Marxism and Capitalism: A Reply to Olivia

seymourblogger's picture
Submitted by seymourblogger on Mon, 2011-10-31 23:13

I originally wrote this in response to Olivia's post on Marxism. It got too long and had too much in it so I decided to turn it into a blog.

And you are talking about the masses and I am including university students in that same group. For Olivia.

Gone are the times when students held all night discussions about philosophy, politics, art, etc. Now they have their heads in their laptops and ipods. Communication not knowing.

Marx is not the Dominating Discourse anymore, but certainly it is included in it openly. Capitalism also. But as I have said here and elsewhere, what we are seeing is no longer capitalism, say as Rand conceptualized it, and not crony capitalism which is an anachronistic term, but speculative capital that has nothing to do with products, actual money, goods, commodities, consumer behavior, as it is simply numbers screening across a screen. (The 2008 bailout was only a transfer of numbers electronically. No Brinks trucks 100 miles long delivering the banknotes.)

DeLillo has it fictionalized in his Cosmopolis. He also fictionalizes how to destroy it, but the academics, the reviewers, the talk-talk people discuss it on the grounds of self-destructive behavior. "He loses all his billions in one day!"

NO. This is no more self-destructive than Rand's closing up shop on NBI. Did she lose millions in one day by closing its doors? Yes she did. Does anyone even look at her action that way? I don't think so. Although I used to think so before reading Baudrillard and rereading Fountainhead through Symbolic Exchange and Death, among other conceptual objects.

Rand deliberately did it to destroy Nathaniel Branden. It was her counter-gift. Nathaniel was then placed in the position of being forced to throw the gift back or suicide. He suicided. He would never again attain the prominence he had with NBI, or the future that went with it. Not unlike Dominique's calling the police over her "stolen"saphire ring after her night with Roark. She meant to psychologically destroy Wynand for giving up. And in the end Wynand destroyed the Banner, an act of suicide. Perfect. Too little too late. He could have kept on defending Roark and suicided that way.

Post modern thought is eating away at Marxism. This is primarily do to the work of Foucault. As Marx was the Dominating Discourse of his intellectual era and Sartre was the Dominating Discourse of philosphy and thinking underlying Marxism, Foucault knew he had to go up against Sartre. David and Goliath again, as Toynbee is wont to put it. A huge undertaking for him. Nietzsche was the rock on which he stood to do it.

In challenging and defeating Sartre, Foucault demolished the philosophical underpinnings of Marxism, the Hegelian dialectic and its progress towards idealism and the socialistic dream of equality. Without this basic structural foundation, intellectuals could no longer stand on anything but shifting sand when it came to Marxism.

The ones who still do you will find, do not include Foucault or post modernism in their thinking or teaching. In fact they ridicule post modernism as deconstruction as people here on this site do. Intellectuals fear post modern thinking and spin it into deconstruction, make fun of it, sound bite it, and reduce it to something vaguely intelligible to idiots.

They can't get rid of it though. It's here to stay. Marxism has been given a hit from which it cannot recover. It's only possible response is the counter-gift or suicide. It cannot respond with the counter-gift, anymore than the US can respond to 9-11 with the counter-gift, and so we are slowly suiciding as our economy swirls down the drain.


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Too bad.

seymourblogger's picture

A pity. For you.

LOL!

Olivia's picture

Your thinking is very muddled here

Coming from a person who has had their brain addled by post-modernism and who incessantly quotes Foucault, Baudrillard and the Hegelian Dialectic on an Objectivist site, that is just too rich. Honestly Janet, most of your ramblings don't even make sense by any standard of decent English.

Your thinking is very muddled here

seymourblogger's picture

and I don't know where to begin.

Because human nature and reality are not gone, but will inform human activities whether it is recognized or not.

This is a sentence that is sound bite gibberish. It seems to make sense but it does not. "The purple trees green furiously."

So which is it? Reality is being stolen as people embrace the roundness of earth? huh?
Cole Porter's advice: "Keep an ace up the hole."

Now you are being cute. I can be cute. But I don wanna.

Reality vs the roundness of earth

Newberry's picture

"So if we are now in discontinuous time moving into simulated time and Virtual Reality why should we think and write in a discourse that is now finished[?]"

