rn> re: Globalization of what?


Richard Moore

Dear rn,

This thread seems to have aroused considerable interest. 
Several people have chimed in and their comments are all
presented below (in order received).

As an introduction, permit me to clarify things a bit by
offering a definition of 'capitalism'.

The core of capitalism is a certain kind of economic

    buying a share of an enterprise with the goal of 
    selling that share later at a higher price.
But that's only the beginning.  As investors accumulate
wealth through such transactions, that becomes their career.
 They seek always new opportuntities for still more wealth
accumulation -- by means of still more profitable investment
opportunities.  As such opportunties begin to diminish --
and they always do eventually -- then investors enter into
poltical activity in order to change the rules of the game. 
Hence an investment practice evolves into a certain kind of
elite political activism.

This has been the pattern wherever capitalism has taken

I think you may be able to fill in the dots in this picture...

In the end, what characterizes a 'capitalist society' is
domination by a wealthy elite who run things to their own
advantage.  Ultimately, capitalism is simply one form of
plutocracy -- rule by the wealthy.  It is different than
aristocracy, and by its very nature a more destructive
version of plutocracy than is aristocracy.


From: "Carolyn Ballard" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: re: Globalization of what?
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 11:24:09 -0400

Dear Jan/Rex:

      Responding quickly to a few of Rex's points....

    I believe that lazy language contributes to sloppy thinking
    & may have led us to accusing 'globalization' & 'capitalism'
    of crimes they have not committed.

As a writer by trade, I am hyper aware of the power of words
and their impact.  "Lazy language," therefore, is not an
idea that I embrace, support or practice.   I take the
choice and use of my words very seriously.

    Careful answering of the subject question might help.  If
    I'm not mistaken, 'globalization' only means to make
    (something) global.  Knowing what that 'something' is
    becomes crucial.

Precisely....and I believe that was the exact point I was

    It seems to me that what we are concerned with here is the
    globalization of GREED & EXPLOITATION.  And again,
    'capitalism' itself is not the problem; the problem is
    exploitation & greed!

It's rather ironic for me to encounter this "it's not
capitalism but greed" argument again.  It is one that my
'significant other' and I have from time to time.  And
again, I am amazed at how _effective_ the years of
capitalist propaganda have been that even intelligent minds
cannot see the obvious -- that greed and exploitation are
the very foundations of capitalism.  Individual
self-interest over the interest of the whole, competition
over cooperation, profits before people and the
commodification of life itself, unrestrained growth over
sustained development -- these are some of the most basic
premises of capitalism as we know it.  They evolved from the
underlying assumption of capitalism that human beings, by
nature, are acquisitive (greedy) and have only their
self-interest at heart.  Thus, the other evil that Rex
mentions -- exploitation -- naturally follows from that. 
But the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, and
proof abounds throughout the world:  Greed & exploitation
are the NATURE of capitalism.  Trying to defend capitalism
by saying that greed and exploitation are the real problems
is like saying that nuclear weapons aren't the problem; it's
the plutonium !!

    Another idea that pops up from time to time, the notion that
    we can win if we just get enough people on 'our side', I
    think misses the mark again.  NOBODY WINS UNLESS WE ALL WIN!
     What we need is honest dialogue between parties committed
    to finding win/win solutions, willing to be flexible & to
    hear each other out.

I never meant to imply an US vs THEM approach.....far from
it.  In fact, by forcing people to confront the "what" of
globalization (capitalism), an idea that they've at least
become somewhat confortable if confused about discussing, I
think we _are_ opening up a dialogue across _all_ factional
lines.  I believe this is the point that Richard et.al. have
made time and again:  getting the diverse activist
leaders/groups to see the connectivity of their causes --
the common enemy.  The enemy is not _people_.  It is a
foolish economic/political ideology.

    Of course, I could be wrong, but this is what my heart is
    telling me at the moment.

And I sincerely applaud this honest acknowledgement of
fallibility.....the sign of a wonderfully open mind !!   We
are, in fact, all susceptible to wrong thinking, ergo the
importance of an open mind to learning and discovering new
truths.  The closed minds, the minds that have been
brain-washed and propagandized for decades, are the great
obstacle that we must overcome, if we are to ever achieve a
true democratic renaissance. There are layers upon layers of
lies that must be peeled away, and this is no small task. 
The protest movement -- the "in your face" sort of activism
-- is part of that process.  Writing, I assert, is also part
of that process.  It is an integral educative process
involving many different methods.   Bringing the "what" of
globalization to the forefront in the public arena is, in my
opinion, a next crucial step in that process as well.
However, I confess that I could be wrong too, Rex, but that
was why I threw the question out there for thought and
discussion on the list.

