anclondon at gn.apc.org
Tue Mar 28 21:53:29 MST 1995
Hi In reply to
>>>>>> From: Scott Marshall <Scott at rednet.org> Abandonment and
transformation into.... Was it really that simple? Is it really
all we can learn? It strikes me that we are not anywhere near a
full understanding of either the strengths (that many here don't
want to acknowledge under any circumstances) nor the weaknesses
of the Soviet experience. That such a complex and multifaceted
struggle to try and build socialism can be so glibly summarized
and dismissed is to me one of the main obstacles to learning
anything from that experience.
I agree entirely. Thank you for adding to my shorthand.
I was merely pointing out a particular aspect of how change
occurs. I feel most strongly that marxism will become like
religion. A constant dissection of the texts and repetition of
past mistakes unless we take into account revolutionary new
theories like non-linear mathematics, emergence, chaos, strange
Attractors, fractal geometry and so on. Especially when the
capitalist theoreticians are beginning to use it against us.
I also agree that the real world is very complex. However
sometimes it is essential to try to explained it in simple
It does not take a 3 year degree in philosophy, and a further
one in economics for a worker to understand that he/she is
exploited. It is really very simple. I have discussed this with
African peasants who cannot read or write. They know it well.
Much better than me. Not only with their logic but with their
souls. However I agree with the general discussions on the list
that exploitation is a very complex matter.
I can fix an exchange value for a hamburger relatively easily.
But what of the scull of Ingaloba which is 130,000 old or a
letter from Michael Jackson which is only 10 years old. What of
intellectual property. They are seeking to patent the discovery
of human genes. How much will it cost me when I am ill due to
Yet exploitation is very simple to understand. It what to do
We each of us survey the world from the top of our own personal
dunghill. Naturally the view is different. My problem is with
those who steal dunghills.
From: Chris Burford <cburford at gn.apc.org> As you know I am very
interested in looking at marxism again from the point of view of
dynamical systems theory, but "The Arrow of Time" - I can't get
I use the idea of the arrow of time because I am loth to think
of progress being in the same direction as the passage of time.
In theoretical physics, especially in quantum mechanics and
fundamental (another misnomer) particles, time is reversible. In
the higher (more complex?) sciences time is taken as moving at a
constant speed in one direction and not stopping. But then again
time does not necessarily pass at a constant rate? Certainly not
psychologically, or politically. Even in physics time is defined
in terms of oscillations of atomic particles, which is assumed
to be constant. The old circularity reigns.
>>>>>>>>>>>> are you quietly suggesting a capitalist road to
I have recently begun to think of society in terms of a
multi-dimensional matrix. The dimensions would be things such as
food consumption, educational level, life expectancy, energy
consumption, leisure time, housing, ....... many millions of
To simplify. One dimension would be wages mapped against the
percentage of population getting that wage. A point in this
multi-dimensional space would be close to capitalism where the
graph was highly skewed, a point nearer to socialism would be
much flatter and in communism would be irrelevant.
In such a (rather vague) picture there are no points which can
describe capitalism, socialism, or communism. Society gravitates
to a region in which the characteristics which are broadly
define capitalism are prevalent. In this region are also present
in minor measure characteristics which could be called
socialism, and even communism. ( After all there is no pure
capitalist or socialist society all are mixtures of different
sorts). "Capitalism" is where we are now.
I see society moving to a different region where socialist
characteristics will predominate, and perhaps later where
communist ones will be more general. Clearly there will be
"revolutions" marking out the various stages. ( I wonder if the
future revolutions will have the feel and look of the Russian
We used to think of a more linear picture. This point is
capitalism. Comes the revolution we are at the point called
Socialism. Next stop Communism
I think history has shown that the simple picture is more
complex. As with a strange attractor society moves about in the
multi-dimensional space. Yes it moves on from
capital-socialism-communism. But the picture is more complex.
There is the possibility that certain regions on the globe could
go from feudalism to socialism ( That was the theory not so long
ago that certain countries would bypass the capitalist road)
Certainly some countries have gone from tribalism to capitalism
with no intermediate steps. ( Was it Borneo or Sumatra?)
But to answer simply. No I do not think that a country could go
from capitalism straight to communism. But then again we thought
that a country could not go from socialism to capitalism. And
Sorry I get carried away but we need flights of fancy.
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