Karl Marx born 200 years ago

Yesterday here (today still in Europe) is the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birthday.

Karl Marx 001.jpg

Marx in 1875

from Wikipedia:

Born in Trier (in West Germany near Luxembourg) to a middle-class family, Marx studied law and Hegelian philosophy. Due to his political publications, Marx became stateless and lived in exile in London, where he continued to develop his thought in collaboration with German thinker Friedrich Engels and publish his writings.

His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto, and the three-volume Das Kapital. His political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic and political history and his name has been used as an adjective, a noun and a school of social theory.

Marx’s theories about society, economics and politics—collectively understood as Marxism—hold that human societies develop through class struggle. In capitalism, this manifests itself in the conflict between the ruling classes (known as the bourgeoisie) that control the means of production and the working classes (known as the proletariat) that enable these means by selling their labour power in return for wages.

Marx’s prediction that capitalism would collapse and would be replaced by a new system of socialism has failed to happen so far.

Stuart Jeffries (Guardian): Two centuries on, Karl Marx feels more revolutionary than ever

The other day I stood at the grave of Karl Marx in Highgate cemetery in north London, wondering if he has anything say to us today, 200 years after his birth, on 5 May 1818. “Workers of all lands unite,” reads the tombstone. But they haven’t – the solidarity of the exploited, which Marx took to be necessary to end capitalism, scarcely exists.

“What the bourgeoisie produces, above all, are its own gravediggers,” he and Friedrich Engels wrote 170 years ago in The Communist Manifesto. “Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.” Not really: capitalism today is rampant.

In the kind of historical irony that the philosopher Hegel called the cunning of reason, capitalism has even co-opted its gravediggers to keep it alive: China, the world’s biggest socialist society (if only ostensibly) supplies capitalist enterprises with cheap labour that undercuts other workers around the world.

So is Marx finished? Not at all. For me, what makes Marx worth reading now is not his Panglossian prognoses, but his still resonant diagnoses. For instance, he and Engels foresaw how globalisation would work. “In place of the old wants,” they wrote, “satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes.”

That’s why Chinese workers make products we never conceived would exist, let alone that we would covet, and that would convert us into politically quiescent, borderline sociopathic, sleepwalking narcissists. That’s right – I’m talking about iPhones.

I find it hard to read the first few pages of The Communist Manifesto without thinking that I live in the world he and Engels described. “Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones.” We inhabit a world just like that, only more intensely than Marx and Engels dared imagine.

Marx didn’t foresee Facebook, but he grasped the essentials of Mark Zuckerberg’s business model, certainly better than American senators did at last month’s congressional hearings. “The bourgeoisie,” Marx and Engels wrote, beautifully, “has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self- interest, than callous ‘cash payment’. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation.”

Facebook, not to mention Amazon and Google, have made humans into exploitable assets. Which is some kind of genius.

Humans are not exploitable assets here at Your NZ, but stuff posted online could be.

But it’s what Marx wrote in Das Kapital in 1867 on commodity fetishism that, I think, is most painfully relevant to us today. By that term he meant how the ordinary things that workers produce – iPads, cars, even the spate of new books commemorating Marx’s 200th birthday – become, under capitalism, bewitchingly strange. Just as in some religions an object invested with supernatural powers becomes a fetish for those who worship it, so commodities under capitalism are accorded magical powers.

Until they become worthless.

In such a world it’s easy to collapse, as many of the Frankfurt School did, into the philosophical quietism that drove Marx nuts. “The philosophers,” he wrote in words also emblazoned on his tombstone, “have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.”

That remains the challenge. We need Marx to help us understand the state we’re in, though that is only a prelude to the bigger struggle, for which his writings are less helpful: namely, how to get out of it.

Change happens.

But revolutions, or major changes to basic systems and infrastructure of countries and the world, don’t generally happen. We have gradual evolution, with a few tweaks and hiccups here and there.

Do we need major change to or away from capitalism?

If so, can it be made to happen? Each of us can make small changes towards a socialist system, but history has shown that from communist countries and groups of countries to hippy style communes they collapse due to power struggles and freeloaders.

Or do we just chug away waiting for capitalism to collapse and try to make something new out of the mess?

 

94 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  May 6, 2018

    Marx=probably the most brilliant economist the world has ever…seen.

    • Gezza

       /  May 6, 2018

      I think that claim can only be entertained if some country can be shown to have followed his economic theories & permanently prospered.

      • Blazer

         /  May 6, 2018

        thats a hard bar for any economist to get over.Keynes is probably the only one,and he was thoroughly disccredited by the …Chicago school.

