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my most unpopular (yet pretty basic) opinion: things that people blame capitalism for in the current era are facets of humankind that in fact vastly pre-date the rise of capitalism in society, an will require a far greater re-engineering effort, whose shape is possibly hidden from sight by strictly anti-capitalist stances

@mala This is something that has always worried me about anti-capitalism.

The problems are real but lie much deeper in the human psyche than just trade and finance.

@mala I feel a little similar about an obsessive focus on CO2 and climate change instead of broader environmental issues.

@natecull @mala But, also, trade pre-dates capitalism by hundreds of thousands of years. Like, there's evidence for trade pretty much as soon as homo sapiens enters the scene.

Also, to a lesser extent, finance, although that requires external memory devices in the form of writing.

@natecull @mala There are very useful critiques of capitalism in general and even more of the specific hell-form of financial capitalism currently ascendant.

But “money” goes back to the dawn of written history, and probably beyond.

@mala I absolutely agree. We need to understand what works in capitalism in order to find a better alternative.

@mala

Agree!

I follow a few anti capitalist people. I am anti capitalist myself. But damn, not every damn misery is caused by capitalism.

@mala To me part of this depends on what people mean when they use the word "capitalism". Does it mean an actual free market? Does it mean the crony corporatism we have now? Is it just a lazy synonym for "anything leftists dislike"?

For this reason, I basically try to avoid it altogether.

@mala hanging out in vt , a lot of people here are .. anti capitalist on accident .. basically they are poor but they figure shit out anyway, case in point there is a guy here who fixes everyone's cars for dirt cheap ,, how much does he make a year ? from what i've heard somewhere under 9k but he can also have a farm with animals because his friend lets him use there land and they let the animals stay there or something..
the future is cooperative or not

@mala he ends up gaining lots of social capital and people in this area genuinely try to help eachother out.. not all value is based on money

@mala maybe it is to blame for facilitating those facets of "humanity" (e.g. animal spirits of the market). If one is against the death penalty, one would blame the law that facilitates it.

@mala
Capitalism I think merely amplifies the least peaceful and most antisocial aspects of human behaviour. So it's less of a cause of the world's problems and more of an enabler

@mala

I usually prefer the positive framing ("democratic socialism" as opposed to "anti-capitalism") and think of it as "necessary but not sufficient" change -- we also need to broaden the appeal of a secular humanist value system along with it.

The great diversity of social and economic organizing forms, both today and through history, shows that we absolutely can organize a society that rejects the profit motive and cancerous growth. In that sense, anti-capitalism is absolutely necessary.

@eloquence @mala Absolutely, but my reading of Mala's toot was more like: people who are anti-capitalist are prone to framing other things they don't like as being caused by capitalism, when in fact they predated capitalism. And therefore if we write them off as "symptoms" and expect them to fade away after capitalism dies, we will simply have failed to deal with them.
Common examples: inequality, slavery, racism, sexism, gender-bigotry, etc.

@eloquence @mala I think you're right that a more secular-humanist outlook can help but I would be skeptical of expecting all cultures to express "humanism" the same way. If we expect that all people adopting secularism will end up thinking alike, that's a sort of colonialism waiting to happen. After all, many traditional cultures' governances in Europe and elsewhere are/have been secular in nature and still very unfair by e.g. modern Irish standards.

@cathal

Tolerance is a central value in secular humanism, but it also offers an alternative to religious dogma, and challenges dogma where it is used to justify the evils you mention ("inequality, slavery, racism, sexism, gender-bigotry, etc."). In that way it is distinct from secularism alone, which offers no alternative to dogma, and rarely challenges it.

In my view, a humanist socialism must walk the tightrope of embracing spiritual pluralism while challenging reactionary ideologies.

@cathal

Depending on the concrete example and context, I may agree that anti-capitalist rhetoric obscures important causes. That said, capitalism certainly is a _proximate_ cause and a _specific_ ideology in its own right -- and it's particularly the addiction to cancerous growth and the willingness to completely ignore externalities (like, say, the destruction of our planet) that can be directly identified in it.

We must be anti-capitalist to survive as a species (necessary, not sufficient).

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