So, I thank you for your thoughtful remarks from the heart! 
I certainly respect the courage of advancing one's ideas.  
However, like my significant other, you haven't convinced me
that capitalism can be made "good" ! [smile]

In peace,

Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 14:02:30 -0400
From: David Creighton <•••@••.•••>
Reply-To: •••@••.•••
X-Accept-Language: en
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: •••@••.•••
CC: lanigan <•••@••.•••>, Jan Slakov <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: rn: re: Globalization of what?

I went to school back before the neoliberal cultists all-but
eradicated Keyensian economics and one of the "truisms" of
that time (actually still is, just not party line) is that
"Capitalism tends towards monopoly." Anyone who has played
the board game of that name knows how that works; it's the
rationale for Rockefeller Sr's famous aphorism, "Competition
is a sin."

Sorry so brief, deadline today, more soon, cheers,
David Creighton

Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 11:33:33 -0700
From: frank scott <•••@••.•••>
X-Accept-Language: en
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: rn: re: Globalization of what?

The definition of capitalism, for those who really want to
understand it as well as be able to capsulize it in a word
or two ( almost impossible) can be found in three volumes by
Karl Marx...(Das Kapital)...failing that interest or 
available time on the part of the searcher (like me, having
only read excerpts), there is a publication called Monthly
Review, out of NY, that I find  offering the best analysis
of capitalism and the  modern world...

As to the greed part, it leads to confusion, since greed
doesn't really define capitalism, but is more a kind of
personal epithet...nevertheless, the emotional impact of the
word is  strong, and there certainly is an abundance of
greed within capitalism....however, we should be careful,
because many capitalists- and some even truly rotten
people-were  and are quite generous with their wealth...they
can afford to be, but how is a person greedy if he-she gives
money away and generally acts like a bleeding heart, at
least in public and with an abundant bank book?

Are those of us who don't give away money ( because we have
little) being greedy, if someone in our wage-salary bracket
does give money away, out of some sense of social or
religious responsibility that does not involve changing
society AT ALL, but does give to charity, etc??

This is part of the confusion that can happen around capital
and greed being linked...the accumulation of profit, which
is basic to capitalism, did not involved the invention of
greed, which even the bible (and that book got all its
concepts from pre-literate society) mentions, etc etc

if it helps a person to think that greed is bad and
capitalism is bad, it is understandable that the two are
linked...but I think it is a mistake to equate the two as
being essential, since they really aren't...

one is a social manifestation of  the development of
political economics, involving  much that we don't yet
understand, except that it is a force which is destroying
much of what we need to survive- the earth and  its people!-
and needs to be opposed/transformed/changed...by the other,
a personal sense of community and cooperation that can
hardly be greedy, but could be without greed and still screw
up the planet and its people...

Lastly,  a capitalist could be a nice, generous person and
an anti-capitalist could be a nasty, selfish creep...but
that wouldn't change the fact that the nice person and the
creep were part of a system that needed  radical
change...none of this may answer the question posed by the
poster who said the problem is greed, not capitalism, but I
hope it offers some additional thought...

and of course, the primary problem is capitalism, not greed!


Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 13:49:44 -0500
To: •••@••.•••
From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: rn: re: Globalization of what? II
Mime-Version: 1.0

I agree with Rex. However, taking the same task as Rex,
above in looking for win/win situations, for me the issue is
organizational: how do we frame durable institutional forms
that generate localism and inclusivity that would include
many parties?

For instance, instead of blaming 'capitalists' it is
actually a relation of consumption, organizational pressures
for widened economies of scale are connected with with a
great deal of aid in everyone's daily lives: depoliticized
and ambivalent consumption patterns support 'capitalists';
particular frameworks of finance; particular organization
and use of science; and the organization of an
unrepresentative state political feedback that sets this up
in the first place. Urban sprawl as well eats up landscape
and agricultural areas. I suppose a short blurb easy to
remember would be what would our economic consumption
patterns and our political consumption patterns (parties,
state feedback) look like, in a sustainable society?