        • Gezza

           /  May 6, 2018

          Well, yes, I maybe set that bar too high but extraordinary claims require e traordi ary evidence & it’s not there.

          Can you point to one that temporarily prospered?

          The problem with economics is it’s not rocket science – as evidenced by all the crashing & burning of the various theories.

          • Gezza

             /  May 6, 2018

            😳 Oops, I notice an x and an n I was hoping for aren’t there either!

            • Blazer

               /  May 6, 2018

              @David…’Is that why all those Marxist countries end up open air prisons where the captives flee when given half a chance?’….
              Do you realise the U.S.A has the greatest incarceration rate of its citizens in the world?
              Are workers still in chains…ever heard of ..unions….!

          • Blazer

             /  May 6, 2018

            why is it an extraordinary claim?Marx is easily the most referred to and best known of any…economist.Was born 200years ago and responsible for pearls like…’Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains’.

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              Because if he was brilliant his economic theories would be widely practiced because they were self-evidently so successful.

            • David

               /  May 6, 2018

              ’Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains’

              He was wrong though wasn’t he? Those workers kept there chains, and often lost their lives as well. Marx was the most successful conman in history.

            • Blazer

               /  May 6, 2018

              @David,no he was not wrong…great strides have been made for orkers.
              @G…he is acknowleged for more than just philosophy…which I venture you and most conflate with…Communism.
              The reality is humans are communal people.
              Solitary isolation is the most cruel..punishment for man to endure.None of us is as smart as all of us’.
              Divide and rule relies on peddling individuality and entitlement.

            • David

               /  May 6, 2018

              “@David,no he was not wrong…great strides have been made for orkers.”

              Sure, but almost zero to do with Marx’s policy ideas. Every country that took that road ended up enslaving their own people.

              “The reality is humans are communal people.
              Solitary isolation is the most cruel..punishment for man to endure.None of us is as smart as all of us’.
              Divide and rule relies on peddling individuality and entitlement.”

              Is that why all those Marxist countries end up open air prisons where the captives flee when given half a chance?

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              Indeed, what Marx is saying IMHO is: The greater the solitary, narcissistic isolation, the greater the commodity fetishism … an insufficient salve for the personal and social wounds …

              Those Marxist countries Righties always ask about simply ARE NOT Marxist countries because they were forced … They didn’t evolve … They were Totalitarian regimes … something socialism can NEVER BE.

              The evolution towards an inevitable ‘Enterprise Socialism’ is still occurring.

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              *orcas.

            • Blazer

               /  May 6, 2018

              @G…yes I did mean ‘workers’.I rely on people with common sense realising that…and have now wasted a post pointing it…out.

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              Oh. Ok. 👍🏼

      • Trevors_Elbow

         /  May 6, 2018

        and no BOL can’t…..good question Gezza

        • Blazer

           /  May 6, 2018

          hey Trev…here’s your chance for a decent debate.Get off your elbow and let’s go…disprove my premise-‘Marx=probably the most brilliant economist the world has ever…seen’….what you..got?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  May 6, 2018

            What did he say that proved true?

            • Blazer

               /  May 6, 2018

              read Das Kapital…and report back Al.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  May 6, 2018

              No thanks. Your claim, your obligation.

            • Blazer

               /  May 6, 2018

              I do not have to prove anything…or educate lazy people with closed minds…Al.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  May 6, 2018

              Of course you don’t, but failure to justify your claim leaves you looking dumb.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              “Profit is unpaid wages” … ?

              “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.”

              “Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.”

              “The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”

              Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/karl_marx

              “The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.”

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  May 6, 2018

              Good effort, PZ. However, on reasonable investigation it’s hard to take any of them seriously, with the possible exception of the religious one – hardly an economic concept.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              That’s because Marx was a philosopher who saw the essence of human relationship as ‘material’ …. By rights, Righties ought to relate to that.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  May 6, 2018

              So Marx was a philosopher not an economist. I think that settles it for B then.

            • Blazer

               /  May 6, 2018

              @Al…’Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist.

              He was not one dimensional ,such a powerful intellect.Note- does not mention…Communist.

              You could be a scientis….t and a builder..Al.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              I’d like to add my “Piffle!!!” to your reply Alan … in support of Blazer’s …

              The atomization of things into pure, isolated ‘disciplines’ like economics – ie divorced from life – is precisely the mindset that sent children down the mines …

              I have coined a new term for such ‘economics’ – the Inhumanist School.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  May 6, 2018

              The only economic claims he has been quoted as making appear to have been completely incorrect. Claiming to be an economist doesn’t make you one.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              You call an accurate analysis of the basic tenets and flaws of capitalism and accurately predicting ‘globalisation’ in about 1850, plus a lot else besides “completely incorrect”?

