dialog with Jeff Jewell re: “Capitalism, growth imperative, etc”


Richard Moore

Date: Fri, 04 Sep 1998
From: Jeff Jewell <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: cj#826.2/2> GRI/I.3 - "Capitalism: the growth imperative, the
finite Earth, and the monopoly endgame"

rkm wrote:
  > What is being described here is an autocratic global system based on the
 > absolute power of an elite oligarchy. It seems that the era of capitalism
> and of Enlightenment doctrine, based supposedly on the quest for political
> and economic liberty, is in fact to bring the world full circle back to
> elite tyranny.
> Ultimately the question of capital growth becomes a non-issue in such a
> world. The elite own the megacorps, the megacorps run the world, and growth
> can simply be defined as a non-goal. Stock markets can be eliminated,
> having served their purpose of concentrating wealth in a few hands. It will
> then be possible to run the economy within the bounds of a finite Earth,
 > but how much of that Earth will still be in viable condition is an open
  > question.

Dear Richard,


Back to your GRI, this is indeed an outstanding work combining profound insight
and analysis to paint a clear picture of the evolution of capitalist political
economy from feudalism to globalization.  Still, several comments on GRI/I.2
are forwarded for your consideration.

Firstly, you really bend over backwards to avoid the term CLASS.  Instead, you
adopt the fashionable more politically correct  and obfuscatory term ELITES --
while ascribing the common properties and behaviours of class to them.  If
you're determined to shun the term class [perhaps viewed as tainted by its
prominent role in marxist analysis], you might at least avoid using the
preferred euphemisms of the ruling classes.  [You may recall my earlier
proposal that activists should adopt new terminology to replace establishment
euphemisms -- in particular suggesting the term 'elitocracy' to refer to
existing ruling orders based on phony 'democracy' -- and 'elitocrats' rather
than elites to refer in a pejorative sense to the toadies who have been
willingly co-opted into operating the system in the interests of the

        rkm: I'm using "elite" to mean the same thing you mean by
        "oligarchy".  Since there's only one "class" that seems to be
        aware of itself, the concept of class isn't very useful.
        There's the elite oligarchy, and there's the rest of us.  Marxist
        terminology is of little interest, because most people are either
        unaware of it, or confused by long-term Western propaganda usages.
        Because of your comment, I think I'll start using the term
        "elite oligarchy", a bit of redundancy never hurt anyone.

        In terms of building a movement, I think class is a losing concept.
        We should emphasize that _all of us are the people, and there
        isn't really anybody who is benefitting from the current system.
        We'd _all be better off with a healthy world and an end to all
        this strife.  We should recruit layer after layer of society to
        the movement until there are just a few billionaires left, and
        then offer them plush jobs in the new regime, but not ones where
        they can cause mischief.

Secondly, a similar criticism attaches to the notion of controlling power
attributed to TNCs -- without any hint until the end of GRI/I.3 that the TNCs
are in fact controlled by the oligarchs.  Ruling class interests are well
served by obfuscations [while this is clearly not your intent] that divert
people's attention onto the puppets -- while concealing those who are pulling
the strings.  TNCs are merely financial instruments through which Big Money can
gain and control even greater wealth and power -- on a global scale.

        rkm: I am intentionally telling the story in spirals: first world
        power, then political power, and then the underlying principles.
        But you have a good point -- the elite oligarchy can be mentioned
        at the beginning.  My belief is that most people have a long way
        to come from the media-invented world to reality.  First they need
        to see _how things are working before they'll have any interest in
        explanations about _why it works that way.

Thirdly, I believe there is an overlooked but vital step in the implementation
of the single global empire -- specifically the dismantling of the nation
states.  Simple analysis shows that the interests of global finance would be
well served by the disintegration of the larger countries into smaller and more
impotent states; indeed, there is plenty of reason to anticipate the
re-emergence of city states as dominant political units.  And one should expect
the interests of money to be well understood and assiduously pursued by those
elitocrats who serve it.  As example, one should expect the fragmentation of
the larger countries such as Russia [the current crisis has them well on the
way], Canada [Quebec and the first nations people will eagerly serve as
catalysts to unwittingly serve the New World Order] -- and most likely even the
USA [once its wealth and military power have been elevated to serve as the
leadership of the NWO].  Even the tiny and long unified nation of Great Britain
seems to be having the devolution agenda thrust upon it by its globalist
neo-liberal leadership.

        rkm: Yes devolution is very much part of it.  Thanks for the
        reminder.  It'll go in Chapter 1.

Regarding GRI/I.3, capitalism's supposed 'growth imperative' is in my view an
exaggerated and mis-focused concept -- perhaps reflecting how capitalists would
prefer to see their lustful practices, or how they might like others to see
them.  To me the real driving force is the expansion of wealth and power  --
the two going hand in hand, but the latter being dominant.  Where growth is
possible, the goal of expanding wealth and power is of course not only well
served by growth -- but effectively this goal commands growth [otherwise others
may exploit the opportunity and capture the wealth and power for themselves].
This conjecture is consistent with your conclusion that, once the single global
empire would be a reality, there would be no opportunity to grow into new
territories -- and no risk that any wealth or power may be lost to any
competing interests.

        rkm: I think you're trying too hard to find a "single cause", a
single mechanistic paradigm.  In fact there's been a co-evolution of wealth
and power, and the meaning of wealth and power, as capitalism has evolved.
Notice that the players have changed, as power has shifted from Europe to
the USA.  And upstart players have arisen (Korea, Japan) who needed to be
knocked down a peg or two.  The oligarchy has their various networks of
power, capitalism is one of their tools, and it has a certain momentum of
its own.

        I stand by the importance of the growth imperative analysis,
especially as it leads to the _necessity of societal engineering, which
makes a science of the excercise of power.  And I think the metaphor of the
boat, with the elite at the helm and the growth-imperative as the wind is a
good model.  Ultimately, as you say, the helmsman is in control.

        "Power = wealth" & "wealth = growth" have been the paradigm of the
capitalist era.  The elite have been therefore addicted to "growth" for so
long that it will be traumatic for them to adopt the new formulas "power =
wealth", "wealth = ownership".  This turns them into conservative
aristocratic barons instead of dynamic entrepreneurs.  It's kind of a
forced retirement -- they have to tie up the familiar boat at the dock.  It
forces them back to their roots, to find out what's really important to
them, and you're right, it is ultimately power.

        Thanks for the dialog,


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