Q&A: Is Labor Vs Capital important anymore?

This is a follow up to the last post, where I will address some questions and feedback I got on that post. If you have not read that yet, please go check it out.

Q: It appears that you are creating / redefining a class hierarchy – or at least a structure (see What else could corporate Science Contribute).   I’d say from a Marxist thought, if you have classes, you have class struggle.  If you have class struggle, then you need some Marxist thought.

A: I would counter this assumption and push back on Marx’s analysis in two ways. First, I am not trying to describe a class Hierarchy. I am very purposefully trying to show a class relationship, where the classes are peers and partners in a whole that is larger than one class. In fact the best description for the nature of their relationship can be found in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.

Following closely on that argument, that there is not a hierarchy, there is also not properly a struggle, at least not one that will result in a winner and a loser. The implied end state of the struggle between capitalism and labor is an imagined exit from this “state of being” into a “higher state of being”, the workers paradise, where the capitalists have been defeated and the stolen property of the laborers has been reunited with its rightful owners.

This is NOT the understanding I take away from my model of Proportionalism. In my mind the multi-estate Proportialistic model achieves its goals when there is NOT a winner, it is in its most desirable and stable state when there is a tension and a balance between all parties. And at the end, in place of primacy of one estate, there is either agreement or stalemate and gridlock.

Understood through this lens:
I assume a balanced Proptionalist state is the ideal. I think of the other models as attempts at diagnosing a mental imbalance or neurosis.
Then imbalances towards any estate become an ism.

  • Too much focus on the real property estate ==> Feudalism
  • Too much focus on the capital and merchant class ==> Capitalism
  • Too much focus on the labor class ==> communism/socialism

and here were start running into a lack of words and vocabulary

  • Too much focus on the Visionary leader ==> Randian protagonist and a Nietzsche Ubermenche
  • Too much focus on the creative class ==> you get the DMCA and Gentrification of San Francisco.

I completely omitted the church, but that is there. Over focus on that ==> Theocracy.

I think this model gives you a lot of flexibility to understand the other models and their relationship.

But the big take-away, there is no struggle, there is no final state.
Tension and balance are the goals. And they are best created by a broadly democratic system, where unresolvable disagreements default to gridlock.

Q: You are going to have to deal with alienation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marx%27s_theory_of_alienation).  If anything came of Marx in way of a critique of Capitalism, it is alienation

As for alienation, how is that addressed. It seems to me clear that the solution has been and is non vocation, be it weekends, time at home,  retirement, hobbies, volunteerism. By carving out a specific work week and work hours, all workers can express their full individual non economic man identity.

The 40 hour work week and weekends with retirement at 65 allows for a fully formed non alienated worker. (or 32 in Europe with restricted work email rights)

Q: does this answer the question of why didn’t capitalism collapse?

A: Yes in two ways.
First, the current system is not Capitalist.

To my understanding, capitalism in Marx’s role as boogeyman is the primacy of the merchant class and specifically factory owners.

We have not been in a Capitalist Model in the Marxist sense for sometime.

Labor had a vote as well as capital, as well as all the other unknown to early 20th century man estates. This broadly democratic political system was able to abandon the capitalist system and replace it overtime with a new economic model. One that evolved organically, and had no father in the traditional sense in the way that Communism has Marx, or The invisible hand of the market has Adam Smith.

Given that, the Proportionalist model accounts for all points of view, that seems to be a better description of what the western model became.

A system where the capitalist estate is running the show would not have child labor laws, would not have a 40 hour work week, would not have trade unions, would not have anti-trust regulators, would not have consumer protection, would not have occupational safety regulations or many other modern governmental controls to balance and mediate the needs of the other estates.

Secondly, the system as implemented solves towards stability.
The democratic system in the US as it was created steps up in a novel solution to having one group assume a roles of primacy. The minority rights are protected by checks and balances, and by shredding the responsibilities for single functions into multiple competing organizations.

End result is when you ask “Why has one group not taken control?”
The answer is everyone has a vote. AND stalemate and gridlock is the solution.

So, in the US system if you don’t have a large majority at every level, national, state, local then you cannot impose the will of even a majority.

That means that distortions towards labor or capital or any other estate are corrected towards a balance by a unification of the other estates. There is a strong normative function that seeks to balance the tensions internal to the system.

Q: this blog post is too long.

A: Yeah, I can see that, I am still working out my process, in the future I will structure a post like this more a three parter, with

  • part one: Thesis and my concept
  • part two: arguments and making my case
  • part three: Implications if my thesis is correct
  • and the a Q&A like this if needed.

Q: in the header is that a joke?

A: yes, thanks for getting it.

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