Monday, September 19, 2011

Polanyi meets Marx

Polanyi on class:

Polanyi held class interests were only one part of any social movement. Classes are embedded in the larger social context in which culture plays a central role. Any class-based movement is set within a specific society with its own cultural history. Narrowly based class struggle Polanyi states is bound to fail unless it can gain allies from other classes. These alliances has to deal with the fact the movement itself is an coalition of factions fighting for different things and it is an partnership of expediency as much as principles. The ultimate cause of the movement is the result of external causes and internal means. In this economic factors while important are deep-rooted in non-economic social and cultural relations, habits, philosophy and customs. Class becomes and identity, and this is as important as material needs. Thus, Polanyi becomes a supplement to Marxist Sociology in much the same way as Weber does. Reestablishing an interactive and the broadest sense of the term a dialectical relation between base and super structure.

The crucial purpose that is contributed to a long-term social event by class involvement and interests in continuing social change is historically in the character of life is that any prevalent structure that transformation may take influences the numerous factions with a society in vastly different ways simultaneously. One class may take the lead, but rarely does a single class act alone. Because not just economics but cultural disintegration and social disruption by the continuing impact of the market on everyday life do dissimilar groupings belonging to different economic stratum and classes instinctively link up with other forces to resist the danger of a free market. Social conservatives or traditionalist took on the role guardians of the social fabric of society. These conservative socialists look to the church, tradition and kinship for their moral inspiration. In America the Christian Socialists looked to scripture and the community of the body of the church for their moral armor against the expansion of a heartless market economy. Marxist socialists and Anarchists became the revolutionaries breaking with all tradition find salvation against industrial capitalism and global markets.

The social devastation of global capitalism is both a cultural and an economic experience. This catastrophe is on going and never ending. The ruin of a unique group of people is the explicit outcome of vigorous and brutal interruption of their principal and essential organization. They are casualties that are demoralized and they are cruelly malformed contrary to their will human capital a commodity in a fictional market that has become real. Like land which is nature, labor which is living real people are commodities sold openly on the market, thus the unfasten collapse of every hope of the survival of ancient and functioning traditional cultures of an organic vigorous society.

August 11, 2011

Both the employer and the employee are mutually interdependent. The capitalist and worker are locked together in a dysfunctional relationship. The Bourgeoisie and the proletariat each needs the other to define themselves. The only way to end this relationship is to end it. Capitalism cannot exist without wage labor or something very similar. Production for profit strips work of its creativity making labor a burden to be endured and not a pleasure to be indulged in. Before capitalism real took off at the beginning of the industrial revolution the potential workers had to be stripped of any and all alternatives to subsistence other than wage labor. The capitalist need the worker to do the work. The worker can live only if she finds a job and a capitalist employing more than a few workers is her only hope. Any independent source of income for the workers would undermine the dependable supply of cheap labor that was needed by industry. Thus, at the beginning of the industrial revolution the alternatives had already been forcibly removed.  

What is needed is a critical Historical Sociology in order to gain insight into what happened to get us in this mess, and then we need to find a sensible and scientific approach in order to gain a real method that is both practical and systematic.  We should to attempt to become aware of an efficient and methodical course that is rational and empathetic in order find a better life for the direct producers i.e. the workers.

We need a broad based social movement to replace the psychological rebellion at the level of individual life in bourgeois society instead of being the cornerstone of existentialism both in art and philosophy, gang warfare, self-destructive behavior we need a movement to guide out of our frustration and despair. With dissatisfaction in the economy and everyday social life and with so many failed visions. With so many false starts. The quest for meaning becomes desperate. Only a careful study can define the problem and reveal to us who is opposed to us and why?

August 15, 2011

Where labor of the worker is called labor power and is sold on the open market for a price called wages, the wage in turn will be used to provide for all the needs and wants of the worker by buying the desired commodities or services again on the market for a money price. Through buying the commodities on the open market with money earn through the selling of labor power for wages the real social relation between the producers, i.e. the workers who are the one who make those commodities and buy those same commodities and owners who really do not remains hidden. Every is sold and bought at price set in terms of money. The real producers of the commodities remain hidden and only the commodity appears as real.

