Saturday, March 9, 2013


While reading an article on Capitalism and Inequality I found myself starting to come to the conclusion that there is some ingrained desire for inequality within the human condition itself.  Since I've been in a Marx mood lately my mind immeditily turned to The Communist Manifesto which is pretty much the book on the subject.  The manifesto itself came out over 100 years ago and yet it still feels current to this day.  Only just recently did it start to show its age and that is mostly because the technologies inherent in the computer and the internet have allowed us to take back many of the means of production that were once in the hands of the bourgeoisie.  However that's its own topic.

When Marx states that, "All human history can be defined in terms of class struggle" I have always agreed with that up until a point.  It is obviously a false binary but it is a useful one none the less that works in the majority of the cases and moves things along.  However, Marx never did properly address where the basic inequality in society came from and I think that's important when trying to suss out how deal with each other as a society and what amount of social safety net is reasonable for a society to provide.  Or you know if you are setting up an anarchist commune or a genuine commi goverernment it is important to figure out if we have a desire for inequality or a need and how much of a need it is and how much work is it going to take to overcome.

Lets gets some evidence out here.  Most (all?) children need to be taught how to share.  I think that is the most telling piece of evidence right there.  Child sharing is good for the group only because it creates an atmosphere of mutual entertainment ie sharing toys.  Sharing food, resources, et cetera is handled by the child's caretakers so it isn't like the need for possesion is nessisary for the child's survival and yet that need for possesion is present sometimes very strongly.  The counter argument is, "well in times of need people pull together and share food and stuff" but that isn't nessisarily true.  It is especially not true when someone realized they have the physical strength or resources (a gun) to force other people to give more than they receive.  This is the prototypical apocalyptic dilemma but it is also the basis of military dictatorships and every other damn thing.

Then there is slavery.  It is amazing how we managed to use our unique ability of rationalization to convince ourseivles that the different looking ones are different and as a result they can be treated however they want.

This still function along more closely defined stratas as well I just can't think of anything.  I guess gang wars would be a pretty good example.  Can you imagine what the inner cities would be like if gangs were devoted to improving their local environment instead of enacting operation ghetto storm against each other constantly?

The self destructive need for inequality sits at the center of these and thousands of other issue.  There is also the semi self destructive fear of inequality where one is afraid of giving to much and ending up poorer from it and since there is this hardwired desire for inequality they might not end up helping them. 

However our desire for inequality isn't a compulsion.  It isn't a mandatory part of our life.  It can be beaten with empathy, self awareness, education, and of course effort.  Should we do that only then will the bourgeoisie fall, anarchist communes will work, and capitalism will be less horrible for those of us who clean your dishes and take out your garbage.

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