April 15, 2012

It is important to realize that there is a difference between capital and money. Money can be viewed as an object-in-itself. It can be horded. In fact, as Marx points out, any commodity can be horded, but it does have practical and aesthetic limits placed on its refluxive value that capital does not have. It may be necessary to keep some negotiator of exchange like money alive in local economies. The beauty of local currency is that it cannot become reflux. It is locked into the reality of a community of exchange. What can we do about money in the global movement of exchange that we see as essential to the whole system?

Remember too that we are not only interested in the negative moment of restricting consolidation, we are also interested in the positive moment of increasing the distributing essential goods and services like medicine and technology that expand beyond the local level.

We imagine this century to mark the start of a whole new economic system with a new economic logic. In fact, we can’t imagine how we will survive without one. This is not a political discussion in any way that we have had one in the past two centuries.

One way to start is to celebrate and support new forms of economic pleasure–new forms of reflux as I call them. We can begin by celebrating the economies of community that spring up around us.

Many may argue that the economy can’t progress unless the reward of refluxive capital is a possibility.  This ignores the fact that much of the wealth of the world is “undeserved” to the point that 6 members of the Wall-mart fortune are worth as much as the lowest 30% of all Americans.  Even if we argue that work or gifts should be rewarded, this is a relative statement within a society and does not mean financial power should be used as a primary term of reflux.

I would say that all economies demand a refluxive component which is only to say that all economies have an axis of pleasure which drives the desires of that economy.   But these do not have to be capital.  They do not need to lead to the hoarding of value.  Love, beauty, praise, memory, etc. are all refluxive values.  Capital and power are the two that are not stable.


Reflux and the Cosmopalitan

January 14, 2012

It is perhaps in the area of cosmopolitan desire where is is hard to imagine progress without capitalism. Remember by the cosmopolitan we are talking about economic activity that for practical matters we treat as “human.” These activities include health care, communication, and information. How motivate people to create such things unless there is a promise of theoretically unlimited profit. Certainly we know that competition isn’t the answer to the harmful effects here. Ending reflux does not rule out equality exactly, but we must end a system that inherently allows when those who are not creative to amass a fortune from an economy that systematically falls to distribute goods more justly. I don’t have a solution to this, but it is one of our essential problems.


January 12, 2012

What we call the “culture” should be the main restrain on the capital reflux found in areas of regular consumption. Culture should shape the desires and expectations of local use like food, clothing, and housing. The confusion of culture and capitalism is one of the central dysfunctions of the current system. Culture is also a form of reflux that potentially can elevates daily functions to a sense of meaning, joy, and celebration.

It is important to note that there is nothing, or at least very little, in the economy that is pure repetition. Breathing is perhaps pure repetition, but the closer to repetition it becomes the more it drops out of the “economic.” Something like eating or dress is highly repetitious and can be seen as potentially very local. Still it is essential to see what is “refluxive,” or perhaps what is “surplus,” even in the most repetitive human experiences. Our economy must balance both.

In a similar way, we see forms of capital as refluxive–tending toward increase with little or no repetition. We must also guard against these forms of increase which ultimately are destructive to the whole economy.

Anyone who reads this and has looked back on past blogs sees that I do not have a vision or belief about economics. At this point what I have is a desire to move economics toward a self-perpetuating system beyond any structure of government. Capitalism does this, but in a way that is harmful, unfair, and unsustainable. I would encourage this open discussion and invite you both to comment and pass on anything of interest in this effort.


January 4, 2012

One the principle binaries that must function in our thinking is the relationship between the local and the cosmopolitan.  There is a fundamental difference between local human wants that are defined by the cultural and social context where they are shaped and realized and those that seem to transcend any particular moment and situations.  Desires (like health c are, education and, at least certain technologies) speak to our humanness.  There in no reason to homogenizes these differences, even if  they call out to be resolved on a philosophical level.


December 29, 2011

While I have argued that distributive economies must be heterogeneous, I would also argue that there are at least to economic premises that should cut through all variations of the economy. They are 1) the concept of sustainability and  2) the acknowledgement of commonwealth. Much more needs to be written about sustainability, but I would only say here that it is not “sameness.” It is not a mechanical or scientific principle of invariability. Sustainability does not oppose forms of growth and development and, in fact, in human systems, the two are always intertwined. The second–acknowledgement of commonwealth–is not a precise measure, but a governing function of our thinking.

Occupy the System

November 29, 2011

I support the Occupy Movement and commend them for keeping a vagueness in their message rather that immediately working for some definite political end. It is essential that we keep an awareness of the inequities of wealth always present in our social and political discourse.

Still, the next step is to move from the critique to the positive work of creating a system that rationally and coherently distributes goods more fairly. This cannot be created in the mind, but only in the shared and practical realities of our daily lives.