[OPE-L] what is irrational in the functioning of capitalism?

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Fri Nov 24 2006 - 11:44:03 EST


Marxists talk about the "logic of capital". This implies straightaway that
there is such a thing as capitalist (commercial) rationality,
embodied/personified in at least the best bourgeois behaviour. But really
Marx is saying that capitalism contains numerous conflicting social logics
which are nevertheless mutually dependent on each other. They all have their
basis in the contradictions of the commodity form (the basic principle of
commercial trade), about which much has been said already, I won't go into
that here.

But the point is really this -  even if we note such things as masses of
people starving while there is enough to eat for all, this does not
necessarily make capitalism irrational. We can say at this point at most
that the pursuit of commercial rationality has undesirable results. A social
system becomes irrational only when its functioning becomes dysfunctional to
itself, i.e. it is in reality unable to reproduce itself anymore. Obviously
if people starve, this may in the given case make the system dysfunctional
to itself, insofar as it can no longer reproduce itself. But it may also be
the case, that the system continues to function quite well, even although
masses of people starve.


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