[Marxism] The transition to capitalism: is it in our genes?

Lajany Otum lajany_otum at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Aug 8 08:06:14 MDT 2007

Seemingly, according to Sayan, biology and genetics can be 
invoked to explain only those socio-historical processes which he
wants to use them to explain, in this case the rise of capitalism
in England; in other cases where Sayan finds the use of biology
and genetics objectionable or distasteful, eg explaining why
the British colonised India, we are told that biology and
genetics provide only a "tautology, not an explanation."

Yet you (Sayan) write that the socio-biological screed you insist
on interpreting for the benefit of the list

"[is] nowhere ... ruling out similar explanations for feudalism,
stateless societies, etc, either. In fact, it's clear that he believes
there are likely to be such explanations."

So let me see if I've got this straight. Feudalism and stateless
societies are possibly in, but colonialism is definitely out, right?

Looks to me that you (Sayan) hoised yourself with your own
socio-biological petard. How are you going to get down?

Sayan Bhattacharyya writes
> In fact I've heard it said that there are genetic explanations
> that account for colonialism -- thus putting on a biological
> footing the historical fact that India was under the British
> boot for more than two centuries, since the social position
> of the coloniser and the colonised are both genetic outcomes,

This would not be an explanation, but a tautology.

> not socio-historical ones as the obtuse marxists whom Sayan
> is desperately trying to educate here would have it.

You're forgetting that I am a Marxist, myself.

> In the end this is why the marxists should stop complaining
> about imperialism and exploitation -- after all these are
> plausibly/largely/mostly biologically determined.

Where was/is  the determinism in Clark's hypothesis? This is a straw man.

I don't subscribe to Clark's  hypothesis myself. I am uneasy, however,
that a Marxist would want to dismiss it out of hand *because it is
counter to our wishes about what biology ought to be like*.  That
would  not Marxism, that would be religious dogma or fundamentalism.>>

Hang on!! Didn't Sayan just dismiss a socio-biological explanation for
the British colonisiation of India "out of hand"? Yet he goes on to accuse
people who actually gave lengthy reasoned arguments exposing the
socio-biological "explanations" for the rise of Britain as worthless, of
dismissing the same "out of hand".

It would be determinism if I said "entirely determined". Read what
I wrote: "plausibly/largely/mostly biologically determined" which
gives me enough wiggle room to say that there just may be social and
or environmental factors at work.

Sayan, isn't this sort of "plausible deniability" the basis your method:
forward a whole lot of shit to the list, but make sure that you give
yourself enough room to plausibly dissociate yourself from it post-haste,
once it is exposed for the right wing humbug it is?

Lajany Otum

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