Wednesday, June 1, 2022

1007: The birth of Capitalism....

 Studying the period 1800 - 1900 is fascinating. Today I began to understand how we became capitalists.

 The word 'capitalist' is old. It originates from the Latin word "caput", which means  "head". The more heads,  that is livestock, you have, the richer you are.


The initial use of the term "capitalism" in its modern sense is attributed to Louis Blanc in 1850: "What I call 'capitalism' that is to say the appropriation of capital by some to the exclusion of others"

Louis Jean Joseph Charles Blanc (/1811 – 1882) was a French politician and historian. A socialist who favored reforms, he called for the creation of cooperatives in order to guarantee employment for the urban poor. 


What we have to think about is the relations between freedom, democracy, capitalism, private property and natural rights.


Let us focus on capitalism today. Look at the year. It is 1850 and that tells the whole story. Who ruled the world? As usual the rich and influential people, the elite, aristocracy.


But before 1850 people were rich and influential because they were landowners. The more land the richer and on the land workers creating their wealth.


With the Industrial Revolution, mass production in big factories, and the growth of the population, created the situation that you were rich when you owned the means of production.


Now the wealth was generated by the masses of workers in the factories. To belong to the elite in those days meant to own and make a lot of money like it still is today.


The landed gentry had become a kind of museum piece and modern capitalism became a matter of big money, stocks, banks and the like.


The farmworker in 1750 may have had some respect for his master, but the poorly paid factory worker only felt the exploitation to which he was at the mercy of a rich owner of the factory.


Who had a say in society and politics? If freedom meant civil freedom, the right to live your own life it should be at least a decent life.


This development created at least two huge gaps: one between the rich and the poor and one between those with the right to vote 


and those who didn't have these rights. That was actually more than 50% of the population, that is among others, especially women.


Consequently, we see two social battles, one for universal women's suffrage and the other against the exploitation of the workers.


In the period 1880-1920, radicals, socialists, populists and progressives were in favor of democratic reforms. 


They often fought side by side with suffragettes for women's rights, and usually defended other measures designed to strengthen popular control of the government. 


But they focus even more on extending democracy into the economic domain, maybe the most important political change.


Social reformers declared that people could not be truly free if they had no control over their working lives. 


Freedom, therefore, meant more than giving all people the right to vote. It also required changes in the economic system to make workers less dependent on factory owners and the financial elites.


Behold the roots of our current society. The move to connect democracy and economy has been even so successful, 


that economics has become the model for social politics, so that even hospital managers nowadays speak in terms of product groups, production and turnover and targets.


Thank you for your attention....


Main Sources:

MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Annelien de Dijn: "Freedom. An unruly history".  2020

TABLE OF CONTENT -----------------------------------------------------------------  

  1 - 100 Philosophers                         9 May 2009  Start of

  2 - 25+ Women Philosophers                       10 May 2009  this blog

  3 - 25 Adventures in Thinking                       10 May 2009

  4 - Modern Theories of Ethics                       29 Oct  2009

  5 - The Ideal State                                               24 Febr 2010   /   234

  6 - The Mystery of the Brain                                  3 Sept 2010   /   266

  7 - The Utopia of the Free Market                       16 Febr 2012    /   383

  8. - The Aftermath of Neo-liberalism                      5 Sept 2012   /   413

  9. - The Art Not to Be an Egoist                             6 Nov  2012   /   426                        

10  - Non-Western Philosophy                               29 May 2013    /   477

11  -  Why Science is Right                                      2 Sept 2014   /   534      

12  - A Philosopher looks at Atheism                        1 Jan  2015   /   557

13  - EVIL, a philosophical investigation                 17 Apr  2015   /   580                

14  - Existentialism and Free Will                             2 Sept 2015   /   586         

15 - Spinoza                                                             2 Sept 2016   /   615

16 - The Meaning of Life                                        13 Febr 2017   /   637

17 - In Search of  my Self                                        6 Sept 2017   /   670

18 - The 20th Century Revisited                              3 Apr  2018    /   706

19 - The Pessimist                                                  11 Jan 2020    /   819

20 - The Optimist                                                     9 Febr 2020   /   824

