January 15th, 2006

sleeping doggy

Capitalism and Community

Elsewhere zarabee said:
Being a leftie, I'd like to say it's all the fault of capitalism privileging profit over community, but I know that's my personal political bias.

And she's right, it is, and wrong, it isn't.

That is, it _is_ her personal bias and it _isn't_ the fault of capitalism privileging profit over community.

Because capitalism doesn't privelige profit over community.  Instead it completely ignores community, effectively saying "If you want community, do it yourself."

So there's no reason why people under a capitalist system can't form a communist arrangement - and indeed, some people have.  There's no reason why they can't form tightly knit communities - and, indeed some people have.

What you can't do under capitalism is _force_ people to do those things.  So if people decide to _personally_ privilege profit over community, then it won't stop them doing so.  And many people choose to do so  - the vast majority of us.  Every time you choose to buy something made cheaply through mass production, rather than expensively through personal craftsmanship, you're choosing cheapness over community and the connection of people to production.

And of course, people choose that all the time, because they want a satisfactory job for themselves, but don't care about the people providing them with a service.  It's easier to go to a supermarket and pick up all your groceries at once, for less money, with swift service, than it is to go to a decent butcher/farmer's market/local grocery store.

And this isn't intrinsically a bad thing.  It's just a choice about what kind of society you want to live in.  A cheap, efficient one, where you get impersonal but reasonable service.  Or a personal, but expensive one, where people really care about the work they do.