General /socialism/capital

Ron Press anclondon at
Tue Mar 28 21:53:29 MST 1995

  Hi In reply to

  >>>>>> From: Scott Marshall <Scott at> 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
  this gene?

  Yet exploitation is very simple to understand. It what to do
  about it.

  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> 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
  into it.

  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
  back again?

  Sorry I get carried away but we need flights of fancy.

  Ron Press.

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