              Watch the BBC video, it’s full of his accuracy and correctness …

          • Blazer

             /  May 6, 2018

            Trev seems to have …vanished…must be a Magicians Convention on today. 😉

            • Trevors_Elbow

               /  May 6, 2018

              A video? Do your own talking/writing sunshine…… Make it simple for all us non-believers and prove your case…. tick tick tick tick…

          • Trevors_Elbow

             /  May 6, 2018

            Blazer – It is for you to prove your positive that Marx is somehow the most brilliant economist ever seen. His brilliance at rhetoric is high, but in practical application abject failure.

            I need look no further than the following list to understand that Marx as the fountainhead of Communism and its feeble, but more deadly offspring State Socialism is an empty vessel:

            USSR
            East Germany
            Cuba
            Cambodia
            Venezuela
            1970’s Great Britain
            Whole swathes of Africa

            To name but a few. I rely on the evidence of failed states that ran to Marx’s dictum’s and the dictum’s of his direct descendants in Lenin and Mao plus all the failed experiments those two sponsored via the regimes they established…

            The experiment has good intent viz bettering the lot of the common, working man and tearing down class structures that reward hereditary wealth over talent & enterprise.

            But your problem Blazer is the noble sentiment is defeated not by entrenched privilege, but by common experience and the very thing you rail against most frequently namely Nepotism.

            Common experience leads many to see that effort reaps reward under the Western mixed model economy – risk begets reward, whether its the risk of chasing further education to achieve a better job or whether its the risk of opening a business and reaping the reward of profit gained by providing goods/services the market desires.

            While that truly normal human instinct to Nepotism has destroyed Communist and State Socialist states over and over, as the Dear Leaders of these states seek benefits for their family and supporters over the normal citizenry in contradiction to the dictates of their professed political ideology. Socialism/Communism begets the very crony business structures you loathe so much…

            The West is not perfect, and it features some very unhealthy Corporate excesses… but compared to Marx’s philosophy its benefits far out weigh the negatives…

            • Blazer

               /  May 6, 2018

              this is a quite telling endorsement of Marx’s brilliance…even the first 2 minutes may pique the interest of those who are put to sleep ,by the topic.

            • David

               /  May 6, 2018

              It must be comforting to know you have been tortured, staved, imprisoned or murdered in the name of such a brilliant man.

            • Blazer

               /  May 6, 2018

              I notice China is missing from your list!’And you draw a very long bow on Africa and the U.K.
              The premise is simply this-‘Marx=probably the most brilliant economist the world has ever…seen.’
              Video or otherwise,you must have some evidential source to bolster your argument.’
              Marx understood the relationship between labour and profit and basically predicted the huge inequalities that are apparent today.
              Laissez faire capitalism and the neo-classical school of economics has been well discredited by the GFC and the current protectionism Trump is implementing.
              The Capitalist pigeons are coming home to roost…just as Marx suggested.

            • David

               /  May 6, 2018

              “The premise is simply this-‘Marx=probably the most brilliant economist the world has ever…seen.’”

              Almost certainly wrong. John Forbes Nash, Jr would be, by some distance, the most brilliant economist.

              “Marx understood the relationship between labour and profit and basically predicted the huge inequalities that are apparent today.”

              He didn’t predict anything, he was commenting on what he saw.

              “The Capitalist pigeons are coming home to roost…just as Marx suggested.”

              He suggested this 200 years ago and we are still waiting….

            • Blazer

               /  May 6, 2018

              @David-‘He didn’t predict anything, he was commenting on what he saw.’he died in 1883 ,so he was most definately predicting….!Hindsight is no good to anyone.
              ‘He suggested this 200 years ago and we are still waiting….’..the deficiences in Capitalism are recorded and accepted…depressions,recessions,inequality,inflation,deflation…and I am surprised you didn’t notice the GFC or what has followed on from it.You may not have to wait,much longer.

              John Forbes Nash, Jr would be, by some distance, the most brilliant economist.’…you would be possibly the only one to think this.
              Forbes was a celebrated mathmatician who did win a Nobel in Economics.
              What practical economic theories of his can you offer to back up your contention?

            • David

               /  May 6, 2018

              “you would be possibly the only one to think this.”

              I most certainly would not be.

