produces steel*, for example.

You're revealing your Stalinism in being so dependent on a *central authority* -- again, such a standing bureaucracy is inherently *problematic*, mostly because those of the bureaucracy make their living from *administrating over others*, which is generally accepted as 'valid' and 'socially necessary' -- but *is* it socially necessary, like consuming whatever consumer items, or could society actually do its own political economy *without* money, private property, *or* a standing bureaucracy -- ?


Noumenon wrote:
But that's what makes most sense to me - again the advantage of my system is its indeterminacy. There could be any number of possible economic coordination systems that we might agree on for the macrosphere. And we can use the results of socioeconomic experimentation in the microspheres as a basis for that collective decision.



No, again, political economy *doesn't lend itself* to this kind of mish-mash approach. The *political* side of things, for example, as for *civil society*, *has* to be consistent, so that people aren't unfairly treated or singled-out. The same goes for *basic needs*, which currently *aren't* consistently catered-to, for everyone, based on universal biological and social needs, as for food and housing, etc.

A *post-capitalist* approach needs to be strictly *non-exchange-value*, meaning no money, no capital, no finance, no exchange values, no exchanges. As soon as there's *exchange*, there's *exchange values*, meaning that such takes on a life *of its own*, yielding a 'realm' of exchange values that people can benefit from, from trading, to the detriment of actual *production*, as for universal basic needs and wants.


Noumenon wrote:
The more I think of this as a decentralized Walmart, the more sense it makes to me. You don't go to Walmart to satisfy your most fanciful and "boutique" consumer desires, you just go in there because you need a bundle of stuff and you try and get in and out as fast as possible before the place depresses you.



Do you understand that Walmart is one of the *most centralized* economic social organizations existing today, due to the corporate aggregation of capital -- ? A 'decentralized' corporation or government or other social entity is a *contradiction of terms* because then there wouldn't be any interconnected supply-chains, as we have under capitalism.


Noumenon wrote:
If the production and distribution of necessities can be injected with any more worker-directed energy, that would be a very good thing. I don't know how anyone works there longer than 6 months before dying inside.



You're being contradictory *again* -- should there be more 'worker-directed energy' in products for consumption, or shouldn't there -- ? Should workers 'die inside' in 6 months, or should it be within *5* months, or even less -- ?

It's inherently a material trade-off, because more 'organic composition' of capital -- 'worker-directed energy', for example -- requires more 'personal-death', using people / workers as mere *work inputs*. Here's from Wilde:



At present, in consequence of the existence of private property, a great many people are enabled to develop a certain very limited amount of Individualism. They are either under no necessity to work for their living, or are enabled to choose the sphere of activity that is really congenial to them, and gives them pleasure. These are the poets, the philosophers, the men of science, the men of culture – in a word, the real men, the men who have realised themselves, and in whom all Humanity gains a partial realisation. Upon the other hand, there are a great many people who, having no private property of their own, and being always on the brink of sheer starvation, are compelled to do the work of beasts of burden, to do work that is quite uncongenial to them, and to which they are forced by the peremptory, unreasonable, degrading Tyranny of want. These are the poor, and amongst them there is no grace of manner, or charm of speech, or civilisation, or culture, or refinement in pleasures, or joy of life. From their collective force Humanity gains much in material prosperity. But it is only the material result that it gains, and the man who is poor is in himself absolutely of no importance. He is merely the infinitesimal atom of a force that, so far from regarding him, crushes him: indeed, prefers him crushed, as in that case he is far more obedient.



https://www.marxists.org/reference/arch ... /soul-man/



---


Noumenon wrote:
If you think about it, isn't our economy more and more resembling a combination of Walmart and Amazon? Walmart contains all the common "piles of stuff" that everyone generally needs. Whereas Amazon carries a truly staggering variety of goods to fit any conceivable consumption niche.



Okay.


Noumenon wrote:
I think that for a post-capitalist system to be viable, it has to do what Walmart and Amazon do at least as well.



Yes, I agree with this premise.


Noumenon wrote:
Socialism traditionally being more about providing necessities to the least well-off, I think is viable in the Walmart dimension. In the Amazon dimension, I'm not so sure. I think you need a very elaborate cybernetic system with some centralized direction but which can account for extremely niche demands. Socialism has never been about positive pleasure from consumption, which is the thing people are most addicted to with capitalism.



In this case I'd say then that 'Walmart' should be nationalized, and then socialized (by the workers themselves), while 'Amazon'-type *specialty* supply could / might be better on the 'market' system. Just keep in mind that all means of mass industrial production would be *collectivized*, so market-based production could only take place wherever as a *secondary* priority, after the collectivized machinery has been used for *majority*, *mass* needs for production, for the primary *gift* economy (socialism).

Also, I *still* don't agree with your / any 'blueprint' approach, as with your 'very elaborate cybernetic system' here.


Noumenon wrote:
Puritan ascetism and excessive concern with the necessary as opposed to the frivolous and excessive / unnecessary, I think ultimately will doom any attempt to radically remake society to address our common needs. There is a common need for joy in life after all.

That is one reason behind my microsphere politics. Because people can define what that means for themselves and do not have to rely on the tastes and preferences of the masses. Whatever is for the masses is by definition common, paraphrasing Nietzsche.

Which doesn't mean that production for and by the masses or the commons is a bad thing at all. Only it is an incomplete politics. And I think its a major flaw in the very concept of communism, which seeks to subsume all under a single plan or vision.



We've already *prioritized* these respective types of production, into your 'Walmart' (necessities), and your 'Amazon' (specialty goods).

Production for and by the masses, for the commons, is *not* 'incomplete'. We're covering this topic in detail on this thread.

Your 'single plan or vision' is becoming a *strawman*, because, yet-again, I'm *not* a Stalinist, and my politics doesn't *call* for any central bureaucratic administration, nor for any kind of 'single' 'blueprint'.

You used my 'landscape of piles of stuff' premise, above, but that's *not* the same thing as a '[centralized] [administrative] single [blueprint] plan or vision'.


Noumenon wrote:
Or all the private jets could be distributed equally among the microspheres, and each of them could figure out what to do with them based on their own systems.



This is your *Stalinism* again -- why do you presume that a 'microsphere [locality]' would make any better decisions, or would somehow be better at resolving material-quantities supply-and-demand *bureaucratically* / administratively -- ? Why should they really even *give a shit*, when it doesn't matter *to them* what happens in the (non-administrative) material economy -- ? They're not affected by it.


Noumenon wrote:
So luxury production is basically an afterthought, not even "worthy" the main communal system of production?



Correct. Now you're getting it. This is the entire basis and motivation of a socialist-type politics, because *basic human need* needs to be socially prioritized.


Noumenon wrote:
I think that effectively it will be denounced as bourgeois to even want something remotely luxurious, and won't be produced at all.



Well, post-capitalism, people could have *all sorts* of opinions, but, for matters of luxury-goods material-quantities supply-and-demand, what would matter is if there was enough *skilled labor* to *produce* those custom / specialty luxury goods, or not.

Remember, luxury good production would be *secondary* and would have to find whatever it could that was unused, for its own, 'internal' type of economics. And, being on the market system, by definition, either such 'supply' (of skilled labor) would exist, or else it wouldn't, and would be *scarce*.


Noumenon wrote:
Socialism at root is a Christian doctrine



No, it's not. Here's what happened historically:



• All private property was nationalized by the government.

• All Russian banks were nationalized.

• Private bank accounts were expropriated.

• The properties of the Russian Orthodox Church (including bank accounts) were expropriated.

• All foreign debts were repudiated.

• Control of the factories was given to the soviets.

• Wages were fixed at higher rates than during the war, and a shorter, eight-hour working day was introduced.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_Revolution



---


Noumenon wrote:
for which life is something to be suffered through like Christ on the cross. It is not a life-affirming doctrine. It hasn't even begun to transform itself to the postmodern reality that god is dead. That people are going to choose the ability to select from a zillion different goods in a capitalist hellscape over the noblest ideals of communal solidarity.



You're thinking of *historical Stalinism*, which followed the Allies invasion of the October Revolution.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_in ... _Civil_War

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_Opposition


What's happening in society *now*, though, are social and political *movements*, like Black Lives Matter, and other populist-type movements, that cut *against* your 'ability to select from a zillion different goods in a capitalist hellscape', *for* 'the noblest ideals of communal solidarity'.

In other words even cash-backed runaway consumerism itself isn't 'pure', and some people may use their free time for *politics*, instead of for *consumerism* -- as we're doing here, right now.


Noumenon wrote:
The paradox is that for such solidarity to even have a chance, it must incorporate and embrace the opposite principle, of difference and individuality. That is why we need at the very least a dual system, not a monolithic one.



You're speaking about two different *aspects* of society -- one is anti-monarchical, bourgeois-type '[civil] rights', as for general social tolerance of difference and individuality, and the other aspect regards that of the *material world*, meaning socially-necessary goods and services, for general public consumption. Mass production *is* monolithic by nature, since industrial processes are *mechanically* consistent and uniform, for resulting cookie-cutter identical products, which is *fine* for fulfilling people's basic common human biological and social needs and wants, like for food and housing, etc. No paradox. You're *conflating* civil society with industrial mass production.


---


ckaihatsu wrote:
Okay, as with any luxury / specialty production, higher-quality goods and services would require higher-skilled work roles, which would require more years of education / training / experience, which would attract higher rates of labor credits per hour for those kinds of liberated labor.

And, yeah, I'll readily admit that there would be a 'breaking point' for *anything*, where the labor / funding required, at some point, just wouldn't be *worth* it, for the product, and so the product / machine / whatever just wouldn't be produced, given the larger prevailing social norms, social politics, and attentions / efforts / labor.

