Laws of Capital – No. 1
by Wes Man on Monday, April 25, 2011 at 8:09pm ·
Capital is used to invest money with value. Capital is created only 4 ways:
3. Mining and Resource Extraction
4. Manufacture and Human Labor
That’s it. There are no other ways to generate Capital.
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Laws of Capital No. 2 – Violence
by Wes Man on Friday, April 29, 2011 at 6:12pm ·
“Hatred felt long enough and deeply enough no longer feels like hatred. It feels like economics…”
– Derrick Jensen
“Capitalism is a zero sum game. Less for you means more for me.” – Michael Parenti
Because I am curious about all things economic, I took time to listen to Richard Wolff’s course on Marxist Economics:
Marxian Class Analysis Theory and Practice
The main idea I took away from these 7 hours of lectures was the warped and psychotic nature of Ricardo’s Labor Theory of Value which lies at the heart of the Capitalist philosophy.
It basically goes like this:
You work 8 hours.You produce $X value in dollars.
Your boss, your company, “the man” or what ever, takes or appropriates half or more of that value which you produce every day.
That is, your value, your work and the majority of your very own life effort goes to the benefit someone else.
This is the central experience of the capitalist world. Work produces value, and this value should rightly be considered the property of the worker who produced it. But, a substantial part of that value is removed (stolen) from the worker every day. When you get right down to it, this is violence and theft and it lies as the foundational experience of life in the modern Capitalist world. The whole capitalist economic ”system’ basically robs or appropriates a large part of labor value from weaker workers and rewards extra capital value to those people who didn’t produce the capital.
No wonder so many people hate their jobs. It is like going to work and getting mugged every day for the rest of your life. It really is no wonder people go crazy or have trouble coping when they realize this and begin to feel the unfairness of real loss of their own value every day. I could never be a good Capitalist, because I abhor and feel physically repulsed by practicing, or even simply accepting the violence and unfairness of such a human relationship.
And the most infuriating thing is that so many people accept these conditions as simply “the way things are.”
These people may argue that The Labor Theory of Value is the cost of doing business for humanity. But when ‘doing business’ is systematically based on inequality, theft, damage of the environment, and misappropriation of capital, and
when the primary system sustaining humans in the 21st century is built on violence and unequal distribution, then it is time to start asking serious questions about what is going on and how to change the current human experience on planet earth in constructive and universally beneficial ways.
Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party. But I did hang out with some very lovely and brilliant Communist girls in China 2003-2008.
“Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.”
—Derrick Jensen, from the Premises of Endgame
Laws of Capital No. 3 – Alternative Measurements of Capital
by Wes Man on Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 8:04pm ·
There are other ways to evaluate capital and what wealth represents.
Social capital is the totality of human relationships that sustain life and make it rich. On the physical level social capital comprises the life-sustaining relationships whereby we provide each other food, shelter, and clothing, as well as care for the young, old, and infirm. Less tangibly, it includes such wealth as community, friendships, fun, teaching, and a sense of belonging. Together these constitute a cultural inheritance, a treasure passed on from generation to generation in the form of learned skills, customs, and human connections.
Cultural capital refers to the cumulative products of the human mind, including language, art, stories, music, and ideas.
Natural capital refers to mother earth herself: the earth’s minerals, land, soil, oceans, fresh water, genomes, and biota; everything, that is, that was not created by human beings. Natural capital is most frequently and enthusiastically converted to monetary capital whenever possible (See Laws of Capital No. 1). When some people look at a forest they see the glory of nature and the power and beauty of the living earth while other see only potential dollar bills. To think of the planet as consisting of “resources” already defines the world in terms of its usefulness to us, and sets us separate and apart in relation to it.
It is not only the physical and cultural “wild” that has been converted and sold off as property. We have done the same to the wild within ourselves: our imagination, creativity, attention span, playfulness, and spontaneity. The spiritual is “capital” because they are indeed productive assets and generators of wealth.
These ideas are paraphrased from The Ascent of Humanity, a great online book by Charles Eisenstein
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