              “What practical economic theories of his can you offer to back up your contention?”

              Hang on, that wasn’t the premise. You asked who the most brilliant economist was, now you are asking for practical economic theories?

              Under the new rules, Adam Smith wins hands down, with maybe Ricardo in second place. Given Marx never came up with a single practical economic theory, he is a major loser.

            • Blazer

               /  May 6, 2018

              @David-you are tying yourself in knots now.
              ‘I most certainly would not be.’…who else thinks this?..your wife!
              I did not ask who was the most brilliant economist.I made this statement –
              ‘Marx=probably the most brilliant economist the world has ever…seen.’
              Marx has had statues of his likeness made and many streets named after him,even a museum,and it wasn’t for …’best beard in show’!
              Adam Smith doesn’t!..unless they are …invisible.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              @David – “Almost certainly wrong. John Forbes Nash Jr would be, by some distance, the most brilliant economist.”

              Ah yes, John Forbes Nash Jr, the fellow that gave the ‘inhumanists’ their great mathematical justification, Game Theory …

              The perfect moat to dig around their “false conception of human nature” and physical sciences-based economic castle bastion … with its rational self-interest drawbridge …

              For the antidote read: ‘Failed Economics: Tyranny of Mathematics and Enslaved by the Wrong Theory’

              https://evonomics.com/failed-economics-tyranny-of-mathematics-enslaved-wrong-theory/?utm_source=newsletter_campaign=organic

              “According to Smith, people have genuine concern for others in addition to themselves. They have a sense of right and wrong that leads to the establishment of norms enforced by punishment. They are interested in their reputation as much as their monetary income, and so on. Shakespeare would have felt comfortable with Smith’s conception of human nature. People still responded primarily to their local social environment, so the invisible hand metaphor remained apt, but their preferences couldn’t be collapsed into a single generic concept of self-interest.”

            • David

               /  May 6, 2018

              “Ah yes, John Forbes Nash Jr, the fellow that gave the ‘inhumanists’ their great mathematical justification, Game Theory ”

              Game Theory is not a justification for anything.

              “For the antidote read: ‘Failed Economics: Tyranny of Mathematics and Enslaved by the Wrong Theory’”

              Love an article on economics written by a biologist. Is your next link going to be an article on quantum physics written by a gender studies professor?

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              OMG …. HA!!! … LOL … Surely you jest!?

              You have cited a MATHEMATICIAN who contributed soooo much to economics …

              If we were ethically rigorous and careful, economics would not be a separate discipline.

              It’s at very best a pseudo science, largely ruled by “predictable irrationality” and, in it’s Inhumanist form, quite dangerous.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              What next!? An article on ‘Social Good’ written by a banker …?

            • David

               /  May 6, 2018

              “You have cited a MATHEMATICIAN who contributed soooo much to economics …”

              Yes. You may not have noticed, but maths is quite a large part of economics. He also received a Nobel in economics, so there is a recognition he contributed a lot more to economics than perhaps you have. And as I pointed out, the premise was who was the most brilliant economist, not the one who contributed the ‘most’.

              “If we were ethically rigorous and careful, economics would not be a separate discipline.”

              If it was ethically rigorous and careful, it would be a branch of mathematics.

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              So, in relation to the question who is the most the brilliant economist the world has ever known, have we got anywhere yet with agreeing on the criteria against which the contenders are to be measured?

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              @David – “If it was ethically rigorous and careful, it would be a branch of mathematics.”

              Of course! That way the humanity that invented and utilize economics can be removed from it absolutely and entirely …

              And this is what orthodox capitalist economics aka “the Inhumanists” want, because then you can completely abdicate responsibility for what your fucking devilish, obscene, barbaric economics does to people …

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              So, that’s a “No”?

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              Have you read the Evonomics article Gezza?

              This is exactly the point of contention between the orthodox and new schools of economics …

              Inhumanity … or humanity …

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              I prefer to read history & bits n pieces about religion Parti. It tells me about human nature.

  2. chrism56

     /  May 6, 2018

    Marx spent his life being a financial leech of whoever he could get money from – his actions never matched his words – sound familiar?

    • Blazer

       /  May 6, 2018

      sounds like Ayn Rand,…or even Winston Churchill.

  3. Zedd

     /  May 6, 2018

    The idea of a ‘utopian society’ where all are equal & get a fair share.. sounds fine, but you only have to look at the story ‘Animal farm’ to know as long as there are ‘those in authority’ there will never be true ‘equality’ or fairness.. (some are ‘more equal than others’)
    ..just look at the biggest remnant of USSR, now Oligarch-led Russia !

