Is late capitalism just rent seeking?

Christopher Hill
Christopher Hill

I get the illusion that capitalism in the most developed capitalist countries ("the first world") and even the periphery has degenerated into stagnation and rent seeking. There is no more great changes in production and way of life which inevitable brings social upheaval for better or worse.
Does anyone agree with this analysis? More importantly, what conclusions could be drawn from this?

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Henry Morales
Henry Morales

yes.

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Isaac Butler
Isaac Butler

Take the Hudsonpill

Blake Roberts
Blake Roberts

What about automation?

Gabriel Murphy
Gabriel Murphy

Boston is valued fairly
If that shit's fairly valued, the rest of the U.S is truly fucked.
Sincerely, snowed in, New England user

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Jaxson Davis
Jaxson Davis

What about it? You can't just say "automation" as if that is meaningful in and of itself. Anyways, automation is a meme and the correct way to refer to the process of increasingly replacing labor for machines in industry is called mechanization. There is actually a decreasing trend in mechanization because of wage stagnation, there is no pressure and incentive to replace labor. I'm pretty sure Cockshott has discussed this before.
Machines are in most cases just a multiplier on labor productivity. If increased mechanization means 50 workers in a factory become 10 then that's just a fivefold increase of labor productivity. If those 10 workers are replaced by just 2 engineers who oversee activities and perform maintenance work on those machines then that's again a fivefold increase.
There is no future without labor.

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Brayden Gutierrez
Brayden Gutierrez

Lol. Everyone is either going to be a cop or a drug dealer. Well they would if the current system could survive automation. Everybody knows it can't except for Capitalists. Your robots will make products that nobody can afford to buy because the majority are all unemployed. The MIC isn't going to back you because lets just face the facts here, ruling over an empire of mindless assembly line machines isn't thrilling or fun. You are going to gets Communism or a boot on your throat.

Caleb Kelly
Caleb Kelly

It is a core part of it. Other common synonyms: debt peonage, debt slavery.

Chase Stewart
Chase Stewart

Anyways, automation is a meme and the correct way to refer to the process of increasingly replacing labor for machines in industry is called mechanization

No, you're a meme.

britannica.com/technology/mechanization
Mechanization, use of machines, either wholly or in part, to replace human or animal labour. Unlike automation, which may not depend at all on a human operator, mechanization requires human participation to provide information or instruction. Mechanization began with human-operated machines to replace the handwork of craftspeople; today computers are frequently used to control mechanized processes.

Gavin Fisher
Gavin Fisher

There is no future without labor.
Does not negate the fact that machines + artificial intelligence will be more efficient at handling labour.

Joshua Myers
Joshua Myers

artificial intelligence
Biggest meme of all, it's been pushed since the 60's and in all that time AI can barely learn how to navigate a maze much less run an entire factory

Ryder James
Ryder James

Neo-Luddism is undialectical.

youtube.com/watch?v=6bXnBto0NNo
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youtube.com/watch?v=4DKrcpa8Z_E
youtube.com/watch?v=Ox05Bks2Q3s
youtube.com/watch?v=wUAM-7jbhIw

Lincoln James
Lincoln James

You are both undialectical

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Jonathan Reyes
Jonathan Reyes

I don't believe in a future without labor, but I do believe in one where labor is reduced to a such a minimum that we're able to make it completely voluntary. People who do choose to work would get extra luxuries. This is a goal that would have to be worked towards, and it should be on the active laborers to decide what portion of the social product goes to the idle.

We could also just broaden the scope of what we consider to be "work" over time. Maybe that's even better. Eventually we'd have a society where most people are just working on some personal project of theirs, while a minority still labors to maintain society. There will always be a fair number of people who prefer raw, pragmatic usefulness over creative bullshit. I think this might be closer to what Marx had in mind.

Samuel Gomez
Samuel Gomez

Eventually we'd have a society where most people are just working on some personal project of theirs
All work should be a personal project, you care about, even cleaning could be made tolerable, if you get to decorate.
It's also worth mentioning that working is all that makes those luxuries enjoyable, as they're a treat, and not mundane everyday things

Joshua Murphy
Joshua Murphy

It's also worth mentioning that working is all that makes those luxuries enjoyable, as they're a treat, and not mundane everyday things
That's true. It's important to give people a sense of social validation for the work they do. Once your basic needs are already met, material wealth is only secondary to that.

