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Conceptual Guerilla's "The Mythology of Wealth".

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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 09:58 PM
Original message
Conceptual Guerilla's "The Mythology of Wealth".

With nifty tidbits like:

"Justifications for elites and social hierarchy goes all the way back to the pharaohs. For 6000 years, society has organized itself into social classes. The people who do the work are always in the lower classes. The harder and nastier the work, the lower down in the social order you sink. The people who dont do this work must justify their position. They do it by establishing their worthiness, and a variety of cultural devices have been concocted over the millennia to accomplish this. The pharaohs, you may recall, werent people at all. They were gods. Roman emperors likewise had themselves deified, and before that Roman Senators justified their position as patricians. Basically, my great great granddaddy was a big shot, therefore I should be too."

Gee. Tht'd be our own lil' el Busho, no?

"According to the new mythology, human beings are economic competitors. The marketplace is the new Valhalla, where economic man frolics. The market we are told, contains its own rationality. It rewards the efficient. It rewards that list of virtues George Will cites, like thrift, delayed gratification and of course, hard work. Free competition in the market place rationally selects the more worthy competitor. Thus, the wealthy are the superior competitors who have earned their elite status. If you havent succeeded it can only be because of your inferiority."

Exactly! Loser...

"The cheap-labor conservative minimalist government social Darwinian world view is just plain bullshit. It builds a new class structure, which just like the ancient class structures, is based on a set of mythological concepts. In fact, those mythological concepts like property rights, contract rights, corporations, stocks, bonds, and even money itself are socially created to regulate distribution and access to resources. The market place is a human creation. The details of how it operates are determined by the particulars of the institutions on which it is built. It is instituted among men, and if its workings become destructive of the lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness of people subject to it, it may be altered or abolished."

Any thoughts or comments on this would be appreciated. Also, does anyone know who "Conceptual Guerilla" is? The "about" section doesn't say much, is he/she a DU'er?

PS~ I'd definately reccomend reading the last paragraph...

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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good read JanMichael.
Yes, the ruling classes would like the rest of us to think only they are entitled to the best of everything as well as the fruits of our labor. We have to change this. I for one, would like to see the very wealthy taxed for all the excess property and excess ownership of assets they own. That would be a start in putting living space back in the marketplace and spreading the wealth.
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KG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 10:42 PM
Response to Original message
2. what's 'up' with
'all' those 'quotation marks' anywho?
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 10:44 PM
Response to Original message
3. GMT bed time kick
good stuff JM. Sadly on discovering the enlightenment of socialism, it seems that there is nothing but an infinite struggle with no victory in a world of increasing repression.... its almost depressing.
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Jose Diablo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 11:30 PM
Response to Original message
4. This is one of my favorite sites
I only know he/she is some form of consultant. This is from some of the posts in that forum.

I think he/she posts here, at least I have seen some posts that remind me or make me think he/she is posting from the 'speech pattern' you see at the forum.

As for the last paragraph, yes indeed, any of those mythological 'truths' the RW spouts can be changed. It is a class struggle we are in right now. Actually, the struggle never stopped, it was only barely balanced for a very short period to about 40 years ago. The neocons are nothing new. Same old shit, trying get something for nothing. Trying to make their injustice into a 'natural' order of things.
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-04 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Mythological 'Truths'...I guess that's why so many non-fundamentalist...
...people lean Left.

As for me there are very few sociological (Unless the nature abhoring vacuum thing works in the social world...) "Truths", everything is up for grabs.
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-04 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
6. The more fundamental myth is the Myth of Success
Much of what is wrong today goes back to the 1690's, when the leading edge of Western culture gave up what it considered superstition in favor of a philosophy of strict empiricism. For an empiricist, the basic questions are no longer "Is this morally justified?" or "How will this affect my karma?" Instead, the empiricism wants to know, "Does this work?" and "Which outcome is quantifiably superior?"

It took a while for empiricism to take over completely, but by the late 1800's, the transition was complete. In Darwinian evolution, the only law is "survival of the fittest" -- which is to say, if you survive and the next guy doesn't, you must have been superior to begin with. (A premise that doesn't really stand up to more detailed consideration.)

In Social Darwinism, the parallel assumption was that if you were rich and powerful, it was because you deserved it. Even if you were only an inheritor of wealth and power, you could pride yourself that you came from a superior bloodline that deserved to be maintained. The poor, on the other hand, were weak, shiftless, and probably inclined to marry their cousins.

The really funny part is that the fundamentalists, for all their hatred of Darwin, share this same Myth of Success. Their philosophical ancestors of the early 1700's -- people like Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards -- adopted empiricism as enthusiastically as anyone, and the result was a religion in which worldly success became a mark of divine approval. If you were rich, it meant God loved you, while the poor were clearly morally deficient.

And the Myth of Success has also been the primary myth of America. America has prevailed in wars and dominates the world's economy because we are evolutionarily superior and/or God's chosen. In America, there are no artificial barriers to success -- if you are worthy, you will succeed, and if you fail despite being an American, you were not worthy. And so forth.

With any luck, this entire archaic doctrine of worldly success may be on its last legs -- and if the coming economic crashout has any bright side, it may be that it at least serves to uncouple success from worthiness. As far as I'm concerned, it can't happen too soon.

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camero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-04 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Calvinism is the birth of empiricism.
Exactly. Also notice that they call the rich the "pillars of the commmunity". Another myth.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-04 02:07 PM
Response to Original message
7. Hmmm...
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Beam Me Up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-04 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
8. Interesting read. Thanks! n/t
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-04 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Much more than just
"interesting." IMHO.
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camero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-04 09:02 PM
Response to Original message
11. This is what it's all about
Government created property rights. Government can modify them. Government created the very market place where your fortune was made. Therefore, government can regulate the market place it created. Government can levy taxes against some of your fortune, and use that money to build other infrastructure that benefits somebody else. Government is not limited to creating the infrastructure you benefit from. Did government create corporations to promote large scale industrial enterprises? No problem. Government can create the infrastructure for labor unions and collective bargaining. Is the industrial enterprise you own stock in discharging toxic waste into the local river? Government facilitated your ability to build such a factory, and the government can tell you to clean up your mess.

Who is the government? We are.
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