    BUT it is something I like the idea of aspiring to..
    else; “Mind the Gap folks”, continues to echo

    “Viva la Revolucion” 😀

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  May 6, 2018

      Even on the bird table, some have to wait their turn. Mutt and Jeff, the mynahs, have had some unpleasant surprises when they think that their size entitles them to jump the queue.

      The idea that everyone can be equal doesn’t take human nature into account.

      • PartisanZ

         /  May 6, 2018

        The idea that socialism wants to ‘make’ everyone equal doesn’t take Marxist theory into account …

  4. PartisanZ

     /  May 6, 2018

    “Because the communist countries ‘CLAIMED’ Marx’s ideas as their inspiration …

    The GFC has brought Karl Marx back from the dead.

    It’s what he said about Capitalism that has relevance today.

    Capitalism would produce bigger and bigger crises until it collapsed …

    No-one’s ever had a bigger explanation for what’s happened than Karl Marx.

    It all begins with private property … Those who have it and those who don’t.

    Profit becomes the motivating factor … The need to generate profit … which leads to greater and greater crises …

    If it’s fundamentally flawed … That’s a really big problem …

    Marx was fully aware capitalism was the most productive and dynamic system ever …

    It is difficult to understate the horror of industrialization. “Dark Satanic Mills”.

    Fundamentally flawed … but not stupid …. endlessly adaptable … The answer: The Credit Card … Living on borrowed time … Sub-prime mortgages … Capitalism’s only ever as strong as its latest temporary fix …

    Marx had contempt for terrorists … for violent revolution …

    The only real utopia is to think that with some cosmetic changes things can go on indefinitely the way they are now …

    If capitalism doesn’t work for everyone … it doesn’t work at all.

    Things are not working the way they ought to …

    There’s no way around it … Capitalism is still here … But the last few years have left capitalism with plenty to prove …

    Awesome doco (again) Blazer … Thank you.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  May 6, 2018

      When miners were laid off in the Huntly mines in the 80s, some used their redundancy money to buy or pay off houses. Others had overseas holidays and frittered it away and are probably still renting.

      People I knew had their house bought by the government when it was proved to be in a subsidence area so was unsafe. They didn’t buy a new house (and the silly buggers would have been mortgage free if they had) but had holidays overseas and so on. They are now retired and renting when they could have been mortgage free.

      A friend gave his daughters their share of his estate when they were young, One blew it, one put it into a house. The other did, but then sold the house and bought a sports car.

      Unless we all live in concrete blocks of flats like those in Russia, how can anyone protectt people from their own silliness without penalising the less silly ?

      • PartisanZ

         /  May 6, 2018

        I suspect Blazer would call that “sleep talk” Miss Kitty …?

        So, what you’re saying is that private ownership, especially freehold, is ‘right’ or ‘good’ and renting is ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’?

        That people exercising their commodity fetishism on overseas trips or frittering is ‘bad’. They should be exercising it on buying property in the soil?

        Indeed, you seem to be saying there may be a case for ‘making’ them do so to “protect them from their own silliness”?

        If we had the history and population of England or Russia we’d have ‘projects’ or concrete blocks of flats just like they do … Indeed, the last 30-odd years – mysteriously coinciding with austere-welfare-neoliberalism – Rogerednomics and Ruthanasia – has seen a remarkable increase in the ‘Kiwi’ version of ‘projects’ … the wooden-and-fibrolite apartment block … and its low-rise cousin the ‘townhouse’ …

        This is unsurprizing. The first nearly 200 years of Aotearoa New Zealand’s colonial history has been a tale of “capitalist utopia” …

        “The only real utopia is to think that with some cosmetic changes things can go on indefinitely the way they are now …” – an ‘economist’ in Blazer’s doco

        • David

           /  May 6, 2018

          “‘Kiwi’ version of ‘projects’ … the wooden-and-fibrolite apartment block”

          Would you care to show us one of these wood and fibrolite apartment blocks?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  May 6, 2018

            Parti, please don’t try to put words in my mouth.It’s just stupid and does your argument harm.

            I am mortgage free. Yes, I have to pay rates and insurance, but these are a fraction of what rent would cost. To me it makes sense NOT to be paying several hundred $ a week to someone else, The people who spent the house money on holidays could have bought a house and saved for the holidays. As it is, they will be paying rent for the rest of their lives, which will be a real burden in retirement. Their choice. When I am old enough for Super, my outgoings will be much smaller than theirs – and I could, if I wanted to, sell the house, invest the money and rent a place somewhere on the interest.

