September 27th, 2011
|09:12 am - Dialectic|
I was reading yesterday that more and more people have no work. This is called a 'global jobs shortfall'. I think it is an indictment of our political and economic system. It is a failing system.
Human beings are the most intelligent and adaptable organisms that have ever existed - as far as we know anywhere in the whole Universe, and in 12 billion years. And the best we can do is to compel millions and millions of these brilliant creatures to sit around doing nothing, for years or lifetimes? At this time of impending crisis? When there is so much that needs to be done? It's desperately bad.
It's not that organised finance and capitalism are necessarily destructive. But any power interest which is not matched by a rival of equal power will destroy itself. It's probably good to have a powerful group which is always trying to minimise labour costs. It might even be good to have a group of people who are always trying to make as much money as they can, and hang the social and environmental cost. But it's only good if that narrow interest group is constantly coming up against other equally strong groups, which oppose and limit it. Then the different competing interests kind of annihilate and create each other. So capitalism can be positive if it is locked in a dance with an equally powerful anti-capitalism. That might be creative and exciting.
Instead we have a system where the powerful are running riot, and paradoxically that means the system is getting weaker every day. Of course every system is eventually self-correcting. If a system is weakening all the time, eventually it will become weak enough to be opposed, and then the process will stabilise. But I think it's in our interest to increase opposition to capitalism - environmentalism, workers rights, caring relationships - because paradoxically, that will mean the dialogue, the dialectic struggle, happens while capitalism still has some life in it. It means it will be a creative exciting struggle.
The alternative (in my opinion) is a massive global crash, because capitalism will destroy itself if it is unopposed, just like any other human system would.
|Date:||September 27th, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC)|| |
So if I understand you correctly, you're basically saying that the boom and then bust pattern of unfettered capitalism and the oppression and then revolution pattern of political power can be made creative rather than destructive by refocusing our energy on ecology, social justice, and interpersonal bonds?
I think my natural reflex is to demonise the people who have got us into this mess - I mean people who have lined their own pockets, and taken mad risks with other people's livelihoods.
But I guess that it's natural for some humans to behave that way if they get the chance, and properly contained and limited that mad energy could be creative. But to get to that place we need to push back at them hard. And yes, ecology, human rights all over the world, and space for caring relationships, these all seem areas for strong push-back.
Apart from thinking that you need a much broader and more explicitly local aspect to your areas of conflict (which I would prefer to cast in less oppositional and more adaptive/alternative terms in order to encourage the creative rather than the cataclysmic), I agree.
Because I am influenced by Hegel I think outright opposition is needed.I believe that massive powerful 'no' is all that can save capitalism. And by 'save' I mean 'turn into something else'.
I am also quite interested in the way modern capitalist society makes it harder and harder to be a carer - such as a mother. I think there's scope there for strong push back, because raising children is a fundamental social need. Though to be fair people with caring responsibilities are more likely to favour gentle methods, by definition.
But a blanket 'no' doesn't work, because you're not saying no to everything, everybody won't be saying 'no' to the same things at the same time, and you can't impose a 'no' on people's thoughts and instincts; every totalitarian regime in history has eaten itself very quickly in the attempt to hold the opposite view.
Therefore you need to persuade people of the rightness of your POV.
Or you could just end up killing a lot of people, making arms manufacturers rich and reestablishing something which looks more or less like the status quo ante. Like the 20th century response to crises of (western) economic supremacy.
Well, I don't think - for example - the environmental movement depends on someone like me enforcing it, or imposing it. In fact it is precisely because a 'Green' movement will arise spontaneously in any population that it can't be stamped out. And for green substitute any oppositional movement - feminism, anti-racism, ant-colonialism, and indeed socialism. It's precisely because (and so long as) these oppositional movements are not institutionalised, but arise spontaneously from the people, that they successfully challenge corporate culture.