Ming the Mechanic:
Monday, September 23, 2002

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Monday, September 23, 20022002-09-24 00:32
9 comments
pictureby Flemming Funch

  • Its a bit pathetic, but it seems like the only place I can find a proper definition of capital and capitalism is in Karl Marx' Das Kapital. He explains it clearly and simply, albeit he's a bit longwinded. Capital is simply money that is circulated in a different way in relation to commodities. The most basic pattern, that most people recognize from their daily lives, is C-M-C. Commodities to Money to Commodities. You've got some stuff, you sell some of it, and then you can buy some other stuff. Or you perform a job, you get some money, and you spend it on buying stuff. You know, a paycheck-to-paycheck wage slave kind of thing. Or the old-fashioned going-to-the-market kind of thing, where you sell one of your cows so you can buy some more chicken.

    Capitalism is born when the pattern instead is M-C-M. That is, you've got some money, you invest it in some stuff, and you sell it again, getting back more money than you started with. Money is transformed into capital the moment you buy goods or services, not because you really need or want them, but because you're planning on making a profit from them. So, capitalists are people who look at the world that way, looking for opportunities to get more back than they give out.

    Obviously a market of buyers and sellers will help a capitalist operate. But it is just as obvious that a free market is not what is required. On the contrary, to do really well, you'd want to have an advantage that nobody else has, and you'd do better if somebody can skew the rules in your favor. Best of all is a monopoly on something that everybody has to have.

  • Excellent article by John Perry Barlow: Why Spy? about open source intelligence. Robert Steele whom he mentions, is in the NCN directory and I exchanged a few messages with him years ago.

    John graciously came and talked about a new civilization at the opening of a community center we had in Venice, California a few years ago. I gotta put up the video at some point. He's one of my favorite people.

  • Interesting paper about the subject of Being Real from MIT Media Lab. It goes in depth on many of the issues involved in virtual interactions with others.

    "If only one person knows the truth, it is still the truth" -- Gandhi


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