            The thought of still paying rent, and trying to scrape by on what’s left in old age is unappealing to me.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 6, 2018

              If Blazer is the best person you can find to quote, you have a very poor argument.Sleep talk ? No, don’t tell me what it is, I am not interested.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              Miss Kitty … the very idea of “owning” land is foreign to the experience of probably 90+% of the world’s population …

              Hence NZ’s 1/4 acre Pavlova Paradise was/is little more than a “capitalist utopian dream” which was possible for a short time in strange and bizarre ‘colonial’ circumstances …

              In a future world more fair and just the percentage of the world’s population who wants to do so … which might be 90+ %??? … will have some form of ‘tenure’ over the land and/or home they occupy … but it’s unlikely to be mortgaged or freehold ‘ownership’ as we now know it …

              Can such fairness and justice be even imagined, let alone accomplished or delivered by the capitalist ‘private ownership’ model?

              Evidently not, for currently it’s outside the experience of 90+% of the world’s population …

              Sleep on Miss Kitty … rocked gently in the arms of capitalism’s fantasy …

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 7, 2018

              Weasel words. You won’t make me feel guilty for owning a house.

              Your insults suggest that you do not,

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              In a future world more fair and just the percentage of the world’s population who wants to do so … which might be 90+ %??? … will have some form of ‘tenure’ over the land and/or home they occupy … but it’s unlikely to be mortgaged or freehold ‘ownership’ as we now know it …

              I wouldn’t rule this out because I’ve read about about this sort of system in sci fi books and seen it in movies, & Star Trek communicators & hospital bed monitors proved things in Sci Fi eventually happen.

              But in lots of these stories the city or workd is run by so called wise elders who seem benign & sell their utopia but are unfortunately corrupt & you are allowed to live a carefree existence doing basically hedonistic or arty stuff because computers & machines do everything else but you get zapped out of existence at age 30 or 40 because they need to keep the population at optimum levels.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              Sleep on Gezza …

              These Sci-Fi fantasies are likewise extrapolations of contemporary corporate-political-capitalism and consequently the exploitation and dehumanization of today are simply exaggerated (for SFX) …

              You wait until the Western countries are utterly overrun by multitudes of refugees, asylum seekers and illegal economic migrants.

              Wait until the ‘landings’ are like a daily D-Day without all the munitions …

              We’ll have to work out and adopt new ways to ‘situate’ and house them – globally – involving new systems of long-term tenure to replace short-term capitalist tenant servitude that simply aids-and-abets speculation in the ethically abhorrent feudal institution of ‘property in the soil’ …

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              … a daily D-Day deluge …

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              I am awake Parti. You seem to be the one dreaming. Nothing wrong with that but the point that often comes thru in these scifi scenarios is that once human beings are reduced to just doing things the things that they like to do they become easy prey to manipulation & confusion by wonky philosophers & the correct behavioural policing system & aren’t actually very much use to the planet or the people who run it so they might as well be disposed of because otherwise they’re just a breeding nuisance.

              This is usually all happening in a post apocalyptic world, btw, where some evil powerful idiot like Trump started a global nuclear war with other warlords like Xi, Netanyahoo, Putin, Rouhani, & the earth is still recovering & only a very tiny few of the very rich & powerful survived & we are mostly all dumbed down clones of Ivanka & Jared. Except me & you.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              Naturally Gezza, me and you are exempt from such proletarian dumbing-down …

              In fact, precisely the opposite is happening. The former proletarian “masses” are becoming as well informed as any rich & powerful elitist via the very ‘productions’ of capitalism – and opiate of the masses – and these educated proles are tending inevitably in the direction of ‘Enterprise Socialism’ … as is every aspect of political-corporate-capitalism.

              Your Sci-Fi “once human beings are reduced to just doing the things that they like to do” scenario is, of course and quite obviously, both an extrapolation of and a warning from the orthodox capitalist system that produces the Sci-Fi dramas “for profit” … and we wouldn’t want to mess up that process, now would we?

              Because, to be reductionist about it, capitalism says without money – and indeed without profit – there can be no food …

              And yet there can.

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              What are the examples of the growing trend of people becoming better informed & increasing enterprise socialism? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Gaming?

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              Certainly the non-narcissistic ‘content’ on Facebook, like Sustainable Human, Wake Up World and Prince Ea is spreading the word of a new kind of ‘Enterprise Socialism’ or ‘Compassion Capitalism’ as never before …

              Twitter and Instagram will maybe keep the twits, twats & dicks preoccupied fighting in 40 characters or less while the world changes around them …?

