Productive labor and the Duhem-Quine Thesis (fwd)

Ron Press anclondon at
Wed Jan 4 14:15:26 MST 1995


In order to remain sane and to feel that one has some control or influence people  look to issues which bug them.

Workers very often complain bitterly of a particular foreman. If only he could be removed everything would be all right. They may even go on strike about it and get him removed only to find out later that things are still not OK.

The problem is that as one grows older and wiser with more experience there are as many answers to life's problems as there are people. One comes to the conclusion that life is so complex that there is nothing that can be done to improve  matters. Another that things are so bad that the only thing to do is to blow it all up. Yet others it seems try to find solutions in rational thought.

It seems to me that of these many strands there are many ways forward. For some to seek for democracy is the Nirvana. In South Africa we have then reached it. Alas not. For others it was to get rid of all the capitalists. The USSR showed it was not.

What is becoming generally accepted is that the present system called Free enterprise, the free market, the right to make profit, call it what you will is not working for the vast majority of humankind.

The greens, the women's movement, humanists, liberation theologist, the world wild life enthusiasts, trade unionists, civil rights groups,... all realise in their bones that there is something wrong in the direction society is going.

There is clearly a difference between the fight for democracy, and the fight against exploitation. But they have much in common. They both seek a fairer distribution  of wealth. The one material things, the other intellectual contributions.

To come back to my original point.

Years ago a single scientist could work at the cutting edge of science. Today only teams of scientists can begin to tackle even lower rank tasks.

Large corporations are finding that size itself is becoming a disadvantage. A distributed management system is safer and more productive.

It seems to me that only when groups of people can confront their immediate problems that those problems can be solved. There are may examples in Latin America, in the so called black economy, in housing and welfare. No central government can hope even to catalogue let alone solve the infinite problems which face people.

The same goes for Marxist, socialists, anarchists, and dare I say any individual.
To many of the questions raised in the forum there is no ANSWER. There is only a generalised route map.

People are learning that the present sorts of governments which most of us suffer under are not part of the solution of their problems but part of the problem.

Exploitation, the expropriation of the fruits of labour by the capitalist, is in fact safeguarded by the democratic governments we have. This is why the third world has an enormous debt. This is why the poor are still with us. ( In London people sleep in the streets, as I believe they do in America. It is of little comfort to the child with no shoes to be told by the man with many pairs of shoes that he is better off because his neighbour has no feet.)

There is no promised land. (Moses lead the people astray there as present history attests.)  But there is a better way to organise, distribute, and exchange material, spiritual, and intellectual property.

Surely we see, may be very slowly and with much pain, that this is being more generally accepted.

Sorry sometimes I get carried away.



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