No matter how different all products and services have a price. Thus everything relates to everything else through price i.e. money. Because real people remain hidden, the impacts on real lives are not factored in while making costs vs. benefits calculations.
If products are produced to make a profit, also figured in money, the amount of profits and not the needs of the laborer who makes the products is what ones who owns the resources needed in production is concerned with. With the purchase of labor power any further obligation to the worker is not a major concern. The capitalist who owns the raw materials, tools, and the labor power sold to the capitalist by the employee and the final product make the capitalists the only one in position to determine what industry produces and how much. 

August 17, 2011

Before a labor market can be established as the dominant form of economic subsistence for the majority of the population all social relations that provide alternative to wage labor have to be eliminated in a practical sense. Community is replace atomization of individualism. Individual responsibility for survival of the common toiler means fragmentized by crushing the social neighborhoods of a people is the essence of egoism the corner stone of consumerism for the worker and for the entrepreneur accumulated wealth.

The ethical foundation of capitalism freedom of economic investment is governed only by contract. All non-contractual organizations then are threatened and if they menace the pursuit of profit they are cleared up and assassinated.  Any demand to the loyalty of persons that may be used in a way that curbs the freedom of the investor is crushed before the expansion of the global market. Kinship, community, neighborhood, profession, creed, association, borough, passion, accord, affiliation and family are all redefined to meet the needs of capitalism.

August 18, 2011

Communal disaster is first and foremost social as well as a financial occurrence. Because of the injurious outcome on vulnerable citizens the breakdown of the natural, social and cultural environment of the injured party is of course then the cause of breakdown of social values, the uprooting people, dreadful conditions and anomie. The economics of colonialism is the channel of annihilation. It is the fatal wound to the foundation of public survival personified and rooted in social existence. This is the rudimentary influence of cultural contact, which moved the colonial world to a revolutionary movement called national liberation. This is the difficulty confronted by colonial constrained people. It is the European Capitalism spreading from Britain to the rest of the world via the United States that is the cause of the exploitation and exploitation of humanity worldwide and in a humanly obvious sense.
To separate labor from other activities of life is to disconnect human activity from living human beings. To subject living humans to the alleged regulation of the market is to merely to obliterate natural manner of survival humans themselves become commodities sold for a price in order to life. The atomistic individualized life loses it social protections.

 The citizen is now required to earn her living by selling her labor power on the labor market as social cultural ties are shattered. Before capitalism can become the dominant economic system traditional cultural institutions will need to be destroyed. The personalities in a initial unaffected community will not work for gain or guilt beyond a certain point for the profit of others. Only starvation and want will force a worker in a capitalist firm to work at a grueling pace for long hours for low wages that are needed for higher profits. Thus, conservative customs must be eliminated because all ties of kinship obligations and social or religious responsibility undermine the labor market. But, before a person will show up for work they must shed of claims of help from the larger community.

In a tradition community poverty and famine carry with expectations of help from kin groups. People work hard out of social obligation to the community, but only up to a point and everyone is in the same boat. To work hard for another profit and with very low wages and no social obligation to support when the market is off required the most complete revolution in history.

August 19, 2011

With detailed division of labor, any worker’s contribution is forever lost in confusion to the final product. Workers are not people, but investment costs.  Workers are interchangeable parts of a machine used in production.

Each unit of time is measured as before, but what is important here is how much work can get done in that unit of time. Each unit of time can be measured separately as part of the production process carried out separately. As far as the worker is concerned she has no knowledge of the labor that preceded her contribution. Also the labor that follows her work is also out of sight. Thus, her ownership in the labor process is missing. The worker simply follows the commands of the machine.

What remain hidden in a market economy are those who produce the wealth will remain hidden in the production process. Human labor a creative, physiological, and mental event both natural and social is calculated as a cost in production like the use of raw materials and tools. Those who produce nothing, but have access to capital to invest in production are everything. The own everything going into the process including the final product.

