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"Is Capitalism NECESSARILY Racist?"

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3 hours ago, Boydstun said:

Eastern Division Presidential address at the Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in 2018. 

Is Capitalism Necessarily Racist?

Any feedback on the specifics as advanced in this paper would be appreciated, not only by me, but by many friends who read here, but do not post.

NHC folks believe capitalism is racist because they are communists. They think private property is exploitation of surplus labor value. They think holding slaves as property is the logical extension of wage labor. If you're not a communist, you don't have to believe any of that because you don't believe in the LTV and you uphold individual rights.

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1 hour ago, 2046 said:

NHC folks believe capitalism is racist because they are communists. They think private property is exploitation of surplus labor value. They think holding slaves as property is the logical extension of wage labor. If you're not a communist, you don't have to believe any of that because you don't believe in the LTV and you uphold individual rights.

I assume LTV = labor theory of value. What is NHC?

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The presentation admits to definitional considerations and how they weigh in.

Starting with Capitalism, the trichotomy between exchange, exploitation and expropriation takes on a different flavor adding to it an Oxford dictionary refinement of: an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

Per the author racism goes away under the egress of exchange only considerations. The distinction between private or state ownership is set aside.

Exploitation of natural resources allows the material world to be reshaped into more valuable goods and services. Under a state that upholds individual rights, exploitation would be delimited to said natural resources while disallowing "the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work."

Expropriation, under the Oxford parameters, should be considered a clear violation of an individuals right to his property.

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From here:

- Crowd of Applicants outside Highland Park Plant after Five Dollar Day Announcement, January 1914

- Newspaper Article, "Henry Ford Gives $10,000,000 in 1914 Profits to His Employes"

These are headlines. Reading the articles is optional.

Similarly, thousands of people flocked to become Microsoft employees in the 1980’s and 1990’s and were hired. Later thousands of people flocked to become Apple, Google, and Amazon employees and were hired. Yet according to Nancy Fraser and like-minded others these people qua employees were nothing but exploited and expropriated, and the capitalist executives and managers at these companies hiring all these people didn’t even recognize their own racist origins and behavior.

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Boydstun invited “feedback on the specifics as advanced in this paper”. There is near nothing in the paper about what kind of political economy or society that Nancy Fraser advocates or endorses. She asks some questions about capitalism/racism that “form the heart of a profound but under-appreciated stream of critical theorizing, known as Black Marxism.” Here is a clue to what that is.

Thus she merely hints at what she advocates or endorses, which is at least very Marxist. It’s much easier to be a critic than to construct and propose a better alternative. To answer her title question, she makes an assault on what she regards as the history of capitalism, which is obviously and negatively biased. Thus it should be as fair to describe a little of the history of Marxism. Consider that of the Soviet Union and China, where Marxism has been most put into practice. That history is filled with exploitation, expropriation, and causing death to many millions of people. Yet Fraser is completely silent about that.

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14 hours ago, merjet said:

 She asks some questions about capitalism/racism that “form the heart of a profound but under-appreciated stream of critical theorizing, known as Black Marxism.” Here is a clue to what that is.

 

"Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Marxism was an instrumental theory in African-based liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea Bissau. Amilcar Cabral, the revolutionary leader of Guinea Bissau, linked class struggle to anti-imperialism, demonstrating the necessity of incorporating the proletarian project into the project of national liberation (Magubane 1983, p. 25). Also, antiapartheid ideologists in South Africa adopted aspects of Marxist dictum even as they emphasized national and racial identities (see Marx 1992).

Marxism continues to inform the spectrum of black progressive politics, even as Afro-Diasporic intellectuals argue for the autonomy of black liberation struggles and their organic political perspectives (James 1992, p. 183). Contemporary black intellectuals urge that a tripartite analysis, stemming from the nexus of three crucial sites of struggles, community, class and gender, be at the center of Black liberatory projects (Marable 1997, p. 8). If they adhere to this perspective, social justice movements constituted by black people can remain avant-garde formations of contiguous race and class struggles".

-----

And look at them - Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, etc. and missing, Zimbabwe - now.

It's those very "national liberation" and "Black liberatory projects" which hold and have held African citizens and their countries back - No more excuses and no one left blame, the colonists/colonials/"imperialists" have been gone for thirty to fifty years. South Africa has been 'free' for 25. Albeit that the Apartheid regime was proven by economists to have been de facto Socialist, apartheid is still irrevocably (and conveniently) equated with capitalism. Many of the original ANC cadres were trained in and had ties with Moscow back then, and I sometimes read the new wave of intellectuals spout the identical, worn-out doctrines, e.g. the LTV, above. Again, it is the neo-Marxism of the governing elites that did most of the damage, along with grand scale corruption in government.

