Thanks for your thoughtful post. You might enjoy reading "The Great
Transformation" by Karl Polyani, who was definitely not a Marxist. His point,
however, was that while markets (which by the way are only one of the ways to
organize social exchange, the others being things like reciprocity or
redistribution) have existed for millenium, market *society* has not. He dates
this transformation as beginning in Europe in the 1200-1300s, with land, labor
and money being almost completely commodified in places like England by 1750
(re Adam Smith who was describing market society but in terms of markets
embedded in society and not vice versa). It followed later in different areas
of the globe. Again, capitalism (which I would date being mostly developed by
the late 1700s in places like England and Holland) has undergone incredible
transformations, but the reification of the individual and basic nature of
competing to eliminate your competition remain the same.
Jim Quinton wrote:
> I think I follow most of your thinking, but I am not persuaded that there
> is enough understanding of economics here to go a lot farther. It seems to
> me capitalism may be poorly understood in this forum. It's my observation
> that capitalism “started” a lot longer ago than just in recent centuries
> (mercantile activity around the Mediterranean area back way before Christ
> and that satisfies me as some proof of capitalism).
> Boiled down, capitalism motivates an exchange of value. It is certainly not
> dependent on the existence of monetary exchange or the accumulation of
> liquid resource. It does not require continuous expansion nor is it
> judgmental or subjective as Marx was. He was proven quite wrong again and
> again because he simply failed to comprehend it. He wrongly thought
> coercion is a valid mechanism for exchanging value. For that matter, my
> recent observation is that the tendancy here on Sanet appears to be
> coercive rather than to weigh, consider, and compare although I have only
> been reading these messages for a few weeks.
> Doug Hinds wrote ..."What we may have here is a bit of an assimilation
> ..."the point here - and it's an important point - is the collaborative
> nature of agriculture AND the whole business of being alive. If THAT TOO
> is arguable to you, well it's time to either do some homework, or separate
> the wheat from the chaff".
> I'm sure I have a bit of an assimilation "problem" as an outsider which
> needs to be resolved before I can fully understand responses to my
> thoughts. It's a stimulating challenge. How does sustainability separate
> itself from economics if there is not some mutually satisfying exchange of
> value? Produce something and sell the surplus. That must be a satisfying
> exchange of value -- long-term as well as short-term. Before there can be
> production, there must be the production decision. If the production
> decision is faulty, sustainability cannot follow. Perhaps what we are
> focusing on with some of this discussion is the frustration of not being
> fully comfortable with the climate for making production decisions.
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-- Mary Hendrickson, Ph.D. Department of Rural Sociology University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65211 Tele: 573-882-2873 Fax: 573-882-1473
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