What this system of *labor credits* does, in part, is to provide a *universalization* of forward-flowing-efforts, so that any outstanding / unmet 'projects' may reach the *whole world* (over the Internet) to inform everyone that work role 'x' is needed right now, for those who may want to *relocate* to work on that project personally.



Noumenon wrote:
Why does everyone in the whole world have to agree to something to incentivize its production?



They *don't* -- please recall the 'landscape of piles of stuff' premise. You're using the Stalinist central-bureaucracy 'blueprint' premise again, erroneously.


Noumenon wrote:
Talk about too many cooks in the kitchen - that's like 7 billion cooks. Producing the blandest possible food, if its even edible. The diversity and variety that makes life worth living is that which thrives in an environment separate and distinct from all the rest. It is that which then can be appreciated by all, if they so choose.



Great, I'm all for artistic culture, too, but the *politics* right now needs to be focused on *mass needs*, as regarding *global warming*, particularly.


Noumenon wrote:
The masses are never "ahead of the curve" when it comes to culture, fashion, technology, philosophy, art, or anything. They are always behind the curve. You can't blame them for it - no one can be an expert at everything. Allowing spaces free from their control, for these things to flourish by those who think differently and who devote everything to their craft, is in their interest. Even if they don't understand it.

I think that the "Amazon" side of my macroeconomy could coordinate the specialty artisan goods created by microspheres so that they are available to those residing in different microspheres. There need not be any specific plan to produce them on a large scale, as particular communities can decide on their method and scale of production themselves.



The *political* issue is what's the *material base* of social production.

If Amazon is based on *private capital ownership* -- which it *is* -- then it's going to be operating to *valorize* that investment capital, primarily, to the detriment of *distributing* the goods to meet unmet human *need*, as for food and housing for everyone.

If Amazon is fully *collectivized* then those who produce the actual goods and services that it coordinates would use 'Amazon' like the Internet itself, to get the word out about whatever's been produced.

Let me ask you -- what would / should happen if there happened to be *mass demand* from millions and billions on all seven continents, perhaps for toilet paper -- ? Should every 'microsphere' locality have to produce its own toilet paper, requiring redundancy-of-labor, or should 'Amazon', or 'Walmart', or whatever, do mergers-and-acquisitions so as to *scale up* that production, with *less* organic composition of labor, for efficiencies-of-scale -- ?

Better-yet, shouldn't 'Amazon' / 'Walmart' *fully automate* all steps of its toilet-paper production, so that *no one* has to spend part of their life for the production of *toilet paper* -- ? Then *no one*, in *any* microsphere locality, would have to do it, yet everyone could get the toilet paper they needed, due to machines and mechanical production.


Noumenon wrote:
They would be purchased with credits, vouchers, monetary units, or whatever economic value unit is determined democratically to be held in common in the macrosphere.



Again, labor credits do not function like money -- no exchanges.

In your formulation what if someone, somewhere, one day said to themselves 'All of this artisanal production is *too expensive*. I'd rather have some *generic* toilet paper, at a cheaper price, than pay someone to individually *plane wood* to produce my toilet paper for me.'

Would your 'macrosphere' political-economy *respond* to this kind of consumer demand? Would prices be pushed *downward*, at the behest of the consumer for more *purchasing power*, at the expense of specialized 'luxury' -- ?


---


ckaihatsu wrote:
Well, just as you're asserting / contending here that there would be *no* social dynamism, I'll assert and contend that there *would* be social dynamism. People could certainly use social media, then as now, to say what they think should be produced, and to get others who share that sentiment to 'join' and express that sentiment as well.



Noumenon wrote:
Omg, an economy determined by social media would truly be a nightmare. You would replace dominance by financial capital with dominance by social capital / number of followers and "influence."



No -- you're erroneously conflating 'social dynamics', with 'determinism' / determination.

There's a difference between 'mass popular sentiment', as on the Internet / social media, and *material production* itself.

You're *imputing* something other than my framework, onto me -- I developed the labor credits model framework for the sake of *consistency*, so you can address all socio-political-material concerns of political economy to *the labor credits model* itself.

This subtopic is about how to address *novelty*, or the social need for a new *kind* of product / item, and I'm simply indicating that people could *communicate*, post-capitalism, as on social media, through journalism, etc., and also in the labor credits framework to explicitly mass-call for a new kind of item to be produced.


Noumenon wrote:
You'd be free to try such a thing in its own microsphere though of course. Then we can see how well a Twitterverse economy works out in practice.



Strawman. I'm not indicating anything *like* this.


Noumenon wrote:
It's a deficiency of any communal or democratic system really. It magnifies those with social power and those who understand how to play its Machiavellian game of symbolic exchange.



'Social power' doesn't necessarily apply to actual *social production*, though -- if we're talking about *rice*, or whatever, people could say *all sorts of things* about rice, which isn't the same thing as *producing* rice.


Noumenon wrote:
This is why we need a right to exit the communal macrosphere. You can't avoid democracy unfortunately, when dealing with communal matters. But you can do your best to ensure that it does not totalize every aspect of life, and that there are nooks and crannies free from the communal Eye of Sauron.



*Or*, better-yet, why remain *confined* to these Stalinistic localist communalist geographies, if social production could be *generalized* to computerized automated industrial mass production, for *universal* distribution, for unmet human need -- ?


---


ckaihatsu wrote:
Yeah, everyone could just decide to be 'rock stars', post-capitalism, favoring their own life and interests almost exclusively to the abandonment of everything-else / everything social, but I think that, in reality, this wouldn't be the case. As long as *some* people wanted to do the gruntwork for everyone else's benefit, then *enough* would get done, preferably on labor-leveraging computerized automated mass industrial production, for everyone to get the things they most needed, and maybe even some of what they *want*, too -- the most-common items, anyway.

Maybe such a society would mandate *some* rudimentary revolving work roles as a bare minimum for everyone, so that the most critical stuff doesn't get *overlooked* by everyone.



Noumenon wrote:
Hmm, sounds great, we *might* just get some of what we want. If there's time leftover after everyone in the world decides whether or not you deserve it or it deserves to be produced at all.



Again, this is *another* strawman -- I'm not saying *any* of this, and you're simply *imputing* it onto me.


Noumenon wrote:
I think that communists most naturally would gravitate towards the macrosphere in my system, where they would be concerned with coordination of all the social necessities common to all spheres. That's great, to have people motivated to do that.



Your 'macrosphere' political economy uses *exchange values*, though, which is definitely non-communistic.


Noumenon wrote:
Where communism goes wrong is in drafting every last person to the task of maintaining the commons.



You're *imputing* this, though -- no one ever indicated that 'every last person' would have to 'maintain' the commons, in some kind of *top-down*, *prescribed* way. This is your Stalinism again.


Noumenon wrote:
Not everyone is suited for that, or can be their full liberated self in the context of mass politics. It is a very particular type of person who is drawn to that.

Instinctively, a large number of the masses realize this flaw in communism, which is why they aren't attracted to it. Meanwhile, our communal problems fester and aren't addressed. All because those concerned with the communal have the massive ego that everyone in the whole world must sign up to participate in the good (quasi-"Christian") cause. Generally everyone's political philosophy is a reflection of themselves and that which they personally esteem in terms of value, and projecting this onto the world. We have not matured collectively to the point where to allow something means to ban the opposite, or vice versa. The Christian dogmatism of slave morality runs deep.



This is some kind of a *rant*, based on some sense of historical Western Civilization.

My concern is with the *logistics* of a potential feasible post-capitalist political economy, and you can *philosophize* about the same all you like.


Noumenon wrote:
I am correcting my position here. I think that people should be able to "hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, and debate philosophy in the evening" and they should have space to construct a microsystem where those are the priorities.

But the communal macrosystem should be a lot harder and more utilitarian in its orientation towards solving global problems.

Things will work out better when you allow different sorts of people to sort themselves into a pluralistic system allowing for contradictory values.



I'll suggest that you're addressing two different 'spheres', or 'realms', of society and social reality -- that of '[personal] lifestyle', and that of 'political economy', respectively.


History, Macro-Micro -- politics-logistics-lifestyle

Spoiler: show
Image



Yes, not everyone is going to *want* to be 'more utilitarian' and be 'towards solving global problems' -- maybe most people just want to 'hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, and debate philosophy in the evening'.

This is an analogue to my aforementioned 'rock star' archetype, which implies that *some* kinds of labor are *personal / internal*, while other kinds of labor are *social* / for-the-common-good / collectivist.

