History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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The coming era of postcapitalism

September 8th, 2012 · No Comments

The theme of a ‘new communism’ is proving popular, next to OWS material, and the earlier outlandish but somehow half-serious ‘Xtian communist’ theme: http://darwiniana.com/index.php?s=new+communism

The idea of communism generates so many bad vibes as to be almost unusable, but that is changing, and the qualification ‘new’ helps to jolt thinking out of the grooves into which it has fallen. The idea of Hegelian ‘sublation’ comes to mind. A ‘new communism’ has to honor its whole tradition here, even as it leaves it all behind, and recasts the subject all over again. The result must ‘sublate’ or be a superset of its legacy, with the dogmatism of marxism especially, both neutralized, and put to good use at the same time. Marxism attempted to give some coherence to the inchoate socialism of the pre-Marx/Engels period, but the result has multiple flaws of its own, and was cleverly upstaged by the mirage of ‘marginalist economics’ and the neo-classical revolution, designed to leave marxists in the dust. Solutions to that are not hard, but somehow the subject of the ‘labor theory of value’ fixates diehards into a rigidity that is worse than old-fashioned. Marginalist economics has been exposed (and reworked for intelligent use) many times, but the mystique of capitalist ideology is hard to break. The work of Hayek et al has stumped a lot of people, but the issues are not so hard as they seem. A system of market dynamics got a a facelift from Hayek et al, and as with marginalist economics, it looked like marxist/communists had been left behind once again. But that issue has been relearned the hard way. After 2008, the shoe is on the other foot, and a critic of capitalism might well laugh in the face of the market faithful.
Whatever the case, the era of the market needs to either come to a close or amp-down as soon as possible, given that markets have put the planet at risk, and virtually destroyed the legacy of the environmental commons. The checklist of compromises here needs to be studied, but in the end the abolition of private property, especially at the level of the mega-industrial corporate frankenstein globalization markets.
The issue is pretty simple: the wealth of the 1% has been taken from the common share as plunder, and their trillions in stash is not their private property.
And the relative efficiency of markets is now a liability: the slower pace of a planned economy would actually be a blessing.
And the question of replacing markets with high technology computation is the joker in the deck of the market ideology, as the crudity of markets begins to look a passing barbarous phase.
The USA brand of capitalism is so endemic now that it seems like a hopeless question. It isn’t, and the choice is simple: The US can lead the way to a post-capitalist society, probably a form of communism, or be torn to pieces so that someone else can provide the leadership.

The issue of the labor theory of value, as first noted in Adam Smith, prior to the era of theory, was ultra simple: the amount of labor involved in production must be reflected in the wage paid for that labor. The issue was never complicated, until the temptation of mathematical theory used to reformulate the obvious turned the subject into a turkey shoot for hotshot maginal economists. The original formulation, stated in plain English sentences, of Adam Smith, and inherited by Marx, remains at the heart of the whole debate over capitalism.

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