Crisis of Capitalism


From DAVID HARVEY
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3 Comments

I really loved this. Very entertaining. I love David Harvey and am determined to make my way, eventually, through his classroom videos on Marx. OTOH, he, and just about every educated person I encounter are stuck in their thinking about how to make the current world system work. I can not be done. Any system of social coercion can not work for the long haul. Doesn’t matter if we are talking about priests, at the dawn of civilization, sending out armed folks to arrest or kill heretics, or about some President sending armies to fight Terrorism. It is all from the same ill made cloth. The basic problem of all educated analyst that I encounter is that they accept a priori that greater the scale the greater the capacity for good. The truth is exactly opposite. We less educated people have a better chance to understanding this than anyone exiting the Academy, because we see it in our lives. The smaller the scale, the more local control and autonomy the more we like it. Many of us are coming to understand the Always Low Prices con is making slaves of us, and we don’t like it. Increasing scale brings suffering.

Lots of people, like Gladwell in The Tipping Point, observe that social organization of groups larger than about two hundred people is pathological. Sorry, it is the way Evolution raised us.

herb

As you know, Herb, from a strictly intellectual point of view I’m a thorough anarchist and agree with your last paragraph. However, I’m also more and more certain that from an intellectual point of view, we don’t know shit. It seems we’re crashing into chaos and haven’t a clue how to avoid it or what will eventually emerge. You are also right that, like Voltaire, we should tend our gardens, enjoy the show from the back balcony, and let the political/economic/environment stew boil away – how’s that for mixing metaphors? We can’t do anything intellectually about it anyway, so why waste time? However, …

With a great deal of sincere respect I find that I am in total disagreement with the sentiments expressed above. I often find that the root cause of such disagreement is founded on suppositions about “human nature.” I remain, and even become more convinced with each passing month, bullish on we humans. Of course symmetrically, I become ever more contemptuous of what we have been taught to consider “civilization,” which just begins to look like a giant confidence trick. Not to say that I reject the concept of advanced cultures. Based on my current understanding I suspect that we would all be deliriously happy to have been living in Crete about three thousand years ago. Three thousand years is a lot of time to mess things up behind criminal schemes. What so distresses others in our current situation encourages me because I see the failing of a world wide criminal syndicate that deceptively clothes itself in the disguise they call “civilization.” Sorry.

Don’t worry, be happy.

herb

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