For all its official, systemic racism, at the change over in '95, SA had the No.1 economy in Africa, little poverty and very high (Black) employment. From that height, just five months ago Moody's down-rated SA's status to "Junk", and a pre-lockdown unemployment number around 30% - clearly doubled at minimum, since.

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18 hours ago, merjet said:

Thus it should be as fair to describe a little of the history of Marxism. Consider that of the Soviet Union and China, where Marxism has been most put into practice. That history is filled with exploitation, expropriation, and causing death to many millions of people. Yet Fraser is completely silent about that.

"What about-ism" isn't a counterargument. It's a distraction. Communism and Maoism are more like Marxism+, that is, there are elements of Marxism. What would change about her argument if she mentioned them? She easily could condemn them on grounds of expropriation. An anticapitalist could say that every attack on Marxism should mention imperialism of the US, but you would rightly respond that the essay is about Marxism, not about the ways that capitalism has been corrupted in the US. The essay is about capitalism, so let's talk about capitalism. 

By the way, my basic response would be what 2046 wrote, but I felt some things were worth analyzing in more detail. 

First we need to consider exactly how she is defining capitalism.

"By definition, a system devoted to the limitless expansion and private appropriation of surplus value gives the owners of capital a deep-seated interest in confiscating labor and means of production from subject populations. Expropriation raises their profits by lowering costs of production in two ways: on the one hand, by supplying cheap inputs, such as energy and raw materials; on the other, by providing low-cost means of subsistence, such as food and textiles, which permit them to pay lower wages."

For us, we probably would usually respond by saying that capitalism requires individual rights. Expropriation is an explicit violation of individual rights, so what she is describing isn't actually capitalism. (Although low-cost means of subsistence sounds like a good thing to me, so even the description is a little weird, unless she is claiming something like exploited at poverty levels). Fraser seems to anticipate such a response from a capitalist. 

"The common thread here, once again, is political exposure: the incapacity to set limits and invoke protections."

She is saying that capitalism and rights are incompatible. As much as capitalists like us might want protection of rights, she would say that we will never get what we hope to achieve. But I think she fails to make this argument. She gives examples of expropriation, without making a clear-cut case why capitalism necessarily requires expropriation. 

Look at the definition before. It amounts to saying that it is advantageous for capitalists to expropriate people, especially with imperialism. But I'm not seeing why we must assume that a system of rights cannot exist that is rigidly enforced. Her argument might apply to anarcho capitalists, and that would make sense. Rand made arguments against anarchism on grounds that it would necessarily lead to rights violations. If Fraser were talking about capitalism without government, she'd probably be right. But when you throw in everything about exploitation, she is trying to talk about any kind of profit as denial of workers of what they earned. 

"Advantageous even in “normal” times, expropriation becomes especially appealing in periods of economic crisis, when it serves as a critical, if temporary, fix for restoring declining profitability. The same is true for political crises, which can sometimes be defused or averted by transferring value confiscated from populations that appear not to threaten capital to those that do—another distinction that often correlates with “race.” "

All she really has to go on is that expropriation is "appealing". This is about as strong as her case seems to be that capitalism *cannot* protect rights. For the most part, she goes over the ways that people can be expropriated:

"And it is largely states, too, that codify and enforce the status hierarchies that distinguish citizens from subjects, nationals from aliens, entitled workers from dependent scroungers. Constructing exploitable and expropriable subjects, while distinguishing the one from the other, state practices of political subjectivation supply an indispensable precondition for capital’s “self”-expansion."

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Eiuol, I see by a quick search that the Marxists think of capitalism as beginning in the 17th century.* Do you know who was the first to link capitalism with the concept of individual rights as its basis? Rand's American political associates prior to Rand writing Atlas Shrugged? Thomas Jefferson? (I wonder if he had a concept of that which we call capitalism.)