21 - Awakening from a Neoliberal Dream                8 Oct  2020   /   872

22 - A World Full of Patterns                                    1 Apr 2021    /   912

23 - The Concept of Freedom                                  8 Jan 2022    /   965

The Discussion

[13:13] herman Bergson: The most important issue here is how democracy and economy became intertwined

[13:13] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm interesting

[13:14] herman Bergson: Today all political debates are about how much does it cost and Is it good for economic growth

[13:14] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sssss

[13:14] oola Neruda: I live on the East coast...USA...and some of the VERY FIRST mills were built here... so the "history tours" are abundant... good news and awkward or bad news... it is all wrapped up in the factories

[13:14] Jane Fossett: The Union movement had a big impact on politics in the US in the early 1900's, but that has progressively diminished in recent decades

[13:15] herman Bergson: That, Jane is the most amazing development

[13:15] herman Bergson: Not only in the US....

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:15] herman Bergson: In the Netherlands we had a socialist prime minister...former CEO of a Union....

[13:15] Jane Fossett: In the US the argument is that Unions are 'socialist' and undemocratic

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ssssssss

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its the other way around!

[13:16] oola Neruda: Jane is absolutely right

[13:16] herman Bergson: But he adopted the Reagan / Thatcher neoliberal economic polity....

[13:16] Jane Fossett: right

[13:16] herman Bergson: and thus ruined unions here too

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but the factory and company owners including amazon cant continue their slavery methods then if unions exist

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): which is why they are against it, they cant use their workers

[13:17] Jane Fossett: its an ongoing struggle

[13:17] oola Neruda: Amazon for example

[13:17] Jane Fossett: yup

[13:17] herman Bergson: The weird thing is that politics has broken down the welfare state and adopted the neoliberal view, you are a winner or a loser

[13:18] herman Bergson: If you are a loser it only can be your own fault

[13:18] herman Bergson: a completely a-social attitude

[13:18] oola Neruda: Trump gathers those around him

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): if you are poor its your fault, now go and starve to death in the gutter!

[13:18] Jane Fossett: this is why the US has no national health system

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its only for the rich

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): only the rich basically have right to good health

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same with education

[13:19] herman Bergson: compassion, empathy, social solidarity ...never been strong in the US, stronger in Europe, have left the scene these days

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cause human value = wallet size

[13:19] Jane Fossett: yes, education too

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sad truth there

[13:19] Anna Adamant Albion (anna.adamant) is offline.

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): u cant measure a life in money but US does

[13:20] herman Bergson: the Socialist party in the Netherlands had in the 1970s 53 they only have 12

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): THAT is capitalism on 200 %

[13:20] herman Bergson: We do here in Europe too Bejiita

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed, not as extreme but the problem is here also

[13:21] herman Bergson: Everything has to be dealt with by the free market

[13:21] Jane Fossett: Thomas Piketty's recent books on Capitalism reinforce the point that capitalism fuels economic disparity

[13:21] oola Neruda: the concept of capitalism is not the culprit... it is the people/greed... that make it so

[13:21] Jane Fossett: its hard to argue against it

[13:21] herman Bergson: Oh yes Jane, that is as clear as water....

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed capitalism is one thing but  EVERYTHING has a price

[13:22] Jane Fossett: so what do we do...

[13:22] herman Bergson: also in such a rich country as the Netherlands the gap between poor and rich is increasing

[13:23] herman Bergson: First of all....the philosophy about the question What is a company.....

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): an organisation/collection of people wanting to make money

[13:23] herman Bergson: At this moment the answer is... The goal of a company is to make as much money as possible to please the share and stockholders

[13:23] Jane Fossett: :-)

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): exactly

[13:24] herman Bergson: That has to change....

[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep!

[13:24] herman Bergson: The goal of a company should be a social goal too

[13:24] herman Bergson: step one...

[13:24] oola Neruda: YES!

[13:24] Jane Fossett: Any social group shoup have common ethical principles and work for the collective good

[13:25] herman Bergson: the goal of a company is to make money and to offer those who create that money (the workers on the floor) a decent living...

