Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Good old equality....with historical materialism and how it can be interpreted in a new way

Equality is a funny thing. On the one hand, it's obvious that in certain respects not everyone is equal, for instance not everyone can play sports well, do higher order mathematics, yet there appear to be general qualities and abilities that we all share. Some people put out a lot of effort in their lives to get places, other people don't. Some people for whatever reason go down hill because of personal failures, others rise above destructive temptations. Some folks are honest, others aren't. Personal characteristics and effort is something that equality and plans to equalize property and power won't overcome. Which is not to say that the latter should not be done, but only to say that it may work out better if formulated somewhat differently.

Marx's key insight was how the broad economic structure of society shaped social structure and personal chances in life, chances that can sometimes be overcome with effort, but that still present significant barriers. By changing the social structure to one where Capital is commonly held and administered by society itself, not by private hands, a true substrate for individual competition could be said to be established. With the distortions of either possessing or not possessing capital, of coming from a family or town that's either capital rich or poor, and by not having money and capital dictate the values of society anymore, the stage is set for individuals to rise or fall by their own merits, with penalties and rewards handed out not for arbitrary reasons but for ones that are rational and commensurate with what a person chooses to either do or not do. In my eyes, the extremes of income would be flattened, but there would be enough range and difference out there to motivate people to go out and try for it. Folks who did little would still be provided for, but the life would not be ideal, although hopefully much more just than what the social welfare system of the United States currently provides or doesn't provide. But it would take an end to the private dictatorship of money to happen.

Take the decision making power of capital out of private hands and put it into the public eye, where society can direct it for social goals and not goals of personal gain. Make the remaining remnants of managers work for the common good.

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