Home Forum Political Economy Classifiying Creorders

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  • #248368

    Has there ever been a creorder that isn’t a power creoder?

    Has there ever been a creorder that is not hierarchical?

    At p. 305 of their 2009 book, Bichler and Nitzan refer to Ancient Athens as a “democratic” creorder, but was it?  Certainly it was for its citizens, but not for all of its subjects, e.g., the  helots, foreigners, women, and slaves constituting the large majority of Athens’ subjects.  If we can ignore the exploited/subjected classes, is capitalism a democratic or horizontal creorder (at least among capitalists)?

    If a creorder is neither hierarchical nor a power creorder, is it a creorder at all, i.e., can it create order?

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    • #248371

      1. Creorder means a (dynamic) process of creating a (static) structure (or a given pattern of change). In my view, the specific form of a given creorder is open ended.

      2. It is well known that Athenian democracy included only a fraction of the population, but its impulse was creating a society of citizens based on direct democracy (autonomy), philosophy (love of truth) and science (proof). All three components of this triangle assume and imply the absence of power. To me, articulating and fleshing out this triangle was a creorder.

      3. The relationships among capitalists are very different. Their key ritual is differential accumulation – which implies not only controlling the rest of society, but also creating a power hierarchy of capitalists and corporations. In other words, their very purpose, even among themselves, is power.

    • #248372

      After reading an overview of process philosophy, I’ve found it easier to simply refer to structures and processes in this kind of context.

      “Creorder means a process of creating a new or amended structure or process.” But nobody likes a gratuitous editor and my own prose is very poor.

      Even the most static-seeming objects and structures are still in process. If we accept that time “flows” [1], then time stops nowhere and in our (macro) physical world entropy, decay, decrease-in-order also cease nowhere, except locally as “growth” at the expense of greater entropy elsewhere.

      Nicholas Rescher’s introductions to Process Philosophy are interesting. One definition of objects is that they are “constellations of processes”. Even a rock is not as static as it seems. One could say that what appears as an object or a process to an observer is relative to the “rate of observations” made by the observer. Time lapse photography shows this. However, I found Rescher’s complete lack of attention to systems philosophy left process philosophy floating. It seemed to fail to touch the physical world properly.

      Note 1.

      “… confusing time with the flow of time.

      Time is just a coordinate like the spatial coordinates, that is we label spacetime points with four coordinates (t,x,y,z).

      Indeed, in relativity (both flavours) the time and spatial coordinates get mixed up so different observers will disagree about what is time and what is space.

      But the obvious thing about time is that to us humans it appears to flow. We can stand still in space, but we have to keep moving through time at one second per second. I would guess this is what we’re thinking of (if) we say that time is “the measurement of change”. The curious thing is that the flow of time doesn’t really exist in physics, and some (exactly how many I don’t know) physicists believe that the flow of time is a trick of human perception and that time doesn’t flow at all…

      … even if we take the conventional view of the flow of time, motion does not stop at absolute zero. This is because quantum systems exhibit zero point energy, so their energy remains non-zero even when the temperature is absolute zero. For example helium remains fluid at absolute zero because its zero point energy is too great to allow it to crystallise. So there is no sense in which time stops as we lower the temperature to absolute zero.” – John Rennie, Physics Stack Exchange.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Rowan Pryor.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Rowan Pryor.
    • #248375

      If we can ignore the exploited/subjected classes, is capitalism a democratic or horizontal creorder (at least among capitalists)?

      The Capitalist Class is, itself hierarchical. Its internal power structures are inherently differential, and as such it has it’s own levels of status. All capitalists do not have equal power within their class, even if the capitalists may seem to the average worker to be on par with other capitalists, from the vantage point of the lower strata.

      Even horizontal power, as long as it is designed to self-perpetuate, and constantly adjusts to self-perpetuate, will qualify as a power creorder.

      If hierarchies were dismantled and rendered taboo, and every hint at re-emergence were to be nipped in the bud, that nipping in the bud would be a creorder. The Taboo would be creorder.

      Please correct me if I have misunderstood something here.

    • #248386

      If we can ignore the exploited/subjected classes, is capitalism a democratic or horizontal creorder (at least among capitalists)?

      The Capitalist Class is, itself hierarchical. Its internal power structures are inherently differential, and as such it has it’s own levels of status.  All capitalists do not have equal power within their class, even if the capitalists may seem to the average worker to be on par with other capitalists, from the vantage point of the lower strata.

      I agree that capitalist firms that sell goods and services at a mark-up align into hierarchies, but I don’t believe that is the case for the human beings who make up the Capitalist Class.

      The fact that we can use CasP to rate and rank individual capitalists of the Capitalist Class by their relative power does not mean they apply the power between and amongst themselves to create or perpetuate hierarchies.  The fact that a football team is ranked first in its table does not mean football teams ranked behind it owe (or show) the team who is in first place any fealty or favor.

      Consider that in the stock market, where capitalists interact directly to exchange and transform their power, for every attempt to sell shares of stock there is a bid (from the buyer) and an ask (from the seller), and the difference between the bid and ask is the spread.  No stock sale will occur unless one or both of the buyer and the seller crosses the spread and they both to agree on a sale price.  A seller who is a billionaire cannot use his differential power to require a buyer who is a millionaire to cross the spread, i.e., the seller does not have the ability to add mark-up to the market price and expect a sale anyway.  Any exchange that occurs is fully horizontal.