Yes, this *is* a fundamental intrinsic *difference* of material interests, as you're identifying, and even my *post-capitalist*, communist-type model framework approach has to *acknowledge* these fundamentally differing material interests:


Components of Social Production

Spoiler: show
Image



Spoiler: show
...Some of the readily apparent *checks-and-balances* dynamics enabled with the labor-credits system are:

- (Already mentioned) One could work for personal material-economic gains -- the amassing of labor credits -- instead of having to 'like' *both* the socio-political aspect *and* the personal-material-economic aspect of one's work within a strictly-voluntaristic, non-labor-credit, communistic-type political economy. (Individual vs. socio-political realms)

- The contribution of one's potential liberated labor to societal objectives would always be fully optional, since the premise of a communist-type social order is that no one could ever be *actually* coerced for their labor since the ubiquitous norm would be that no productive machinery or natural resources in the world could be used on a *proprietary* / private-accumulation basis, while all the material necessities for life and living would always be in readily-available, sufficient quantities for all. Collective social productivity would be *very good* using post-capitalist, communist-type liberated-labor self-organizing, leveraged with full automation of all productive processes, for *huge* ratios of industrial mass-production output, per hour of liberated labor input. (Individual vs. socio-political and material realms)

- Mass demand, as displayed publicly, per-locality, by the daily mass-aggregated tallied rank positions (#1, #2, #3, etc.), will always be an existing social-pressure, specifically regarding liberated labor contributions to the general social good for varying qualities of public consumption. Such active liberated labor may or may not receive labor credits for their valid efforts, depending on such general *implementation* of circulating labor credits, or not, and the specifics of any active policy package. (Socio-political and material realms vs. individuals)

- Active liberated-labor would control all *ultimate* ('point-of-production') productivity for society, but *not-necessarily-working* people of any intra-voluntary collective 'locality' (or localities) could make and agree-on proposals and final policy packages that contain great *specificity*, as over *exactly* who (which persons) are to be included as active liberated-labor, and also their respective rates of labor credits per hour per discrete work role, and each worker's particular work schedule, as a part of the overall project scheduling. (Consumers vs. liberated-labor)

- Any intra-voluntary 'locality' could collectively develop and agree-on any particular proposal or final policy package, with specifics over staffing, rates of labor credits per included work role, and work schedules for all work roles / liberated-laborers, but if the liberated-labor-internal social process *did not approve* of the terms for any given proposal or policy package they would not *forfeit* their collective control over the implements of mass industrial production as a result -- realistically the result would most-likely be a *devolving* of larger-scale work organizing, since no agreement was reached between mass-demand and self-organized liberated-labor. Production could still take place on any ad-hoc basis, with liberated labor always getting 'first dibs' on anything they themselves produce, but it would be far more small-scale, localized, and balkanized than if larger-scale, multi-locality proposals and policy packages could be realized, for material economies of scale. (Liberated-labor vs. consumers)

- Any given finalized policy package will include a formal announcement of key proponents, politically responsible for that project's implementation, if satisfactory participation to cover all the necessary components of it is present. There is never any *standing*, *institutional* administration over everything, as we're used to seeing historically at the nationalist level. If a project *isn't* performing up to formal expectations (as detailed in its policy package), the proponents can be replaced with a mass-approved (exceeding in ranking over the initial policy package) proposal that 'tweaks' those details that need changing, such as which personnel, exactly, are deemed to be the formal 'proponents' of that project. (Consumers vs. administration)

- Proponents of any given active finalized policy package would have considerable logistical social latitude for administrating over its implementation, depending-on / limited-by its finalized detailed terms. In some instances, for example, proponents over *several* localities, of several *similar* policy packages -- say, over agriculture -- or even at regional, continental, and *global* scales -- may cross-coordinate to *generalize* production across many similar policy packages, for the sake of greater efficiencies of scale. (Administration vs. consumers)

- Proponents are meant to represent the exact terms of an active finalized policy package, and by extension, to also represent popular demand for certain material production and/or socio-political initiatives. Proponents may bring attention to certain aspects of the active finalized policy package in the course of its implementation, as with any possible differences on the part of active liberated-labor on the project. (Administration vs. liberated-labor)

- Liberated-labor will always be able to physically organize internally, without external interference. Depending on each active finalized policy package's provisions, liberated laborers may decide on their own the details of *how* they collectively supply their labor, to meet the objectives of that policy package -- as with specific personnel of their own, which work roles are absolutely necessary, the scheduling of work shifts and personnel, what geographical location(s) are to be used, how machinery is to be used, what the supply chains with other factories are, how the bulk-pooled labor credits funding is to be divided-up, if any additional funding of labor credits is needed, or even if locality debt issuances for additional labor credits are to be called-for, what maintenance may be needed on infrastructure / machinery, what education or training may be required for certain workers, etc. (Liberated-labor vs. administration)

https://web.archive.org/web/20201211050 ... ?p=2889338



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ckaihatsu wrote:
Yup. I think the average person is *mature* enough to act accordingly, and post-capitalist collective work roles would be socially reasonable, especially once freed from having to work for the aggrandizement of private property.



Noumenon wrote:
I think that's far from the case actually. People are far more determined by the depths of their irrational unconscious, and capitalism has been extremely successful at harnessing that towards its own ends. Capitalism has already been postmodern for decades. Meanwhile, socialism is stuck in a 19th century modernist rationalist framework.



Okay, I think you're indicating *Bernays* here -- nonetheless there's no sidestepping actual *political economy*, as in capitalism or a post-capitalist worker-collectivist political economy.



Edward Louis Bernays (/bɜːrˈneɪz/ bur-NAYZ, German: [bɛʁˈnaɪs]; November 22, 1891 − March 9, 1995) was an American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations".[3] Bernays was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life.[4] He was the subject of a full-length biography by Larry Tye called The Father of Spin (1999) and later an award-winning 2002 documentary for the BBC by Adam Curtis called The Century of the Self.

His best-known campaigns include a 1929 effort to promote female smoking by branding cigarettes as feminist "Torches of Freedom", and his work for the United Fruit Company in the 1950s, connected with the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected Guatemalan government in 1954. He worked for dozens of major American corporations including Procter & Gamble and General Electric, and for government agencies, politicians, and non-profit organizations.

Of his many books, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and Propaganda (1928) gained special attention as early efforts to define and theorize the field of public relations. Citing works of writers such as Gustave Le Bon, Wilfred Trotter, Walter Lippmann, and Sigmund Freud (his own double uncle), he described the masses as irrational and subject to herd instinct—and outlined how skilled practitioners could use crowd psychology and psychoanalysis to control them in desirable ways.[5][6] Bernays later synthesized many of these ideas in his postwar book, Public Relations (1945), which outlines the science of managing information released to the public by an organization, in a manner most advantageous to the organization. He does this by first providing an overview of the history of public relations, and then provides insight into its application.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays



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Noumenon wrote:
We *should* have a rational approach to our collective problems. But I contend that this is done against the grain of people's "natural" tendencies. This is one major reason why you need a centralized authority in the macrosphere. And you need a filtering process to ensure that the most rational and "mature" people are assigned to these problems. They are simply too important to delegate to people who are more concerned with the latest TikTok trends or the million other trivial things most people concern themselves with.



How about this -- can we agree that some people will simply, of-their-own-volition, take more of an *interest* and seek-out more *involvement* in such matters of political economy? (I don't subscribe to your Stalinist standing-bureaucracy 'centralized authority' politics, though.)

In the context of my labor credits model anyone could go their entire life without making a single demand, or doing a single hour's worth of work for society, and yet they would still have the necessities for simply living their life that way. Such a particular lifestyle *wouldn't* be anti-social / problematic, because society *already* has sufficient productive capacity for readily providing to such populations, due to automation and industrialization.

There's nothing inherently 'complicated' about how to match material-quantity 'supply', with material-quantity 'demand' -- again, just think of the 'landscape-of-piles-of-stuff' premise.


Noumenon wrote:
Communism in the 20th century "solved" this problem by delegating absolute power to a revolutionary vanguard, acting in the name of the people.

That is not the way forward. We need abstract filtering mechanisms - decided on democratically - to ensure that people are slotted in to the roles which they are most suited to. People who are most motivated to solve the world's problems should not be blocked from doing so as they are under capitalism, where you have to have money to play the game. The filtering mechanism should ensure that they get to work in the productive roles they find the most fulfilling.

There is no implied hierarchy here of "mature and serious" over "immuture and unserious." The latter actually may play a vital role - as any society worth living in will have people who know how to play (Nietzsche - the seriousness of a child at play). But neither should unserious people block those are really are serious about the big technical, scientific, philosophical and organizational problems confronting humanity. It is a win-win for there to be room for all kinds of people in a pluralistic society.



I think you're running into entirely-expected problems of *personnel* -- which is an issue endemic to such 'administrative' approaches, such as capitalism's *bourgeois-class nation-state*, or Stalinism's *standing bureaucracy*.

In the context of my labor credits model I have socio-political involvement being entirely self-determining, so that those individually proactively involved in social projects over time will be more experienced at such, and probably socially *recognized* as such, as well.

It's the *projects* that would be in competition for popularity and possible labor-credits funding, *not* any personnel in official state-type positions of power / privilege, because communism is *moneyless* and *stateless*.


Noumenon wrote:
Your localities ~~ my microspheres?

Must all localities operate in the same fashion?

What if some of them decide to operate with your labor credit system, if they all agree upon it - while others, not so convinced that a society without private ownership of goods of any kind is a good or desirable way to live, set up a different or more hybrid system of the public and private?

Wouldn't you agree there is only limited value in hypothesizing the ideal society, since people are not mechanistic and their actions cannot be determined as if in an equation?

Therefore, is it not more likely that the ideal society will emerge through multiple forms of experimentation rather than theorization - and so, the ideal society *right now* is to ensure that people have as much freedom to experiment with social systems as possible?

On a macro level, people might democratically decide among an array of options, delegating relative importance to the public and private. Since the macro is by definition what is held in common, experimentation can only be serial instead of parallel.

But on the micro level, you could have a great deal of parallel, simultaneous experimentation which would vastly increase the amount of data available to make an informed choice on the macro level.

Rather than relying on pure hypothesization of what "homo politicus" in theory should or should not do, you're basing your decisions on how to structure the macroeconomy on what real people have done and are doing, and the emergent systems they come up with in an organic fashion.

Regardless of how "airtight" your theory of how the macroeconomy should be is in your mind, I think we are beyond the point where everyone can consent to the same system.

In the past, in a theocratic society, you had one religion which had to serve as the basis of everything. The 20th century modernist period secularized this, and supposed that one civic religion (communism) could serve that role. In the postmodern period, where god has died (both in religious and secular forms), you have to make room for a plurality of religious and political views.