It has seemed to me that during our lifetime in a semi-free country USA people have to have the concept of individual rights in an explicit definitional way in order to start seeing political issues in terms of that concept, especially to checking the relevance of that concept to each political/legal issue that comes up. (One measure of whether they have a concept of individual rights is whether they can see any cases in which a behavior they regard as morally wrong should be legally permitted.) So I've wondered if capitalism had and has a definition (not only the Marxist one, and maybe one that can encompass all the ones the professor looked at) such that it can be defined as a phenomenon, and people could have such a concept of capitalism (or a vaguer sense of the concept), which then Rand's later definition and its incorporation of individual rights can be given as what is called a theoretical or explanatory definition. It seems unlikely that people have no notion of capitalism until they get definition used by Rand. I must say that my own youthful notion of capitalism was quite vague, rather like "some economic thing in our society the marxists are trying to do away with." All the adults in my world in those days were vehemently against communism, but the contrast was fundamentally with freedom, pictured as against any police state.

 

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Fraser gives three perspectives on capitalism: exchange, exploitation, expropriation. That implicitly sweeps production under a rug or reduces it to exploitation and/or expropriation. She says nothing about using reason, how markets form or change, the role of knowledge and information (such as described by F. Hayek), entrepreneurship, innovation, supply and demand, prices, goal setting, resources, and organization or management. All these are subsumed under exploitation or expropriation.

She remarks that using the exchange perspective, others could say that capitalism is indifferent to color, but she says this delinks capitalism from racism by definitional fiat. She similarly delinks production from capitalism by definitional fiat.

Fraser uses “power” a few times. The first four times are “labor power.” The rest are in the sense of the power to coerce or subjugate. None are really about the power to create. The term “labor power” was coined by Karl Marx and plays a large role in his view and critique of capitalism. It basically views laborers as “tools” for doing what’s demanded by capitalists.

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Which "comes first"? (So to speak). Something I've wrestled with and I'd estimate that if the concept "Leave us alone" Capitalism had not been arrived at, individual rights had to have naturally and logically given birth to it. The simplistic upshot to me is they interact in a symbiotic concert. I.e. the proper relationship of the one to the many and they to him/her ("in a social context": AR) prescribes a (protected) voluntarism of the meeting of minds with minds, in the form of the products of, in mutual trade. The complexity of writings and the ideas of capitalism by many thinkers, can be reduced to that principle, but I admit to my simplisticism and shortage of knowledge of those thinkers.

A possibly needed expansion on Rand's conciseness - "individualism" by Nathaniel Branden which uncommonly goes outside the exclusively political sphere and connects them:

"A political system is the expression of a code of ethics. Just as some form of statism or collectivism is the expression of the ethics of altruism, so individualism--as represented by laissez-faire capitalism--is the expression of the ethics of rational self-interest". [So far so good, all well known. His next is telling and quite original framing, I think].

"Individualism is at once an ethical-psychological concept and an ethical-political one. As an ethical-psychological concept, individualism holds that a human being should think and judge independently, respecting nothing more than the sovereignty of his or her mind; thus, it is intimately connected with the concept of autonomy. As an ethical-political concept, individualism upholds the supremacy of individual rights, the principle that a human being is an end in him or herself, and that the proper goal in life is self-actualization".

(Self-actualizing - the pursuit of one's happiness, as one views it to be -  I read as certainly not indicating that everyone in a society needs to have the same personal ethics - the religious/secularist/libertarian/egoist/ etc. etc. need only share this ethical standard in common: to be left alone to do it their way. But that's another debate, and I've gone off topic enough).

Branden offers a total perspective leading up to the "political-economic context", where "... freedom means one thing and one thing only: freedom from physical compulsion". Of course there's much more value in this chapter, recommended to those who haven't read it (Individualism and the Free Society - Honoring the Self)

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Boydstun said:

Do you know who was the first to link capitalism with the concept of individual rights as its basis? Rand's American political associates prior to Rand writing Atlas Shrugged? Thomas Jefferson? (I wonder if he had a concept of that which we call capitalism.)

The views of capitalists and liberals historically developed out of opposition to things that came before them. Locke developed the natural rights doctrine and laid the foundation for liberalism, but was a bit of a mercantilist in economics. Late 17th and early 18th century thinkers like North, Cantillon, and Quesnay began to develop free trade movements out of opposition to mercantilism and utilized Lockean and generally Enlightenment-influenced arguments about "rights of man" and "laws of nature."

The physiocracts and French liberals in the 18th century were among the first to mix laissez-faire and free trade economics with anti-slavery doctrines, foremost among them Mirabeau. The Manchester School and the American individualists in the 19th century also combined abolitionism and free trade as basic positions. Thomas Jefferson, if anything, is representative of a movement that certainly did exist mainly in America that combined rights-and-free-trade-talk with pro-slavery views. See Calhoun for example. The point there is simply that these just wouldn't count as genuine liberals precisely on those grounds. There, a distinction could be drawn between rhetoric and deeper value structure.