       

       

       

       

      • #248387

        In capitalism, power is priced in and traded for $, and since in principle prices are the same for everyone, Musk and you will buy the same power for the same price.

        But this universality does not imply that Musk and you have the same power. If Musk owns $232 billion and you own $232 million, he is 1,000 times more powerful than you — even though both of you face the same prices.

        In general, capitalists grow more powerful not because they buy for less than others, but because they change the world in such a way that makes the price of what they own rise faster than other prices.

    • #248391

      In capitalism, power is priced in and traded for $, and since in principle prices are the same for everyone, Musk and you will buy the same power for the same price. But this universality does not imply that Musk and you have the same power. If Musk owns $232 billion and you own $232 million, he is 1,000 times more powerful than you — even though both of you face the same prices. In general, capitalists grow more powerful not because they buy for less than others, but because they change the world in such a way that makes the price of what they own rise faster than other prices.

      No, the principle prices are not the same for everyone, and you have proved it yourself through CasP.

      Pricing in what economists (and political economists) call “the market” is based on cost plus mark-up.

      Pricing in financial markets (what you call the State of Capital and I call “the Market”) is based on discounted future earnings.

      All of this is right there in your theory, CasP theory. The market prices the past while the Market prices the future as “the state” (however constituted throughout history) monetizes and arbitrages the value of labor over time.

      Yes, to the extent that capitalists avail themselves of the market, they are subject to its pricing methodology, but the whole point of having “fuck you money” (aka capital) is to not be subject to the market in the same way as the masses, i.e., the point of being a capitalist is to be free from the market; to be autonomous and a citizen of the Market, not a subject of the market. Both economies/nomoi/poleis are real, but they are not the same, just as capital and money are not the same, even though each can be transformed into the other through the membrane/machine of Finance, which resides in the Market (and stands above the market like a lord; it is the Market that rules, not the capitalists).

      Within the nomos of the Market, it does not matter to a capitalist that Musk is more powerful than he/she because the capitalist owes Musk nothing.  Within the nomos of the market under the modern money regime, everything is debt , which means the debtor is “less than” his creditor and owes him a portion of his labor, just as the laborer is “less than” and owes the capitalist a portion of his labor for having a job. Debt within the market is a self-replicating construct that creates hierarchies within the market, hierarchies that capital ultimately controls through the Market and capital (the One Ring of debt).  Within the nomos of the Market, debt is just a way to share power, not to cede it. It just isn’t the same thing as debt in the market, which is why we have Sanders and Warren pushing for a wealth tax in view of the fact that billionaires and hundred millionaires can collateralize their capital in the Market to live their lavish lifestyles free of taxation and real cost.

      I do agree with you that capitalists writ large control the market in a way that ensures the Market grows faster than the market (aka Piketty’s r>g), but the basic mechanism of power for millennia (and to this day) has been debt within the market, which ensures the masses are subjugated. Capital is what has allowed both the Market and the market to grow without conquest (although it is no impediment to conquest) by allowing wealth to be hoarded as capital without affecting the money in circulation (unless and until there is a financial crisis, whereupon austerity is imposed to beggar the masses and make the capitalists “whole”).

      The dichotomy of politics (the market) and economics (the Market) is true for capitalists and false for the masses, and that is one of the many “double truths” (double lies) of neoclassical economics.  In this case, you correctly reject the dichotomy as false for the masses, but you miss that it is true for capitalists.  For more on double truths, see Philip Mirowski’s work regarding neoliberalism.

      To be clear, I would have not seen the double truth of the dichotomy but for you and the many theorists who have advanced CasP to where it is today.  I think CasP is the most viable theory of social power we have, it just needs to wrench itself completely free of the framing of classical political economists, including Marx himself (not just from the neoclassicals).  When Thatcher told us “there is no society,” she was speaking a truth that had been suppressed for thousands of years, one that you agreed with on Twitter today by arguing that capitalists stand outside of society.  I would put a finer point on it and argue that capitalists are to society what the shepherd is to his sheep.  I say this as an observation, not an endorsement.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Scot Griffin.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Scot Griffin.
      • #248396

        Within the nomos of the Market, it does not matter to a capitalist that Musk is more powerful than he/she because the capitalist owes Musk nothing.

        1. It seems that we have a rather different notion of power. For us, power is a quantitative relationship between entities, which, in capitalism, takes the form of differential capitalization (and its differential elementary particles). If Musk’s capitalization is 1,000 times that of another capitalist, he is 1,000 more powerful.

        2. Does it matter to other capitalists that Musk is stronger than they are? In our view, the answer is a definite yes. This is the crux of capital as power. Musk being stronger means he is able to creorder the world against the interests/opposition of other capitalists and in doing so retain and augment his differential capitalization. For those whose key purpose is more power, having less of it is the ultimate loss.

        3. And in the capitalist mode of power, capitalists — regardless of what they think and feel — are compelled to seek differential capitalization, lest they be marginalized or weeded out altogether. And since, in capitalism, differential capitalization depends on and represents power, capitalism cannot be anything other than a mode of power.

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