Assuming that everyone is going to get on board with banning all private property I think is the surest way to doom your politics to irrelevance. No one person or group of people's vision should rule. Everyone gets their say, that is democracy.

If you are confident your system is the best, then prove it. You should be given the space to implement it on a small scale, and if you can convince people to democratically embrace it on a macro level then you would have that opportunity as well.



This isn't *clinical science*, as you're making it out to be -- one's position on the social practice of *private property* is *binary* -- either one is *for* private ownership of the means of industrial mass production, or else one *isn't*.

I'm not writing and posting on PoFo for the sake of 'trying stuff out' -- I'm using my labor credits model for the sake of illustrating how a post-capitalist / post-private-property political economy *could* realistically function, since I've been personally interested in the 'how-to' of such.

You note that 'the macro is by definition what is held in common' -- why not *enlarge* that social sphere to include the means of mass industrial production, as well -- ?


---


ckaihatsu wrote:



consumption [demand] -- Every person in a locality has a standard, one-through-infinity ranking system of political demands available to them, updated daily


consumption [demand] -- Basic human needs will be assigned a higher political priority by individuals and will emerge as mass demands at the cumulative scale -- desires will benefit from political organizing efforts and coordination


consumption [demand] -- A regular, routine system of mass individual political demand pooling -- as with spreadsheet templates and email -- must be in continuous operation so as to aggregate cumulative demands into the political process"



https://web.archive.org/web/20201211050 ... ?p=2889338



Noumenon wrote:
I don't think its impossible for that to work. Effectively the capitalist monetary system does the same thing with aggregate consumer demand, but in a very unequal fashion. Because the rich's demands count more since they have more dollars.



Correct. If you have no objections to this part of the model, then you're favoring *organic [individually self-expressed explicit] demand*, over the capitalist monetary system.

Such doesn't lend itself to a 'hybrid', *combined* approach -- either someone procures what they need by non-monetary '[organic] consumer demand', or else they have to work for a boss to earn a wage / dollars to make a *purchase*, for what they need.

Which is it going to be, according to you?


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Noumenon wrote:
That's a lot of "maybes." I think that you're relying too much on spontaneous emergent order. While I don't doubt that there would be some such thing - and it is present in capitalism too, as Hayek pointed out - without centralized organization there's going to be some very massive gaps and deficiencies in this order, just like with capitalism. The order which emerges is most likely to serve that only of the local participants, at best. Any externalized costs such as to the environment or to the larger social body as a whole, are unlikely to be accounted for.

What if there is a town D which is down the river from C, and after A,B, and C all work out the production of x for themselves, they receive the runoff from the pollutants involved in producing x?



ckaihatsu wrote:
Yeah, well, then, that's a *political* issue, and would have to be discussed by everyone in all towns, and taken-care-of.



Noumenon wrote:
It really allows your theory to relax when it leaves spaces for indeterminacy and local decision making, right?



I actually never said *otherwise* -- you keep erroneously ascribing *Stalinism* to me, when my politics is more accurately described and illustrated by my labor credits model, and *this* diagram:


Emergent Central Planning

Spoiler: show
Image



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Noumenon wrote:
What about the fish in the river, do they get an input in how much x is produced also?



ckaihatsu wrote:
Sure -- maybe technology would enable fish to participate on PoFo, and they could post their experiences, in words, as well.



Noumenon wrote:
The spheres approach inherently recognizes that it concerns itself only with what is appropriate to that sphere. Otherwise, it leaves it alone. So it is ecological, because the anthropic sphere is only one among many.



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Noumenon wrote:
"Wouldn't towns A and B then competitively bid to attract the star liberated laborers from town C to the projects benefiting their locality? "



ckaihatsu wrote:
Sure -- where's the problem with that?



Noumenon wrote:
Nothing, from my perspective. I thought it sounded a bit too much like a monetary auction for your approach.



The model hinges all (post-capitalist) social 'value' on (liberated) *labor*, so this is the result.

Could some configuration of my model, and/or a post-class political economy allow rates of labor credits for any given work role to *soar*, to trillions of labor credits for *one hour* of a particular, specialized task -- ?

Conceivably, sure, but then no one person *has* a trillion labor credits to themselves, anyway (necessarily-earned, by their own personal efforts / labor). If it's about someone wanting to travel to the moon, it would materially / economically have to be a *socially organized* thing, regardless, for *those* specialized roles, for that *expensive*, *risky* kind of endeavor.


Noumenon wrote:
Hmm, I've never been to France but it does seem they are quite a bit further advanced in worker consciousness than we are in the US. As in, we are only just seeing it after decades of being dormant from capitalist propaganda.

I think the abortion stuff can be traced more to the US's puritanical religious history than aristocracy. I believe that some of the early colonists were probably escaping domination from landlords and capital in Europe, to establish communities where they were free to practice their religious beliefs. (almost like establishing their own sphere?)

Of course they just ended up replicating the aristocracy. Didn't France as well, to an extent?



I won't quibble, because class society is class society, no matter the scale of the portion being examined.


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Noumenon wrote:
I do think that the critical aspects of political economy should be determined by those who do the work, not those who live off of it.



ckaihatsu wrote:
Okay, and I think your politics is more 'orthodox' with this distinction, while I've come to look at the structure *logistically*, and prefer to emphasize the 'human need' / 'organic-demand' aspect as the independent / determining variable, plus I have an eye on current *technologies* that would serve to *highly leverage* human labor power in the conceivable present-day-based post-capitalist political economy.



Noumenon wrote:
I'm with you on that - I meant generalized worker control in terms of determining which logistics and technologies should be deployed on a macro level.



Oh, okay -- given this, then, why are you hesitant when it comes to doing-away with private property?


Noumenon wrote:
Replace your "factory" / locality nodes with microspheres and that might not be too different from what I'm proposing. There would necessarily be some system involving economic coordination of the microspheres on different levels, where they can issue demands for goods and services and receive a supply, with an emergent central planning, but the precise form I am being agnostic about.



So the only remaining thing here, then, perhaps, is your own used definition of 'labor' -- are you implying the inclusion of *all three* kinds of wage labor: white collar, pink collar, and blue collar -- ? Is this what you mean with your postmodernism? That not all modern-day production is tangible objects off of an assembly line -- ?


Noumenon wrote:
I think that may work fine for necessities. But a political economy limited to providing necessities - or leaving "luxuries" to an afterthought - is by necessity, impoverished.



Philosophically I can only repeat what I already included, in a past post:



Now as the State is not to govern, it may be asked what the State is to do. The State is to be a voluntary association that will organise labour, and be the manufacturer and distributor of necessary commodities. The State is to make what is useful. The individual is to make what is beautiful.



https://www.marxists.org/reference/arch ... /soul-man/



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Noumenon wrote:
Alienation is not due solely to capitalism, but to modern industrialized society where everyone is reduced to a cog. Your individual voice is drowned out in a sea of others. What does a single discussion accomplish, effectively, on a macro scale? Nothing -



It's due to capitalist *commodification*, where even official professional political power / clout, is up-for-sale -- on the whole this is termed the 'bourgeoisie'.

Without commodification or class things could just be treated as means-to-humane-ends, with no private valuation component (finance) requiring servicing, whatsoever.


Noumenon wrote:
not even in a socialist economy. It doesn't matter what you think, you are outvoted by a million others by default. We can see this in how disillusioned people are with democracy itself - the few spheres that are somewhat democratic in our capitalist system are just as dysfunctional as everything else.



'Outvoted' -- ? Isn't this rather *fatalistic*, as though you're somehow an ideal anti-hero, forever rebuffed by polite society -- ?

(grin)

Yeah, sure, obviously most everyone's thoroughly *disempowered*, and especially those who should be *empowered*, the workers themselves.


Noumenon wrote:
We are not worker ants. The human desire for meaning and recognition, and the feeling of power to shape one's environment, necessitate local spaces where small communities are free to do so.



The ants are with you.


x D


Noumenon wrote:
It is simply not possible to achieve that sense of agency by submitting your one vote amongst a million or a billion others. Or by submitting your list of demands to some abstract system.



They're not typical 'votes', as for electing *representatives*, they're for *actual policy*, meaning that with no bosses or politicians to serve, people can then, post-capitalism, just directly *effect* things in the real world, as we can't today. Given any specific geographic spot, maybe there'd really, real-world, be *zero* objections to it happening. Why *not* build a gazebo right there, with you and your buddies? (Etc.) (Minecraft-style, I guess.)


Noumenon wrote:
While there is nothing inherently wrong with democracy on a vast scale like that - in fact I think it is necessary - it is not sufficient for our vitality. If you want a thriving mass worker culture, that means that we must have a sense of agency particularly in the local domain. It would be an emergent culture from an array of diverse ones. Not a monoculture.



Yeah, no contention.

Incidentally, I'm not even arguing or polemicizing for any such 'thriving mass worker culture' -- I'm not into *culture* around the politics that I advocate. What's more-to-the-point, I would say, is whether society is *post-class-divide* yet, or not.


Noumenon wrote:
The producerism of Marxism isn't entirely wrong either though - we derive meaning from work. And a large part of that is its social connection. Automation of everything wouldn't necessarily be good.

We can only have meaningful social connections to what, 200 people? I think that means that if we want meaningful work, we should arrange it on a macro scale so that units roughly of that size have enough repeated interaction that they can form meaningful ongoing social relationships. If they are contributing to a common project, that would be ideal.



This is top-down / Stalinistic, and unnecessary. Workplaces are the way they are due to patterns of employment, over geography. Now imagine those workplaces controlled by their workers. And we're done.


Noumenon wrote:
It is impossible to address the schism between work for the faceless billions and work for oneself, without the intermediary of work for a meaningful social unit.