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5 hours ago, merjet said:

She says nothing about using reason, how markets form or change, the role of knowledge and information (such as described by F. Hayek), entrepreneurship, innovation, supply and demand, prices, goal setting, resources, and organization or management. All these are subsumed under exploitation or expropriation.

I don't think Fraser is trying to suggest that none of these things are present. I don't think any of them are subsumed under exploitation or expropriation. Perhaps she would say that any presence of innovation or use of reason is hindered by the exploitation and expropriation inherent in the system. Part of her point is that under capitalism, some will benefit at the cost of others through expropriation and exploitation. 

Imagine I'm a rich capitalist in California during the 1870s funding the development of railroads and the technology to construct them. I managed to do this by hiring Chinese immigrants. So far so good. But then imagine that further, I use my money to promote laws that actively and forcefully discourage Chinese immigrants from bringing their family from China, starting businesses, or from holding public office. Not only would I be benefiting as a capitalist from the wonders of capitalism, but I would be benefiting from the alleged evils. Fraser is trying to get us to believe that a narrative like this will always happen, no matter what we do, that all the incentives are in place for exploitation and expropriation. I guess to her, such incentives are so overwhelming that even if capitalism begins on the right foot, it will always become corrupted. If you make more money through expropriation, why not do it? All we have to do is look at the imperialism of the US and Britain, and Jim Crow laws!

I don't think she completes her argument that a profit motive incentivizes expropriation, or that proper laws can't completely eliminate possible incentives of expropriation. In my mind, profit motive disincentivizes expropriation. If I really want to have the most profitable, best quality, completely desirable product or company, I don't want to expropriate any possible customers. Why would I want to expropriate a viable market? The only way I see expropriation cropping up as desirable is if a person is racist to begin with. If slaves are thought of as subpar humans, they wouldn't be thought of as a viable market. They would be resources to harvest. The Spanish expropriated the Inca, partly motivated by religious fervor, partly motivated by seeing some of them as savages, partly motivated by desire to dominate in itself. If a profit motive was truly in place, it would have made more sense to trade with the Inca, figure out how to use their expansive roads and complex communication techniques, learn about agricultural practices, learn how to build earthquake resistant buildings, and so on. There was a viable market, and expropriation would go against that.

As far as exploitation goes, there isn't anything to say except that I think it's insane that profit is viewed as exploitive by definition. Fraser might say that the Spanish would have acquired those skills through exploitation of the Inca people, which would in turn dehumanize them, which would then in turn create the conditions for expropriation. But she doesn't make arguments like this, nothing very substantiative as far as making clear the alleged necessary connection between expropriation and capitalism. 
 

8 hours ago, Boydstun said:

I must say that my own youthful notion of capitalism was quite vague, rather like "some economic thing in our society the marxists are trying to do away with." All the adults in my world in those days were vehemently against communism, but the contrast was fundamentally with freedom, pictured as against any police state.

Sometimes I feel that the word capitalism causes more confusion than anything, mostly because it doesn't have a clean historical trajectory. Sometimes I've heard the distinction "freed markets" instead of "free markets". My notion of capitalism when I was in high school was also very vague, I couldn't really get a handle on what it was supposed to be. I just thought of it consumerism, with a connection to imperialism, and that was it. When I got the definition of capitalism from Rand, I got a much more cohesive story of economic freedom and its benefits along with the inductive evidence to judge for myself, as compared to the Marxist definition, which is highly specific and almost mechanical without much inductive evidence.

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Physiocracy

The page has links to Quesnay and Marquis de Mirabeau (1715-1789).

The latter includes the following. Mirabeau joined the army. "He took keenly to campaigning, but never rose above the rank of captain, owing to his being unable to get leave at court to buy a regiment."

Buy a regiment? Wow.

Manchester Liberalism  ""It expounded the social and economic implications of free trade and laissez-faire capitalism. ... It also promoted pacifism, anti-slavery, freedom of the press and separation of church and state."