[13:25] herman Bergson: That means decent wages in relation to the profit of the company

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the last part is important, EVERYONE should have a good share then, not just bosses and shareholders

[13:26] herman Bergson: Goal two is to make enough money to keep production and development going

[13:26] oola Neruda is offline.

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): also important, a nice share should also go back into the company to improove it, buy better machines, develop new products to gain for the customers ect

[13:26] herman Bergson: Goal three is to make a decent profit to repay the shareholders.... not as much as possible, but at a decent rate

[13:27] Jane Fossett: but... but the bosses never think they make enough profit. There must be a common ethical foundation.

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): there need to be a balance

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ys

[13:27] herman Bergson: That is the point Jane....

[13:28] Jane Fossett: not sure we have such a common consensus

[13:28] herman Bergson: Self supporting companies...there have been succesful experiments....

[13:28] herman Bergson: No we haven't

[13:28] herman Bergson: We still live by the idiocy that the economy has to grow

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): MORE MORE MOOOOOOOOOORE!

[13:28] herman Bergson: Not just to break even

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and forever

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): eternal growth

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): = impossible

[13:29] Jane Fossett: and efforts to advance workers rights are often called "Class Warfare"

[13:29] herman Bergson: We simple plunder this globe to make this happen

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so that the boss can buy new  Lambos like another buys candy

[13:29] herman Bergson: Indeed Jane, the subject of the next lecture I guess:-)

[13:29] Jane Fossett: :-)

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sss

[13:30] herman Bergson: It is super complex....what I say is daydreaming, I know....

[13:30] herman Bergson: But the economists who say the same are already there...take Michael Sandel, Pickety...and others

[13:31] herman Bergson: But the firt thing that has to be re-introduced in economical thinking is ethics

[13:31] Jane Fossett: yes

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): right now its just money shoveling

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): one shovel after another

[13:32] herman Bergson: I once heard that it was a course at MBA schools in the US, but because there was no profit in it they took it out of the curriculum

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ssssss

[13:33] Jane Fossett: haha

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): making money is indeed all that matters over there!

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): im not surprised

[13:34] herman Bergson: This world however is still so addicted to making money, that it will be a hard job to find a therapy

[13:35] herman Bergson: I once was a visiting professor at an art school in New York

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well good luck find any therapist, he also want to make big dollars

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): = stuck in  a paradox

[13:35] herman Bergson: The students were eager to show me their sketchbooks and work....

[13:35] Jane Fossett: yes, Piketty's point-- we will have increased economic division

[13:36] herman Bergson: and the main thing they talked about was how much money they could make with their work

[13:36] Jane Fossett: :-) yes

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well they are brainwashed into it from birth

[13:36] herman Bergson: Bejiita...we all are

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that money is everything that matters

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well more or less but im not greedy at all at same time

[13:37] herman Bergson: I know you are a saint just like me ^_^

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sure i want a good buffer but as it is now im more then satisfied

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i have enough

[13:37] Jane Fossett: haha

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:38] Jane Fossett: I want more but it helps to be ethical too

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well i know i think how it should be at least

[13:38] herman Bergson: In that I agree with you Bejiita....there is the option to say...I am content, I have enough.....

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed Jane

[13:38] herman Bergson: That should be the general attitude

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well its the old say sharing is caring

[13:39] Jane Fossett: another old saying is 'everything has its price'

[13:39] Vonne (viva.enzo) is online.

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true also even it shouldn't

[13:39] herman Bergson: But for today the most interesting issue is that you can see the birthplace of our current capitalism in the Industrial Revolution and the moneymaking there of

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for ex u cant measure a life in money

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ect

[13:40] Jane Fossett: agreed which is maybe why health care should be a common goal

[13:40] herman Bergson: for instance

[13:40] herman Bergson: lie education

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:40] Jane Fossett: yes

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): give everyone a chance to a good life and future

[13:41] herman Bergson: the funny part is that we are super socialists when it is about paying for police , FBI, fire departments and so on :-)

[13:42] herman Bergson: But when it concerns healthcare we forget our socialist attitudes

[13:42] Ciska Riverstone is online.

