[OPE-L:4103] are capitalists human?

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 29 Jan 1997 20:04:23 -0800 (PST)

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Alejandro R wrote in [OPE-L:4099]:

> OK, capitalists have no GOOD ("human") feelings. Wolves
> (bankers) are certainly "anxious" to eat sheep (capitalist
> B).

No, this is too one-sided.

Do capitalists really have no "GOOD ('human') feelings"?

Do they not mourn the loss of loved ones? Have they no feeling for
their parents? Can they not love their spouse and their children? Must
they only be concerned with self-interest and have no concern for
community? Must _all_ capitalists have no concern for the oceans, the
forests, and other species? Can they not appreciate literature and the
arts? Are they not capable of intellectual development? Are they not
born? Do they not die? Do they not bleed? (I'm beginning to sound like

I think there is an archiotronic issue here. In _Capital_, capitalists are
indeed presented as humanless vulture-like personifications of capital.
This seems to me to be an appropriate simplifying assumption -- and
related to the assumption of rationality -- yet it is also a one-sided
presentation. It seems to me that when we examine the more concrete
actions of capitalists we must indeed make allowance for the ability of
individual capitalists to be motivated by more than one goal. Why?
Because this is part of the social reality that we want to comprehend in
thought. Even though competition forces most capitalists to act as
humanless as possible, if we are to be concerned with explaining
capitalist behavior more concretely we must allow for certain anomolies
that relate to the fact that capitalists are both capitalists and human.
A parallel question of subjectivity for workers is another topic of
concern (that perhaps Massimo, Mike W, and/or Mike L might want to talk

In solidarity, Jerry