> ...It seems to
> me capitalism may be poorly understood in this forum. ... 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 wrongly thought coercion is a valid mechanism for
> exchanging value. ... the tendancy here on Sanet appears to be coercive
> rather than to weigh, consider, and compare...
> Doug Hinds wrote ..."What we may have here is a bit of an assimilation
> problem......" and ..."the point here - and it's an important point - is the
> nature of agriculture AND the whole business of being alive.
I think I've elaborated below on this without assuming any deficiency on your
part, which would be unwarranted on mine.
> 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.
Let's try to keep focused on the subject matter and away from being personal,
> How does sustainability separate
> itself from economics if there is not some mutually satisfying exchange of
Governments legislate and enforce legislation. They all do, whatever the
degree of free market economics or social programs they practice & believe in.
They establish upper and lower limits to what can be bought and sold and
selectively increase the costs of some articles which making others more
accessible. Choices are made. And saftey nets are spread.
My main point is that the perfect system does exist - needs change from time
to time and place to place; and the important thing is to keep looking for a
better way; and that means avoiding getting bogged down in isms that down
really mean much. The economic isms I referred to (capital, commun, social
etc.) have to do with the ownership and means of distribution of property.
Monetary means of exchange existed in the USSR and still does in the
When governments respond more to the influence of companies that have
accumulated a great degree of monetary power that are ever increasingly moving
closer to monopolizing the marketplace on the one hand at the expense of small
farmers, farmers that choose non contaminating methods and quality over the
bottom line, in addition to consumers who don't want proprietary, modified
genetics in their food, or are poorly informed because of laws passed that make
divulging information legally hazardous, this constitutes a problem.
The problem has to do with the role of government and it's adherence to the
public interest, rather than strengthening the agenda of the multinational
agroindustrial chemical empire, who unfortunately are well placed to overly
influence legislators as a result of their economic (if not moral) wealth.
Capitalism is simply a term that can be used to signify that money is talking
louder than the public interest, too often. However, all existing options
occur within a market economy. Cuba has one and so does China and no one here
is eager to more there, even if certain social and agricultural programs in
those places may be worthy of further study. And when they are it's often
because of a focus that goes beyond short term economics.
Capitalism's the only economic game in town, so there's no point in labeling
something that has endless variations as an example to be followed. The
example is going to have to be created, and it's going to have to come from
people looking for a better way. It will not be outside of whatever can be
called capitalism, but the greater social good is going to have to play a
greater role than strictly economic factors that have been already rightfully
called "unsustainable". Doing less is killing the goose that laid the golden
egg - except golden eggs don't hatch.
The point is, this is a biological world, we are all biological critters; and
biology is more than able to take us to where we need to go. That's why misha
said "seeds & soil", and that's where we came into this discussion. Are you
still with me? Capitalism isn't much of a factor here, and both Karl and
Groucho Marx are with us only in spirit - probably Groucho more so than Karl.
> 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.
The choices available to consumers are being distorted by rules of the game
that can and should be modified. I like your last statement about "not being
fully comfortable with the climate for making production decisions". The
climate is going to have to be changed - and forget the isms - unless it's
environmentalism. (Social and ecologic responsibility don't well support the
Douglas M. Hinds, Director General Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural A.C. (CeDeCoR) Cd. Guzman, Jalisco 49000 e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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