22 August 2013

The Length of Your Arm

So, I'm listening to an audiobook of a bio of Karl Marx by Jonathan Sperber.  I'm finding it quite a slog.  But not because of the "spectre" of Marx, and in fact "the times" in which Marx lived and wrote certainly erase the idea of Marx as this titanic bogeyman--that is, the book shows him as a man among other men who were also intent on changing the world.

I can't think that Marx would be read today but for his greatness as a man who understood the dehumanizing factors of economics and particularly money and used a fertile literary imagination (and training) and talent to convey this.

That is, the economics, as always, reveals the view from heaven.  The position of gazing down on "flowing" streams of money via capitalized institutions always creates a kind of idealized "seeing" or what I like to think of as a Newtonian economics.  Large systems are visibly "law bound."

But exchange is always between and among men.  And because of this it offers a more quantum relationship.  That is, there is no formula for rational money flow and no formula for a "good" at the direction of capital.

This seems well understood by economists who are honest.  What attempts are made to create an "ideal" have to do with the "leveling" of bad or selfish or greedy acts that actually upend capitalist logic, but "in the long run" will even out like Newtonian orbital paths.  This is the fiction of even-handedness by a benevolent system.  A system of "justice" that passeth understanding.

The long run...that's the give-away.  Why do I want to accept a long run argument from men who are in the short run putting their boots on my neck?

This is the intention, I want to say, behind an idea of socialism or of communism WITHOUT centralization and governing systems that are despotic.  That is the idea behind each "exchange" needing to be face-to-face and responsible.

To avoid the abstraction of mediation--money and machines...

This is our true work--undoing these wrong turns--erasing the irresponsibility of money and machines and returning ourselves to our arms' reach.

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