Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Economics Views, for Dec. 06, 2011

More of Jack Silverman's version of economics:

At this particular time - moment - in history the "capitalist" structural form certainly seems to be at the top, which is like saying that amongst the world's social systems none can compete. This "capitalist" kind of social structure has its kind of ingeniousness. Such a world may, simplistically, look like a society in which everything is measured in terms of money but what is really important is the human sociality that runs parallel to that. The ingeniousness would be useless without the social network. It is the social network through which the money is earned. (or, to re-write: the money is earned through the social network) It is difficult to earn money without social skills or without for example the sense of social belonging. (see the work of historian Gordon S. Wood)
     Capitalist has a history. In North America, there was an initial move that cemented this form of social structure. This was the act by the "founding fathers" (or perhaps their immediate successors) of opening the gates of capitalism, or, simply put, the gates of participation in trade. A process emerged after the secession of the colonies from the mother country by which anyone could go into business. This new nation was doing something new and radical. This was a new kind of nation, whose people were allowed to be more involved in business endeavors that was any other people previous to them, in any other nation previous to this one.
    Individuals were given free reign to go into business; and, it worked. Simultaneously, formal and informal class distinction were removed, at least in theory.
    There is a little more to it than simply putting price tags on products. The notion, "it is all based on money" is, therefore, deceptive. It is a deeply social process.
    Although these class distinctions were in a sense removed, the "magic" (of the market?) was in the fact that the social structure as such remained intact even though it was formally loosened. Class distinction were removed, and yet they remained. That's the ingeniousness, or the secret, or the "magic." There were still insiders and outsiders, workers and capitalists, and feuding ethnicities.
     But, with the outer veneer (of class) removed, the accumulation of wealth as well as the gradual spread of that wealth out to more members of society took place at accelerated rates. This is kind of ambiguous situation is implicit in phrases like "prince (captains) of industry," or even the more dastardly "robber baron." Persons of those days quite rightly understood: the new capitalist rich must have some relation to the earlier forms of society. The new society could be none other than something that was related, somehow, to the old aristocracy.
     Thus, the "magic" of the market is not something mathematical; it lies in sociality, and in the ambiguous fact of various component social groups (i.e. with what historian, Gordon Wood repeatedly refers to as "social ties") who stay around, even after the formal (and informal) enforcement mechanisms of class have disappeared.

1 comment:

  1. Basically, then, there are two different things going on at the same time.
    (auto-comment by Jack)

    (obviously: the eradication of class, and the persistence of class)