[OPE-L:8243] Re: the 'starting point'

From: Michael Eldred (artefact@t-online.de)
Date: Mon Dec 30 2002 - 06:56:13 EST

Cologne 30-Dec-2002

Re: [OPE-L:8233]

gerald_a_levy schrieb Mon, 23 Dec 2002 09:42:20 -0500:

> Re Michael E's [8229]:
> >  Value is a social relation, namely, an abstract  social
> > relation which is reified in money. (I keep harping on value being a
> > social relation first and foremost -- not a substance, not a magnitude.)
> I've been 'harping' on the same point for many years.

Good to know.

> > The movement of value as capital is the movement of capitalist society
> > itself  in its production, circulation, distribution and consumption.
> > Through value as a social relation, capitalist society itself is able to
> > be a certain kind of  totality with an "inner connection" ("innerer
> > Zusammenhang")  which mobilizes  all beings, both humans
> > and things. I call this structure of essence the
> >Gewinnst (roughly: the win), a concept not to be found in Marx.
> Value mobilizes _'all'_ beings and things?

Not value itself, but value in motion as capital, which corresponds to an
opening of the world to human understanding in such a way that it discloses
itself as a gathering of a multitude of opportunities for gain in the broadest

Yes, all beings, both humans and things. The incentive for gain motivates all
humans (not just capitalists, but _everybody_) and draws all regions of beings
into a calculus of gain. The exceptions show just how universal this
constellation of being as a way in which the world 'self-evidently' opens up
has become. The problem is how self-interest can be aligned with a society
"doing well" (_eu zaen_). Rampant corruption, for instance, furthers
self-interest but at the cost of destroying society as a way of "living well".

Consciously associated social decision-making and regulation, i.e. politics,
is just as open to self-interest and the struggle between self-interests as
the capitalist economic sphere, with which politics is intertwined.

> Which other writers refer to 'Gewinnst'  in a similar sense?

As far as I know, no other author has employed this old German word in a
philosophical context, let alone proposed the concept of 'Gewinnst' to signify
a constellation of being in the sense of an historical opening up of the world
to human understanding. The reason why this concept has not been thought
previously is that i) the dimension of world-opening itself has been hitherto
overlooked and ii) the insights into what capitalism is, i.e. its essence,
which Marx has provided us with have hitherto not been put into relation with
this dimension. The world always opens up in an historical way which
determines the way in which beings (both human and non-human beings) show up,
i.e. the way in which they are defined and present a look (_idea_, _eidos_) of
themselves to human understanding.

The prefix "Ge-" in "Gewinnst" signifies a gathering (e.g. as in Gesetz, which
signifies the gathering of all that which is posited, i.e. gesetzt, as lawful
regulation, i.e. law). Human being is essentially desirous, i.e. it directs
itself toward and sets its heart on (Greek: _epithymia_) what it lacks. The
essential lack in human being shapes and leaves its mark on human being's
relation to the world. The Gewinnst is the historical consummation of desirous
human being in which the world presents itself as the gathering of all that is
desirous and as offering opportunities for acquisition (_ktaesis_). According
to Plato (Book IV of the Politeia), human being itself (the _psychae_), i.e.
the relation of human being to being, in its major part is desirous and
acquisitive. Such desire is not merely gluttony and profligacy, but above all
_philochraematon_, i.e. the striving to acquire useful things, assets, wealth,
money. Today we call this self-interest. Human being is self-interested, i.e.
motivated, moved by self-interest and at the same time, on the other hand, it
is subject to inertia, i.e. it is habit-loving, complacent as long its
self-interest is satisfied. I call this the law of social inertia, i.e. the
tendency of social life to persist without change in its customs, habits,
routines and ruts unless disturbed by intervening forces. In capitalist
society, groundlessly shifting value is above all _the_ intervening force that
removes the ground beneath social habit, custom, tradition and routine, thus
forcing social change for both better and worse.

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_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Dr Michael Eldred -_-_-

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