Finance capital is the most absurd of all. It makes no contribution, yet the remainder of capital is by necessity dependent for investment capital. This arrangement allows speculation independent of production. Investment in nothing leading to profits and creates a stock market in which shares are bought and sold daily.

The State under capitalism is exceedingly selected set of laws that can reduce arbitrary rulings to enforcement of contracts. Not that capitalist either individually or as a class routinely break the law, yet the same laws equally apply to everyone one making economic decisions more rational.

Bureaucracy arrives at its most advanced form under capitalism not only in the public sector, but also especially in the private. This changes every aspect of culture and society. This molds the consciousness of the individual.

Bureaucracy under capitalism becomes highly formal with written rules and policy
As a matter of public record. This formality is increasingly objective and impersonal. Impartiality becomes both standard and ethical justification for most bourgeois society.

Part of the logic of capitalism, the logic of the capitalist class is the underlying logic of the system as a whole. Profitability continues to undermine sustainability. Formal economic can neither explain, nor justify economic crisis. Because capitalism moves from crisis to crisis and formal economists study economy during upward trends when crisis hits the economy economists shift into damage control mode, looking for ways to increase profits and thus only aggravating the cause of the series of crisis.

August 22, 2011

Bourgeoisie are trapped in short-term profitability strategies. The class that is primarily concerned with property values and profits is not only stuck in quick-fix prosperity line of attack they fail concern themselves with long term health of the general population like maintaining full employment. Instead they making decisions leading to ever-new crisis in which only radical intervention can save the day, which of course the capitalist investors would universally oppose.

Capitalism develops a method out of the logic of its own social existence. All life is consumed with the never-ending obsessions of short-term profitability. All parts of society operate to contribute to an environment that allows the maximum set of profits. For this final goal any sacrifice will be paid, usually on everyone’s backs except the largest investors.  But, because we add the element of competition then each individual capitalist, investor or financier looks out for his own sources of income. The government is always the investor of last recourse saving the day for everyone except the workers who are the majority and the poor. The working poor then are left to her own devises. Because she is missing to her own strategy for her continued existence because of the structural underpinning the economy she lives at the mercy of the large investors. Even security offered by government contributions or financial rescue need to justify its programs to the investment community.

In spite of rational planning offered by the state, the capitalist are his own worst enemy. While class-consciousness is always present, the capitalist through government acts in his own self-interest. Capitalist is extremely class aware of this and other capitalist joint concern; he is more than willing to betray his brothers for a penny. Lets hope a worker knows that only in solidarity with her sisters can the working class find salvation.

Because the worker is, stripped of any and all means of subsistence, except her ability to work, i.e. selling of her labor power she has only one choice to sell her body, soul and life to one employer or another. Free labor is freedom for the worker all right. The feeling of freedom is reduced to of the freedom of fighting off hunger by selling ones labor time to a slave owner. Freedom is that illusion of being free. Liberty is that hallucination of being in control forced to grovel in a demonstratively reduced intellectual freedom and deterioration of control over ones life with social isolation, hardship, hopelessness and disappointment and over all political state of unconsciousness.

To separate labor from other activities of life is to disconnect human activity from living human beings. To subject living humans to the alleged regulation of the market is to merely to obliterate natural manner of survival humans themselves become commodities sold for a price in order to life. The atomistic individualized life loses it social protections. Polanyi adds a cultural anthropological insight to economics here, as does Max Weber.

Communal disaster is first and foremost social as well as a financial occurrence. Because of the injurious outcome on vulnerable citizens the breakdown of the natural, social and cultural environment of the injured party is of course then the cause of breakdown of social values, the uprooting people, dreadful conditions and anomie. The economics of colonialism is the channel of annihilation. It is the fatal wound to the foundation of public survival personified and rooted in social existence. This is the rudimentary influence of cultural contact, which moved the colonial world to a revolutionary movement called national liberation. This is the difficulty confronted by colonial constrained people. It is the European Capitalism spreading from Britain to the rest of the world via the United States that is the cause of the exploitation and exploitation of humanity worldwide and in a humanly obvious sense.

