Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 19, 2011

What makes it fun is the element of contrast.
The contrasts.

A capitalist society is "fun" -- or functional -- when it has contrasts. All it has to offer is the thing that surprises. When two things come together, and/but they are different, we say that that is "contrast." Maybe that is all capitalism has. It is all about contrast, and capitalism can just play one thing off against a different thing until... until forever. There are other factors that will get in the way in real life, there are all the flaws in humanity, but within theory, or in some kind of relative dmension -- I would say that if you live in the world of theory capitalism can play with contrast forever, so, in some sense, all there is is contrast.
Contrast is the spice of life, you know, and if you look at the first few pages of a book by K. Marx, called either Das Kapital or "Capital, vol. 1" or whatever, he takes two different things, contrasts them and gets a common value that he seems to call the "exchange" value, and this seems to be the value set for the purpose of making an exchange, for which purpose you put one thing up against another. That is contrast -- one common value comes out of the contrast, but, nevertheless, it starts with a comparison or a contrast between two things, like paper and iron (that is the example given in the original), and these are qualitatively different, and have the element of contrast. So, that is just one example of contrast.

Conservative capitalists or traditionalists make entreaties to tradition. They may speak of traditional values, or, in a related sense, they may speak of "fiscal restrain" and frugality. But capitalism wends its way through the past and present, and into the future, and where in the final analysis is there any tradition? If capitalism is in some sense all about contrast, essentially there is not any tradition at all.
There isn't any tradition at all. It's all contrast. One thing is different from another thing. Those two things trade. This is being presented as a broad principle. Persons, too, are different from each other and that, too, is contrast. The system of course continually advances, or progresses. Capitalism is progressive. And that advancement is a very mysterious march forward in time, and there are surprises at every turn. Surprises, of course, meaning "contrast," once again.

I propose, then, that this element of contrast is all that the system needs.

But, in accord with ideas presented both on this blog and on Jacksilvermaneconomicsblog, I do not think this means you would not regulate, necessarily. I therefore would not say that this means I agree with the view that individuals acting on their own will always automatically do the right thing and so forth ---- what Stiglitz calls the economic "ideology" we are irratioinally sticking to in our times. I do not think that we can necessarily expect individuals to just automatically develop the appropriate contrasts, in terms of the various different items that they trade, against one another. I see not reason to assume that. Contrast is basic to the system in many ways, intended and unintended. As always, the whole "do not regulate" phlosophy turns out to be completely irrelevant.

No comments:

Post a Comment