Sunday, February 28, 2010

Results of a search: The Old Chestnut, "B for O"
[these are not my words!]
Capitalism presents itself, Marx said on more than one occasion, as an ‘immense accumulation of commodities’. [yeah most of 'em made in China] In a full-scale commodity producing economy, what comes to matter about each separate article is not so much its constellation of uses as its value as an item of exchange, its function as a ‘material depository’ (Marx again) of exchange value. The commodity’s value is generated from its shifting place in a complex, self-contained world of money equivalents. So that finally the usefulness of petroleum presents itself as merely the outward and accidental aspect of something more basic: the article’s price.

(JS): I'm not really so sure about the Marxism. I like the part about the immense pile or collection but I'm not quite so sure about the stuff from "material depository" on. This text sounds to me like it was written by some experts, though, does it not? The text's author or authors really sound like they know their stuff. It's from a website that is probably famous . I suppose the London Review of Books is famous?
I was searching "blood for oil" when I found it. I was interested in the old saw. Is the phrase still around? Figures like Bob Dole (I have books about him for some reason) or Romney, Mitt would surely disdain any serious consideration of the slogan. "Blood for Oil." What a scandalous thing to say. Where would such talk lead? To the truth, probably. Oooooops!!! Can't make any money there, now can we?

OK we know where the Google search leads.

the quoted material is a presentation of your basic Leftist type of stuff. Another such view is contained within the slogan "B 4 O," and these are just more views on our plate for consideration. After all, we are a society based on free enquiry. Free enquiry is related to freedom of speech. I do not see much point freely enquiring if you are not going to speak about it. Freedom of speech requires (you guessed this?)that Um----well, that we actually be that way. (Here we have both the scandalous Clintonian use of "is" as well as staunch refusal to follow spell-check and switch "enquiry" to "inquiry," but don't shoot me.)

I do not think the ideas in the quoted material are necessarily correct. What I do think to be correct, however, is the first part about "an immense accumulation of commodities." That is it. A huge pile of commodities. I would totally agree with this. After that, the view in the quote is wandering off into typical Marxist realms of speculation. I am more or less neutral on all this. What is a "full-scale commodity producing economy"? I don't know. What is an "economy", for that matter? Now so fast, Marxists!!

It is true that capitalism, as it now exists, requires this accumulated pile of commodities to be exchangeable, one against the other, but that is what I want changed. What I want to do is extract a portion out of the pool of commodities, and designate it for some particular use (has to do with the Third-world). Not exchangeable against itself but exchangeable against something in particular. A transfer system: from overy-developed to under-developed worlds. That, to is exchange. But a bit different. The particular commodities, which are extracted from the entire edifice of capitalistic production (or what I term the "capacity to produce"), are directed to one specific group and not another. What is different is that they are no longer "money equivalents." Now they have their own value. And as for price, it is taken out of the equation altogether. I want to give those commodities away --- free.

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