History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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R48G: Our withdrawn post restated…capitalism not really a ‘stage of history’…

December 11th, 2016 · No Comments


We can restate the basic issues of the withdrawn post. My model of world history doesn’t indulge in ‘dialectic’ arguments. Instead it is a kind of ‘phenomenological’ model based on a discrete/continuous logic, taken empirically. The result is an unexpected theoretical hypothesis that is quite remarkable, and this can be taken as a rough guide. And this approach clearly shows a form of directionality, one that is a remarkable hybrid of a teleological and non-teleological system. How can that be? A system that seems to operate in a set of steps can change direction and free agents can slowly take control of the process, etc, so the statement is much less paradoxical than it seems.

Instead of ‘stages of production’, viz. feudalism to capitalism to communism we see larger intervals of epochs with transitions at their start. In this system capitalism has been gestating throughout history but suddenly crystallizes around the time of the industrial revolution into what seemed like a new stage of history. But it is not useful to consider capitalism a stage of history. It condemns us to a dynamic so claimed from which we have no escape. It is better to see capitalism as an economic process inside a larger system and one in which we can act as free agents. We are free at any time to move beyond capitalism: we don’t have to endure all possible horrors of that economic ad hoc process/phase.

That’s it: we don’t have to get fancy with a dialectical argument, kantian antinomies (a very useful consideration however), or differential stages. (The latter idea could be reworked, but let’s keep things simple).

We need to move into a new economic civilization and it is important to see the way some definition of (neo-) communism foots the bill, but that must be a clear and coherent proposal that can really do the job. We have tried many times to define something relevant here. There is an ironic aptness to Marx’s thinking nonetheless: postcapitalism is beginning to seem more and more inevitable to many. If Marx’s dynamical argument was flawed his basic point is clear. The phase of dominant capitalism is doomed to come to some end. We can see the issue from many angles, from the question of growth to that of climate change. And there is no reason why a version of Marx’s stages of production theory (as an ex-theory) can’t be embedded in our larger model of history, as long as it is an empirical argument for the logical inevitability of communism. The ‘macro model’ allows free agents to create such an outcome.
Capitalism is not really a stage of history entailed by a dynamical logic. It is a set of experiments with ‘markets’ that has a statistical argument in its favor as to issues of development and globalization. But we can see the inherent limits of its basic logic and the marxist argument falls into a trap of thinking capitalist logic is entailed by a hidden teleological argument of its own. But that reasoning should be set aside as we elect as historical free agents to move beyond capitalism, a motion that need not be absolute. The issue of communism for us is foundational, the question of markets secondary. The current idea that any regulation of markets is wrong is a remarkable delusion. We can see that to the contrary free markets are an exception in history and will rapidly demand a counterprocess bringing them under control.

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