Because human nature and reality are not gone, but will inform human activities whether it is recognized or not.

"Rand prefigures it in Atlas Shrugged. It's just full of Event after Event."

Lol, a plot...

" A planned career moving up the ladder doesn't work anymore. Everything has changed."

Cole Porter's advice: "Keep an ace up the hole."

"... but that won't flow either in simulated reality."

Is simulated reality your standard?

"Reality is being stolen from us all the time in homeopathic doses. This is what Baudrillard calls The Perfect Crime. So to sit here in front of screens and argue within the dialectic is just discussing the flat earth when the roundness of the world is being accepted."

So which is it? Reality is being stolen as people embrace the roundness of earth? huh?

At present it is the Dominating Discourse

seymourblogger's picture

in the US at any rate, but not among really interesting intellectuals of the post modern ilk.

The reason being that we are no longer living in linear, progressive, historical time, but a time speeded up and composed of Events that come from elsewhere. Think 9-11. So if we are now in discontinuous time moving into simulated time and Virtual Reality why should we think and write in a discourse that is now finished. It's not easy to get this into sound bites and I don't want to anyway.

Rand prefigures it in Atlas Shrugged. It's just full of Event after Event. Catastrophes, misfortune, Fountainhead is in linear time, but AS moves out of it fast. In flashbacks she goes back into it, but Dagny is in a time much more like ours. Whereas Dominique is still in unfolding time.

The consequences are that dialectical time no longer exists. The philosophy of Hegel is the philosophy that structures it, Thesis - antithesis - synthesis - new thesis moving steadily towards an ever receding utopian future. Idealism. Now we are in discontinuous time. A planned career moving up the ladder doesn't work anymore. Everything has changed.

Marxism rested on the rock of Hegelian dialectics so Marx just tottered down. Liberalism rests on the Hegelian rock of progress towards an ever increasing idealistic future. So now liberalism is also finished. The Christian right wishes a reactionary return to an earlier time of security and hard work and integrity, but that won't flow either in simulated reality.

So here we are. No one sees it but a very few. Reality is being stolen from us all the time in homeopathic doses. This is what Baudrillard calls The Perfect Crime. So to sit here in front of screens and argue within the dialectic is just discussing the flat earth when the roundness of the world is being accepted.

It's no use. But that doesn't mean despair. As Baudrillard says, the Symbolic Order of Seduction is immune to simulation. Seduction cannot be copied, reproduced, xeroxed. Celebrity women with plastic boobs, cleavage, plumped lips, plastic surgery are provocative, but they are not seductive. They are masquerading.

More?

dialectic interpretive psychological mode

Newberry's picture

J: "...pro and con, comparative, likenesses and differences..."
Yes? What is wrong with that?

"He's going to be an easy target for me I see."

Lol. Its easier when they don't reply back, no?

"Still...in the modern dialectic interpretive psychological mode."

Is that bad? Why?

I read him in the JARS vol 10 num 2

seymourblogger's picture

Gag. I had to read him fast as he was so pontificating and completely in the Dominating Discourse of philosophical criticism. all dialectic Hegelian, pro and con, comparative, likenesses and differences to the [oint of boring land. Here's what Adam Reed on Ron Merrill memoir had to say about Hicks' review of Merrill's book. And Merrill was so close to Foucault when he went into the archives that they must have touched souls.

Academic philosophers reviewed The Ideas of Ayn Rand (Merrill
1991) with the refined superciliousness reserved by academic
324 The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies Vol. 10, No. 2
professionals for the impudent. Stephen Hicks’ review in the Institute
for Objectivist Studies Journal (Hicks 1992) is typical, and its content can
be predicted from its title: “Big Game, Small Gun?” Ron Merrill’s
first major claim—that the young Rand’s philosophy changed when
Rand first experienced the inductive foundations of the trader
principle and of the principle of harmony of interests in practice, by
living and observing life in the United States—and the second, that....

While I don't agree with Merrill I don't disagree either. He is in a neurophysical discourse and I am not.

But he was almost there by a hair. It rhymes too.