This is highly *debatable*, socio-philosophically. Consider the 'rock star' -- is the world somehow *less off* due to a particular musician doing well and becoming famous and getting rich -- ? (The rock star would argue otherwise.)


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ckaihatsu wrote:
You're treating politics like it's a *popularity contest* -- no, the political economy doesn't shapeshift according to the whims of the electoral winners. I'll refer you to base-and-superstructure at this point.

Also you're conflating communism with liberalism, inadvertently, and the entirety of your critique of communism here rests on this characterization which you may want to *elaborate* on -- '[communism's] puritan attitude towards capital and markets'.



Noumenon wrote:
Communism is not a purely materialist doctrine, despite its pretensions. It was always a form of secular messianism fused into the prevailing 19th century rationalism and structuralism.

And politics always was a popularity contest - that is why communism offered an entire identity and sense of purpose, for the great cause and tradition of striving for liberation. It was a secular religion, operating under the alibi of materialist analysis.

Now, both the material and ideal components of Marxist communism are out of date. If political economy is a base-superstructure, then both have evolved far beyond what they were in Marx's time. This evolution has created a new consciousness in workers. The ideal component of Marxism no longer appeals to this new consciousness, on the whole. While it may still be successful in igniting the zeal of some, especially the young, this is bound to turn into a kind of doom and nihilism when it comes up against the fact of capitalist realism.



Wow -- where'd the sudden *fatalism* come from -- !

Marxists = doomed, huh -- ?

What happened to *this* sentiment, from earlier:


Noumenon wrote:
I'm with you on that - I meant generalized worker control in terms of determining which logistics and technologies should be deployed on a macro level.



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Noumenon wrote:
We know very well what we're doing, but still we keep doing it - this is Zizek's formula for ideology today.

Why do we keep participating zombie-like in capitalism? I think it is because we have to revisit the formulation of the problem, and re-frame it. There is some need that is being satisfied by capitalism, that keeps us attached to it.



*Or*, it's being *imposed* on us, from without, due to bourgeois *militaries*, police, government, etc.


Noumenon wrote:
I think it is primarily on the consumption side. When it comes down to it, we like things. We like to own them. We like to accumulate them. And if we don't have them, then we wish we did.

The ideal component of communism is totally at odds with the fantastical imaginary we have developed under capitalism, the imagined paradise of consumerist luxury. This imaginary is part of who we are now. And communism threatens it, by trying to cut off and deny the objects of pleasure.



Communism *isn't* anti-consumerist, but it *is* collectivist.

Roughly speaking you *should* be able to access and procure the things you need, now and in the future, while under active usage, for whatever humane personal reasons, but perhaps you wouldn't be chasing after *every little* thing that happens to be spit-out, under capitalist *commodity* production -- but who knows, really, maybe you *would*, and the total number of consumer collectibles would be *even greater*, post-capitalism, since that would be the first global *fad*, or something....


Noumenon wrote:
So its demands of an economy with no privately owned goods, no accumulations, can only be perceived on a general level as a drive towards puritan ascetism.



What the hell -- !

You're ascribing a *lifestyle* to a form of *political economy* -- ?

I think you're not-understanding that the abolition of private property has to do with *social production* (industrial mass-production), rather than any given person's choice of how to live their life, or humanity's combined footprint on nature.

'No privately owned goods' really means that all goods are produced for explicit, discrete formalizations of expressed organic demand, and not as financial speculation after *profits*. It's like a political-*legal* distinction. It doesn't *prescribe* anything regarding the *individual*, so go ahead and let out that breath.


Noumenon wrote:
So far from leading to proletarian revolution, I see the symbols of communism being deployed because they are the available tools lying around, with which we can express our discontent. But ultimately I think they will prove inadequate


Noumenon wrote:
in constructing an alternative system that the working class as a whole will endorse.



Yeah, that's why *I* came along. (grin)


Noumenon wrote:
There is too much of capitalism in us, I'm saying, for us to discard it entirely. And from a standpoint of historical evolution, all of our discontent with it will not amount to a complete replacement with something else, but rather it will amount to a force vector pushing it in some new, unknown direction. Perhaps once we go far enough along that path, we will have reached a point which we can no longer call capitalism. But we won't recognize it - or ourselves - at that point.



Yeah, it's already there, due to the current hyper-valuation of non-productive (rentier-type) assets (think NFTs, etc.) -- I call it 'global medievalism'.


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ckaihatsu wrote:
Sure, we could say that the *practice* of Marx's Marxism was an objective of *progressive taxation* at the time, which *would be* transformative, but also -- as with *all* political-minded fetishes / objectives -- was *fetishized* and wouldn't necessarily be the strategy-of-choice for *today's* situation.



Noumenon wrote:
Right, and what I'm saying is that applying the Marxist materialist method to Marxism itself, results in something very different. Marxism as a political doctrine is itself a kind of fetishized object.

From the Flisfeder paper:



The bourgeois adversary is gone. We have become the thing we hated. Now what? I think that any Marxism which is afraid to move into this new territory is not appropriate for today's situation.



The bourgeois adversary is *not* gone -- what in hell gave you *that* idea -- ? Looked at a newspaper lately?


Noumenon wrote:
Here are some pertinent passages we might discuss. Basically, what the paper is getting at, is trying to move beyond postmodern deconstruction and incredulity towards metanarratives. This leaves us paralyzed, unable to assemble ourselves as subjects to divert the dystopian course of capital. Essentially, this new dialectical materialism seeks to create a new symbolic fiction, a new utopia which can serve as a master unifying signifier to create positive change. Communism can be a kind of "common sense political unconscious" - a way of narratively unify around the reality of class struggle, which evades symbolization.


Noumenon wrote:
What I am saying in relation to this paper, is that any Marxism uninformed by postmodernism, is simply residing in the modernist mode of subversion for its own sake. Subversion that doesn't accomplish anything because it doesn't realize that subversion is now the dominant ideology. Capitalism constantly subverts itself.



Would you consider this to be an example of that -- ? It sounds like you're indicating *co-optation*.


Planet of the Humans | Full Documentary | Directed by Jeff Gibbs




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Noumenon wrote:
It is only by going *through* postmodernism, that the other side of Marxism represented by Zizek and Jameson can be reached. We can dialectically produce a symbolic fiction which is appropriate to the times. A utopia which may never be reached - but that's not the point. Rather it allows us to symbolically orient ourselves so that we can overcome the paralysis of late stage capitalism and actually act.

I think that is kind of what you're doing already actually - let me know if you agree.



Thanks -- that's high praise. In those sentiments, then, yes, I guess that's what my aim has been with the whole 'labor credits' model thingee. I think it's more a scientific-minded / cohesive *model*, and *framework*, though, rather than a 'meta-narrative', but I won't quibble.


Noumenon wrote:
But for me, I find myself moreso deeper into postmodernism. I might be more of a Deleuzian. I find it very difficult to accept any metanarratives. But I at least acknowledge the need for one, and the need for a kind of unifying symbolic utopia, so that's what I am trying to do in a way that makes sense to me. Doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what Zizek or Jameson would advocate, as they are Marxist and communist in a strong sense, whereas I am only those things in a weak sense at best.



I'll keep throwing *this* back in your face:


Noumenon wrote:
I'm with you on that - I meant generalized worker control in terms of determining which logistics and technologies should be deployed on a macro level.



---


Noumenon wrote:
This is exactly what Flisfeder / Zizek are attempting to address with their symbolic fictional utopia.

The fact that it is self-consciously fictional, means that we can constantly rewrite it according to our subjective needs.

The disappearance of a neat, easy division between proletariat and bourgoisie, represents the postmodern era. Street wear is high fashion. We all might be just a little "bougie."



You're conflating consumerism with commodity-labor -- just because the overall standard of living has developed rather *positively* for the average consumer over time, doesn't mean that the 'base' / mode-of-production / private-property social relations, for production of such consumer items, have *changed* at all -- they *haven't*, and the class divide still remains, bourgeoisie and proletariat. It's now in China, primarily.


Noumenon wrote:
That's okay. Rather than a puritanical demand to reject this transformation and turn back the clock, we can re-invent the narrative to incorporate the capitalist consumerist imaginary that is in our heads - but in a more liberatory direction than what capitalism provides.



The only one who's been referencing top-down Stalinistic bureaucratic authority is *you*, not me.

I'm all for 'fully automated luxury communism'.


Noumenon wrote:
What if worker control is self-consciously a symbolic fiction then - and that symbolic fiction is a precondition to any kind of victory at all? We have to reconstitute ourselves as subjects of history, in order for liberatory change to be feasible.



Sure, and I don't mean to sound defeatist.

I understand the historic importance of the 'subjective factor'.


[6] Worldview Diagram

Spoiler: show
Image



Worldview Diagram

Spoiler: show
Image



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ckaihatsu wrote:
And yet that's what communism is -- a decisive *break* with bourgeois hegemony, history, norms, practices, culture, etc. (I would argue).

Collective workers control of social production *is* almost unprecedented.



Noumenon wrote:
A complete break which won't happen - but which we nonetheless advocate?



You have a crystal ball -- ?


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ckaihatsu wrote:
Hmmmm, sorry to hear it -- do you think society could *potentially* be more meritocratic- / egalitarian-minded in a post-capitalist political-economy context, than it is now -- ? Would those of that society 'work' at it, consciously -- ?



Noumenon wrote:
I think that whatever systems we create, could certainly be more meritocratic and egalitarian. Never perfectly so. We will always be working towards it. There is no end to antagonism - if it does not appear in one form, it will appear in another. Such is life. And I think we like it that way - can you imagine stories with no drama? No conflict?

A utopia without struggle - where we can all peacefully lay down and die - is no utopia at all.



