[Marxism] More mythologies of capitalism....

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sun Feb 8 12:22:56 MST 2004

Capitalism is based on the idea that individuals or individual companies
are reaping the rewards of having made some original new contribution to
the society and/or its economy.

Here's an older story that serves as a reminder of how things really
The evidence on the invention of the telephone eventually became so
overwhelming that the U.S. government itself (which awards patents,
etc.) acknowledged that it wasn't Alexander Graham Bell but Antonio
Meucci, a poor Italian immigrant.  Meucci tinkered with the electronic
transmission of voices by wire as early as the 1850s.  However, he
couldn't afford a patent, which cost $250--a half year's income or more
at the time. Meucci died in poverty in New York City in 1889, but not
before some of his work was passed to Bell by officers of Western Union,
the telegraph company.   The after-the-fact correction means nothing to
the long-dead Meucci, and I don't think Ma Bell is changing its name. 

Certainly, we understand that all these inventions and innovations the
result of a social process--which simply does not justify an unlimited
individual proprietorship.  More than that, the assignment of that
proprietorship is always up for sale and usually goes to those with the
most backing.  

The more one looks at these things, the more one realizes how
questionable personal invention and legal proprietorship is.  The
socialist tailor Wilhelm Weitling was one of the losers in a series of
lawsuits over the invention of the sewing machine--Mr. Singer won.
Processes of vulcanizing rubber were equally contested, with Charles
Goodyear winning over, among others.  The list could go on until we get
to Bill Gates and our contemporaries.

The basic arguments for capitalism are flawed, riddled with
contradictions and inconsistencies.

Mark L.

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