              You want evidence? I’m amazed I have to provide any. How about our Labour-led government, putting the social responsibility back into a immoral “deregulated, ‘free market’ economy” …

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              You want evidence? I’m amazed I have to provide any. How about our Labour-led government, putting the social responsibility back into a immoral “deregulated, ‘free market’ economy”.

              I’m amazed you think that settles it. For a start it’s almost an accidental experiment. They’ve all had to tell porkies & shit on some of the people who voted for them. For another they actually have to prove they can even achieve sustainably achieve their grab bag of promises. Some of them are daft pork barrel crap. Alan & Sir Bob get the effing Winter Energy Payment & I don’t because I’m not a rich bludger like they are? And they have to get re-elected to have any show of even comng half-near achieving the kind of society they talk about. Talk is cheap. Well, it’s not by the time you start adding up the current & future excises & levies (#moretaxes).

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              @Gezza – “once human beings are reduced to just doing the things that they like to do they become easy prey to manipulation & confusion …”

              What an extraordinary thing to say! You’ve murdered Maslow! There he goes, walking out over the hill … with Abraham, Martin and John …

              Let’s rephrase, shall we?

              “Provided human beings are ‘elevated’ by continuing to do what they DON’T WANT TO DO they will NOT be easy prey to manipulation and confusion”

              It’s a fabulous capitalist message. It IS manipulation and confusion!

              I find it extraordinary beyond the ken of human comprehension that Righties equate people “doing what they want to do” with them “not working” … when even the Rightie ideal is to find or better still ‘create’ the work you most want to do …

              This is patently capitalism with its head a long way up its own arse!

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              @Gezza – “I’m amazed you think that settles it. For a start it’s almost an accidental experiment.”

              It’s no more accidental than the previous National government or any other … They all do exactly the same shit … They all get ‘elected’ and must be re-elected …

              What you refer to are flaws inherent in so-called ‘democracy’ itself, which Marx correctly described when he said, “Democracy is the road to socialism” …

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              It is most definitely “settled” …

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              It is most definitely “settled” …
              Bollocks it is. Still just a blip in history.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              This is a good point of mine though, isn’t it?

              ““Provided human beings are ‘elevated’ by continuing to do what they DON’T WANT TO DO they will NOT be easy prey to manipulation and confusion”

              You said it …

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 7, 2018

              I said nothing of the sort. It’s gibberish, One minute it’s a good point of YOURS (no, it isn’t) the next ‘You (I) said it.

              I wouldn’t say anything so ridiculous.

            • Gezza

               /  May 6, 2018

              ““Provided human beings are ‘elevated’ by continuing to do what they DON’T WANT TO DO they will NOT be easy prey to manipulation and confusion”

              Actually I don’t think that makes any sense. Are you sure that’s what you meant to say?

              Put more simply that is saying that humans elevated by doing what they don’t want to do won’t be easily manipulable. Well, if they don’t want to do it, why would that elevate them? And if it did elevate them why would would they not continue doing what they don’t want to do just for the elevation?

              You’ve lost me I’m afraid. Maybe if you defined what you mean by elevation? Then clarify the relationship between that, and experiencing it when doing things we don’t want to do. And then I’ll see if I can figure out the less susceptible to manipulation connection?

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 7, 2018

              That’s what YOU said paraphrased Gezza … You said –

              ” … once human beings are reduced to just doing the things that they like to do they become easy prey to manipulation & confusion …”

              In other words … human beings must be ‘elevated’ by doing things they don’t want to do … which makes them not easy prey …

            • Gezza

               /  May 7, 2018

              No, it’s not the same thing. I never tell you what you mean. If I’m not sure & I want to know I ask. I think this is a good policy which helps avoid confusion.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 7, 2018

              IMHO, “You said” is common parlance for “This is what I understand you said” …

              I understand you said. “Once human beings are REDUCED to just DOING WHAT THEY WANT to do, they become EASY PREY to manipulation and confusion” …

              So human beings are ‘reduced’ by doing what they want to do? How extraordinary …

              And if they get to do what they want to do they become ‘easy prey’ …

              Well I never …

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 8, 2018

              Your humble opinion is wrong.

              If what you understand aomeone to have said is totally different to what they did say, your comprehension skills are very poor.