It's an easy 'out' to take over Marxist narratives about
'what is wrong,' focus on economic reductionist perspectives
that localise 'blame' with one aspect of society,
manufacturing/extraction organizations. However, it's
painting ourselves into a tight corner: we miss out on
working toward sustainability if we only consider the
manufacturing side of economics important: because what we
are dealing with is a framework of consumption patterns that
maintain certain power relations, in a feedback
relationship.  Plus, as for state structural issues, there
are issue of political inclusion of various groups and
equality, because various state structures lead states to be
highly unrepresentative and to work against local democratic
consensus in preference of highly despatlized ideological
'left and right' issues,'

For me, the issues are how to gain some purchase on the
politics of highly unrepresentative states, how to frame a
more sustainable finance (when the present organization of
it is very degradative, to the environment as well as to
human locality and community; when our informal political
choices are so poor. Consumption. States. Finance. and
Science. Science? The power of applied science is being used
in certain directions that is unsustainable.

If we are concerned with the interactions between the
environment and social relationships, inequity issues, and
working towards sustainability, taking over 'blaming
capitalism' is only one part of the puzzle. Other parts like
state structures, the organization of education,
citizenship, and finance--i.e, what would sustainability
LOOK LIKE--leads to a more strategic sense of what to do.

Mark Whitaker
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Dear Mark,

I fear you fall into a trap similar to the 'greed' vs
'capitalism' false dichotomy.   Capitalism is _not simply
about methods of production. That was a reductionist theory
on the part of Marx, and has nothing to do with this current

Consider for example the US Constitution, which has
everything to do with our "state structures", "finance" and
just about everything else you've mentioned.  That
constitution was written, as Jerry Fresia elucidates in
"Toward an American Revolution", by an illegitimate wealthy
elite -- if not capitalists, then proto-capitalists.


Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 16:22:25 -0400
From: lanigan <•••@••.•••>
To: Renaissance Network <•••@••.•••>
Subject: What sort of capitalism?

The reason I don't see 'capitalism' itself as the culprit is
because I have a good friend who borrowed a fair hunk of
capital from me (at no interest & no pay-back schedule) so
he could stay in business as a small general store
owner/operator.  His employees often make more than he does.
 He is a capitalist, but he is not greedy!  He has no desire
to globalize!

I joined this list because I want to contribute to & support
effective ways to globalize a responsible, self-directed
citizenry. I suspect that most of us do (including Carolyn
Ballard).  But I don't see how we can change irresponsible,
greedy capitalists, if we don't "watch our language" & our
attitudes toward those who differ.  I don't see how a
head-on collision between two inflexible positions can
result in anything but catastrophe.  Meeting a fixed
position with another (like "capitalism is the problem!")
tends only to harden each stance.  I can't ask another to
consider changing if I am unwilling to change myself.

All capitalists are people.  All people have hearts.  Some
have built big thick walls around their hearts.  If we throw
rocks at them (because we have a wall around ours, too),
they are likely to make their walls thicker.  If we let them
know that our main concern is health & happiness for every
one (excluding no one, even formerly greedy capitalists) &
invite them to help us find a win/win solution for us all (&
all our progeny) in a sustainable world, I think we have a
much better chance.

"Capitalism", "communism", "growth" & "community" are all
words that cover such a wide range of possible behaviors,
they really do need modifiers, to avoid being confusingly

We are all one.  We share one sun. Working together is so
much more fun!

Rex Barger, Hamilton, Ontario


Dear Rex,

Neither you nor your friend, by virtue of that interest-free
loan, are capitalists.

If you had invested in his company for the _purpose of
selling your interest later at a profit, then to _that
extent _you would be a capitalist -- but not your friend.

I believe all of us on this list believe in win-win
solutions... and as Carolyn pointed out, we are aiming to
change a system, not make enemies of any particular people.

Nonetheless it is easy to be so pollyanic about 'win win'
that we are unable to change anything...

    > We are all one.  We share one sun. Working together is so
    much more fun!

Would this have been your response to Hitler in 1939?  This
is not such an absurd comparison as you might suppose...
check out "Rogue State - A Guide to the World's Only Superpower", 
William Blum's excellent new book.


Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
email: •••@••.••• 
CDR website & list archives: http://cyberjournal.org
content-searchable archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/
featured article: 

                A community will evolve only when
                the people control their means of communication.
                        -- Frantz Fanon

Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT 
include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits,
and notices - including this one.