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55 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I don't think Fraser is trying to suggest that none of these things are present. I don't think any of them are subsumed under exploitation or expropriation. Perhaps she would say that any presence of innovation or use of reason is hindered by the exploitation and expropriation inherent in the system. Part of her point is that under capitalism, some will benefit at the cost of others through expropriation and exploitation

The title of Fraser's essay is "Is Capitalism Necessarily Racist?" That and more -- such as "Everything depends on what exactly is meant by capitalism" -- at least suggests that her essay's goal is the essence of capitalism. Do racism, exchange, exploitation, and expropriation capture the essence of capitalism? To me no more so than having opposable thumbs captures the essence of man.  

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5 hours ago, Ninth Doctor said:

If you've never encountered this piece before, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Particularly the part about how the UK (and if you'll allow, by extension, capitalism) ended slavery.  Which is different from racism...though probably not from Fraser's perspective. 

Maybe someone can put me onto the biography I read (late 80's?) by the American bureau chief of one of the news agencies like Reuters, based in Johannesburg, RSA. His intro described him sitting on the banks of the Congo River watching bodies from a mass killing float by. The sweep of his writing was of his career covering the whole continent, famines, tribal and religious wars, corruption, despots, massacres and the rest. The ending was unforgettable. After visiting the slave pens in W. Africa, he stated his everlasting gratitude to his anonymous forefather who'd been forced onto a ship in chains - carried out of Africa, escaping a hopeless fate to be a slave in North America. Controversial and non-pc at the time, today his book would be excoriated and not again published - explaining perhaps why I can't find his name or the title. Any idea, ND?

 

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1 hour ago, merjet said:

Do racism, exchange, exploitation, and expropriation capture the essence of capitalism? To me no more so than having opposable thumbs captures the essence of man.  

In a way, no Marxist would try to find the essentials of some concept. That's just not how their philosophical system would work.

In another sense, she could say:."it doesn't matter what the essence is, because exploitation and expropriation are inherent in the system; capitalism will always eat itself from the inside out". Even the essence of something can be harmed or hindered by some nonfundamental characteristic of that something. Compared to many other animals, running slow because of having two legs and relative weakness, it would seem that being a human means intellect at the cost of utter destruction of your biological potential and survivability. We could say that some humans run fast and are relatively strong (but that would be false), or we could say that intellect and reason is precisely why we aren't hindered by slowness and weakness. Our essence overcomes and diminishes whatever cons there are for being human. As far as this essay, the essence of capitalism completely overcomes and diminishes any possible presence of expropriation (and actual exploitation if it exists). 

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Nancy Fraser made racism prominent in her criticism of capitalism and sided with Black Marxism. The New York Times August 14 edition included this:

A Black Marxist Scholar Wanted to Talk About Race. It Ignited a Fury.

The following quotes are from the article.

Adolph Reed, professor emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania, "acquired the conviction, controversial today, that the left is too focused on race and not enough on class."

"His chosen topic was unsparing: He planned to argue that the left’s intense focus on the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on Black people undermined multiracial organizing, which he sees as key to health and economic justice."

“Notices went up. Anger built. How could we invite a man to speak, members asked, who downplays racism in a time of plague and protest? To let him talk, the organization’s Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus stated, was “reactionary, class reductionist and at best, tone deaf.”

“We cannot be afraid to discuss race and racism because it could get mishandled by racists,” the caucus stated. “That’s cowardly and cedes power to the racial [racist?] capitalists.”

“Amid murmurs that opponents might crash his Zoom talk, Professor Reed and D.S.A. [Democratic Socialists of America] leaders agreed to cancel it, a striking moment as perhaps the nation’s most powerful Socialist organization rejected a Black Marxist professor’s talk because of his views on race.”

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I read that article yesterday. I just noticed that the headline is imprecise. Fraser sides with Black Marxism, while Reed is a Marxist scholar who is black. As wrong as Marxists are, I find that Marxists who focus more on class have better arguments than the ones who focus on race.

Anyway, I found this part interesting:

"He finds a certain humor in being attacked over race.

“I’ve never led with my biography, as that’s become an authenticity-claiming gesture,” he said. “But when my opponents say that I don’t accept that racism is real, I think to myself, ‘OK, we’ve arrived at a strange place.’” "

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On 8/15/2020 at 10:40 AM, Ninth Doctor said:

If you've never encountered this piece before, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Particularly the part about how the UK (and if you'll allow, by extension, capitalism) ended slavery.  Which is different from racism...though probably not from Fraser's perspective. 

Excellent. The British anti-slavery movement is covered starting at about 47:00.
At 43:50 it says Adam Smith and Montesquieu were very opposed to slavery. There is a lot about Quakers opposing slavery.

