John Hopkins on Thu, 10 May 2012 07:09:03 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Privacy, Moglen, @ioerror, #rp12

Interesting question William --

  >  So, does "capitalism" still have a broad social *purpose* once a
  >  significant level of industrialization has already been achieved?

I have a Harris tweed jacket that I like very much and wear almost
every day. I like to take the train. Did the history that brought
those things to me have to be a tale of depopulation, exile, disease,
famine, cultural genocide and concentration of wealth? I can't see any
reason why it had to happen that way.

For a specific process stream (a Harris Tweed jacket would be the outcome of such a process), if you look at it from an open-systems pov, I'm thinking that yes, it would have to be that way. Unless mitigating factors like you living on a sheep farm with the requisite tools to process and assemble the object your self, or barter for it locally in a way. However, as soon as you look at the reality of the genesis of the looms, for example (needing steel, iron as integral (not possibly substituted by a 'local' product), it then ties the process into the wider global extractives industry, etc, etc... Which relies on massive collective social/relational structures which capitalism seemingly has acted as an optimizing force (as it rests on engineering).

If you look at more general processes, I can imagine that there are, theoretically, more ways to 'accomplish' a particular task -- (that is, setting up process-flows that arrive at a similar goal/product). However, if you look at the constituent sub-tasks, this perhaps begins to unravel the possibility of that accomplishment in any way other than the way it was accomplished (i.e. a Harris Tweed jacket falling into your hands in the way it did at that moment of history as fully embedded in the indeterminate conditions that it was in...). Again, say, back to the extractives necessary for the loom -- how can you get a fine steel object from iron/coal industries remotely located from the loom location without a now-globalized transport network which rests on capital investment (or collective investment of a social systems energies), which, crucially, relies on the suspension of a concern (interest, care) for the individual over that of the collective... (thus the 'genocide', the environmental unsustainability (disease, exile)), etc., etc.

Perhaps an infinitely recursive argument, but it in the end the dots between the product and the social system that directs its energies to construct that product in that particular form are absolutely connected...

Not even to mention Nike's use of Harris Tweed as a retro consumable 'fashion' statement in their shoes...!


John Hopkins
Watching the Tao rather than watching the Dow!

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