[lbo-talk] wealth is not a zero sum game

Charles Brown cb31450 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 13 04:48:39 PDT 2014

At a symbolic level, if there is no mass of poor people, rich people are not fully rich. To be rich is to have much more than most other people. In other words, being rich is not entirely having an absolute amount , but rather having a relative amount, relatively more than most. So, in that sense, wealth is all about things not being "win-win". There must be winners and mostly losers.

At the level of objective reality, we are in the monopoly capital phase of capitalism. The finance capitalists aim to own a certain dominant fraction of all wealth in the world, in my opinion. Also, one capitalist kills many other capitalists. The logic of the game "Monopoly" is the exact logic of the real world at the capitalist macro-economic level.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch32.htm "As soon as this process of transformation has sufficiently decomposed the old society from top to bottom, as soon as the labourers are turned into proletarians, their means of labour into capital, as soon as the capitalist mode of production stands on its own feet, then the further socialization of labour and further transformation of the land and other means of production into socially exploited and, therefore, common means of production, as well as the further expropriation of private proprietors, takes a new form. That which is now to be expropriated is no longer the labourer working for himself, but the capitalist exploiting many labourers. This expropriation is accomplished by the action of the immanent laws of capitalistic production itself, by the centralization of capital. One capitalist always kills many. Hand in hand with this centralization, or this expropriation of many capitalists by few, develop, on an ever-extending scale, the cooperative form of the labour process, the conscious technical application of science, the methodical cultivation of the soil, the transformation of the instruments of labour into instruments of labour only usable in common, the economizing of all means of production by their use as means of production of combined, socialized labour, the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world market, and with this, the international character of the capitalistic regime. Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows the revolt of the working class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself. The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labour at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated."

On Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 10:02 AM, charlie herbert <chasherb at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm mostly not very confident of my grasp of left criticism of the economy
> and yet am a long time subscriber here, happily gleaning what I can glean.
> I'm in a conversation right now where I'm being hit with "wealth is not a
> zero sum game." Because I had a superficial understanding of it at first I
> did a teeny bit of googling and found it is a major talking point with
> apologists all over.
> My point in the conversation is basically that our current system is
> incredibly exploitative both of natural resources and labor. They repeat
> the wealth is not a zero sum game. Is this just wrong, a red herring?? any
> pointers.
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