Zachary Diaz
Zachary Diaz

True

t. Currently not working and feeling like shit

I think one of the worst tendencies of mankind is the 'return to the mean', a life of constant toil is miserable but a life of uninterrupted hedonism becomes its own type of hell. The rich man will feel proud and accomplished for a while but then quickly become dissatisfied and desire more wealth just as desperately as the poor working stiff. A child of one generation will be happy with a stick and hoop, and just a few hundred years later the child will be bored with unlimited electronic instant gratification. Will there be a time when we simply live constantly doped up on brainstem SynthaJoy(TM) 24/7 because nothing else can provide satisfaction? And when that too becomes banal what next? Is there a next but the void, and mass suicide?

I don't want to sound anprim but it worries me.

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Mason Davis
Mason Davis

Satisfaction is overrated. You're falling for capitalist hedonism. We should aspire to build a society where everyone is free to follow through with their unique creative impulse. This won't make them satisfied, but the idea that anyone wants to be satisfied is ridiculous in the first place. Satisfaction is only the feeling of seeing your desires met, if you abstract away the desires you're left with nothing. Like you say, pure dopamine injected into the brainstem. An absurd nightmare.

True purpose is when you look out into the world and try to build what is lacking in it. In part it's just a pure Nietzschean will to power. You want to reproduce yourself in your environment. People are afraid of that because they imagine it implies strife and misery, and in part it does imply that, but not per se on a material level. It could be purely artistic, or intellectual. We could find that our struggles overlap the vast majority of the time, and when they don't, that they are conducive to the development of all the parties involved.
It's possible to have a baseline of respect for other people while being in deep struggle with them on another level. You can struggle with them, even really hate them, exactly because of this baseline of respect. As socialists we often find ourselves angry at people, not because they're doing something that hurts us, but because they're doing something that hurts themselves. We want to see ourselves reproduced in the well-being of other people.
This struggle will never end, it will only move up to higher and higher levels. At least, that's what I hope happens. We could equally well all end up hooked onto a computer that injects drugs into our central nervous system. That's a future I'd like to prevent, although really that is already a higher level of struggle. There are much more immediate problems for us to face.

Jaxon Robinson
Jaxon Robinson

True purpose is when you look out into the world and try to build what is lacking in it
communism is minecraft?

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Lucas Baker
Lucas Baker

Isn't differentiating between "pursuing your own creative impulse" and "satisfaction" just semantics?

John Reyes
John Reyes

Yeah, but I think I get the gist of what he is suggesting. I think he is making a distinction between a consumer society and a producer society. Consumers and producers have an inherent antagonism, the consumer wants the producer to create an object or experience that fulfills their desires, and the producer wants to work as little as possible on things they don't like and have as much control as possible for directing production of what they do like.

So all I can make out here is the identification of capitalism with consumer values, and the identification of socialism with a heavier counter-emphasis on the interests of producers.

Lucas Baker
Lucas Baker

Not entirely. You can pursue a creative impulse without demanding that this will ever satisfy you. As an artist you aren't seeking satisfaction, you simply want to see your art actualized. If this means you live a miserable life then so be it. Being satisfied isn't the point.
Conversely you can pursue the feeling of satisfaction in its own right, stripping it of any reference to accomplishment. This might be your intention when you browse Steam for a new video game. It doesn't matter what specific experience will get you your satisfaction.
This is a further point you could make.

Jason Bennett
Jason Bennett

Honestly you are spot on there and Žižek makes that point as well.

This is why I get more and more disillusioned about capitalism crumbling as profits dry up. I mean, look at stuff like digital media like Microsoft of Netflix. Basically the labour theory of value doesn't even apply here anymore because data can't be "consumed" in the sense that it is gone when you consume it, it can be reproduced indefinitely without any human labour input, so technically, these things have zero value. The only reason you still pay for your Netflix subscription is because of rent seeking. I think, if capitalists want to survive, they could easily charge a rent for accessing the proceeds of production even if they are fully automated and basically come out of the replicator. Oh you want to 3D print a car? Pay a monthly subscription for the software of 100$ a months.

My only hope is that people are more willing to see through this scam. I mean, think about it: According to Marx, the capitalism is insidious because it "masks" the exploitation and class society by paying workers "what they deserve" (their labour power on the market), whereas feudal exploitation (serfdom) was easily detected. Late feudalism was basically rent seeking as well before the peasants liberation in 1800. People are more likely to develop class consciousness when they are exploited with rent, than with wage labour. Landlords are much more hated than capitalists.

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