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

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Nov 29 2006 - 02:43:56 EST

I think Andrew Trigg has something to teach us here.

Regarding aim of the capitalist entrepreneur...it's the maintaining
and enlarging of a fund for luxury spending. The means for this is
the valorization of capital by means of the exploitation of wage
laborers (disguised and not). The capitalist does not expend his
gross receipts so as to maintain at the least his fund for luxury
consumption ad infinitum (or at the least for the duration of his
life and perhaps beyond that depending on the strength of his
intergenerational commitments which Schumpeter saw as dangerously
weakening as a result of the corrosive effects of feminism on the
ever more child-less bourgeois family) . The capitalist also not only
reproduces his capital investment; he capitalizes surplus value to
ensure that his up-to-date investments will return him not only the
funds for his present consumption of luxuries but a growing fund.

The capitalist  accumulates not out of Protestant ascetism but in
pursuit of the means by which to purchase the newer and more
expensive luxuries that have captured his imagination.

The capitalist is as much in the grip of imaginative fantasy (of
being able to afford new luxuries and pass on a patrimony) as he is
under 'mechanical' necessity to reinvest and capitalize surplus value.

All his spending--on luxuries today and in capital investments--is
motivated by the pursuit of luxury.

The all important relationship between capitalism and luxury seems to
have been ignored. Andrew Trigg is a great exception. There seems to
be little discussion of Sombart's book Capitalism and Luxury.

And, Andrew,  Grossman did not ignore this relationship. He
understood well that this is what gave meaning to the capitalist of
the accumulation of capital.

Also see the Jack Goody piece I referenced in recent discussion.


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