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On 8/15/2020 at 3:40 PM, whYNOT said:

 I can't find his name or the title. Any idea, ND?

 

Nope.  He worked in South Africa?  That's your beat. 

But it does call to mind a quote from Muhammad Ali:

"Champ, what did you think of Africa?" Ali replied, "Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat!"

That won't score any points with the likes of Fraser. 

Rand's essay "Racism" in The Virtue of Selfishness surely bears reviewing in this context.  Though I haven't reread it in years.

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On ‎8‎/‎13‎/‎2020 at 9:21 AM, Boydstun said:

Eastern Division Presidential address at the Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in 2018. 

Is Capitalism Necessarily Racist?

Any feedback on the specifics as advanced in this paper would be appreciated, not only by me, but by many friends who read here, but do not post.

 

There is so much which is conspicuously wrong with Fraser's address that it is almost a waste of text here to try to address the flaws we all can see and which Rand has specifically refuted throughout her work.


As for addressing "specifics advanced" in the paper... what stands out to me is actually what is NOT specifically advanced in the paper.

Although I feel a sense akin to the futility of disproving an arbitrary claim and the impossibility at pointing at traces left by that which does not exist, I realize that pointing out what should have been investigated, presented, and argued and was not, is possible and shall suffice.

 


First, I note that her approach does not critically distinguish between the system, capitalism, and the people participating in that system, nor the causal interrelationships therebetween.

If she were serious about determining whether "capitalism is racist", or necessarily so, wouldn't she be concerned with controlling variables... i.e. serious about determining whether the people themselves are racist and how can one tease apart racism on the part of the people and purported "racism" of the system or caused by the system?  In this vein, would a population of non-racists, in a non-racist culture, (let's say individuals of multiple races kidnapped from a perfect Marxist Utopia of Fraser's making), if "made" (or allowed) to run (or participate) in a capitalist system, become racist?  Or would the people remain devoid of any racism, and the system itself exhibit racism, quite independently of the lack of racism of any of its individuals?

Moreover, what constitutes "racism" BY a system?  Any system or organization or activity including people who are racist has "racism" occurring in proximity to it, but if one's concepts of "racism by people" and "racism by systems" are distinguishable according to any rational standard, such kinds of racism must not to be attributed to the system as such.  Whatever the system under investigation, some interaction between the racism of individuals and the system must be investigated in order to determine whether or not the system itself is "racist".  For example, does the system tend to decrease racism, increase it, or tends to leave it at the same level?  How does the system interact with the psychology of its participants such that it does give rise to this tendency?  But all this depends on a valid concept of race and racism.

 

Fraser's concept of "racism" is just as problematic than her concept of capitalism. 

Her implicit definition and characterization of racism is severely lacking and quite frankly IS racist.  She focuses on one particular form of racism, namely, white or European racism against people of color in the recent historical context caused in part by the slave trade in Africa.  Such a concrete is not racism as such but only an example of it.  A psychological remnant of exploitation (which slavery was) which survives in a uniquely historical culture and context, and exists.  To assume racism only takes that form, no matter where or when capitalism is instituted, is to attribute an intrinsic hierarchy of domination (implicitly, an intrinsic imbalance of capability, intellect, merit) of whites over blacks which is a highly racist idea.  If her thesis is about capitalism as such, and racism as such, it cannot be focused only on historical and geographical happenstance.  Accordingly, it would seem her ability to distinguish between concepts in the abstract versus concrete examples thereof is lacking.  Would the capitalism in Japan, for example,  refute or corroborate her theory about the relationship between race and capitalism?  Are whites in Japan extorted in the same way and for similar reasons blacks are in the US?  Are whites in Japan extorted at all?  What happens (or would happen) in African capitalist systems? Are whites extorted, how and why?  And once again is it the system which is racist or is it the people and what is the relationship? 

Is her so called racial extortion simply an echo of the technological extortion (conquest and slavery), causally linked and persistent in the minds of each population generations later merely because race is easily visible and distinguishes people as descendants of that technological extortion?  If so, then rather than tending to show any particular system is racist,  her ideas should lead her to the conclusion that the remnants of technological extortion and conquest persist psychologically in populations and arguably any system, where people can be identified as uniquely descendant from those groups, the conquered and the conquerors.  But such would require original investigation into psychology, tribalism, historical conquest, and how systems in general work, which do not necessarily fit well with her already determined outcome, and would take her far afield from her desired narrative.