He's going to be an easy target for me I see. Hicks that is. Still stuuck in the modern dialectic interpretive psychological mode. He needs new software.

"Unacceptable".. (for Dazzler)

gregster's picture

..to the contributor, and unacceptable for persons with similar understanding as the contributor, J Patillo.

"Why." Because he loves life on earth and doesn't want to see it more quickly extinguished.

J: "Hicks is crap..." Perhaps

Newberry's picture

J: "Hicks is crap..."

Perhaps I shouldn't have said you have interesting postmodern opinions.

Thanks

seymourblogger's picture

I try. I get bored easily. Am reading a PDF of Jars now on Rand and Nietzsche. Hicks is crap but Adam Reed is something else.

interesting

Newberry's picture

Janet, you have an interesting mind.

More have died in the name of Jesus

seymourblogger's picture

yes?

So you are a LaBovian over corrector

seymourblogger's picture

I woulda never gessed.

What utter bullshit you believe.

seymourblogger's picture

You really know nothing and spout all these sound bites from wherever. Whatever.

None of your reasons are good reasons against govt sponsored healthcare. The Foucaudian grid of power/knowledge/capital is your best defense against it.

Read Foucault's The Birth of the Clinic to understand the genealogy of medicine, physicians,patients,hospitals, clinics, and all the rest of it. Through the Dominating Discourses of the times. Foucault has done it for about 300 years in Europe. It will be far worse here.

I have medicare. I walk into my local clinic and they see dollar signs all over my body. You cannot imagine what they suggest to me. I cough the wrong way and they are suggesting that maybe I would do well on oxygen! Christ! And I can just see some stupid person coming in and taking them seriously and going along with it.

Someone like you whose head is full - stuffed - with sound bites.

Taking ideas and concepts to the end

seymourblogger's picture

Socialism leads to totalitarianism.

Capitalism leads to fascism.

Accept the reality of this and then start from here.

But meanwhile back at the ranch we are embroiled in more and more simulation of reality. This is the real threat. When complete we will be in Virtual Reality with no way out. No escape.

Zizek is pretty emphatic on this and convincing. He also supports Rand on capitalism.

personally I think crony is meaningless

seymourblogger's picture

And I would put it in the Foucauldian grid of power/knowledge/capitalism. Really, thinking genealogically is the only way to think. Try it. Read Nietzsche's The Genealogy of Morals. Rand's position on god is irrefutable there and also her position on altruism.

Yes, I think it's an anachronism. Sort of like putting leeches on your body to bleed you when ill.

darren's pretty hopeless

seymourblogger's picture

Don't bother replying to him seriously. Zapping him is OK tho.

Another clear example of why

darren's picture

Another clear example of why Darren is a knee-jerk anti-conceptualist. He argues for clarity elsewhere but dislikes the idea of defining what he advocates as a clear concept. He allows other people to define capitalism however they want to avoid giving credence to the idea of clear concepts because this leads to other problems for him.

Well, now, Jason-boy, them be fightin' words. Care to clarify where I have allowed other people to define capitalism however they want? Or would it be too much to ask that you put yer money where yer mouth is and provide some evidentiary support fer yer dumb statements?

Also -- just to be clear about it -- Binswanger is a fraud as a philosopher; another uncritical acolyte of Rand and mouthpiece for Objectivism. Yawn.

"A clear example of why

Jason Quintana's picture

"A clear example of why nobody takes Harry Binswanger seriously as a philosopher or scholar. He's a knee-jerk Utopian."

Another clear example of why Darren is a knee-jerk anti-conceptualist. He argues for clarity elsewhere but dislikes the idea of defining what he advocates as a clear concept. He allows other people to define capitalism however they want to avoid giving credence to the idea of clear concepts because this leads to other problems for him.

they suggest that there might

darren's picture

they suggest that there might be a better type of socialism or fascism that is not based on cronyism: an idealistic, or pure type of socialism or fascism. And that is an unacceptable implication."

"Unacceptable" to whom? "Unacceptable", why?

At minimum, “crony

darren's picture

At minimum, “crony capitalism” implies “one form of capitalism is bad.” But there are not forms of capitalism, there is just capitalism, and it is perfect."