            • Gezza

               /  May 8, 2018

              I was talking about scifi stories & movies PZ. Those which feature scenarios where people do only things which give them artistic pursuits & intellectual & in some cases hedonistic satisfaction, but not much else, because the state or some machine-driven organisation takes care of their every other need. Where spousal relationships are just temporary contracts. Where children don’t seem to exist. Where people think the purpose of their life is only to amuse themselves & others.

              There’s no stress. There’s no competition. There’s no physical or emotional want or need or conflict. If any arises then services are provided to soothe and remind unsettled citizens of this. They are told & they are convinced everything is benign & they are meeting their higher purpose. Nobody is allowed to disturb the harmony without being ‘helped’ to adjust. Their fellow citizens encourage them to do so & of course ultimately if they can’t settle themselves then they are by diverse means removed from disrupting their sector of this harmonious society and repaired.

              Nothing changes. There’s no need for changes. There’s no need for people to struggle or argue, or to continue looking for better or faster or cheaper or new. There’s nothing for anyone to complain about. They just fill their day doing what they like. It’s utopia. Everyone believes its finally the pinnacle of human existence. But it’s actually empty. Until someone blows it all apart because it’s not real & they feel strangled by it. There is no perfect harmonious society where nobody gets hurt & there’s no conflict.

              I’m just recounting someone’s dramatisations of other people’s visions for society & how that might work in practice. Like you do. But I know that’s all that I’m doing.

          • PartisanZ

             /  May 6, 2018

            Or concrete slab or however they are constructed David … Our post-1984 apartment blocks … some with apartments little larger than a double bedroom … almost ‘project-like’ …

            • David

               /  May 6, 2018

              “Our post-1984 apartment blocks … some with apartments little larger than a double bedroom … almost ‘project-like’ ”

              No they are not. The high rise apartments build in the ‘project’ style in the UK are very large, they were the cutting edge of progressivism.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              And that ‘progressivism’, reliant as it was infinitely preferable to what went before, because in their time, for their times, the ‘projects’ were a vast improvement on the decrepit, dehumanizing slum squalor meted-out by capitalist industrialization …

              Yet, to my knowledge, neither that “progressivism” nor Margaret Thatcher’s New Right Way, obtained those many millions of Britons sufficient to own even a ‘project’ apartment … let alone an estate of any kind …

              State provision and State subsidized rentals remain the best way of addressing the iniquities created by property in the soil …

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              Should read someit like …. “reliant as it was on many capitalist tendencies” … ‘Progressivism’ being basically a form of capitalism …

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 6, 2018

              Almost ‘project-like’ … Outputs are different … Outcomes, the same.

            • David

               /  May 7, 2018

              “And that ‘progressivism’, reliant as it was infinitely preferable to what went before, because in their time, for their times, the ‘projects’ were a vast improvement on the decrepit, dehumanizing slum squalor meted-out by capitalist industrialization …”

              Well, maybe, but the Luftwaffe had a hand in it too.

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 7, 2018

              Lest We Forget … eh David?

              From dehumanizing slum squalor to World War Two cannon fodder … and if you survive and multiply, you and your kids get a ‘project’ to live in …

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 8, 2018

              We don’t use the word project that way in NZ. That is an Americanism. Project here has a totally different meaning.

              I would like to know where there are apartments the size of double bedrooms except, possibly, ones that are not meant for anyone to live in permanently and are like motels, little pieds a terre. How could a family live in a place the size of a bedroom ? Be realistic.

              It would be pointless to have nothing but state housing. The same amount of money would be involved, all that would do would be to distribute it. There would be little incentive for hard work if the reward was a state house like those lived in by people who did nothing. Be realistic.

              I can’t believe that anyone who’s not an undergraduate in their first year talks as you do !

  5. PartisanZ

     /  May 6, 2018

    Socialism … meaning true socialism … is the natural quantum leap next ‘hypothesis’ in human socio-cultural-economic evolution …

    And all we see around us is pushing, pushing, pushing in that direction …

    Globalization …

    The global movement of goods, capital, labour and refugees will lead inevitably to the global regulation of these things … To some form of limited global governance …

    The present-day retraction back into quasi-Nationalism is merely a passing aberration, as oil will one day be perceived to be …

    It might take another ‘World War’ fought over resources and markets … millions more lives wasted …

    Or perhaps some elitist fuckwit will decide they’d sooner extinguish life on the planet than bow to the inevitable?

  6. Kitty Catkin

     /  May 7, 2018

    Parti, if you are going to put words in someone’s mouth, make sure that their actual words are not there on the page to show that you are ‘quoting’ something that that they have not said, or you will look a total fool