Because labor power is only a potential, i.e. labor in the abstract, it is the same category no matter how the employer uses it. This “commodity” once it is sold to the employer it is the owner or manager of firm the employee works for who decides how it is used. Like the final products, which, also belong to the capitalist, labor-power no longer belongs to the worker. Labor power like the labor process is removed from the worker’s control with the separation of production and design. The capitalist purchases both of these items independently. The worker is nothing more than a tool and an abstract category.  It is not the worker, this is important, but the work performed that is purchased. Thus wage slavery of the free laborer the worker is free but not the labor power of the worker. The free worker’s labor power is but one part of the labor process owned and controlled by another. It is the potential to work that is sold on the market, once bought and but to use labor becomes part of the cost of production to be used however the owner of the resources of production sees fit. All equipment, raw materials, power sources and labor power, i.e. the worker at work, become an extension of the machine made up of interchangeable parts without a will or an independent mind, at least until the workers rebel. Yet living labor acting on the products of past labor like tools and raw materials is the only commodity that can produce new value. This means it is the worker and not the capitalist, which is necessary for capitalism. It is the capitalist, which is the unnecessary burden to capitalism. Yet this heaviness is born by everyone except the capitalist. Under capitalism what is essential is an additional feature added as an afterthought, and what is supplemental is necessary. What is real is an abstraction and what is abstract is real. What is genuine is an concept without empirical content and what is imaginary is factual. The capitalist because he is the owner is the only who can provide employment opportunities from the wealth created by others. It is labor, which creates all wealth, and it is this wealth, which creates the capitalist.

August 23, 2011

In modern Industrial society, particularly with advanced monopoly capitalism, there is a dominant ideology shared by all classes. It is the job of the intellectual to explain the details of that ideology. The sophisticated command philosophy of the bourgeois academic will justify the particulars of that viewpoint, while radical historical sociologist will expose the facts of that dogma as an illusory untruth taught as mainstream economics.

August 25, 2011

In the last decade over 14 trillion has been accumulated in our national debt.

Tax cuts and loophole benefiting specifically the large investors certainly did not help. Last year General electric made 16 billon in profits yet they received very large subsidies from our government. The government being in debt continues to barrow trillions. The financial institutions and very large investors who benefited most from these tax cuts loan money to the government. This current economic problem is the direct result of the last two recessions 2001 and 2008, the basic issues has not been solved yet. Of course the massive bailouts were a bad idea. But, they did save the big corporations, banks and large investors and our entire market economy. Thus, continuing the source of all our woes. Hedge funds, overproduction, use of advanced investment strategies in derivatives, leveraged investments, unprotected selling of securities from a third party, bilateral contracts transferring risks to some one else and ultimately the government and on the backs of working class tax payers. It appears to me it is the conservatives who are all for big government when it helps investors without a conscience and against any government if it only helps real living working people.

Depending on where you stand within the larger society, each class or group by necessity develops its own spin on this ideology. Even in times of political crisis certain groups will develop an alternative ideology that challenges powerful groups who most benefit from the dominant ideology.

Just as new economic arrangements evolve of the economic relationships that have went before, so each ideology begins as a rebellion against the economic system and ideology that exist before the new class comes into power.

August 26, 2011

The most powerful class in society also has the most elaborate group of professional intellectuals who define the dominant ideology. Clergy, educators, scholars, reporters and other specialized academics exist with good salaries in order to justify, explain and outline the existing social relations in such a way as to seem natural. In this way the terms of the debate are under the control of the dominant intellectuals.

Any and all conflicts arising from social movements are also expressed through competing ideologies. Because the dominant group is the one who also defines the dominant ideology. Thus, also, the issues and the conflicting ideas used in the struggle must come to terms with the dominant ideology. Thus, like economics or politics of the rebel group will directly evolve as it challenges, confronts and becomes the voice of the group trying to over throw the currently established order.