Fraser makes no serious inquiry.  She makes no attempt to investigate the ideas of racism and capitalism and their actual causal interrelationships on a fundamental level.

She assumes her premises about exploitation and power, observes the historical accident of race correlating with technological advancement at around the time of the African slave trade (Europeans who happened to be white were more advanced technologically than those inhabiting Africa who happened to be black) in particular (while ignoring slavery crosses all racial boundaries and has existed for millennia and possibly since the dawn of man), and observes outcomes for certain populations compared with others as supporting her already held beleifs about capitalism (an incredibly new and never fully realized system), and asserts (essentially in a vacuum) moreover that capitalism is itself racist and implicitly magnifies and/or causes racism.

 

Perhaps Fraser's has unintentionally discovered that her implicit belief that white people or people of European descent (I single them out because she does) are or tend to be racist against people of color due to history, combined with her implicit knowledge that capitalism is the system which provides freedom (whether admits she knows it or not), leads, at first analysis, to the conclusion that the system does not serve to attenuate or directly stamp out that racism, but on the surface only leaves people to be free to commit the same errors.

In the grand scheme of things, even this is wrong, certainly for any actual capitalist who wants to succeed, and knows that doing so requires judging people on merit and not by skin color.  A laissez faire government does not stamp out gross errors of judgment, it allows  reality to do so and reality does so, even if only at a rate much slower than those who would rather force things to resolve themselves more quickly.  And as always, for those who see no problem with force, the relative timelines serve as a strong justification for its use. 

 

Finally, I must state I get the very strong sense that the paper is not, by any stretch, an impartial investigation into causal links or relationships between her concepts of "capitalism" and "racism", so much as it is a juxtaposition of language meant to fit or resemble a narrative, and ring true to her long ago ossified world view.  Such an approach and goal cannot abide serious, dare I say "critical", and open inquiry.  She decided on the "answers" before she set out to "find" them, and found the answers she wanted to find by "finding" the connections and congruencies she needed in various "sacred texts" of her ideology, not unlike how a prophet motivated to influence his village might "find" and reveal a prophecy of imminent disaster which had always been hidden in the old books of wisdom.

There really is nothing new to see here.  Nothing at all.

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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17 hours ago, Ninth Doctor said:

Nope.  He worked in South Africa?  That's your beat. 

But it does call to mind a quote from Muhammad Ali:

"Champ, what did you think of Africa?" Ali replied, "Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat!"

That won't score any points with the likes of Fraser. 

 

You can't imagine Ali taking a knee, in the ring. Value seen in America, for all that it is/was more intrinsic value than objective, beats the subjective whim worship and self-contempt seen lately. Time was (e.g. Sowell and Ali) when truthfulness and forthrightness counted most, now the "rugged" individualists have given way partly, to second handed, collectivist wimps. My "granddaddy" was bad to your granddaddy? Omigod!

Edited by whYNOT
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20 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

 

There is so much which is conspicuously wrong with Fraser's address that it is almost a waste of text here to try to address the flaws we all can see and which Rand has specifically refuted throughout her work.


As for addressing "specifics advanced" in the paper... what stands out to me is actually what is NOT specifically advanced in the paper.

Although I feel a sense akin to the futility of disproving an arbitrary claim and the impossibility at pointing at traces left by that which does not exist, I realize that pointing out what should have been investigated, presented, and argued and was not, is possible and shall suffice.

 


First, I note that her approach does not critically distinguish between the system, capitalism, and the people participating in that system, nor the causal interrelationships therebetween.

If she were serious about determining whether "capitalism is racist", or necessarily so, wouldn't she be concerned with controlling variables... i.e. serious about determining whether the people themselves are racist and how can one tease apart racism on the part of the people and purported "racism" of the system or caused by the system?  In this vein, would a population of non-racists, in a non-racist culture, (let's say individuals of multiple races kidnapped from a perfect Marxist Utopia of Fraser's making), if "made" (or allowed) to run (or participate) in a capitalist system, become racist?  Or would the people remain devoid of any racism, and the system itself exhibit racism, quite independently of the lack of racism of any of its individuals?

Moreover, what constitutes "racism" BY a system?  Any system or organization or activity including people who are racist has "racism" occurring in proximity to it, but if one's concepts of "racism by people" and "racism by systems" are distinguishable according to any rational standard, such kinds of racism must not to be attributed to the system as such.  Whatever the system under investigation, some interaction between the racism of individuals and the system must be investigated in order to determine whether or not the system itself is "racist".  For example, does the system tend to decrease racism, increase it, or tends to leave it at the same level?  How does the system interact with the psychology of its participants such that it does give rise to this tendency?  But all this depends on a valid concept of race and racism.