A clear example of why nobody takes Harry Binswanger seriously as a philosopher or scholar. He's a knee-jerk Utopian.

There is no such thing as perfection in an economic system. There are only trade-offs.

I see today from a HBL contributor..

gregster's picture

..following the logic of the above;

"So I still think Yaron Brook's “cronyism” is the best term. As for “crony socialism” or “crony fascism,” they suggest that there might be a better type of socialism or fascism that is not based on cronyism: an idealistic, or pure type of socialism or fascism. And that is an unacceptable implication."

Janet

gregster's picture

I wildly thought you may have been on to something re. crony capitalism being an anachronism.

Harry Binswanger wrote six days ago;

"The term “crony capitalism” not only is illogical, it smears capitalism. It leads one to form an association between capitalism and immorality. Would you use the term “crony freedom”? But capitalism is freedom.

At minimum, “crony capitalism” implies “one form of capitalism is bad.” But there are not forms of capitalism, there is just capitalism, and it is perfect."

[ . . ]

"All in all, I think “crony statism” is the best. “Statism,” fortunately has come into vogue and its use should be reinforced. Also, there are different degrees of implementation of statism: welfare-statism is not as bad as full statism.

One final candidate: “crony government.” Not as philosophical, but it puts the blame where it belongs, concretely."

This funnels more money to

darren's picture

This funnels more money to the pharmaceuticals.

Government-provided healthcare has the exact opposite effect. New pharmaceuticals are a high-capital-expenditure, high-risk, labor-intensive, expertise-intensive, and time-intensive venture. Governments aren't interested in that and are unequipped to engage in it. The upshot is: no new pharmaceuticals or therapies will be provided; just endless recycling of old, "tried-and-true" ones. If and when those cease to work on someone's medical condition, he will have no recourse except (i) go to another country to try to obtain a new, more effective drug, or (ii) die.

Most new pharmaceuticals -- meaning, the design of innovative drug molecules -- currently come from the US. That will disappear if the US implements government-provided healthcare.

Don't give up your day job

darren's picture

I have to admit that your grasp of econ-101 is magnificent.

About as magnificent as your grasp of French-101: N'est-ce pas?

People who smoke will be

darren's picture

People who smoke will be forced to go to non-smoking classes (hooray this non smoker says) in order to keep qualifying for their third party payments. 

Cool. After all, cigarette smoking is a health risk, so why should the cost of treating lung cancer, emphysema, and COPD be socialized onto others in the general population who are non-smokers, given that smokers are clearly choosing to engage in high-risk behavior?  Of course, this would also apply to other kinds of voluntarily chosen, high-risk behavior: for example, male homosexuals are more sexually promiscuous than the rest of the population, and being with many sex partners is one of the leading causes of an increase in HIV infection. So if smokers are coerced into attending non-smoking classes ("Hooray this non smoker says") then gay men should be coerced into attending non-homosexuality classes ("hooray this heterosexual says"). If the state wishes to politicize one kind of voluntary behavior because it claims it's risky, it should politicize other kinds of voluntary behavior (such as the choice to be with many sex partners of one's own sex) for the same reasons.

Oh, wait. Gays have various pressure groups with clout in Washington, DC, and they are perceived as an unfairly "exploited minority", while cigarette smokers have no such protection and are not perceived as a "special interest" group. OK. Now I get it. So the upshot is: we politicize one kind of risky personal behavior (smoking) but do not politicize other kinds of risky behavior (promiscuous homosexuality). Sounds fair.

Obese people will be forced to go into weight loss programs. This will funnel money into those programs. 

By means of funneling money out of other choices consumers would have made. Ergo, there would be precisely zero net increase in wealth. It's merely changing the existing pattern of spending; it's merely government-mandated redistribution of wealth.

Weight loss instructors will have to get certified to get reimbursed by govt funds for leading these programs. This will funnel money into state certification programs. 

By means of funneling money out of other choices consumers would have made. Ergo, there would be precisely zero net increase in wealth. It's merely changing the existing pattern of spending; it's merely government-mandated redistribution of wealth.

All of this will boost employment in niches.