[13:42] herman Bergson: that is to the US

[13:42] Jane Fossett: equal opportunity, education, nutrition, heath and defense seem common principles most could agree on

[13:42] herman Bergson: Europe has general healthcare for everyone

[13:42] Jane Fossett: and yes, US has missed the mark

[13:43] herman Bergson: That should be possible indeed Jane

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:43] herman Bergson: But at the moment nothing is possible in the US

[13:44] herman Bergson: I love to watch all the news

[13:44] Jane Fossett: when politics is deadlocked, the rich just continue to get richer.

[13:44] herman Bergson: A bitter situation...

[13:44] herman Bergson: That is what has happened indeed

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm big problem :(

[13:45] Jane Fossett: :-(

[13:45] herman Bergson: But let's not go down that is long and winding and does not lead to a door at all :-)

[13:46] herman Bergson: We see capitalism emerge and today we see what it has brought us

[13:46] herman Bergson: Good things an d bad things

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess thats the case

[13:47] herman Bergson: on the one hand prosperity on the other hand a depleated planet and endangered climate

[13:47] Jane Fossett: it needs restraints to allow all to benefit

[13:47] herman Bergson: That will be the task for the future of humanity Jane

[13:47] Jane Fossett: sigh yup

[13:48] herman Bergson: AT some moments I am happy I am 72

[13:48] herman Bergson: And yet I have a positive feeling seeing the grandchildren

[13:49] herman Bergson: Still believing in the ingenuity of homo sapiens

[13:49] Jane Fossett: haha I wish I believed more

[13:49] herman Bergson: It is too easy to become cynical, Jane

[13:50] Jane Fossett: Religion was once a source of ethics and principle

[13:50] herman Bergson: We'll need all our creativity to make it

[13:50] Jane Fossett: I think that's far from true now

[13:51] herman Bergson: Yes....but  I wonder if that is such a bad thing....

[13:51] Jane Fossett: oh I agree we are better without it :-)

[13:51] herman Bergson: The French revolution already began formulating Human Rights....

[13:51] Jane Fossett: but it leave a void

[13:51] herman Bergson: I disagree

[13:52] herman Bergson: why is there a void in my head and ethics because there isn't a religion inside????

[13:52] Jane Fossett: French Revolution didn't do so well...

[13:52] herman Bergson: The revolution as such, no...

[13:53] herman Bergson: But a lot of ideas are worth saving

[13:53] Jane Fossett: we need a new common synthesis \

[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): religion belonging to the past since long i agree, like look at islam countries including Afghanistan, they live like its the middle ages and they want to, thats the talibans wanting to

[13:53] herman Bergson: yes...and it is not easy to find one

[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its hindering our development

[13:54] Jane Fossett: yup

[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): when people want to live in the past forever

[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): believing in magics and supernaturals

[13:54] herman Bergson: Look at it as a Gaussian Curve

[13:55] herman Bergson: there are extremes but there is a huge common ground

[13:55] Jane Fossett: yes we need to find consensus.

[13:56] herman Bergson: As I have said before....

[13:56] herman Bergson: We are able to see the problems....

[13:56] oola Neruda is online.

[13:56] herman Bergson: and we are inclined to wish for a solution within our lifetime

[13:56] herman Bergson: But look at history.....

[13:57] herman Bergson: It took more than 2500 years or more to get to a social and political organisation we have now

[13:57] herman Bergson: welcome back made me worry

[13:57] bergfrau Apfelbaum: wb Oola:-)

[13:58] herman Bergson: So...some problems need centuries to come to a solution

[13:58] oola Neruda: thank you

[13:58] oola Neruda: sorry ... had to do that

[13:58] herman Bergson: we can put the first stones....other will have to build futher, like we stand on the shoulders of generations...

[13:59] druth Vlodovic is online.

[13:59] herman Bergson: That is why I still believe we can change the world

[13:59] herman Bergson: Amen :-))

[13:59] Jane Fossett: !!

[14:00] herman Bergson: Well...since we saved the world again today we deserve our sparetime now :-))

[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[14:00] Jane Fossett: :-)

[14:00] herman Bergson: Thank you all agin for your participation :-)

[14:00] Jane Fossett: Thank you

[14:00] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....

[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice as usual

[14:01] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you Herman and class! was again interesting


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