Friday, February 16, 2007

Radical Capitalists Not So Radical

Louis Rosetto, the "radical capitalist" who founded Wired magazine, is not a 'libertarian" despite what the Wall Street Journal says, he is an Ayn Rand capitalist apologist as is his magazine.

Wired Magazine in the nineties predicted that high tech capitalism was booming and would do so for the next 25 years. And then the bubble burst.

And yet the article made it onto the market as a book. A self fulfilling prophecy for the pre-Enron generation in Silicon Valley.

For the most part, the book lacks historical perspective--unless you count the authors' use of ''future history.'' For much of the book, they write as if they were looking back from the 21st century, giving their arguments an undeserved aura of certainty. This conceit may confound serious readers, for it produces a bizarre blend of real and imaginary companies in the index. For example, New York Times is followed there by a listing for Nippon Nano, a fictitious Japanese nanotechnology giant supposedly operating in the middle of the next century.

And we should give credence to these dweebs who call themselves 'libertarians" when in reality they are merely apologists for the newest regime of robber baron capitalism.

Like most of the Utopian idealists of the right they believe in what Ayn Rand called; Capitalism The Unknown Ideal. And that is what it is, an unknown ideal because the historical reality of capitalism clashes with their Walt Disney notions of idealized capitalism.

There has never been a free market under capitalism, because capitalism dominates markets, it abhors freedom and demands monopoly. It was in fact capitalism that created the State, the very state these dweebs protest against. If they had their idealized free market, capitalism would again create a State to to regulate competition and allow for the powers that be to gain a monopoly, which is how real life capitalism operates.

Capitalism as a "mode of production," Marx argued, is a historically new and distinct form of human society. True, in both the ancient world and feudalism there were "capitalists." That is, there was trade and money, there were merchants profiting from buying and selling. But these, by themselves, were insufficient to establish capital as the ruling principle and regulator of society.

To understand a mode of production, Marx suggested, we must look to the very core of society, and specifically to the way that surplus is pumped out of the direct producers. In previous forms of class society, exploitation took a definite form. The characteristic dominant social relation was that between lord and peasant, with the peasant family laboring more or less under its own self-direction and compelled, by force, to hand over surplus products and surplus labor to its exploiters.

In capitalism, by contrast, the dominant class relationship is that between capitalist and worker. The worker unlike the peasant is radically "dispossessed." Where the peasant family could sustain itself on the products of its own labor, modern workers cannot, for they lack direct access to the very means to live. They cannot feed themselves from their labor on the land, nor sell the products of their own labor, for they have access to neither land nor the tools and materials required for modern production. Instead, they must hire out the one thing they own - their "labor power," their human creative capacities - to employers in return for money wages, which they can spend purchasing the means to satisfy their needs. The principles of the market, money, exchange, profit, and the like thus penetrate into the very inner fabric of capitalist society in a way that was simply not true for earlier forms of society. The key to the emergence of capitalism was something new: the creation of this radically dispossessed figure, the wage worker.

h/t to
Diogenes Borealis


Monopoly Capitalism in Cyberspace

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1 comment:

Mike said...

Ah yes, the "Vulgar Libertarians" the wonks at the CATO Institute.

Good post Eugene.