By means of reducing employment in other niches -- those niches where money was withdrawn by consumers in order to afford those mandatory classes. Ergo, there would be precisely zero net increase in employment; merely a redistribution of employment.

I have to admit that your grasp of econ-101 is magnificent.

Face to face is sexy

seymourblogger's picture

N'est pas?

I just googled Kocher

seymourblogger's picture

Health care, the hot bullet.

Think of health care within the Foucauldian grid of power/knowledge/capital. Yes, it offers medical treatment to people who cannot afford it. It also controls the type of treatment that funnels money govt money, to where govt wants it to be funneled. It determines what problems and medications are going to be researched. This funnels more money to the pharmaceuticals.

I was just starting to build a web of govt health care. Here's more. People who smoke will be forced to go to non-smoking classes (hooray this non smoker says) in order to keep qualifying for their third party payments. Obese people will be forced to go into weight loss programs. This will funnel money into those programs. Weight loss instructors will have to get certified to get reimbursed by govt funds for leading these programs. This will funnel money into state certification programs. All of this will boost employment in niches.

If employment is boosted in your niche then unemployment figures won't seem so drastic to you. If you commute by car and must go pass lots and lots of road and overpass construction that you don't even need, your eye will be fooled that there is a lot of unemployment because you will see all these people working and lolling about on the construction sites. So reading that unemployment is up when you see lots of construction every day belies it.

It's all Deterrencefolks. None of it is real. Welcome to simulated reality. Welcome to Atlas Shrugged.

What we have today is

darren's picture

What we have today is speculative capital which is unregulated and govt controlled capital which are driving small business and entrepreneurs our of their minds.


Corporate capital has gone worldwide, as Marx predicted, searching for ever cheaper labor and raw material. The scene has changed dramatically in the past decade and it seems to me that all of you are still stuck in the past where the world isn't anymore.


Thank you for that extremely profound and clear explanation.

On crony capitalism for gregster and darren

seymourblogger's picture

as an anachronistic term.

What we have today is speculative capital which is unregulated and govt controlled capital which are driving small business and entrepreneurs our of their minds. Corporate capital has gone worldwide, as Marx predicted, searching for ever cheaper labor and raw material.

The scene has changed dramatically in the past decade and it seems to me that all of you are still stuck in the past where the world isn't anymore.

Libertarianism.org has released this exclusive video from November 22, 1983 of F. A. Hayek discussing the evolution of morality and social norms, arguing that they result from unplanned, emergent processes. He contrasts this conclusion with other philosophical accounts of law and morality.

From a video by Hayek:

unplanned, emergent processes are Events, and this is what Foucault calls them. They do not come from linear, progressive, historical time, but emerge like volcanoes, typhoons, eruptions from a time that is discontinuous; that is, they come from elsewhere, unpredicted, unplanned, to astonish us. Like 9-11. And this is what we should be focussing on, not haranguing about capitalism fore and aft.

There's not much time, and while you are all busy doing your thing here, the world is busy doing its thing that has nothing to do with what you are occupying yourselves with.

But I see you can't see it. And I am wasting my time here. I had thought it would be a little more challenging than it has been so far.

@ seymour blogger

darren's picture

And additionally, assuming you make the case for the phrase "crony capitalism" being anachronistic, are you also suggesting that this is bad? Should we not use the term because it's anachronistic? Do you recommend an alternative term?

Anachronistic or not, "crony capitalism" is accurate.

Hey, out there, seymourblogger

gregster's picture

Can you expand upon this that you said; "crony capitalism which is an anachronistic term"

Have it your way

seymourblogger's picture

cutie pie.

Face to face is very

darren's picture

Face to face is very different from texting or internet cafes such as this.

And it's different from writing a long letter, sending a Western Union telegram, or conversing on the telephone. Do you have a point to make, Captain Obvious?

But bullshit still abides, eh?

You should know.

Face to face is very different

seymourblogger's picture

from texting or internet cafes such as this. But bullshit still abides, eh?

Who is this Bob? Do I have to be married? And if I were, would I tell you? Why do you want to know?

Did you go to Exeter, Haverford, etc or public school. Actually you have the manners of a public school boy. So I don't think you went to an exclusive private school for boys - and now girls too unfortunately. Let's not go there, OK?

