[lbo-talk] A Crisis of Neo-liberalism or a Crisis of Captialism?" by Christopher Carrico

Julio Huato juliohuato at gmail.com
Wed Dec 14 03:46:30 PST 2011

Wojtek wrote:

> A belief in the Idea is a form of religion and it it immune
> form empirical falsification. This is not a personal attack
> on Carroll and many many others who believe that
> Capitalism is a coherent system driven by its internal logic.
> Such a belief is a certain cognitive framework that seems
> quite popular. In different place it takes the form of
> neo-classical economic theory, and in different time it took
> the form of scholasticism or Platonic idealism. You cannot
> refute Platonism with facts because in this approach facts
> are considered irrelevant when they contradict ideas.

With all due respect, Woj, have you ever pondered the question of how "cognitive frameworks" get into our heads in the first place? Are you saying that our heads have the power to create something (a hidden order, internal logic, etc.) out of nothing (an order-less, sense-less world)? How did such power -- which defies the first law of thermodynamics -- get to exist then?

You can say terrible things about Marxists, but whatever you may make out of it Marxists do have a compelling answer to this question: Mental structures reflect (how adequately, how distortedly, etc. is another issue) the structures of the physical (and social) world. And they do so because the mental structures themselves (call them "ideas") reside or are emerging properties of evolving physical structures (our brains, our books, our cultural products, our wealth altogether). It was the evolution of structures of the physical world in accordance to their own -- well -- "logic" that led to this type of phenomena.

Marx is not Hegel. The coherence that Marxists attribute to capitalism (as well as the incoherence that Marxists attribute to it) are reflections of the actual coherence (and incoherence!) of actually existing capitalist societies. (I assume that you don't object to the use of the world "capitalism," since you used it yourself.) That coherence (as well as incoherence) was discovered and the discovery has been confirmed repeatedly. People don't have to always start from scratch, however contingent our existing knowledge may be. What appears now as a premise was the conclusion of a prior investigation. And how can you present any conclusion if not as a deductive logical structure?

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