---


Noumenon wrote:
Utopia is relative to what appears within the scope of the collective imaginary. I agree that theorizing is important and vital - but if it strays too far from what is collectively imagined as possible, I believe it becomes impotent. It exists in a dialectical relationship to our scientific understanding of our place in the world.



Sure -- any theorizing has to be *feasible*, and *realistic*.


Noumenon wrote:
Perhaps, at one time, the utopia of an ocean without sharks will collectively galvanize the fish towards actions which lead to not being eaten.

But at another time, when fish understand that there will always be sharks, or some other animal to fill that evolutionary niche, the fictional utopia must be rewritten, where the fish can unify to achieve their ends but with no final victory over their adversary.



It's a *bad metaphor*, then, because in this, your 'biological' scenario, the sharks will always *exist* since the fish have *zero* agency over the sharks' social existence as *predators*.

Capitalist ruling class exploitation and oppression isn't quite the same as fish-and-sharks. I'd say it's more about a particular class-based *invention*, and *convention*, of equity capital, that uses *wage labor* instead of *slave labor*, thus realizing the independence of explicit, formal *financial vehicles* -- corporate finance, basically.

Finance will always have a politically co-opting effect, since its interests are well-funded and it can fund the representation of its economic interests, in meatspace, as over commerce and lobbying, etc.


Noumenon wrote:
What appears as passivity from the perspective of one utopian vision, could be the exact opposite from an alternative vision. And in fact, a utopia too far removed from the symbolic understanding of the agents who are supposed to bring it about, virtually guarantees their passivity.


Noumenon wrote:
Interesting - I'm pretty much all British, on both sides. My great-great grandfather emigrated from Britain to Texas in the late 1800's I think because of a some sort of allergy condition that he thought the move would alleviate.



Interesting as well.


---


ckaihatsu wrote:
Um, it's *way* more serious than this -- Marx's Declining Rate of Profit indicates that capitalist employers may want to class-consciously *not* fully-automate because then there would be no organic labor value in the production process, and no profits for *anyone*, as a result. It's comparable to why the capitalists don't allow *full employment*, for consciously class-hegemonic reasons.



Noumenon wrote:
I'm not sure that full automation is even possible or desirable if it were. Generally you can only automate tasks which are repeated indefinitely. It is not holistic or syncretic. Machine intelligence, while extremely impressive in many domains, simply is of a different category than human intelligence. We won't be totally replaced. Well, most of us.



Car Factory - Kia Sportage factory production line




Noumenon wrote:
But yeah, what you're saying isn't unreasonable. Even though I'm not sure I agree with the necessity of a falling rate of profit - it's definitely in the interests of capitalists as a whole for labor to participate in the monetary and economic flow. Without that things would probably break down.



Let me rephrase -- notice how consumer prices tend to *fall* over the years and decades -- ?

That's due to capitalism's inherent dynamic of *overproduction* -- a competitor will gladly come along and do 'x' for less in cost, for more people, if that translates to increased *market share*. Ditto for entire *nations*, *empires*, etc. So this *economic* dynamic means that, overall, the rate of *profit* tends to fall, as markets become saturated.


[23] A Business Perspective on the Declining Rate of Profit

Spoiler: show
Image



---


ckaihatsu wrote:
Oh, so you're fatalistically saying that Stalinism is inevitable. You're neither pro-working-class, nor pro-revolutionary, if you think that the working class can't organize social production for itself, on its own terms, independently of the capitalists, with this line of yours.



Noumenon wrote:
I'm definitely no Stalinist. What I'm saying is that there is no final victory. There is always struggle. That is only fatalist if you're coming from the perspective of a final unity.



The forces of the *bourgeoisie* in Western European countries overcame the forces of *monarchy* and *aristocracy*, so certainly the world's *proletariat*, with collective interests over its own labor-power, could mass-internally reorganize how society's production takes-place. *That* would be the victory, so that no one is economically obligated to work for an employer / exploiter / oppressor, yet any work that *is* volunteered would benefit the post-class commons as a whole.


Noumenon wrote:
Again to quote Flisfeder


A realist utopia is one, conversely, that does not make any claim to the organic
composition of the collective unity of the community. In fact, its operation is to
pronounce fully the presence of the antagonism that prevents the collective unity of the
society, while simultaneously offering a glimpse of an emancipatory resolution to the
problem. It accomplishes, in other words, a mediation of the antagonism that leaves it
intact while simultaneously elucidating that which remains true on both sides of the
contradiction.



This is obviously a *derogatory* treatment of 'utopia', which is a fair topic for critique.

This characterization is the social equivalent of a politician speaking out of both sides of their mouth.


Noumenon wrote:
That's what I'm trying to do with my vision of utopia.



This is horrendously *misguided*, in case you haven't noticed it yourself -- if there's an 'antagonism' there (class-division), then what's the claimed 'emancipatory resolution', exactly -- ? It sounds important. (grin)

Why would the class-antagonism be left 'intact' -- ? Isn't it the point that the world's *proletariat* should prevail, in its collective interests, over the interests of the bourgeoisie to *exploit* and *oppress* that commodity-labor -- ?


Noumenon wrote:
Why do we have to completely transcend an antagonism to have agency? Doesn't agency lie in the drama and struggle itself, pushing back, overcoming blockages, being confronted with new problems which require a re-assertion of force?



Why should workers tolerate economic *exploitation* and divide-and-conquer *oppression* every hour of their working lives -- ?


Noumenon wrote:
Finance is a closed loop, a game with relevance only to itself.



Bullshit. Just remember the government financial bailouts of 2000, 2008-2009, 2019, 2020, and 2021.


Noumenon wrote:
We offshored manufacturing to China. Now China is financializing their economy and outsourcing manufacturing to Africa (I think). Finance I think is the critical dynamic of capitalism we must understand today. To the extent that Marxist analysis requires a manufacturing framework, it is woefully inadequate to the task. Marx's theory of money for example is very outdated. Modern Monetary theorists have had quite the time dissecting that.



Hardly. More bullshit from you -- Marx didn't investigate *money*, he investigated *capital*. MMTers are just *Keynesianists*, and they're *nationalists*, anyway.

Finance isn't *productive*, itself -- it can only aid *existing* economic positions, and not always for the better.

Empirically, without manufacturing / any commodity-production, there are no *commodities* -- like manufactured goods -- so then there are no *sales*, no *revenue*, and no *profits*. It's not capitalism anymore, so then what the hell are you talking about, even -- ?

When people buy stuff today, how was that stuff even *made* in the first place -- ? Commodity-production inescapably requires *wage labor*, and equity-capital *economic exploitation* of that wage labor. (Yes, commodity production can happen with blue-, pink-, and/or white-collar labor.)


Noumenon wrote:
I don't think that having a central organizing body in your politics makes you a Stalinist. That implies that the central body has total control over everything, a command economy.



Well, what the fuck is it *for*, then -- ? Does the central body just, like, *hang out* and pose for photographs -- ?

*You're* the one, between the two of us, who's been describing a Stalinistic 'central authority', as here:


Noumenon wrote:
I think that a central authority could probably coordinate resources so that supply in the various piles matches organic demand for them.



---


Noumenon wrote:
A realist utopian vision which posits a dialectic between central organization and decentralized divergence is definitively not Stalinist. You think Stalin would have tolerated anything less than total control?



Okay, then in this central-decentralized-dialectic how would anything be *collectivized* -- ? How would people know to use factories in 'a', 'b', and 'c' only in respective localities 'a', 'b', and 'c' -- what if someone came along and wanted to *generalize* production *over* 'a', 'b', and 'c', *collectively* -- ?


Noumenon wrote:
I think that distinction between liberation and freedom may be more of a European thing. In the US they're synonymous. Regardless of whatever garbage historically has been attached to the signifier - but that's the case with any signifier. "Communism" too.


Noumenon wrote:
Sure. Nationalize the major industries, the banking system, etc. That should be the core of the macro economy. It could be something more like China's state owned enterprises though, where they have guidance from the state but are formally distinct entities.



So you favor China's 'Special Economic Zones', like Shenzhen -- ? That's *capitalism*.


Noumenon wrote:
What if this is interpreted as a spectrum of utopias, with various degrees of realism? The beauty in communism is precisely in the fact that it will not be realized - it is an organizing principle. Instead of a hierarchy, where communism is pitted against socialism as a lower form of worker consciousness, socialism could be seen as more towards the realist side. So sure - dwell all you like in the less realistic utopia. But don't forget that when an opportunity comes up to seize something a little closer to what is realizable, we should take it.



'Opportunity' -- ? Care to *explain* what this is, exactly -- ?

'Socialism' -- the 'lower form' -- is also the *most immediate* form. It's the proletariat's *workers state*, that it uses to oppress the *bourgeoisie*, so as to transcend private property ('class') relations.

With that accomplished society would be *liberated* from working for the bosses and politicians -- anyone could organize with others to wield *cutting-edge* technology / machinery, to produce for the common social good.


---


ckaihatsu wrote:
Hmmmm, global-Stalinistic -- that's a new one, though I can see the current pertinence, given today's 'global-medievalism' (my terming) of power distribution. You're saying 'nationalization', but at the *global* scale. Interesting.



Noumenon wrote:
It would not be Stalinistic, because the form of the macroeconomy would be determined democratically. But yes, significant authority would be delegated to some kind of central planning body. One that has significant control over the global parameters, but which leaves local spheres to their own devices. Essentially, they would be a kind of "black box" to the planners - they couldn't reach inside to manipulate them, but they could figure out how to fit them in the macroeconomy in terms of their inputs and outputs.



'Voting for workers power' -- interesting.