I disagree it's much easier to bull shit people on line than to their face.

"reactionary"
"waxed sentimental"
"More government involvement"

same old same old tired rhetoric and sound bites.

Many thanks

darren's picture

The writer you're referring to Darren is Robert Kocher.

Exactly right. Thanks for correcting me.

Wrong Bob

Olivia's picture

You wouldn't be married to Bob Kolker, would you?

The writer you're referring to Darren is Robert Kocher.

Gone are the times when

darren's picture

Gone are the times when students held all night discussions about philosophy, politics, art, etc. Now they have their heads in their laptops and iPods.

That's a riot. The students have their heads in their laptops as they post to millions of blog sites on philosophy, politics, art, etc.

Pretty much what you're doing right now posting to SOLO.

It's always the sign of a true reactionary when he or she waxes sentimentally on the Internet about the good old days before the Internet: "If only students still got together in groups of 3 or 4 in someone's dorm room, smoked endless cigarettes, cracked open a bottle of Mateus, and bullshitted each other about philosophy, politics, art, etc., instead of doing what they do today: get together on the Internet in groups of thousands or tens of thousands on blogs and message boards to discuss philosophy, politics, art, etc., and even do some research by surfing and linking to other sites, making it just a wee bit harder to bullshit one another. (Sigh) I miss the old days."

We had someone on this board who waxed sentimental about the days when he received a good public school education -- "couldn't ask for better" was the way he described his own experience (how's that for an objective measure of educational quality?). Then he would go into a vituperative tirade against the entrenchment of Marxism in the school system, especially the public school system. His solution? More government involvement in the school system; the very thing that caused and aggravated the problem of entrenched Marxism in the first place.

You wouldn't be married to Bob Kolker, would you?

The rug has been pulled out

seymourblogger's picture

while they continue to rearrange the chairs on the Titanic.

"Yes, Marx's ghost is still

Leonid's picture

"Yes, Marx's ghost is still around."

Specters are wandering across Europe ( and the rest of the world), specters of communists and hundreds of millions of others, who had been killed by them.

87 people read this and only 1 commented

seymourblogger's picture

Why?

Post Modernism is not anti-capitalist

seymourblogger's picture

and that is just one error in your comment which is full of them.

Understand Rand: philosophy is important. YOur philosophy is important. If philosophy is no longer based on the Hegelian dialectic, then linear time, progressive utopias, and historical time are dashed on the rocks to fragment.

Yes, Marx's ghost is still around. Just as the ghost of Nietzsche's god is still around.

Have you read Foucault or are you just spouting sound-bites? It makes a difference you know.

Janet

Olivia's picture

Post modern thought is eating away at Marxism. This is primarily do to the work of Foucault.

Au contraire. Postmodern thought, with all its anti-enlightenment, anti-objectivity, anti-capitalist, anti-tradition analysis, all nicely bundled up under the umbrella of Critical Theory, has been the greatest tool in the cultural Marxist arsenal. Foucalt be damned - if he tried to slay Marxist ideology from the minds of academic intellectuals, he failed.

Look around the whole world at some of the 99 Percenters' shabby little signs - the push for their *governments* to redistribute the wealth is their greatest tenet.... that and an overarching complaint about being dominated by an exploitative, oppressive, bougeoise "ruling class" (corporates/producers/business owners).

Also Janet, America has a black Marxist President in office right now, democratically elected by the American people, for the American people. Please stop trying to tell us that Marxism is finished just because you have some idea of the narcissism of small difference between post-modern European philosophers. Marxism is, in fact, just getting going all over again, with the wonderful benefit of millions of Westerners not even knowing it's Marxism they are championing. They think it's, like, humaneness.. and totally caring for, like, awesome poor people and stuff.

Cultural Marxism has been so successful that even some so-called capitalists advertise their businesses with silly slogans like; "We're for people, not for profits" bullshit. Marxist anti-morality has permeated the greedy, shallow hearts and vacant, neurotic minds of Westerners (educated and uneducated) all over the globe. Capitalism has become a filthy, dirty, disgusting word. Oh my! Yes indeedy, Foucault and the post-modern philosophers really took Marxism down. Not.

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