Philosophy, August 11th

“Then the good and wise judge whom we are seeking is not this man, but the other; for vice cannot know virtue too, but a virtuous nature, educated by time, will acquire a knowledge both of virtue and vice: the virtuous, and not the vicious man has wisdom – in my opinion.” – Plato, The Republic

“Our capitalist, who is at home in vulgar economics, may perhaps say that he advanced his money with the intention of making more money out of it. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and he might just as well have intended to make money without producing at all. He makes threats. He will not be caught napping again. In future he will buy the commodities in the market, instead of manufacturing them himself. But if all his brother capitalists were to do the same, where would he find his commodities on the market? And he cannot eat his money. He recites the catechism: ‘Consider my abstinence. I might have squandered the 15 shillings, but instead I consumed it productively and made yarn with it.’ Very true; and as a reward he is now in possession of good yarn instead of a bad conscience. As for playing the part of a miser, it would never do for him to relapse into such bad ways; we have already seen what such asceticism leads to. Besides, where there is nothing, the king has lost his rights; whatever the merits of his abstinence there is no money there to recompense him, because the value of the product is merely the sum of the values thrown into the process of production. Let him therefore console himself with the reflection that virtue is its own reward. But no, on the contrary, he becomes insistent. The yarn is of no use to him, he says. He produced it in order to sell it. In that case let him sell it, or, easier still, let him in future produce only things he needs himself, a remedy already prescribed by his personal physician MacCulloch as being of proven efficacy against an epidemic of over-production. Now our capitalist grows defiant. ‘Can the worker produce commodities out of nothing, merely by using his arms and legs? Did I not provide him with the materials through which, and in which alone, his labor could be embodied? And as the greater part of society consists of such impecunious creatures, have I not rendered society an incalculable service by providing my instruments of production, my cotton and my spindle, and the worker too, for have I not provided him with the means of subsistence? Am I to be allowed nothing in return for all this service?’ But has the worker not performed an equivalent service in return, by changing his cotton and his spindle into yarn? In any case, here the question of service does not arise. A service is nothing other than the useful effect of a use-value, be it that of a commodity, or that of the labor. But here we are dealing with exchange-value. The capitalist paid to the worker a value of 3 shillings, and the worker gave him back an exact equivalent in the value of 3 shillings added to the cotton: he gave him value for value. Our friend, who has up till now displayed all the arrogance of capital, suddenly takes on the unassuming demeanor of one of his own workers, and exclaims: ‘Have I myself not worked? Have I not performed the labor of superintendence, of overseeing the spinner? And does not this labor, too, create value?’ The capitalist’s own overseer and manager shrugs their shoulders. In the meantime, with a hearty laugh, he recovers his composure. The whole litany he has just recited was simply meant to pull the wool over our eyes. He himself does not care two pence for it. He leaves this and similar subterfuges and conjuring tricks to the professors of political economy, who are paid for it. He himself is a practical man, and although he does not always consider what he says outside his business, within his business he knows what he is doing.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“But it is impossible for people to live together if they are not agreeable to each other and similar in their tastes, because this seems to be the essence of comradeship.” – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Thus, the precondition for the existence of a higher humanity is not the state, but the nation possessing the necessary ability.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

“The transformation of scattered private property, arising from individual labor, into capitalist private property is, naturally, a process, incomparably more protracted, violent, and difficult, than the transformation of capitalistic private property, already practically resting on socialized production, into socialized property. In the former case, we had the expropriation of the mass of the people by a few usurpers; in the latter, we have the expropriation of a few usurpers by the mass of the people.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“Because of the liberty which reigns there – they have a complete assortment of constitutions; and he who has a mind to establish a State, as we have been doing, must go to a democracy as he would go to a bazaar at which they sell them, and pick out the one that suits him; then, when he has made his choice, he may found his State.” – Plato, The Republic

“Money is necessarily a thing which belongs to society. This is one of the great truths of civilization which has been generally overlooked. For this whole question of the rightfulness of interest turns on the question, “What is money?” So long as the people shall continue to consider money as a thing of itself objectively – why, there is no hope for humanity.” – Benjamin Tucker, Instead of a Book

“Had I been counted a fool by knights, or people of fashion, birth and generosity, I should have deemed myself irreparably affronted; but my being regarded as a madman, by bookworms who never entered or trod the paths of chivalry, I value not a farthing: a knight I am, and a knight I shall die, according to the pleasure of the Almighty. Some choose the spacious field of proud ambition; others take that base and servile adulation; a third set follow the paths of deceitful hypocrisy; and a fourth proceed in that of true religion; but I, by the influence of my stars, pursue the narrow track of knight-errantry, for the exercise of which, I undervalue fortune in the chance of honor. I have assisted the aggrieved, redressed wrongs, chastised the insolent, overcome giants, and overthrown hobgoblins. I am enamored, for no other reason but because it is necessary that knights-errant should be in love; and this being the case, I am not a vicious libertine, but a chaste platonic admirer. My intention I always direct to a worthy aim, namely, to do good unto all men, and harm to no creature. Whether or not he who thinks, acts, and speaks in this manner, deserves to be called a fool, let your graces determine.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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