And a 'black box' AI, basically, for 'blueprint' central planning. I think you'd receive many *objections*, outright, starting with me.

Since your politics requires a 'central planning body', you're a *Stalinist*.
#15190613
QatzelOk wrote:Why do the Amish, Mennonites, Hacidim, etc. reject technology, ckaihatsu?

Don't they realize how fun it is sitting in a pickup truck listening to electronic music while driving to a mall full of other SUVs? Or are they onto something that zoo-dwelling moderns have lost?

Technology are tools to enhance survival. In a world where everyone is competing against each other (which is the nature of every organism on earth), the society that doesn't embrace technology is doomed to be dominated by those that do.

The Amish, Mennonites etc have the privilege of rejecting modern technology because they are small groups living within a larger group that does embrace technology who protect them with supersonic jets and nuclear weapons from other societies with bad intentions who also have supersonic jets and nuclear weapons.

The problem is the law of technological progress means it progresses faster and faster, and humans are not evolved to adapt to the current pace of technological change. If smartphones were around for 1000 years and technology never evolved beyond it i'm sure we'd eventually adapt somehow.

Those that can't adapt to modern technology will develop mental illness and other social problems and rarely leave their homes. Those that can will survive and procreate...until AI takes over.

Image
#15190614
Noumenon wrote:
I think that we could collectively designate a set of goods which are deemed "necessary" and which are more or less interchangeable commodities. Like let's say, toothbrushes, rice, toilet paper. We could just have a giant communist walmart where there are piles of these things and everyone gets a certain number of monthly vouchers to take from the piles (not vouchers in the Marxist labor value sense, but vouchers determined democratically as representing how much of a thing people actually need).



ckaihatsu wrote:
Oh, this is 'rationing', but I've recently argued *against* any and all 'rationing' approaches, mostly because such would require a *state* / bureaucracy / government / administration, which means that those specialist standing administrators / bureaucrats would *not* themselves be producing commodities for society, like toothbrushes, rice, and toilet paper. (And, of course, there'd be nothing to guarantee their *accountability*, by economics alone.)



I have to add that when I previously addressed this, at another thread, I mentioned that rationing tends to imply 'decreasing everyone's standard of living' -- so that's not desirable at all, by anyone.


---


Noumenon wrote:
Perhaps the value of the new form of labor in post-capitalism can't be measured at all, whether in labor hours or anything else.



Well, *of course* post-capitalist (liberated) labor could be measured *per-hour* (unit-of-time) -- what's more-to-the-point, though, is whether or not this metric would be *sufficient* for the collective-administrative needs of that post-capitalist society.

I've heard many commentators *gloss over* this particular aspect, defaulting to the political position that all-work-roles-are-the-same socially.

But work roles *aren't* all the same, and there *should* be some societal-standard approach to the *varying* quality -- in terms of hazard / difficulty / distastefulness -- of various work roles in a post-capitalist political economy / context.


---


Unthinking Majority wrote:
Those that can't adapt to modern technology will develop mental illness and other social problems and rarely leave their homes. Those that can will survive and procreate...until AI takes over.



Um, UM, can't we just survive and procreate while rarely leaving our homes -- ?


= D
#15190616
ckaihatsu wrote:Um, UM, can't we just survive and procreate while rarely leaving our homes -- ?


It's almost impossible to meet a mate without leaving the house, and one will be less attractive to potential mates if one isn't well-adjusted to society.
#15190641
When Noumenon expressed how our consumption is killing us, ckaihatsu wrote:Um, would you mind *specifying* what 'that' is -- ? You're sounding like Qatzel's anti-consumerism, but to be *principled* about such, as he is, is to be entirely too dismissive, since there's no way to draw-the-line on 'anti-technology'. (No one gets to use *fire* -- ?)

Perhaps the problem isn't simply material / economic *consumption*, since we all have to do it, but rather the problem is everyday run-of-the-mill consumer *fetishism* -- 'affluenza'.

Yes, and certain types of media technology allowed entrepreneurs to brainwash billions of humans into fetish-izing dangerous products and consumption patterns.

And you are still pleading for everyone to "barter" with technology, like it just just needs a new coat of paint, or a tiny upgrade. Every technology has developed into an extinction-causing consumption pattern, the extinction clock is five species to midnight, and you are STILL pleading to give tech another chance.

What a waste of energy that would be. Maybe it will be our last "initiative" before we decline into the panicked behavior of an "at risk" species as it exits the "greatest show on earth" with nowhere to live and nothing to eat or drink.
#15190643
QatzelOk wrote:
Yes, and certain types of media technology allowed entrepreneurs to brainwash billions of humans into fetish-izing dangerous products and consumption patterns.

And you are still pleading for everyone to "barter" with technology, like it just just needs a new coat of paint, or a tiny upgrade. Every technology has developed into an extinction-causing consumption pattern, the extinction clock is five species to midnight, and you are STILL pleading to give tech another chance.

What a waste of energy that would be. Maybe it will be our last "initiative" before we decline into the panicked behavior of an "at risk" species as it exits the "greatest show on earth" with nowhere to live and nothing to eat or drink.



Perhaps the difference is in *definitions* -- I just don't / can't see *all* technology as being bourgeois-hegemonic.

I consider humanity to be 'tool users', and tools have *benefitted* us just as well as being *harmful* and *destructive*, as in international warfare.

What about *language*, for example -- can people use such 'technology' socially-constructively, or is even *communication* to be considered as 'too problematic' to be at all useful to society?
#15190650
QatzelOk wrote:Yes, and certain types of media technology allowed entrepreneurs to brainwash billions of humans into fetish-izing dangerous products and consumption patterns.

And you are still pleading for everyone to "barter" with technology, like it just just needs a new coat of paint, or a tiny upgrade. Every technology has developed into an extinction-causing consumption pattern, the extinction clock is five species to midnight, and you are STILL pleading to give tech another chance.

What a waste of energy that would be. Maybe it will be our last "initiative" before we decline into the panicked behavior of an "at risk" species as it exits the "greatest show on earth" with nowhere to live and nothing to eat or drink.

The human population has never been higher at any point in human history. Unfortunately at the expense of most other species of course.
#15190730
ckaihatsu wrote:Perhaps the difference is in *definitions* -- I just don't / can't see *all* technology as being bourgeois-hegemonic.


Well, that would mean that you don't believe that ALL technology leads to more labor specialization and more hierarchy. Can you name a technology that would have innocently improved everyone's lives without creating a more complex social hierarchy, and more inequality of agency and consumption?

I consider humanity to be 'tool users'...

Yes, since tools were invented, we have become someone who lives for them and by them. In the last 20 years, humanity has become a species of screen starers. Let's see how that ends up changing our survival odds as a species.

, and tools have *benefitted* us just as well as being *harmful* and *destructive*, as in international warfare.

Bla-bla-bla *marketing* bla-bla bla *controlled opposition* bla-bla-bla

What about *language*, for example -- can people use such 'technology' socially-constructively, or is even *communication* to be considered as 'too problematic' to be at all useful to society?

Without language, there would be no way or reason to lie about much of anything. So our lives would be completely honest and with most of the unnecessary complexity and rules removed.

I guess this was your way of providing a crucial case example that *proves* your theory that tech isn't poisonous and extinction-inducing.

But language leads to verbal conflict, and all of our techno-fetishes and violent ideologies have been created out of *words* and *narratives*. Language is no less harmful than depleted uranium.
#15190738
QatzelOk wrote:
Well, that would mean that you don't believe that ALL technology leads to more labor specialization and more hierarchy. Can you name a technology that would have innocently improved everyone's lives without creating a more complex social hierarchy, and more inequality of agency and consumption?



Sure -- take your pick:



In a primitive communist society, the productive forces would have consisted of all able bodied persons engaged in obtaining food and resources from the land, and everyone would share in what was produced by hunting and gathering.[48] There would be no private property, which is distinguished from personal property[49] such as articles of clothing and similar personal items, because primitive society produced no surplus; what was produced was quickly consumed and this was because there existed no division of labour, hence people were forced to work together.[50] The few things that existed for any length of time (the means of production (tools and land), housing) were held communally,[51][52][53][54] in Engels' view in association with matrilocal residence and matrilineal descent[55] and reproductive labour was shared.[56] There would have been no state.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_communism



---


QatzelOk wrote:
Yes, since tools were invented, we have become someone who lives for them and by them. In the last 20 years, humanity has become a species of screen starers. Let's see how that ends up changing our survival odds as a species.



Don't worry -- it's a fad, like constant cell phone communication was, once. Let's call it a civilizational 'learning curve', at the moment.


QatzelOk wrote:
Bla-bla-bla *marketing* bla-bla bla *controlled opposition* bla-bla-bla


QatzelOk wrote:
Without language, there would be no way or reason to lie about much of anything. So our lives would be completely honest and with most of the unnecessary complexity and rules removed.

I guess this was your way of providing a crucial case example that *proves* your theory that tech isn't poisonous and extinction-inducing.

But language leads to verbal conflict, and all of our techno-fetishes and violent ideologies have been created out of *words* and *narratives*. Language is no less harmful than depleted uranium.



You're anti-imperialist, but you think 'violent ideologies' were all created out of *words* -- ? Really -- ?
#15190772
ckaihatsu wrote:You're anti-imperialist, but you think 'violent ideologies' were all created out of *words* -- ? Really -- ?

Correct. If *languages* had never been invented, violent ideologies wouldn't exist, nor would marketing, nor would manipulative narratives.

And most of our straight-jacket of behaviorism is due to *words* creating *narratives* that create *new normals* to which we have to bend - sometimes for many generations after the words don't mean anything anymore.