 

Fraser's concept of "racism" is just as problematic than her concept of capitalism. 

Her implicit definition and characterization of racism is severely lacking and quite frankly IS racist.  She focuses on one particular form of racism, namely, white or European racism against people of color in the recent historical context caused in part by the slave trade in Africa.  Such a concrete is not racism as such but only an example of it.  A psychological remnant of exploitation (which slavery was) which survives in a uniquely historical culture and context, and exists.  To assume racism only takes that form, no matter where or when capitalism is instituted, is to attribute an intrinsic hierarchy of domination (implicitly, an intrinsic imbalance of capability, intellect, merit) of whites over blacks which is a highly racist idea.  If her thesis is about capitalism as such, and racism as such, it cannot be focused only on historical and geographical happenstance.  Accordingly, it would seem her ability to distinguish between concepts in the abstract versus concrete examples thereof is lacking.  Would the capitalism in Japan, for example,  refute or corroborate her theory about the relationship between race and capitalism?  Are whites in Japan extorted in the same way and for similar reasons blacks are in the US?  Are whites in Japan extorted at all?  What happens (or would happen) in African capitalist systems? Are whites extorted, how and why?  And once again is it the system which is racist or is it the people and what is the relationship? 

Is her so called racial extortion simply an echo of the technological extortion (conquest and slavery), causally linked and persistent in the minds of each population generations later merely because race is easily visible and distinguishes people as descendants of that technological extortion?  If so, then rather than tending to show any particular system is racist,  her ideas should lead her to the conclusion that the remnants of technological extortion and conquest persist psychologically in populations and arguably any system, where people can be identified as uniquely descendant from those groups, the conquered and the conquerors.  But such would require original investigation into psychology, tribalism, historical conquest, and how systems in general work, which do not necessarily fit well with her already determined outcome, and would take her far afield from her desired narrative.


Fraser makes no serious inquiry.  She makes no attempt to investigate the ideas of racism and capitalism and their actual causal interrelationships on a fundamental level.

She assumes her premises about exploitation and power, observes the historical accident of race correlating with technological advancement at around the time of the African slave trade (Europeans who happened to be white were more advanced technologically than those inhabiting Africa who happened to be black) in particular (while ignoring slavery crosses all racial boundaries and has existed for millennia and possibly since the dawn of man), and observes outcomes for certain populations compared with others as supporting her already held beleifs about capitalism (an incredibly new and never fully realized system), and asserts (essentially in a vacuum) moreover that capitalism is itself racist and implicitly magnifies and/or causes racism.

 

Perhaps Fraser's has unintentionally discovered that her implicit belief that white people or people of European descent (I single them out because she does) are or tend to be racist against people of color due to history, combined with her implicit knowledge that capitalism is the system which provides freedom (whether admits she knows it or not), leads, at first analysis, to the conclusion that the system does not serve to attenuate or directly stamp out that racism, but on the surface only leaves people to be free to commit the same errors.

In the grand scheme of things, even this is wrong, certainly for any actual capitalist who wants to succeed, and knows that doing so requires judging people on merit and not by skin color.  A laissez faire government does not stamp out gross errors of judgment, it allows  reality to do so and reality does so, even if only at a rate much slower than those who would rather force things to resolve themselves more quickly.  And as always, for those who see no problem with force, the relative timelines serve as a strong justification for its use. 

 

Finally, I must state I get the very strong sense that the paper is not, by any stretch, an impartial investigation into causal links or relationships between her concepts of "capitalism" and "racism", so much as it is a juxtaposition of language meant to fit or resemble a narrative, and ring true to her long ago ossified world view.  Such an approach and goal cannot abide serious, dare I say "critical", and open inquiry.  She decided on the "answers" before she set out to "find" them, and found the answers she wanted to find by "finding" the connections and congruencies she needed in various "sacred texts" of her ideology, not unlike how a prophet motivated to influence his village might "find" and reveal a prophecy of imminent disaster which had always been hidden in the old books of wisdom.

There really is nothing new to see here.  Nothing at all.

 

I suppose this is either shockingly obvious or astonishingly erroneous.  In either case, I need reevaluate my use of time and my hierarchy of values. 

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