A great deal of care is taken to define what is natural, just and proper so that dissent can be nipped in the bud. There truly is a mainstream higher education in which the future caretakers of domination are carefully molded.

Once an ideology is established as being primary in a society, it is then up to the intellectuals and popular culture icons to make alternatives seem as strange and even evil or just silly. Not until the suffering reaches a point where the basic core values of a society are called into question and the dominant ideology is truly called into question as representing the interests of only the elite and the interests of the poor and poor workers are hurt by what have taught our whole lives will there be a new revolutionary movement. Today still to many blame the victims, hate the poor, fear the powerless, and look the other way. When the conventional central principles are disputed can we begin to confront the authenticity and reasonableness of the existing political and economic institutions. The alternative ideology must be clearly articulated and presented in a way that answers questions.

August 31, 2001

Alternative ideologies are vague and poorly defined. More like feelings than a carefully studied program. Alternative ideologies are very unstable, easily diverted and often ends in exhaustion. Unless a careful study is made of that historical setting and the actual facts on the ground, and care sociological examination of the possibilities at that specific time alternative ideologies are either are assimilated in a harmless manner into the overriding national creed, or it the unconventional philosophy and the people who hold this attitude are demolished in a prudently deliberate reaction.

September 8, 2011

Most people live filled with immediate concerns. Social theory seemed pretty remote, even though materialist theory would be drawn directly from their lives. Only when radical theory meets popular culture can there be a hope of an alternative ideology holding its own against the dilute rendering of the dominant ideology, i.e. trendy influence on sentimental profitable article of commerce reflecting keenness of the wide-ranging overbearing principles of the elite indoctrinating lots of citizens methodically shifting attitudes while adjusting beliefs that don’t fit right away.

September 9, 2011

Rebellion is to say no to the limitations of life. By refusing to accept the limitations of life we have already changed life to give it meaning.

September 12, 2011

People need to discover what makes them happy truly happy. This becomes the foundation of any social movement that hopes to have a successful impact. The struggle to demand public access to the resources that can fulfill the needs and desires for complete and healthy life becomes the meaningful life. What are the obstacles that stand in the way of maximum happiness for everyone, especially the poor, disenfranchised and the dispossessed?  How much of the human suffering in the world is the result of inequality and exploitation of the many by the few. Then we need to figure out what stands in our way of living the life of the rebel, and then overcome our own resistance to insurrection.

We are writing history today collectively. We have all the parts necessary to make history. We engrave and we put together our narration out of our own experience. In the past of what we create is reactive without a strategy or a transparent conclusion in mind. We work nearly blind without a vision. With only bits of information haphazardly collected. Much of our data has been distorted from the get go. Much of what have fashioned is our own formation, but we cannot recognize our own child.

September 15, 2011

Epicurean philosophy is the beginning. The rest is trying to make it relevant. Hegelians, Marxist, Utopians, Existentialist, Anarchists all feel a need to justify life. There is too much pain and not enough pleasure. This can and must be changed.

We are writing history collectively today. We have all the parts necessary to make history. Yet we neither have a plan nor an outcome in mind. We work nearly blind without even tiny bits of information sometimes, other times only isolated insignificant wedges of a spoiled pie, or even real but distorted data. What we craft many times is in fact our self made lurid formation that we have custody of in our deluded universe. We often don’t even recognize our own creation. The bastard no one real knew whose delivery is deficient in validity and yet our unwanted child becomes our master. Historical Sociology the science of society is where we place both our supplication and our imprecation.

Rebellion often leads to either increasing repression or reform. Neither really solves the problem. The first leads to either crushing the will to resist or to more radically defining the issue. The second either leads to a passivity in which the reforms slowly disappear or to an increasing power base for the insurgents. This all depends upon existing social forces and this can be learned only through Historical Sociology.

The best and the worst
The Rebel by Albert Camus

September 16, 2011

Born from immigrants
Nurtured in fresh turned soil
Raised by the summer sun and winter snow
Till the earth remade by industrial labor
To become the blood, bone and flesh
Of the nation for ever young

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