Verizon: union win

Dace edace at
Wed Aug 23 17:05:07 PDT 2000

From: "John Gulick"

> Ted sez:
> >As the capitalist economy continues disconnecting from reality (i.e.
> >production) in pursuit of the virtual production that serves to enhance
> >profit-making, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to competition from a
> >rational, social economy.
> I say:
>in the "here and now," who
> is the constituency for partially delinking with the larger capitalist
> economy ? What current social movements will the "social economy" be
> in ?

The constintuency for a social economy is socialists, anarchists, anti-globalists, environmentalists, human-scalers, etc. Anyone who's concerned that their personal survival is threatened by capitalism or who simply wants to reduce their participation in the system. It's people who belong to Co-op America or subscribe to a Community Supported Agriculture program or use an alternative currency, like Ithaca Hours. We're talking about a very large group of people.

>Assuming away all the other difficulties of establishing an island of
> ecological socialism in a sea of unecological capitalism, we can presume
> the bulk of the world's surplus value-producing population will not be
> in to the "social economy" at the outset.

Correct. Most people will join a social economy, like any other social movement, only when they think it will directly benefit them. When they get a better deal than what they receive in the labor and rental markets, they will join.

>Supposing that the "social economy"
> fends off ideological, political-economic, and military attack (from
> as well as without), and proves its inherent superiority in delivering
> happiness and ecological rationality, what happens when the surplus value-
> producers in the sea of capitalist madness become decisively swayed by the
> positive example ? Do they become victims of intensified class war and
> repression ?

As people become swayed by the example of the commons, they join it. As to the potential dangers, I think Gordon put it well: When the capitalists get depressed, the rest of us undergo a "depression." Hopefully, this would speed up the process of building up the alternative economy, as more and more people see their interests aligned with it.

> P.S. Is your line of argument influenced by Andre Gorz and Arran Gare ?

My chief influence regarding the creation of a social economy is Isidor Wallimann. I'm not familiar with Gare. As to Gorz, I agree with him that we should not be creating jobs providing services to people which they could do for themselves if they weren't so overworked. But how do you stop this trend? It's in the logic of capitalism to create more work (and more profit for capitalists), regardless of how much the workload is reduced by automation. Gorz is relying on the government to step in and pay people for doing personally fulfilling work rather than economically "useful" work. He's assuming that automation will continue rendering workers redundant. My view is that we should try to move away from automation and restore craft-based production. Technology can be used for labor-friendly purposes as well as capital-friendly purposes. Overall, a system that promotes useful, skilled work is more efficient than a system that automates (in order to de-skill and subjugate labor) and then produces loads of useless work on top of that. Such a system could out-compete the corporations and grow under its own power.


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