Re: [OPE] absinence theory

Date: Mon Oct 25 2010 - 16:14:38 EDT

> As for the necessity of a distinct set of 'quality goods' for the
> existence of capitalist relations of production; well yes this is the
> apologetics one would hear from the rentier class, while the industrial
> bourgeoisie that Adam Smith defended would think otherwise.

Hi Dave Z:
So, curiously, you are giving abstinence theory new life, but the idea
that industrial capitalists will only accumulate and will be
parsimonious with the purchase of means of consumption for themselves
is, for the most part, a historical fiction. While it is true that the
force of competition tends to make capitalists focus on accumulation (see
our recent discussion on the assumption by Marx that capitalists wear
'character masks'), how can you - from a materialist perspective - believe
that capitalists (industrial capitalists included) are not concerned with
individual consumption? This is not a matter of 'apologetics' - it is a
matter of recognizing that capitalists pursue self-interest and that not
only requires productive consumption of capital but also capitalist individual
consumption. One would certainly have a hard time explaining the lifestyles of the
rich and famous (or what Veblen called 'conspicuous consumption')
without this. Of course you will be able to find historical examples of
capitalists who lived an austere lifestyle similar to that of workers but
it is a very far-fetched assumption to believe this is generally the
case historically. It's not for nothing that the former executive of BP
recently infamously lamented "I would like my life back."
In solidarity, Jerry
ope mailing list
Received on Mon Oct 25 16:16:09 2010

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