Most American males were circumsized in the 20th Century without knowing why. It's apparently because someone in the 20s created a "circumcision can prevent masturbation" narrative, that people kept following without even knowing that it was the reason for all the chopped up dicks.
#15190775
QatzelOk wrote:
Correct. If *languages* had never been invented, violent ideologies wouldn't exist, nor would marketing, nor would manipulative narratives.

And most of our straight-jacket of behaviorism is due to *words* creating *narratives* that create *new normals* to which we have to bend - sometimes for many generations after the words don't mean anything anymore.

Most American males were circumsized in the 20th Century without knowing why. It's apparently because someone in the 20s created a "circumcision can prevent masturbation" narrative, that people kept following without even knowing that it was the reason for all the chopped up dicks.



Doubling-down, huh -- ? (grin)

So was the colonization of the Western U.S. due to 'words', or was it due to the Manifest Destiny -- meaning further land-grabs by white settlers / land-speculators -- ?
#15190785
https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/us/ebert.htm
the lesson of Engels' Anti-Duhring: the fact that we understand reality through language does not mean that reality is made by language.

https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/habermas-review.htm
It is my contention that any theory which takes as its elementary unit of analysis a simple speech act or utterance, disconnected from the activity within which it is made, can be nothing more than a mere formalism. Severed at its root from the real human relationships of collaboration and conflict, which tie the participants in discourse and motivate their interaction, which give them something to talk about, such a theory must entirely miss essence of its subject matter, since language is for the purpose of coordinating activity or it is just a game.

https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/weedon.pdf
Discourses exist both in written and oral forms and in the social practices of everyday life.
They inhere in the very physical layout of our institutions … To be effective, they require
activation through the agency of the individuals whom they constitute and govern, in
particular ways, as embodies subjects. … [p. 112]
... Nor is it to imply that the material structures such as the family, education and the work
process, which constitute and discipline our sense of ourselves both conscious and
unconscious, can be changed merely at the level of language. Discursive practices are
embedded in material power relations which also require transformation for change to be
realised. [p. 106]

To begin with, poststructuralism renders the relationship between language (or
discourse) and social institutions upside-down and it is this which makes the
theory counter-intuitive and potentially oppressive.

The meaning of the existing structure of social institutions, as
much as the structures themselves and the subject positions which
they offer their subjects, is a site of political struggle waged
mainly, though not exclusively, in language. [p. 38]

Granted that meaning is attached to institutions and systems of activity by
means of language; that is what language does above all, and without the use
of language of some kind, it would be impossible for any form of practice to
be meaningful for people. This observation is of indisputable value when
deployed in relation to natural objects, or as part of the exposure of institutions
as human products rather than things given by nature.

But surely when we are talking about institutions and forms of social practice,
it needs to be recognised that it is a form of human activity that is being given
meaning? And that without people first acting in such-and-such a way (or at
least social conditions existing for people to act in such-and-such a way), there
would be nothing to give meaning to.
Somewhat later, Weedon notes:

In order to be effective and powerful, a discourse needs a material
base in established social institutions and practices. [p. 100]
Power is a relation. … a dynamic of control and lack of control
between discourses and the subjects, constituted by discourses,
who are their agents … exercised within discourses in the ways in
which they constitute and govern individual subjects. [p. 113]

Thus the picture we are presented with is a human society that lives and
breaths “discourse”, but these “discourses” (not the people uttering them) need
a material base (though one has to read 100 pages before coming across this
observation). So, in the hierarchy of existence, discourse is the active factor
which is at the root, both forming consciousness and establishing systems of
practical activity, where it finds a "material base." This is like an army or a
political leader who looks around and finds a base from which to operate, to
supply troops and provisions or votes as the case may be, but the active force
logically and historically precedes its "material base."

Now this way of looking at things is very powerful; it is a very strong
constructivism.

Social practices are inconceivable without linguistic and discursive
interaction; but on the other hand, equally, conversation without any
implications for social activity, is meaningless, it’s “just talk.”
Discourse and institutions are inseparable and almost co-extensive, but only
the professional discourser would think of discourse as primary to social
practice. Some biologists think they can explain social behaviour by DNA;
some literary critics think they can explain all of social life by discourse. Both
are anti-humanist and mistaken.

How can we understand the relation of priority between social practice and
discourse? Once an institution is established, its existence is maintained by
means of discourse, and indeed, some institutions are invisible other than by
means of their characteristic discourse.

However, when we look at emergent institutions or practices, changes in social
relations and activity will inevitably open the door to changes in language
being objectified in “discourse” (inclusive of built environment, etc., which
can be taken as included in “discourse” in a broader sense of the concept.)
New words for example, enter the language in response to the need to name
some new form of activity or social formation, product, etc. On the other hand,
changes in discourse can precede changes in systems of activity, only if the
conditions for changes in practice are already present. For example, the
coining of a new word can catalyse a new social movement or practice - but
only under certain conditions.

New forms of practice can be brought into being by appropriate use of
language if the time is right, and under certain conditions, institutions can be
destroyed by attacking the discourse which sustains them.

In my writing I talk about “systems of activity” rather than discourses. In fact
the two concepts are almost co-extensive. A system of activity could not even
be perceived other than through a distinctive discourse of some kind. But in
the last instance a system of activity depends on the capacity to feed and
clothe people, keep them healthy and meet people's needs in some way; on the
other hand, it is not clear what the material conditions of existence are for a
“discourse” other than social institutions in which they are reproduced.
#15190787
QatzelOk wrote:Correct. If *languages* had never been invented, violent ideologies wouldn't exist, nor would marketing, nor would manipulative narratives.

And most of our straight-jacket of behaviorism is due to *words* creating *narratives* that create *new normals* to which we have to bend - sometimes for many generations after the words don't mean anything anymore.

Most American males were circumsized in the 20th Century without knowing why. It's apparently because someone in the 20s created a "circumcision can prevent masturbation" narrative, that people kept following without even knowing that it was the reason for all the chopped up dicks.


Even animals wage war from time to time, despite not using words.
#15190795
QatzelOk wrote:Well, that would mean that you don't believe that ALL technology leads to more labor specialization and more hierarchy. Can you name a technology that would have innocently improved everyone's lives without creating a more complex social hierarchy, and more inequality of agency and consumption?


Nature is hierarchy. Darwinism is hierarchy. There is no getting around hierarchy. People who want equality of all are people who want to destroy the basic rules of nature. Go for a walk in the woods, there's no peaceful tranquility, there's millions of organisms trying to kill and eat each other just so they can survive and procreate.

You're in competition with every other member of your own species to acquire the best mate, the best grades, the best job, a good income in order to survive and procreate. The winners fuck and marry an attractive and competent mate and have attractive/intelligent/athletic babies, the losers are unattractive with unstable employment and therefore don't get laid at all or settle for someone equally low on the dominance hierarchy and have babies with crappy genes less likely to survive. This is Darwinism.

If you want to live in some so-called Amish utopia and have children with inbred genes who die from simple infections or malnutrition and risk your wife dying in childbirth please go ahead. Meanwhile I'll use technology to invade your society, take all of your valuable possessions, steal all your land for me and family, and murder or enslave everyone else not useful to me. I'll survive and procreate, you'll be weak & pathetic worm food at the bottom of the dominance hierarchy. Welcome to the rules of mother nature. Don't shoot the messenger.

But language leads to verbal conflict, and all of our techno-fetishes and violent ideologies have been created out of *words* and *narratives*. Language is no less harmful than depleted uranium.

Uranium isn't harmful if it allows you to blow the living hell out of the society that's trying to invade your territory, conquer your land, kill your men, and rape your women. We didn't invent nukes for fun, we did it to survive. The Amish wouldn't survive 2 seconds in this world without the protection of somebody else's nuclear weapons. The Amish are living in a fantasy land with all thanks going to the US military and NORAD.

If you can't adapt to staring at screens all day you better learn quick because 1.4 billion Chinese are doing everything in their power to do it better than you because they want to get to get to top of a the dominance hierarchy. One doesn't have the leisure of churning butter or sitting on internet message boards all day when there's a billion mouths to feed and nukes pointed at you from American submarines in the South China Sea.
#15190796
Unthinking Majority wrote:
Darwinism




Cultural evolution, historically also known as sociocultural evolution, was originally developed in the 19th century by anthropologists stemming from Charles Darwin's research on evolution. Today, cultural evolution has become the basis for a growing field of scientific research in the social sciences, including anthropology, economics, psychology and organizational studies. Previously, it was believed that social change resulted from biological adaptations, but anthropologists now commonly accept that social changes arise in consequence of a combination of social, evolutionary and biological influences.[3][4]



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_evolution



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Unthinking Majority wrote:
We didn't invent nukes for fun, we did it to survive.



The Hiroshima Bombing Didn't Just End WWII—It Kick-Started the Cold War

https://www.history.com/news/hiroshima- ... i-cold-war



[T]he US government dropped its atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the last days of the war, despite previous signs that the Japanese government was ready to surrender. This ensured that the surrender took place before Russian troops, advancing rapidly across Japanese-occupied Manchuria, could give Russia any real say in what happened in post-war Japan. Hiroshima and Nagasaki also brought home in the most horrific manner the US’s capacity to exercise global dominance.



Harman, _People's History of the World_, p. 527
#15190797
ckaihatsu wrote:---
The Hiroshima Bombing Didn't Just End WWII—It Kick-Started the Cold War


Well i'm not defending that specific bombing, i'm defending the invention of the weapons themselves. If the US hadn't invented them, or refused to, and the USSR or Japan or Nazi Germany did, would the US and the West be better or worse off today? We would have lost WWII most likely had Japan or Germany invented them first and some of our cities likely nuked, just for starters. That sounds like fun!
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